Celebrate your union at All Souls Church
A wedding ceremony at All Souls must satisfy the requirements of the District of Columbia. You need not be members of All Souls, nor must you be Unitarian Universalist.
Yes! Our congregation celebrated and practiced marriage equality long before it became federal law. Couples of all religious backgrounds and orientations are warmly welcomed at All Souls, where the first publicized service of same-sex union in DC history was held.
Mayor Adrian Fenty officially legalized same-sex marriage in DC at a ceremonial signing held in our very own sanctuary in December of 2009.
People of all ages, races, genders, professions, sexual orientations, religious, political, and socioeconomic backgrounds find acceptance and affirmation here.
Nonmembers: All Souls does not require each couple to attend pre-marital counseling. Nonmembers with external officiants should ask those officiants if they require counseling.
All Souls members: All Souls ministers may request to meet with you to discuss your views and religious needs, and to learn more about how you would like to craft the ceremony.
While weddings are often held on Saturday, other days of the week are available.
You should first complete the inquiry form to check the availability of your preferred date. Secure the date for your wedding ceremony before you commit to a reception space.
All Souls members wishing to have one of our ministers officiate should check with the church Event Manager about possible dates, then contact the minister to ensure they are available.
Once you’ve confirmed both the date and the minister, the Event Manager will work with you to outline your space needs, create a quote, put together the wedding contract, and finalize the reservation.
Yes. You are welcome to have any officiant you choose, as long as the officiant meets the legal requirements to conduct weddings in DC.
Our ministry staff is generally only available to officiate services and ceremonies for church members, or congregants who have attended the church long enough for the minister(s) to be familiar with them.
You do! You negotiate with, hire, and work with musicians directly.
Our Reiger Organ and baby grand piano are available for use during your ceremony for an additional fee of $150 each.
You may consider contacting the following musicians, all of whom are associated with All Souls. You must negotiate fees and arrange payment directly with them.
- Jen Hayman (All Souls’ Director of Music and Arts. email@example.com; 315.450.5328). Jen would arrange an appearance by the All Souls Choir; she is also a pianist.
- Lenard Starks (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.693.1051). Lenard would arrange an appearance by the All Souls Jubilee Singers.
- Rochelle Rice (email@example.com). Rochelle is a vocalist whose styles range from jazz to pop to gospel to soul. Rochelle can also help you book jazz combos.
- Nicole Rumeau (firstname.lastname@example.org). Nicole is a vocalist who sings classical, gospel, and soul.
- Gordon Kent (email@example.com; 202.316.6338). Gordon is both a vocalist and a pianist in the styles of jazz, pop, and musical theater.
- Richard Thibadeau (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.375.3760) is an organist.
Our sanctuary needs little ornamentation other than flowers. Your florist should arrange to visit the church in advance to view the space. On the day of the wedding, the florist will be granted access to the sanctuary at the beginning of your rental period.
You may choose to use aisle runners, and you may use pew clips or loops of ribbon, twine, or string to decorate the ends of the pews at each side of the center aisle.
If you would like to donate your Saturday wedding flowers to the church for our Sunday service, you are welcome to leave them. All other decorations (and flowers on other days of the week) must be removed by the end of your rental period.
You may not tack, staple, or otherwise damage the walls, floors, pews, or other fixtures of the church to hang decorations.
Wedding ceremonies last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the music and readings chosen, and any other activities added. Generally, we reserve a three-hour time block for each wedding: one hour to arrive and prepare; one hour for the ceremony itself; and one hour for photographs and cleanup.
It is possible that more than one wedding will be scheduled on the same day, so we ask that you strictly adhere to your rental times. Additional time may be added for a fee of $215/hour.
See the Wedding Fees section below.
Special member rates are available to couples who have been members of All Souls Church, Unitarian, for at least one year before their wedding date. This means that at least one of the couple to be married has taken the Membership Joining Class and signed the Membership Book. You can learn more about joining the church here.
A one-hour wedding rehearsal is included in the rental fee for weddings. You should schedule this in advance with the event manager and officiant. All members of the wedding party, parents of the couple, and any readers should attend. Musicians and photographers are also welcome to attend to see first hand the spaces being used and the run-of-show.
