What To Do If The Government Shutdown Will Affect Your Wedding

Government Shutdown Affecting Wedding Plans -- What To Do Marcella Treybig Photography

With the federal government grinding to a halt for an indefinite period of time, things could get a bit more difficult for your wedding planning. October on track as a popular wedding month (October 12 is the most popular wedding day of the year with 24,100 registered weddings), the shutdown has had effects on weddings in in unexpected ways.

Nationally funded parks, museums and monuments are closed even if you already applied for an event permit.

In DC the National Mall, memorial parks and Smithsonian museums won’t be open to the public during the shutdown, even if you applied for a permit to get married there some time ago. This doesn’t just affect DC couples though, in New York the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are federally owned sites as well as Yosemite National Park and Golden Gate Bridge Park in California and the Grand Canyon Parks in Arizona (one New Jersey couple is already going through this). That just names a few of the 401 national parks across the country where couples may have planned to say their vows this October. If you’d planned to hold your wedding in one of these locations you may have to find alternate plans.

Same goes for private venues within national parks areas.

Unfortunately, they don’t have a choice whether to allow your wedding, if the park is closed no one will be allowed in. The best case scenario is that they understand that nothing can be done and are willing to help reschedule. Worst case, you could lose your deposits and have to pay for everything again, if you choose to plan another wedding.

Washington DC superior courts are issuing marriage licenses, but not performing ceremonies.

While initially it was thought that the superior courts suspending marriage license approvals until after the shut down, it is possible to get a marriage license. However they will not be able to perform civil ceremonies during the shutdown. You can hire other officiants in DC to perform your ceremony.

All other courts will be performing ceremonies as usual though.

As long as it’s a state courthouse (and not the federal superior courts in DC) they’ll be open and operating as usual as well as city halls.

You can still apply for or renew your passport. 

If you were planning to submit your passport application to prepare for your international honeymoon, you’ll still be able to do that. Unlike other federal agencies The Bureau of Consular Affair is funded by passport application fees and not federally appropriated funds so it will continue to function during the shutdown. A problem that you might have: some passport agencies are located in federal buildings and will be closed. You can still apply at any passport office not located in a federal building and you can renew an expired passport by mail. There are a few restrictions on renewing your passport by mail, which you can read about here.

Still have questions? Talk to other brides getting married this month on our October 2013 Weddings board


> How to get a marriage license

> Wedding insurance 101

> Honeymoon planning: passports 101