10 Great Reasons to Elope and Get Married in Virginia
Whenever I marry a couple from out of state, I always inquire why they chose to come to Virginia to get married. The answers I hear are always very similar and range from how simple it is to how they were able to save a lot of money by eloping. Those answers inspired me to put together this list of the 10 best reasons to take a trip to the Commonwealth of Virginia to get married.
1. It is easy to get a marriage license.
How easy? Getting your marriage license in Virginia only takes 20-25 minutes and all you need is $30 and both of your official IDs, such as a driver’s license or passport. No other documentation is needed.
2. There is no waiting period.
There is no waiting period in Virginia and you can walk in and out of the court with your marriage license in a matter of moments. In Winchester, VA you can get married in under 30 minutes if you want! If you book my calendar so that I meet you at the Winchester / Frederick County courthouse right after you get your marriage license, I can marry you right there. It only takes 2-3 minutes for the legal vows, so if you add that to the time it took to get your marriage license, you are looking at under half an hour.
3. You don’t have to fill out a lot of paperwork.
When you get your marriage license, all you will need to complete is one form asking both of you your full names, addresses, place of birth, your education level, ethnicity, if this is your first marriage or not, and your parents’ full names. That’s it! No additional forms or blood tests are necessary.
4. It is affordable.
It costs $30 to get your marriage license from the court. My rate as a marriage commissioner starts at $49 for a short legal wedding right outside the courthouse. So if that is all you need, you can get married for only $79. That beats spending tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding!
5. You can get married anywhere in the state.
Once you have your marriage license, your possibilities are endless as to where you can get married (as long as it is located in Virginia). You do not have to get married at the courthouse and can choose any place you like. Exchange your vows by the lake at the park, on top of a close-by mountain overlook, or among the beautiful trees and plants at the State Arboretum close to Winchester. You can even get married at my private residence in the scenic woods if you want guaranteed privacy.
6. You can get married in complete privacy.
In Virginia you are not required to have any witnesses. The officiant (me) serves in that capacity. So if you want to get married with only the two of you (and myself) present, that is completely fine! If you want a few family and friends to be there that is perfectly OK too, and you can work with me to find locations I would recommend that are easily accessible for guests.
7. You can make a romantic getaway out of it.
While you can travel to Virginia, get married, and return home all in the same day…you can also make a fantastic getaway out of your trip. Winchester, VA alone has many chain and historic hotel / lodging / dining options which are perfect for couples seeking some quiet time together. If you want something more rustic, there are tons of local bed and breakfasts around the area. For those who love the outdoors, Shenandoah National Park is the go-to place to either camp at one of their many sites, or stay in their full-fledged Skyland Resort.
8. Finding an officiant is easy.
You do not have to be a member of a church or meet with a priest, pastor, or judge to get married. A civil wedding can be performed by a Marriage Commissioner like myself. A Marriage Commissioner is a person appointed by the court with the authority to legally marry two individuals who consent to being wed to one another. Since judges often do not have the time to marry couples, the courts select and appoint responsible citizens who can properly carry out the legal responsibilities of performing a marriage. So it is simply a manner of contacting me and booking a date and time on my calendar of when you would like to get married.
9. Same sex marriages are legal.
If you are a gay / lesbian couple, Virginia has legally recognized same-sex marriages as of October 6, 2014. The process works exactly the same…you obtain your Virginia marriage license and I can marry you at any location in Virginia that you like. As a marriage commissioner, I am proud to serve couples of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and genders.
10. You can hire ONE person to marry you and take your photographs to remember the occasion.
Being a marriage commissioner AND a professional photographer, I am proud to offer both services to couples who choose to get married in Virginia. I can snap some photographs of the two of you if you elope on a mountain top, or take some family portrait-style photos of you with your family and friends if you have some guests attending. I offer several pricing packages for you to choose from depending on how many photos you want along with optional wedding announcement cards, prints, and more. You can see my package offerings here and choose which one is right for you.
Are you both ready to get married in Virginia? Send me a message and I can help you plan your elopement or small wedding in the great state of Virginia!