Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most frequent questions I am asked regarding my marriage commissioner and photography services.

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Wedding Officiant FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding my wedding officiating services for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
What do we need to be married by you?

To get married, all you need to show me is your Virginia marriage licenseA marriage license is issued by any Virginia city or county circuit court clerk’s office during weekday business hours. It is very easy to get, especially in Winchester. 

How do we get a Virginia marriage license?

The process is super easy. All you both need is a valid current ID (Driver's license for example), $30, and any Virginia circuit court can issue you a marriage license. I've written this detailed article that shows you exactly how to get a marriage license along with some other important tips. 

Do we need to get a marriage license from the Winchester, VA courthouse or can we obtain one from another Virginia county / city Circuit Court?

Either one will work! The only difference is that if you get it from another Virginia court, I need to mail the license back via certified priority mail (to ensure delivery) and charge a small administrative fee to do so. If you get it from the Winchester, VA courthouse I can hand deliver the marriage license. 

We already have our marriage license from another county in Virginia. Can you still perform our marriage in Winchester or the local area?

Yes, I can! Any Virginia marriage license is valid state-wide.

Can you issue a marriage license?

No. A marriage license MUST be issued by any Virginia city or county circuit court clerk’s office during weekday business hours. A wedding officiant or marriage commissioner cannot issue the license.

If we are not residents of Virginia, can we still get married here?

Yes, you can! Anyone can get married in Virginia as long as you first obtain your Virginia marriage license from any Virginia city or count circuit court.

Do we need a witness? Rings? A blood test? A birth certificate? A passport? A divorce decree?

No to all of the above! To get married, all you need to show me is your Virginia marriage license. When getting your marriage license from any Virginia circuit court, all you need is an ID from anywhere.



After the marriage, who takes the marriage license back to the court?

I do! I file the documents with the clerk’s office where you obtained your marriage license. If your marriage license was issued by Winchester City or Frederick County, VA, I immediately file it in person or on the next business day if after hours. If your marriage license was issued by another county or city, I mail the marriage license back via certified delivery USPS mail.

Can we exchange rings?

Of course! If you have rings, I’ll have you place them on each other’s fingers. However, rings are not required to be married.

I am divorced. Do I need a copy of my divorce decree and papers to get my Virginia marriage license?

At the Frederick County / Winchester Courthouse in Winchester, VA, NO divorce documentation is required to obtain your marriage license. When applying for your marriage license in Virginia you are required to indicate if you have been married once or multiple times before. Upon issuing your license, the court clerk or deputy clerk makes you take a solemn oath stating that all information provided on your marriage license application is truth.

However if you are obtaining your marriage license at Virginia courthouse other than Frederick County / Winchester, divorce documentation MAY be required. Some Virginia courts request that you provide a certified copy of a court-issued Decree of Divorce to the Clerk’s Office before a marriage license will be issued. If the Decree is in a language other than English, you must present a certified document translation, signed and dated by a translator attesting to the document’s accuracy. After a finalized divorce, there is no waiting period to get remarried.

You can read this article for more information.

Do you perform same-sex marriages?

Yes, I do! I am a civil marriage commissioner. I officiate marriages for all couples who legally qualify and obtain a Virginia marriage license. Visit this page on my site for more information on same-sex marriages.

How do we get a copy of our marriage license?

You can visit the office of the court that issued your marriage license and request a certified copy, or send a request in via mail, any time after I file the license with the court. Certified copies are $3 each.

How do we book you as our marriage commissioner?

It's simple! First, I ask that you fill out this contact form letting me know what you need. You then pre-pay for my marriage officiant services securely online or via phone with a credit card. It is 100% secure and no card information is retained. This books me for your specified appointment date and time.

If requesting photography services in addition to performing your marriage, a customized pricing estimate is provided. Payment in full is also required.

Can you perform our marriage on short notice?

Yes, but it depends. I am able to perform marriages for couples waiting at the courthouse who have just obtained their marriage license if I am available. However, to ensure that I am available for a prearranged time on your marriage day, an appointment is highly recommended. This assures that I will be available for you.

What if we change our mind after pre-paying for an appointment?

I do not offer refunds as by booking your date and time you prevent couples who inquire afterwards from reserving that date and time. Payments for cancelled elopements / marriages, may be applied towards future bookings in addition to the applicable re-booking fee within 30 days of cancellation. If you wish to rescheduled for a date after 30 days of cancellation, a new pricing estimate will be provided for payment. For more information please visit my policies page.

Do you travel to perform weddings?

Yes, as long as it’s in the state of Virginia! Travel fees will apply, please contact me for a pricing estimate.

We are not religious. Are we still able to be married by you?

Absolutely! Religion is not required to be married. I can marry you anywhere in the state of Virginia if you have a Virginia marriage license. For example I can marry you at a local park, outside your favorite restaurant, on the local city trolley, or on top of a mountain during sunset!

If we are religious, will you say a prayer or quote scripture for us?

Yes, I absolutely can. I will be happy to incorporate any type of religious prayer or reading into your ceremony. All I ask is that you send it to me ahead of time if you have an appointment, or bring it on a piece of paper for me to read.

What are your standard marriage vows?

These are my standard legal marriage vows: "Do you____take____ to be your lawfully wedded (wife, husband, spouse, partner) to have and to hold from this day forward? Do you promise to be faithful to him/her, to love, honor, cherish, and respect as long as you both shall live?"

