Black and white images of the US Capital Building is in focus with a bride and groom out of focus.

Thinking about creating your own wedding, in your own style, in Washington DC? If so, we definitely need to meet, because I’m just overflowing with unique and fun DC elopement ideas! Unlike any other, the city is rich in history and diversity, welcoming people from all over the world each day. 

Because there’s so much to see and do, a DC elopement can be SO much more than just an hour-long courthouse experience. Instead, you can plan an entire day of fun celebrations where you and your partner can connect, have fun, and make the most out of a bespoke wedding day that’s completely unique to your love! 

In a traditional wedding, it’s standard to have your event run all day, with eight or more hours of celebrations and photography coverage – did you know you can do this for your elopement if you want, too?! Here’s how to plan an awesome DC elopement that will be authentic to your values – but also super fun!

Legally, here’s how to elope in Washington DC

To make your elopement legal, you first need to apply for a marriage license from the Marriage Bureau, part of the District of Columbia Courts. The paperwork is pretty straightforward and can be processed in person or online. 

You can work with an officiant, but one awesome thing about DC elopements is that if you’d rather keep your wedding just the two of you, you can self-officiate! This is super easy to do and gives you the freedom to elope anytime, anywhere. 

As your elopement photographer in Washington DC, I’m up to date on all of the legal requirements, so I’ll be happy to guide you on what’s needed. 

Decide how you’d like to spend your day

Close your eyes, fire up your imagination, and think about what your dream elopement would look like. Whatever you see, you can 100% make it happen to create your perfect day! 

Elopements allow for so much freedom in your day, letting you plan your wedding in a way that truly feels like you. You can make your own traditions or keep a few standards such as the first dance, speeches, or cake cutting – it’s really up to you! 

You could elope just the two of you, or you could invite close family and friends for the ceremony and celebrations after. There are so many fun elopement ideas in Washington DC, from the museums to small venues that you can rent out, so take the chance to get creative and craft a day that’s true to who you are. 

Elopement photography in Washington DC is truly beautiful as well. We’ll plan a few locations into your schedule, whether you want iconic photos on the National Mall or just to sneak away to a quiet cafe for a bit of quality time together over a cappuccino!

Wedding couple sits on couch in front of art in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Plan your elopement activities 

There are so many cool things you can do as part of your elopement day! Why not include some awesome activities like sightseeing, kayaking on the Potomac, or getting fancy and enjoying a high tea at the Willard InterContinental?

One of the best ways to truly celebrate your marriage is by making an adventure out of it. Here are a few more activity ideas that could be part of your elopement day…

  • A luxury waterfront picnic
  • Lunch at your favorite cafe or restaurant
  • Relax with an ice cream, grab a pizza, or try something new from a local food truck
  • Visit a museum
  • Check out a free festival that’s happening on your date (you could even plan your elopement around a specific holiday or festival to attend as part of your day). One of the best is the world-famous Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Plan a private boat tour of DC on the Potomac
  • Bring your dog along for part of the adventures (DC is a VERY dog-friendly city!)
  • Schedule matching tattoos (find an artist ahead of time and decide on designs, then schedule your appointment for your elopement day)
  • Splurge on a fancy hotel to get ready in, lounge by the pool, take photos at the bar and rooftop
  • Dinner at the Wharf overlooking the Potomac River
  • Bike or scooter your way around the city 

Your DC elopement itinerary sample timeline

Your DC elopement can really look however you want it to, so I encourage you to plan a fun and exciting day that features the people and activities that will mean the most to you. An elopement is such a special experience, so empower yourself to make it your own – and know that I’m always here to help!

So what could a DC elopement timeline potentially look like? Here’s a sample itinerary of how you could spend the day with family and loved ones:

  • Wake up in your home, hotel, or Airbnb and enjoy a leisurely breakfast together, or start the day at your favorite coffee shop
  • Get ready for the big day, either together or separately 
  • Enjoy the excitement of the first look, followed by some portraits 
  • Elopement photos at the DC monuments as you explore the museums
  • Your family joins you at the courthouse or ceremony location
  • Ceremony 
  • Family photos
  • Champagne pop 
  • Celebrations (these could be anywhere, like a picnic, at a private venue, or a restaurant, and can include speeches, cake cutting, a DJ, etc.) 

Remember you can include traditional wedding elements or make your own traditions. There’s definitely room in the timeline above for a first dance, speeches and toasts, or special family traditions that you want to include in your day. 

As you can see, DC is chock-full of cool adventures for your elopement day. You could even turn it into an elopement long weekend – why not?! It’s your wedding, after all!

To capture all of the beautiful memories of your day, I’m glad to offer Washington DC elopement packages that go beyond just the ceremony. I’ll give you plenty of space and privacy, but know that I’ll be capturing all of those sweet moments throughout the day that you’ll absolutely love looking back on! 

Your adventure elopement awaits – and I’ll be right by your side, capturing every moment for you! Fill out my contact form to get started today!

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