As wedding plans sprout
by Katharyn Wheeler
Flowers, allergies, and weddings… it is clearly spring in metro D.C.
Becoming a wedding officiant in this area accounts for many phone calls to the synod office throughout spring and summer from pastors both in and outside of our synod. Since the procedures are different in D.C., Maryland and Virginia I have created a guide (following) that I hope will help everyone to become official without any frantic scramble.
✓ For those in Virginia who need a notarized Metro D.C. Synod letter confirming good standing, please let us know with enough time to prepare it and mail it to you. I became a notary public last year so I can expedite processes like these.
✓ I am also able to notarize D.C. forms so they can be mailed in rather than presented in person. Know that I am only able to notarize forms while physically in the District of Columbia. Forms where I need to see the person sign will need to be done in person at the synod office or somewhere else in the district.
Thank you for the work you do in guiding the commitments couples are making to one another before God as they join in marriage. I realize that the paperwork is only a small part of your work. Hopefully this guide will minimize the time spent on the legal end. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
District of Columbia
Pursuant to the “Marriage Officiant Amendment Act of 2013”, the following persons or organizations are authorized or are candidates for authorization to perform marriages in the District of Columbia:
(1) a judge or retired judge of any court of record;
(2) the Clerk of the Court or such deputy clerks of the Courts as may, in writing be designated by the Clerk and approved by the Chief Judge of the Court;
(3) a minister, priest, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination or society ($35 fee & application required);
(4) for any religious society which does not by its own custom require the intervention of a minister for the celebration of marriages, a marriage may be solemnized in the manner prescribed and practiced in that religious society, with the license issued to, and returns to be made by, a person appointed by the religious society for that purpose ($35 fee & application required);
(5) a civil celebrant ($35 fee & application required);
(6) a temporary officiant ($25 fee & application required);
(7) Members of the Council;
(8) the Mayor of the District of Columbia; or
(9) the parties to the marriage (both parties to the marriage must apply in person with a vaild government issued identification).
All officiants are required to be at least 18 years old in order to perform a marriage ceremony. Further information can be obtained directly form the DC Code § 46-406.
The form can be mailed in if it is notarized.
DC Superior Court
500 Indiana Avenue NW, Room 4485
Washington, D.C. 20001
Ceremonies can be performed by an official of a religious order (such as an ordained minister), the Clerk of the Circuit Court, a deputy clerk designated by the county administrative circuit court judge, a judge. See Family Law 2-406 for further detail. Maryland does not require celebrants to register with the state. However, it is crucial that the celebrant properly complete the license form and return it to our office within 5 days of performing the ceremony.
For religious marriage ceremony, ministers, priests and clergy must be authorized to perform marriages by a Virginia Circuit Court. Out-of-state ministers must be authorized by a Virginia Circuit Court to perform marriage ceremonies in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This process can take up to four weeks to be completed. It is advised that the out-of-state minister contact the Circuit Court for the County where the marriage is to take place for further details
Examples of county information:
Fairfax County – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/courts/circuit/religious_celebrant.htm
Prince William – www.pwcgov.org/government/courts/circuit/Pages/Celebrant-Information.aspx
Also needed to complete the authorization:
• Complete notarized petition and questionnaire.
• Copy of the ordination certificate or notarized letter stating date and location of ordination
• Notarized letter on office stationary from the synod office. (Katharyn Wheeler of the synod staff is a notary.)
• Filing fee paid at time of filing – no personal checks, only cashier checks and money orders accepted by mail made out to Clerk of the Circuit Court.