Interested in getting married at one of DC’s local parks? Today we are giving you a run down of everything you need to do to make that happen!
DC ranks high in health and quality of life and it is also number one in most parkland per residents! So, it’s no wonder we get inquiries every week for couples looking to host weddings at one of these beautiful parks. No matter what part of DC you call home, there’s a park that’s perfect for your wedding whether you’re looking to host a small intimate ceremony or have a barbecue picnic reception. For parks under theDC Parks and Recreation Department (DPR) purview, you’ll have to follow their rules and permitting guidelines. Since we get lots of questions about these rules we thought we’d give you a quick run down of the process.
Please note, some parks in DC, and memorials, are under the National Park Service’s (NPS) umbrella, not DPS, and therefore a different set of permitting guidelines.
Where can I get married?
DC has dozens of parks for you to choose from depending on what you want. Looking for a romantic, yet historic location to have a small ceremony? The Spanish Steps may be your jam. Is an urban garden more your style? The Newark Street Community Garden oozes charm and gives you a local community feel. Whatever your preference, I’m sure there’s a park to meet your needs. If you would like to see a list of DC parks, you can check it out here.
How do I get started?
The first step is to apply for a permit! The permit application process is fairly easy . You can apply online at the DC Parks website. Applications must be submitted 30 days prior to your wedding date, but we encourage you to apply as early as possible to ensure you get your date. Once you submit your application, a Permit Officer will contact you to confirm the date. Your date and location is not confirmed until the Permit Officer contacts you! There is a fee schedule that is charged based on the size of your wedding, whether you are a DC resident, and the number of hours you are reserving the park. This must be paid in full before your date is confirmed.
What are the rules?
Hosting your wedding at a DPR Park is similar to having a party at your house when you were a kid. Keep the music down so the neighbors won’t complain, clean up after and don’t burn down the house! With that in mind, here are a few of the major rules:
All DPR Parks close at dark so that’s when your wedding has to end.
If you’re planning to have a barbecue or picnic, you must state this in your application. Charcoal grilling is the only type of grilling allowed and is only permitted is designated areas.
If your guest count is over 25, you must remove your own trash when you leave.
If you’re planning on having a tent, you may need letters of support from other government agencies, so be sure to apply early enough to take care of this.
And this should go without saying, but no open fires!
To find the rest of the DPR policies, you can check them out here.
Hosting your wedding at one of DC’s many parks is not rocket science, but if the thought of reading about rules and regulations makes you cringe, or you don’t know how you’ll pull off a wedding in an empty space, we’re here to help! Contact us today to see how we can make your planning process a little less stressful. All in all, best of luck!