Sadly, no. We do not have a parking lot, and are surrounded by street parking only.
We are conveniently located along several Metro bus routes, and are two blocks from the Columbia Heights Metro Train station, a stop on the Yellow and Green lines.
There are also community neighbors close by who are sometimes willing to rent parking spaces for use during weddings or events. National Baptist Church, at the corner of 15th St NW and Columbia occasionally has spots available in their parking lot.
The nearest parking garage is DC USA Parking, which is accessible at 3100 Irving St NW. The rates are extremely reasonable, at $5 for 4 hours, $12 for 4-12 hours, of $20 for the day. The garage is closed between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 AM.
Of course! Photographs and video recordings of the ceremony must be taken by a professional photographer or designated person, who will communicate with the event manager the day of. You may also set time for photographs before or after the wedding if you would like to have them on site, as long as it is within your rental window.
Here is some basic information on marriage in the District:
To apply for a marriage license in DC you must visit the DC Court Marriage Bureau (H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room #JM690). The office hours are 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
All marriage licenses are issued three days after the date an application is filed.
Each party in the marriage must bring proof of identity, such as a driver’s license, government issued non-driver’s identification, birth certificate, passport or a similar official document. The application requires the parties to identify the name of the officiant who will perform the marriage ceremony. The officiant is any DC judge or anyone who is authorized by a religious organization to officiate marriages, such as a minister, priest, rabbi, or imam, so long as he or she is registered with the Marriage Bureau to officiate marriages. In addition, the couple should bring the $35 license application and an additional $10 if you would like a certified copy of the marriage certificate. The fee must be paid in cash, credit card, or by a money order made out to “Clerk of the Court, DC Superior Court.”
The $35 marriage license application fee is waived if you are already registered as domestic partners in the DC. If you are part of a DC domestic partnership, upon marrying, your domestic partnership automatically dissolves and you are simply married. If you are part of a domestic partnership or civil union from another state, the other state’s law may require you to dissolve it prior to marrying in the DC. Check the other state’s law about your responsibilities and obligations relating to dissolving that legal relationship prior to marrying.
You must have your receipt to pick up the license. Marriage licenses are not issued by mail.
For more information visit the DC Court online or call (202) 879-4840.
Yes, we hope you will! You can hold your wedding reception at the church for an additional fee. We offer wedding packages for ceremony only or ceremony and reception. Please visit our wedding space page to learn more about what areas are available.
All Caterers must comply with All Souls Church, Unitarian rules and regulations regarding food service and clean up in regards to events at the Church. The following guidelines will assist the Caterer in successfully servicing an event.
1. All Caterers must provide to the Event Coordinator, no later than 14 days prior to the event:
- A current copy of the Washington DC Department of Health (DoH) Food Protection Manager license for the Food Protection Manager(s) who will be on site during the event. Licenses must not expire before or on the event date.
- A Certificate of Liability.
2. If you have not catered an event at All Souls Church, Unitarian, you must schedule and attend a Walk Through with the church Event Coordinator 30-45 days prior to the scheduled event.
3. Caterer must be on site until all food and beverage related portions of the event are complete and corresponding areas of the church are cleaned appropriately.
4. Floor mats must be used in all bar areas and food clean-up stations other than the kitchen.
5. There will be a church Custodian onsite throughout the event to assist with major cleanups that cannot be handled by the Caterer without assistance
6. Failure to clean in accordance with the Caterer’s Responsibilities will result in the forfeiture of all or part of the client’s catering security deposit.
- The All Souls Church Event Coordinator will perform an inspection of the kitchen and dining areas to ensure cleanliness.
- The Signature of the Caterer’s designated representative will be required on the Event Report Inspection Checklist prior to the caterer’s departure.
The attached checklist is the Caterer portion of the Inspection Checklist.
7. Washington DC Department of Health (DoH) Guidelines for food safety must be maintained at all times:
- A Food Protection Manager licensed through the Washington DC DoH must be on site at all times during the event.
