National Park Service Photo Permit Tips

3 05 2010
Jefferson Memorial birde and groom

Photo by Rick Martin Photography


If you are planning on taking photos on your wedding day at any of the major monuments in DC, please remember to obtain a photography permit or have your photographer obtain one. The most popular moments that brides and grooms choose that require a permit include:

  • Washington Monument
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • World War II Memorial

The process is easy but there are a few tips we’ve learned from experience that will help ease the pain.

  1. Download the permit application form.  If you are not sure of whether your desired location requires a permit, call the National Park Service, National Capital Region office 202-619-7225 or click here for more info. There is a $50 application fee and then an additional $50 if your party consists of up to 10 people, $150 if 11-30 people and you can pay by credit card.
  2. Do not leave this until the last minute. Submit your application as soon as possible but no later than 2 weeks before your wedding.
  3. Here are the steps.
  • Fill out the application form.
  • Fax it to the number on the form. Be sure to fax it from a number where you can also receive faxes. The Parks Program office does not do email so you will need to find a fax machine. Read on to see why.
  • Call to confirm that the office received the form. Make note of the name of the person you spoke to on the phone.
  • If all goes well, you will receive the permit via fax (to the fax number you originally sent the application from) from the Park Programs office asking you to sign it and then fax back the signature page only.
  • They will then fax you again a counter-signed copy.
  • If you do not receive the permit within 4 business day (the application says it takes at least 4 days for processing), call back and follow up. Always make a note of the name of the person you speak with.

There are a few sites that do not require a permit. Our photographer friends tell us that Senate Park (between the Capitol and Union Station) is a popular choice, as well as Lafayette Park (north side of White House). Union Station is another great location if you need shelter. If there are other locations, please email us and let us know!

Anecdote: We submitted an application to the Park Programs office on a Thursday. The office called the bride to verify her credit number on the same day. The photographer called back to follow up on Friday and the office personnel said the application was being processed. The photographer called back again on Monday to follow up and whomever she spoke with said they cannot find our application anywhere. The person from the Park Programs office said she was not working Friday and that we need to submit the application again.

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