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   DC Wedding Officiant

     Rev. S.J. Burns



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Getting married in DC, call me

Rev. SJ Burns, DC Wedding Officiant




Frequently asked Questions



Where do I go to get my DC marriage license?

Moultrie Courthouse

DC Superior Court Marriage Bureau

500 Indiana Avenue NW, Room 4485

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 879-4840

Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm


Can I apply online?

No, you have to apply in person or have someone apply for you.


When did same sex marriages become legal in DC?

DC Marriage Equality Law took effect on March 3, 2010.  And couples started marrying on March 9, 2010.


Would this be a legal marriage?



How long is the marriage license valid for use?

Indefinitely.  There is no expiration date on the license.


Do we have to be District residents to marry in DC?

No. The District does not have a residency requirement.


How long does it take to get a marriage license?

You can get your marriage license the same day.  And if you use our services, we will have it in hand the day of your cermeony.


Can I get married first, then pickup the marriage license at the DC Marriage Bureau after the ceremony, and bring it to the officiant for signing?

No. You have to have the marriage license in hand before the ceremony begins. 


If I want to get married in a church, do you have one?

I rent space in a beautiful church.  So yes, I have a chapel for your ceremony.  However, the church does not have air conditioning.  It was built in 1808 with beautiful stain glass windows and cathedral dome ceilings.  Great architecture, fabulous structure.  You won't be disappointed.  It is always best to leave an air conditioned vehicle, then enter the building. It is not recommended that you walk to the church in sweltering heat expecting to cool off once you arrive.


The ideal times for a ceremony at the church is late October to early May.  Fans are used in the summer.  And for the length of time we will be in the building (for your quick ceremony), the summer temperature will not faze you.  However, alternative church locations (with air conditioning) can be arranged. 


I had a commitment ceremony years ago, and I just want an officiant to sign the license without a ceremony, can they do this?

No, they must witness you exchanging vows. The vows are the terms for the marriage contract.  After a brief ceremony, the marriage certificate can be signed. 


I know that a ceremony is necessary in order for an officiant to sign our license, but is that requirement considered a "civil ceremony"?

A civil ceremony is a non-religious wedding.  An officiant that offers customized ceremonies can offer you the option of having a religious, spiritual, or civil marriage as well.


If I wanted to get married at the courthouse, is it true that the waiting period is 6-8 weeks.



Do we have to wait that long to get married?

No you don't.  You can find an officiant or minister that is authorized by the DC Superior Court to marry you.

How do I find an authorized officiant?

You already have, Rev. Starlene Joyner Burns, 202.253.3629.


In order to complete our marriage license application, we must record the name of our officiant, how can we determine who that will be?

If you are planning on marrying at the courthouse, then you can leave that section of the marriage license application blank.  They will provide you with a celebrant on the day of your courthouse ceremony.


Do I need to file both the marriage license form and civil wedding form on my initial visit to the DC Marriage Bureau? If so, which do I do first? Should I choose an officiant first?  

You will process your marriage license application first.  However, you can process both on the same day.  The civil wedding form is your request for a ceremony at the DC Marriage Bureau.  If you are getting married outside the marriage bureau, then you will have to give the clerk of the court the name of our officiate before you can pickup your marriage certificate. 


Where can we have the ceremony in DC?

You can have a ceremony anywhere in Washington DC.  Some location may  require a permit.  The DC National Parks has a few location, such as the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, west lawn, the World War II Memorial, and more.


So do your research and think creatively, because a beautiful hotel suite (with a balcony over looking the Potomac River) can serve as a fabulous elopement venue and a wonderful place to stay. 


However, most couples opt to stay in beautiful Dupont Circle because of its lively Gay nightlife and its reputation for being a Gay friendly town.  


Check out, for options.  


If I wanted to get a certified copy of the marriage license while I am in town, can I do this?

Yes you can, as long as the officiant is willing to give you the court's copy of the license. 


If my marriage is not recognized in my state, why would I need a certified copy of the marriage license? 

A certified copy of the marriage license is a legal court document that verifies your marriage on file with the court. 


Can I change my name while applying for the marriage license?

No, the name on your identification is the name and spelling used on the marriage certificate.


How can I change my name? 

You have to put in the leg work to change your name.  And a certified copy of the marriage license is needed for all government agencies.  Where to change your name:  social security, driver's license, vehicle title and registration, US passport, employer/payroll, 401K/retirement plans, bank accounts/checkbook, credit card companies, landlord/mortgage company, IRS, utility companies (phone, cable, gas, electric, etc.), doctor, dentist, health provider, US postal service; life, auto & home insurance, investment companies, voter registration, memberships, and frequent flyer cards, legal contracts, and wills.


However, this does not mean that you will not encounter opposition in your state when using your marriage license for name change purposes. 


Who can perform the ceremony?

Any judge or court appointed official from the court.  And any clergy authorized to officiate marriages in DC by the DC Superior Court.


One recommendation has already been given, Rev. Starlene Joyner Burns, 202.253.3629, (10 am - 10 pm).


What do you (officiant/minister) do, and what are your fees?

I write and revised the ceremony, travel to and from the wedding site, attend the rehearsal (if needed), direct and coordinate the wedding party (if needed), correspond with you, officiate the ceremony, apply for the marriage license (for a fee), file the marriage license with the court after the ceremony, and protect your privacy.


Small & Large Weddings




call for special weekday (Monday - Friday) rates

Signing Service


Marriage License Proxy Services

$145 (marriage license fee included)


Do we need witnesses?

No, witnesses are not required.


Can we get married if we are already domestic partners?

Your domestic partnership must be dissolved first.  So check the law for the state in which your domestic partnership took place. 


For DC domestic partners, the DC marriage license will replace your domestic partnership certificate.


If I marry an immigrant, can I sponsor my spouse for a green card?


With the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), I don't see why not.  But you need to speak with an immigration lawyer about that. 


What documents do I need to marry in DC if he/she does not have a social security number or a drivers license?  You will need to provide the DC Marriage Bureau with the original passport as proof of identity.


Is there anything else that I need to do?

  • Research and be aware of your time-lines,

  • Establish a budget for your trip,

  • Make your travel arrangements,

  • Arrange for lodging (it cost less to stay in DC on weekends than during the week),

  • Know how you will be traveling in DC (subway, car, taxi, limo),

  • Map out your sightseeing expedition, where you want to eat (blue crabs), your entertainment (music, comedy, theater, shopping, etc.) and how to get to the courthouse.

  • bring your drivers license as identification or some other valid form of ID that has your picture on it,

  • have $45 cash or a money order,

  • have your DC marriage license application completed before arriving at the courthouse,

  • Decide on where your wedding (even a quick one) will take place,

  • Secure the services of an officiant before coming to DC,

  • When you get to the Marriage Bureau, sign in (don't forget to sign in),

  • If you are still married, you will not be able to get a marriage license,



The Other Side of Joy - When The Marriage Is Over 


How do I get a divorce?

In order to get a divorce in DC, you must be separated for six months or longer.


Do I have to be a resident to get a divorce in DC?

Same sex couples do not have to be DC residents to get a divorce here.  However, you must show proof of your DC marriage.  


How can I get an annulment in DC

It's not easy to get an annulment when both of you entered into the marriage without force or deception.  To learn more, contact the DC Supreme Court Domestic Relations Branch.


Do I need an attorney to get a divorce in DC?

No you can file pro se.  However, you might want to consult an attorney on such a legal issue.



Need to contact me, Rev. Starlene Joyner Burns?

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