DC is a unique area and here are my top tips to make sure your destination wedding in Washington, DC goes smoothly!

How to Plan a Destination Wedding in Washington, DC


This year, we’re seeing the rise of domestic destination weddings. Couples who fell in love with another city, are choosing somewhere central to their guests, or simply love to travel are planning their weddings from states away. Washington, DC has become a popular destination for these weddings and it’s easy to see why. With tons of history and gorgeous architecture, plus easily accessible transportation, DC is an absolute gem and a great choice for a wedding. However, because DC is a unique area, there are some important tips to making sure your destination wedding in Washington, DC goes smoothly!If you’re planning a DC destination wedding, here are some tips to make sure that your day goes perfectly. 

Couple on their wedding day in front of the Washington memorial and reflecting pool.

Hire local vendors.

The most important step in planning a destination wedding is hiring local vendors. From your planner to your photographer and videographer, local vendors can provide you with insight that you just wouldn’t have otherwise! Local vendors have worked in this industry for years and know this city like the back of their hand. From recommending other great vendors, to knowing the dates and locations that you should avoid due to crowds, and knowing how much cushion you’ll need in your timeline for multi-location events, there are so many reasons to stick with a local team. 

Consider spots outside the city. 

As you plan your destination wedding in Washington, DC, you may come across the acronym DMV. This is short for DC, Maryland, and Virginia and is used when referring to the DC metro area that crosses into both bordering states. When looking for venues, don’t be afraid to look at spots in Maryland and Virginia! DC is a compact city so you can go from downtown to another state in 15 minutes, and there are some real gems in the suburbs. Some of my favorite weddings have been split between a DC ceremony and a Virginia reception. 

Washington DC War Memorial elopement.

Remember your permits. 

In Washington, DC, a lot of the most popular and iconic photo spots are owned by the National Parks Service, museums, or other government agencies. This is great because the locations are usually clean and well-maintained, but it means that many of them require a photography permit. When planning your wedding day, make sure you talk to your photographer about what locations require a permit and what the cost involved is. And don’t forget to clarify if you’re in charge of sourcing the permits yourself or if your photographer is doing it for you! 

Leave plenty of buffer time.

As not only a major city but also the nation’s capital, DC always has something going on. From motorcades to protests, races, and festivals, there are always things popping up and causing road closures or other delays. For this reason, it’s especially important to add extra buffer time to your wedding day, particularly if you’re traveling from one location to another. My tip is to estimate how much time you think something will take, and then double or triple it to be safe. It’s always better to overestimate and have time to relax than be stressing about your timeline. 

Couple having a destination wedding in Washington DC at the DC War Memorial.

Washington, DC is truly unlike any other city in the country and features a gorgeous location filled with culture, art, and people from all walks of life. If you’re planning a destination wedding in Washington, DC, follow these tips for a perfect day. 

I’ve photographed weddings across the DMV, and would love to document your destination wedding in DC! Contact me to start planning your dream wedding day! 

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