- Keep “hot what is hot”, and “cold what is cold,” following DC DoH established minimum and maximum safe temperatures.
- Minimum holding temperature for warm food is 145 degrees.
- If the food in the holding area drops below 145 degrees, then it MUST be reheated to 165 degrees or above and then maintained at 145 degrees or higher.
- Exclude from food handling those workers with obvious signs of illness, respiratory infections, open sores or infections.
- Avoid contacting food with bare hands; wash hands thoroughly and use disposable gloves.
8. Kitchen Equipment Provided:
- Stainless steel countertops
- 1 freezer
- 1 industrial size refrigerator
- Handwashing sinks, food prep sink, and dishwashing sink (all separate)
- commercial dishwasher
- garbage disposal
- commercial stovetop and oven
- commercial warming oven
Our sanctuary seats up to 600, while still feeling intimate. It’s beautiful, airy, and filled with natural light. Corinthian columns hold the balcony. Our unique Reiger Organ resonates in the room’s amazing acoustics, and is available for an additional fee (as is our baby grand piano). Our beautiful pulpit is perfect for garlands of flowers, with altar nooks for flower arrangements. Our Sanctuary is decorated simply, and is a comfortable place for persons of any faith or none at all.
Historic Pierce Hall, one of the first integrated movie theaters in DC, is 40′ by 60′ (2400 sq. feet), and can seat up to 250 people, while still having room for a dance floor. The stage is perfect for a DJ or a live band, with excellent natural acoustics in the room. A basic sound system and baby grand piano are available for additional rental fees. Pierce Hall also has easy access to our commercial grade kitchen for your caterer’s use.
[NB: Pierce Hall is not air-conditioned.]
Our three season courtyard is an intimate, beautiful location for a small ceremony of 60 guests or fewer. It’s also ideal for small receptions, cocktail hours, or photographs. The courtyard is filled with seasonal flowers, bushes, trees, and a central water fountain, all set off by beautiful brick walls.
Our newly remodeled terrace is also a green rain water filtration system, which recycles water to be used in our plumbing. Nestled beneath our bell tower, with blue floor lights, raised greenery beds, succulent planters, and young trees, this is a lovely space for a small ceremony of 60 guests or fewer. It’s also ideal for a cocktail hour or a small reception. Space and accessible power are available for a DJ or live band.
The South Lawn, adjacent to 16th Street, is an intimate space enclosed by wrought iron fencing. While a bit noisy due to city street traffic, it’s a great spot for a less formal reception with live music. It is perfect for events with children, who can play while still under the watchful eye of parents. Electricity is also available in this space, easily allowing for decorative lighting or music equipment. Three folding picnic tables are available, and additional seating can be added.
Remodeled in 2015, our commercial grade kitchen is included in our wedding packages that include a reception. The kitchen is located near Pierce Hall, making it easy to serve during the reception. The kitchen features stainless steel countertops, an industrial freezer and refrigerators, separate sinks for handwashing, food prep, and dishwashing, an industrial dishwasher, garbage disposals, commercial stovetop and oven, a warming oven, and a commercial ice machine. There is also an in-kitchen janitorial closet with work sink and drain, making for easy cleanup.
All Souls charges for use of the building for weddings and receptions. Packages are available to minimize expense, without sacrificing quality or your vision of how your day will proceed.
For church members (at least one person in the couple has been a member for at least one year before the wedding), we offer a 50% discount on the rental of the ceremony space only. Be sure to speak with the event coordinator during your wedding consultation to ensure you are eligible for this discount.
Wedding Rental Request
To request a wedding rental, please contact the church’s Wedding Coordinator through the form below. Include as much detail as possible about your event in the Message box to help us respond to your request. After receiving your form, our Wedding Coordinator will reach out to you to answer any questions and schedule a complimentary wedding consultation.
Requests are processed Monday-Thursday. If you submit your request after 3 pm on a Thursday, it will be processed by the following Monday.
We are a church, and on Sundays all our energy and attention is focused on our congregation. Please do not call on Sundays to speak with the Wedding Coordinator, you will be asked to call again on Monday.