Have you thought about having your wedding ceremony at one of Washington DC’s iconic monuments, but are curious how you would go about booking the location and what restrictions you would need to look out for? Washington DC is home to some of the nation’s most beautiful and historic landmarks, there is definitely a lot of information to comb through so we decided to research it for you and take it off your plate! Today on the blog we are breaking down everything you need to know about the National Park Service’s (NPS) management of DC monuments and memorials and what hoops you have to jump through to have your wedding ceremony there.
Let's begin by defining what the NPS is. This is the governing body that grants permits to hold events at the national parks in DC, such as the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument, to name a few. . Whether you’re looking to host your ceremony at one of these historic locations or just take some epic photos, there are several steps you need to take and rules you should be aware of before you consider incorporating one of these locations into your big day.
Below we have broken down the process you need to go through to have your wedding ceremony at one of these locations.
In order to have your ceremony at an NPS location or monument, you will have to apply for a Special Use Permit within the National Mall and Memorial Parks division of the NPS. This application can be found here. Along with your application, you will have to pay a processing fee of $90. You have two options in terms of submitting your application. The application can be mailed into the National Park Service office, or you can simply drop off your application, at 900 Ohio Drive, SW Washington, DC 20024. It is important to keep in mind that NPS gets thousands of applications a year for weddings and events, meaning the application process can take several days to several weeks before you hear a response. We would suggest getting your application in early to get your date of choice!
Below we’ve listed some of the more popular monuments for wedding ceremonies in the DC metro area. . If the monument you are looking to get married at is not listed below you can see a full list of monuments that allow weddings and events here.
George Mason Memorial
DC War Memorial
Set up at the aforementioned ceremony sites come with a lot of restrictions, which can be found here. To make this process a little easier, we would suggest keeping things simple. Keep your guest list small and your ceremony short and sweet. Try and focus on the natural beauty and unique location rather than all the detailed pieces. This will allow you to fully enjoy your ceremony with your closest friends and family and hopefully avoid the pitfalls that come along with a complicated set up. Use your reception venue as your opportunity to get creative.
Photography + Film Rules
As we briefly mentioned above, there are guidelines and rules for photography that you must follow to maintain your permit for your wedding ceremony.
Below we have laid out some photography and filming restrictions for each monument we listed above. Following that information, we have some additional points that are important to remember when choosing your location.
Lincoln Memorial: Filming/photography is prohibited above the white marble steps and the interior chamber of the Lincoln Memorial.
Jefferson Memorial: The West Lawn allows for Weddings with a 2-hour time limit. Filming/photography is prohibited within the columns and the interior chamber of the Jefferson Memorial.
Washington Monument: Filming/photography is prohibited within the circle of flags surrounding the base of the Washington Monument.
FDR Memorial: Due to copyright restrictions, commercial filming/photography is prohibited within the FDR Memorial.
George Mason Memorial: Allows for Weddings with a 1-hour time limit, but no additional set up is permitted. Filming/photography permitted.
DC War Memorial: Allows for Weddings with a 1-hour time limit. Filming/photography permitted.
Tripod usage is strictly prohibited.
Fees for photography are based on the number of guests who will be attending.
2 – 10 people: $50/day
11 – 30 people: $150/day
30+ people: $250/day
If you want to film your ceremony, the following fees apply.
2 - 10 people: $150/day
11 - 30 people: $250/day
31 - 49 people: $500/day
50+ people: $750/day
With all of these rules, it may seem like planning a ceremony at an NPS Memorial is more trouble than it’s worth! We are here to assure you that it is totally worth it! It is our job to realize your wishes and make it all happen! All of our Pollyanna planners are experts in working with the National Park Service and can guide you through this process with ease.