Any success with non-religious officiants for DC weddings?

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Topic: Any success with non-religious officiants for DC weddings?

General Discussion June 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Any success with non-religious officiants for DC weddings?

I’m getting married this Fall and would love to have my brother perform the wedding ceremony.

We’re willing to fill out the paperwork and get notarized letters, and are working to find someone to sponsor him through ULC or The Monastery.

However, before we go ahead with all the hassle – has this worked for anyone recently? I have seen a lot of posts with people asking for help for the same problem. I just have not seen much follow up.

If no-one has been successful, we will just go ahead and do a JOP ceremony before our planned wedding. It would be great to hear feedback/ success stories though!

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I am a wedding photographer and I photographed a wedding in May where my clients were able to get their friend from California to officiate their ceremony. They did not find out about the approval though until about a week before the wedding so always had a back-up plan of course.

Thanks, @caphill324 ! Do you know what church their friend got ordained through?

I’d love information on this as well, hoping to have my father marry my fiancĂ© and I this fall. Sounds like PoPville has come through in the past (, hopefully it can again!

@adlohr It was through the Universal Life Society. Good luck!

I’m in the same boat, getting married next Spring but in Alexandria. Virginia does not recognize people ordained online, they do have a one day allowance to marry but only for VA residents and the person we’d like to officiate is not. If anyone has had any luck in this department I’d love to hear it!

Yes, we had success with our sister in law being recognized by the city as an officiant. She was ordained online, and someone we had met when asking for recommendations for non-religious officiants served as her endorser to the city. I just had to bring him a form to sign, then she submitted all her paperwork and received her certificate to the city quite quickly. If you have been looking into it, I’m sure you’ve seen the city’s website about how to be recognized as a wedding officiant. She just followed those directions and voila.

I really was not expecting it to go so smoothly, but we had no issues and she was our official officiant.

@NHAve, is there any chance your sister-in-law would be willing to endorse us? Is that how this works, that current officiants endorse people applying to be officiants? Man, what a secret society!

My wife and I had great success with the Washington Ethical Society ( Their whole operation is laid back and happy to assist, including providing templates to base your vows off of. The cost is similar to what you pay to a church, but at least this is tax deductible!

I just wanted to add an update — I took the advice of someone on another thread and contacted Julia Jarvis ( and she is AWESOME 🙂 We’re going with a co-led ceremony (my dad and Julia will both officiate), but she was super flexible about even just attending the ceremony and signing the certificate afterward. We’ve just been super happy with the process. Additionally, she does pre-marriage counseling and I would highly recommend it.

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