Washington DC is known for its impressive museums and historical monuments, and while it isn’t usually thought of as a destination wedding location, it is an amazing place to elope! The landscape and the endless amounts of activities available is perfect for history buffs and adventurous couples. As a Washington DC elopement photographer, this is your reminder that getting married at the Washington DC courthouse doesn’t have to be a quick, underwhelming event. Instead, learn how to elope in DC and turn your DC courthouse wedding into a fun, adventurous, all-day event that feels like you.

How to Start Planning Your DC Courthouse Elopement 

First of all, congrats! I am so excited that you are planning your elopement! The DC courthouse is beautiful, and the process to elope there is super easy. Here is how we will start planning your DC elopement in 4 steps. 

1. Apply for a Marriage License

Yes, this isn’t as fun as planning out what activities you want to do together, but it’s essential! In a few minutes, you can fill out the DC online marriage license application here or go in person to apply together.

2. Choose Your Officiant to Elope in DC

You can be married by a judge in the courthouse, hire an officiant, or you can choose to self-officiate! Did you know self-officiating is possible in Washington DC? If you’re interested in that option (a lot of couples are!), you can check out how to self-officiate your own wedding ceremony in this blog post. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to elope almost anywhere in the city and allows you to choose unique locations!

3. Decide on your Washington DC Wedding Photographer

I would love to capture your elopement! You can learn more about what it would look like to work together here. As a Washington DC photographer, I know lots of great photography locations and activity ideas, and I understand all the rules and regulations about photography in the Washington DC courthouse. Currently, photography is only allowed in the marriage room, and nowhere else in the building (but I know lots of other great places in the city for timeless photos!). 

4. Plan your Elopement Day Activities 

Instead of only capturing the moments of your wedding day, I also help you create a whole day full of celebration and adventure! Because it’s not just about beautiful photos – it’s about planning and capturing an experience that’s uniquely you.

DC is full of history and culture and LOTS of great food. There are so many things to do and see! You can explore the historic and iconic monuments, visit the white marble columns of the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress, walk through the Cherry Blossoms in the spring, or enjoy the FREE art museums.

You can do whatever you want! Some other options include celebrating with a fun cocktail at the rooftop bars and cafes, visiting chic and modern boutique hotels, enjoying a luxury picnic, or participating in the boat tours on the Potomac. Plus, if you want to include a few guests, there are plenty of restaurants with private rooms to rent for an intimate dinner or brunch reception.

More Activity Ideas to Elope in DC

  • Exploring Art Museums
  • Sight-Seeing the Monuments
  • Luxury Picnic With a View
  • Paddle Boating on the Tidal Basin
  • Mini Golf
  • Retro Arcade Bar
  • Flash Photos and Cocktails in a Bar
  • Drinks at a Brewery 
  • Renting Scooters
  • Food Trucks 
  • And so much more!

Just make sure to check if your chosen locations need permits or permission at private properties or businesses. The National Mall and the monuments, for example, require a photo permit – but no worries! I’m here to help you navigate the permit process as well as suggest other venue locations and vendor recommendations. You can access the National Mall photo permit here.

Juliana Wall Photography | Washington DC Elopement Photographer

If you’re not sure where you want to elope in DC, check out these DC wedding photos below to provide some ideas and inspiration for your planning process. Save to your Pinterest boards to save for later! 

For wedding day timeline ideas and more elopement activity ideas to support your elopement planning, these blog posts were created with you specifically in mind: 

How to Plan an Awesome DC Elopement

Why Washington DC is a Great Place to Elope

Want to elope in DC and love my photography style? 

I would love to work with you! I’m here for the couples who crave personal connection, intentional experiences, and finding adventure wherever they can. Let’s craft a meaningful wedding experience you’ll remember forever. Fill out my inquiry form here, and I will be in touch soon! You deserve to work with a wedding photographer who gets you and understands your elopement vision. 

  1. Isabella Stanley says:

    I’m interested in pricing, packages, and general DC elopement information .

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