How to Officiate a Wedding in DC

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More and more couples are moving away from hiring a traditional officiant for their wedding. Instead, they are opting to have one of their close friends or family members officiate their wedding and make it more of a personal and meaningful experience. Especially with the current restrictions in place surrounding COVID-19, this may be even more reason to learn how to become an officiant. So here’s some advice on how you or one of your loved ones can become legally authorized to officiate weddings in Washington, D.C.

Must be at least 18 years or older

Even though you may want a younger sibling or possibly an older child to officiate your wedding, you must be at least 18 years old to become legally authorized to officiate weddings in Washington, D.C.

Complete the Temporary Officiant Application

The next step to becoming an officiant is to fill out the Temporary Officiant Application. This involves a lot of basic information about yourself, the date of the wedding you plan to officiate, and information about the people getting married.

Pay $25 Fee and Get Application Notarized

Once you complete the application, you will just need to pay the $25 application fee, as well as having your application notarized before it can be processed.

Self-Uniting Option

A unique opportunity in D.C. is the “self-uniting” option. This means exactly what you think: couples can marry themselves! How does this work? One of the persons in the couple acts as the officiant and signs on the officiant line. This makes for a very quick ceremony, and involves a $45 application fee and trip to the courthouse with government-issued IDs. Couples only need to fill out basic information, step outside to sign the documents and return for the signature of a clerk. That’s all! This is an option for anyone not wanting to include a religious aspect with an officiant, and also is a quick and easy option for anyone looking to get married fast! This is only available in a handful of states, which includes D.C.!


The process of becoming a legally authorized officiant or celebrant in Washington, D.C. is a fairly simple process and a great way to include that special family member or friend into your day! In our all-inclusive micro-wedding package, an non-denominational officiant is one of the many aspects included to take off some of the pressure of planning and make your day carefree, beautiful, and meaningful!

Courtney-Rose Dantus is a DC Wedding Planner serving couples planning their weddings in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. She loves working with destination wedding couples, too.

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I’m an event logistics guru and wedding designer based in Washington, D.C. I’m also a wife and mama to a fiercely independent toddler and two fluffy terriers. Settle in as we share our team’s latest love stories, behind-the-scenes adventures and top-notch wedding planning advice.

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Dantus & Co. Events specializes in special event, and wedding planning & design in the greater Washington, D.C. area and beyond. Our couples are busy professionals who love details, want to incorporate several cultures or religions into their big day, and need a wedding planner who gets it to help.