Getting Married in Virginia During the COVID-19 / Coronavirus Pandemic
During this time of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic many, if not all, weddings have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the whole country not allowing gatherings of 10 ore more people. But what if you still need to be legally married for an essential reason…such as military housing approval, health insurance coverage, or another very valid need?
As an eloping couple you can still get married in Virginia during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. However there are many changes and requirements that you should be aware of.
UPDATE July 22, 2020: The Winchester / Frederick County courthouse is now issuing marriage licenses to couples in which at least one of them is a Virginia resident. As long as one of you resides in Virginia and has proof of your residence, you can get a marriage license at the Winchester / Frederick County courthouse. Please note that if you come from elsewhere in Virginia to get your marriage license here, you need to be married within the Frederick County / Winchester City jurisdiction (so either right outside the courthouse or at my private residence via The Woodland Package). If you live out of state and want to get married in Virginia, you still have options! Please contact me to help guide you through the process.
Marriage Licenses are Being Issued Differently During the Pandemic
Because of the coronavirus, different Virginia Circuit Courts have various ways in which they are proceeding with issuing marriage licenses. The local court here in Winchester / Frederick County is only issuing them to city / county residents with an essential reason to be married (that must be approved by the clerk there). Some courts are issuing them to anyone, but may require an appointment and could possibly have other restrictions.
To get a marriage license during this time, I would suggest you find the Circuit Courts closest to you from this list, give them a call, and ask them if they are still issuing marriage licenses: http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/circuit.html
I do know that the Fairfax County Circuit Court is issuing marriage license via virtual appointments on the computer! Per their website:
Due to social distancing protocols, beginning April 15, 2020, the Public Service Division counters will be closed to the public. Marriage licenses will be prepared and issued online by virtual appointment. Applicants must have a computer, smartphone or tablet with a microphone and camera, along with internet access. Virtual appointments are hosted by WebEx. After the appointment, the marriage license is mailed to the applicants through the U.S. Post Office.
Getting Married During the Pandemic Once You Have Your Marriage License
The Virginia Governor’s Executive Order Number Fifty-Three (2020) in regards to professional services during the COVID-19 pandemic states:
Although business operations offering professional rather than retail services may remain open, they should utilize teleworking as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such business must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and apply the relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.
As a professional service, in order to comply with this order during the pandemic, I am only performing weddings for couples only (or a handful of guests) in which I am keeping a 8ft distance from everyone at all times.
In addition due to all the shutdowns and restrictions, my most popular option at this point continues to be my Woodland Package. I offer my mountain property as a private venue for eloping couples (couples only, however pets are welcome) as I have constructed a wooded path and a deck / platform that overlooks my woods for conducting ceremonies. It provides a nice, private, isolated option for those looking to get married away from public view, and still have a nice outdoor setting.
I also include a 5 minute mini photo session at a discounted rate in which you receive the digital files (with the option to order prints through an online password-protected gallery). You can also upgrade this to an extended 20 minute photo session as well, include a video recording of your ceremony, and more! You can read more about it at http://virginiaelope.com/woodland.
Getting married at my property on the mountain allows you to be outdoors at all times and maintain a safe distance from me allowing everyone to remain safe, while allowing you to still get married.
Difficult Times, But I’m Here to Help
These are difficult times for everyone and many have been filled with disappointment by having no choice but to call off their weddings. Yet if you still need to get married, you have options here in Virginia. Contact me and let me assist you through the process of getting married. I’m here to help!