If you choose to exchange rings, I also add: "______, as you place the ring on ______’s finger, please repeat after me:  This ring I give in token and pledge, as a sign of my love and devotion. With this ring, I thee wed."

If you want anything added or would like these vows to be be replaced by something else, no problem! Please let me know ahead of time (or bring it with you on a piece of paper) and I will be happy to read whatever you like.

What if it looks like rain or poor weather on our wedding date?

The date of your wedding is booked on my calendar rain or shine. The great news is that several of the outdoor venues I recommend provide some sort of covering for you and your guests. I also bring along a bride umbrella (white) and black umbrella (groom) for taking some creative photos of you (the couple) outside if it rains and the rain does not let up at all, such as a constant downpour.

Should it look like it will definitely rain, and you are certain you want completely dry weather for your wedding, you are welcome to change your date and time on my calendar for a $35 rescheduling fee.


If we hire you to officiate our wedding, will you attend our rehearsal dinner if we have one?

If my schedule is free during the date and time you plan on having your rehearsal dinner, I will be happy to attend, but need to charge and additional fee of $50 (plus travel costs if outside of Winchester, VA). The reason for this is that attending your rehearsal dinner blocks off my calendar, which prevents me from marrying other couples during that time.

How do I change my last name after getting married?

Changing your last name is a realatively easy process. The most important aspect of changing your last name after getting married is that there is no one-stop-shop way to do it. You MUST notify each individual organization or government department that you want to change your name with using certified copies of your marriage license. I wrote an article which outlines the whole process for you: How to Change Your Last Name in Virginia After Getting Married

Photographer FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding my photography services for elopements and small weddings.
If you take photographs after officiating our marriage, what do we get?

High-Resolution Photographs: All photographs taken during your wedding ceremony will be provided as high-resolution JPEG files named according to the event and numbered sequentially. All photographs will available to download online or provided on a USB Flash Drive in a customized, personally designed keepsake case (depending on your package selection).

Post-Production and Editing: Post-production work will be done to select photographs such as cropping, color-correction and digital enhancement.

Online Photo Gallery with Print Ordering Shopping Cart Option: A password-protected online gallery will be provided via e-mail to share Web-ready images with family and friends featuring your photos. The gallery includes a shopping cart allowing you (and anyone you share the gallery link and password with) the ability to order and pay for prints and/or canvas wraps featuring photographs from your marriage.

Lifetime Printing Release: A lifetime printing release will also be included allowing you to print and use the photographs for personal use.

Lifetime Warranty Guarantee: All digital files are archived on securely on my backup servers and also stored in fire-proof safes. Should anything ever happen to your copy of the photographs (lost disc, computer failure, fire, theft, etc), I will replace the photographs free of charge (only shipping costs will apply for delivery of the replacement usb drive).

How soon after our marriage are the photos ready for viewing?

Within one week of your marriage, a password-protected online gallery will be provided to you to preview the photographs from your wedding. If ordered, your USB Flash Drive in a customized, keepsake case containing all photographs will arrive within two weeks of your marriage.

Do you retain the copyright and rights to publish the photos?

You receive all of the photos in high-resolution format along with a lifetime printing release granting you permission to reproduce the photographs indefinitely. I retain the copyright and right to publish the photos in my portfolio, blog and various social networks.

Can we book you as a photographer without officiating our wedding?

Yes, but it depends. I devote most of my time to photographing couples whose wedding I am officiating and my schedule is very limited. If you are interested in hiring me only as a photographer, please visit my photography website for other requests.

Do you have experience shooting in various lighting situations?

Yup! I have photographed weddings and events in a variety of lighting conditions ranging from outdoor weddings in the sun, rain, indoor ceremonies, candlelight receptions and even black light dance parties.

If you officiate our wedding, what types of photographs do you take afterwards?

After I have pronounced you man and wife and given you a minute or so to enjoy the moment together, I then take a variety of standard posed and candid shots of you as a newly-married couple. I am very easy to work with and am always willing to take any photographs you may request (for example a certain pose you may have seen on Pinterest).

If you have a few guests attending your small ceremony, I can take photographs of them with you as long as it fits within the 20 minute time frame for the Basic Package, or the 1 hour time frame for the Essential Package.

If you officiate our wedding, do you take photographs during the ceremony?

I do not take photographs during the actual ceremony out of respect for the intimate moment between the two of you (and that I am officiating your wedding). If you have guests present such as family or friends, they are welcome to take photographs or record the ceremony with their phone or other device.


Do you shoot with film or digital?

Digital. I used film during my college days but have since fully migrated to the digital photography format.

Do you bring back-up equipment to the event in case of malfunction?

I bring with me several cameras, lenses, flashes, battery packs and memory cards so if any piece of my equipment should malfunction, I have a backup in place and ready.

How do we book you for our elopement or small wedding?

It's simple! First, I ask that you fill out this contact form letting me know what you need. I will then contact you with an estimate and send you an online invoice to pay securely online or via phone with a credit card. It is 100% secure and no card information is retained. Prepayment in full is required to book me for your specified appointment date and time.


What if we change our mind after pre-paying for an appointment?

I do not offer refunds as that time and date was booked for you, however you can change your date and time for a $35 rescheduling fee.

My services are also listed at in the category of wedding officiants

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