Getting married in one of the country's 400-plus national parks is a one-of-a-kind and very customized ceremony or reception option, from the stunning landscape to the history behind your favorite landmarks. The same can be said for when you marry someone in a national monument! From Arlington Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial, here are your best options for marrying at a national monument.
Arlington National Cemetery: To get married at Arlington National Cemetery, you will need to contact the Veterans Affairs Office at 703-692-5860 to set up an appointment with a veteran's counselor. The cost is based on what kind of license you want (regular or military), any optional services you may want (wedding photographer, musician, etc.), and how long you want the service to take. There is no charge for the counseling session itself. The office staff can also help you plan your wedding day including recommendations of local vendors who might be able to provide some free services. As part of their commitment to serve all veterans and their families, the cemetery provides free parking and a meal after the ceremony.
National Mall: To get married along the National Mall, you will need to contact the National Park Service to make arrangements. You cannot get married here officially, but you can have a private ceremony with only your loved ones present if you would like.
National Park Weddings Getting married in a national park is one of the simplest and most beautiful ways to have a non-traditional wedding. Most parks charge a minimal cost, generally less than $200, to secure a permit for the location where you wish to marry, and that's about it. No need for a minister, no need for an officiant, and no need for a reception either. Just you and your loved ones in an intimate setting on park land.
A national park wedding allows you to create your own unique ceremony free from any traditional rules or guidelines. You can write your own vows, choose songs that speak to both of you, and include anything else that comes only to you. The groom can wear white, dress up as a ranger, and carry a rifle if they so desire. There are no limits other than your imagination and what the park will allow.
There are many different types of weddings you can have in a national park. If you want a simple outdoor ceremony with just your closest friends present, then this is the perfect place for it. If you prefer something more formal, but not necessarily legal, a park wedding could be done with a judge on hand in case of problems later on. A civil ceremony is required for some couples who want to avoid having religion play a role in their marriage, but others may choose to have a religious service held elsewhere and then have their marriage certified by a notary public or government official.
Most national parks permit elopements and ceremonies inside their limits, although many of them have laws or guidelines for getting married in their individual park. The permit itself requires a $200 application cost, and you may get it from the park rangers. There is no official process for obtaining a marriage license in Alaska.
You can get married anywhere in the country, but only people who are eligible to marry under state law can be joined in matrimony by anyone who is willing to perform the ceremony. For example, only persons over the age of 16 can get married in Alaska. The person marrying you must be present at your wedding if they will be your spouse under Alaskan law.
National parks tend to have more stringent eligibility requirements to get married there than other places would. For example, most states allow for couples to get married on their first date, which means that if you were to walk down the aisle next week, this would be acceptable according to Alaskan law. However, if you cannot satisfy the residency requirement of being a resident of the state for six months, then this would not be allowed when you arrive at Denali National Park Airport without a valid reason for being there temporarily.
People tend to think that because a place is in a national park that it's free to get married there, but this isn't true.