Planning a Wedding at the Jefferson Memorial

If you are looking to plan a wedding in Washington DC, one of the best wedding venues on the National Mall is the Jefferson Memorial. While there are many historical landmarks to choose from when planning a Washington DC wedding, this memorial is especially beautiful and is perfect for both large and small weddings.

You can also check my 25+ wedding venues list if you are looking for the perfect venue in Washington DC.

Jefferson Memorial Wedding Permit

  1. If you need to remember one thing about the National Mall, it’s that you need a permit to organize a wedding or a photoshoot at any memorial. The Jefferson Memorial is no exception. You will find the form to fill out on the NPS’s website.

  2. With only a $90 permit fee for 2 hours (which also includes the rights for photography and video recording at the site), this place is not only a beautiful and elegant space for a wedding but quite a deal too as up to 200 guests can be invited.

  3. Only three locations are allowed with the permit: the War Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial (West Lawn), and George Mason Memorial.

  4. What are you allowed to bring? Equipment may include chairs, a table not exceeding 4’x4′, a chuppahs or wedding arch, a battery-powered generator, and a battery-operated sound system kept to a reasonable volume so as to not disturb visitors at the nearby memorials. Up to two acoustic musicians are allowed.

perfect venue

for small ceremonies and couples who want to get married in the heart of the city.

Pros and Cons of Having Your Wedding at the Jefferson Memorial

  1. Pros: the cost, the background, and easy planning.

    The marble Jefferson Memorial rotunda makes for a beautiful setting, is precipitation-friendly, and is within close proximity to the rest of the Mall for post-ceremony photos. White marble columns, ample trees, and open grassy space make it feel open and private, even in the middle of everything.

    The permit gives you access to space for 2 hours, but since you’re not really allowed to put up decorations (unnecessary given how beautiful the memorial is) or set up a big sound system, that should be enough time for the setup and breakdown of chairs and such.

  2. Cons: parking and tourists.

    The permit doesn’t necessarily give you exclusive access. It would help if you have a wedding day coordinator to arrive early at the site to kindly ask tourists to vacate the memorial for the ceremony. People love weddings, so you likely won’t have any problems. The NPS can be contacted for assistance should you run into any issues (be sure to have the contact info with you just in case). Be prepared to have some bystanders observe the ceremony and take photos. They usually keep their distance and, honestly, you will be too in the moment to even notice!

    There is extremely limited street parking in the Washington DC area. Some free day-long parking is available in Lots A, B & South of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, but there is no guarantee. We might want to rent a minibus and use UberBlack to get the wedding party and families there.

    Last thing: as you can’t put a big sound system, be warned that all ceremony participants need to speak up and be aware of when to pause-it’s under the airpath, so jets go overhead occasionally.

Jefferson Memorial tips and advice

  1. Transportation: The one major drawback is that parking nearby is tough, so taking a rideshare or cab might be a good idea for guests. But if you want to try, note that parking fees for event vehicles are $2.30 per hour, but are subject to change if the rate increases. Parking meters are located on Jefferson Drive, Madison Drive, Constitution Avenue between 15th and 23rd Streets, Parkway Drive, Ohio Drive, Tidal Basin parking lots, and the A, B, and C parking lots on Ohio Drive.

  2. Weather and backup: the biggest benefit of the Jefferson Memorial (besides the way it looks) is the fact that it has a roof. The chamber is 165 feet in diameter, so unless it’s raining sideways you’ll stay dry and happy.

  3. Pre-wedding photography and family formals. You are right there on the Mall for photos after (with a separate permit), but still off the beaten path enough that not as many tourists are wandering nearby. Once your ceremony is over, plan with your wedding photographer to take a quick walk to the Lincoln Memorial or grab some iconic DC wedding photos at the Washington Monument.

  4. One of the great things about the Jefferson Memorial is that there are also nice public bathrooms beneath the memorial if guests need them (including a separate handicapped bathroom that works for brides navigating big dresses).

  5. GPS-Friendly Address: 16 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242.

With so many amazing wedding venue options in Washington DC, you can’t go wrong with any of them, however, the Jefferson Memorial is a great choice for those looking for a covered space that can accommodate a large number of guests in the DC area.

To learn more about weddings in Washington DC, check out my blog post on getting married at the DC War Memorial!


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