Friday, September 9, 2011

Destination DC: Getting Married on The National Mall

I love intimate weddings and destination weddings, and my opinion of one of the best places to have an intimate destination wedding in Washington, DC is on the National Mall. To clarify, because quite often when couples ask me about getting married on the Mall, they’re asking about the Washington Monument.You cannot get married at the Monument, but you can get married in three places on the National Mall:

The Jefferson Memorial
The George Mason Memorial, and
The DC War Memorial

Here’s what you’ll need: a permit with a very in-reach fee of $50 (there’s also a location fee of $50, which you won’t learn about until you submit your permit), timely guests and an officiant who knows how to keep it simple. Skip the chairs, arch and extras, because you only get two hours for setup, ceremony and breakdown (one hour at the George Mason Memorial). There’s no parking, so you’ll have to provide shuttles for your guests or have them travel on foot or taxi to the site.

Weekdays are better than weekends (smaller crowds), although park goers and tourists are very respectful of weddings and tend to hang back. They will, however, stop and take your photo. What can I say? Everybody loves to see the bride. Finally, you’ll need a terrific photographer to capture this historic moment and the historic images that will be your backdrop.

Okay, so you don’t want to get married on the National Mall, but you do want to take some of your wedding pictures among the monuments? Then your photographer needs to apply for a photography permit and pay a small fee of $50 (plus the $50 location fee). Ask him or her to nix the tripod; they don’t always go over well with the Capitol Police.

Finally, if you plan to take your wedding photos on the National Mall, pack your patience. Most likely, you’ll be standing in line with a few other couples waiting for your money shot in front of the Jefferson Memorial.

This post is a tweaked and updated version of my original article on


Robert London said...

Thanks for the info, it is hard to get correct info on stuff like this most times (like that "location fee") The tripod thing is funny, they do that up here at lincoln center, you can take all the photos you want but bring out a tripod and 5 security guards surround you in a second. The theory I understand is they want no professional pictures so they feel if you have a tripod you must be a pro.

Leslie Weekes said...

Robert - I suggest calling before submitting a permit, because the "rules" tend to be pretty fluid.