Molt Be Blog

Sunday, May 27, 2007

How to Get Married in Washington DC

B&W Stat Laboratory
Step 1 - Really? (just kidding)

Step 2 - Propose
You'll never know until you ask. It's also customary to ask Dad first. I recommend just telling him what you have planned and then gauging the whole "yes/no" business by his reaction.

If you say, "I'm planning on asking R to marry me" and he says, "what the hell did you just say?" then you might want to go back to step 1.

Step 3 - Get your blood tests
In DC, you have to get tested for Syphilis. Yes. Syphilis. You'll need to get tested and get a signed DHR 366 form within 30 days of going to the courthouse to apply for your marriage license, so don't dilly-dally after getting your results.

According to, "a physician, clinic, area hospital, and all military service labs can certify the results", but anecdotal evidence from a guy I work with says that most doctors don't actually have the DHR 366 form in the office and will likely screw up the process. For this reason, R and I recommend the no-nonsense B&W Stat Laboratory (pictured at right) at 3104 Georgia Avenue NW. B&W's location on Georgia Avenue near Howard University leaves something to be desired as it's a bit out of the way and not in the greatest of neighborhoods. Don't let this dissuade you, though. They'll take your blood in the middle of the waiting room (basically, since there's no curtain) and have you out the door in 15 minutes with your DHR 366 in hand and $40 less cash in your pocket. While you're more than likely to contract something new while you're at B&W, they've got the correct form and are open from 6AM to 11AM on Saturdays, in case you want to get a jump on the weekend.

Step 4 - Apply for a Marriage License
You need to apply for your marriage license within 30 days of the blood test. DC's website actually does a pretty good job of summarizing the process (when the site is actually working), so definitely check out the information that they have here.

You'll need to:
  1. Go down to the DC Superior Courthouse and go to room 4485

    • They're open from 8:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday

    • Here's the address:
      Moultrie Courthouse
      500 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Room 4485
      Washington, D.C. 20001

  2. Fill out a marriage application form

    • You'll want to do this ahead of time if you're not doing a civil ceremony as you need to have your officiant sign as a witness to the application.

  3. Turn it in and get a print-out

    • If you're doing a Civil Ceremony, they'll give you a phone number to call (It's Ms. Johnson.) to arrange for a time to do the Ceremony

  4. Go to room 4204 and pay the $35 fee for the application and another $10 fee for a copy of the marriage license.

DC Superior Court Civil Wedding Space

Step 5 - Arrange for a Civil Ceremony
If you're doing a civil ceremony, you can call the number immediately after you pay the $45 fee at the court house. R and I called from outside room 4204. When arranging a time, you can only ask for dates that are 10 or more days after the date of your application. The courthouse does not do ceremonies on Fridays (information that I wasn't able to find anywhere on the web and had to hear straight from Ms. Johnson). The first two dates that we'd picked out weren't available, so definitely have a bunch of different ones in mind ahead of time.

Step 6 - Get married (as of today, this part hasn't happened, so this is just how things are supposed to work.)
Call ahead 3 to 5 days before your Civil Ceremony date to confirm that there hasn't been a mix up.

Show up at the courthouse and go back to room 4485. There, you'll go into a disgusting side room (pictured third), the door of which is covered in wrapping paper and has a huge bow on it. In 10 minutes, you'll be husband and wife. Done. Now go throw a huge party!

In case you're wondering... Marriage accomplished - posted here. Enjoy.


Freewheel said...

So you're on step 5?

La Petite Princess said...

After your upcoming marriage, you'll have to post an entry on how to change your name (if your wife intends to do so). Trust me, it is equally confusing and ludicrous. Good luck!

Greg said...

Yep, we're on step 5, Freewheel.

And, la petite princess, I think R is going to keep her name and just take my last name as her middle name. I'm guessing there'll still be a mean-ass process involved in doing even that though. I've heard that it's completely insane and full of red tape, so I'll definitely have her document her travails.

Someone else I spoke with said that she had a friend who had just changed her name with the Social Security Administration and then just let the rest "filter down". I highly doubt this anecdotal evidence, but it would be great if it were true.

janet said...

This is why we Metroed out to Courthouse in Arlington to get married on our lunch break. Virginia isn't good for much, but lack of blood testing required for marriage is one of them.


Greg said...

Couldn't agree more with you on the Virginia thing! At least their lack of regulations on anything from guns to pollution seems to apply equally to marriage!

Megan said...

this post totally made me giggle and smile! Sad face I am missing the wedding :(