- 6 years ago
- Wedding: September 2011
While answering a question in another thread, I was reminded just how nutty this one detail is. It’s something I never considered at all till we started planning! Fortunately it’s easily worked around but sheesh, I had no idea! Sharing mine here!
Our venue for ceremony and reception is a chartered riverboat. The Potomac River separates DC from Virginia, and DC is also smack up next to Maryland with the Potomac as the boundary partway, and the Anacostia River boundary the other direction (think of two rivers that make a Y and put a different city/state on each of the land parts). I had not realized that we would have to base our choice of officiant, our license, and the flow of our ceremony based on where exactly in the river that boat was at the exact moment we got married!
The riverboat docks on the Virginia side of the river; it can’t pick our guests up at any of the DC docks because it’s too tall to fit under one of the bridges (d’oh!). DC technically owns the water where the boat docks, but if the boat is tied up to the dock, it’s technically in Virginia!
So if we get married while the boat is tied to the dock, we need a VA license and a VA officiant!
But if we get married after we untie the boat and before we sail under a particular bridge (Woodrow Wilson Bridge, for the locals) we need a DC license and DC officiant!
But if we dilly-dally or want a little cocktail time before the ceremony, and the boat goes under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, we’re now in MD and need a MD license and officiant!
Oh and no matter where we get married, the crew is required by Coast Guard regulations to do a safety briefing before we can untie the boat! Happy wedding everyone, here’s where the lifeboats are 😀
Thankfully, the venue gives us a “cruise director” (we are of course calling her Julie) and she will signal the officiant as to when we are untied, and will signal the captain if he needs to do a few circles to keep us in DC waters. But when we were talking with the venue and they walked us through all the jurisdictions, I just about wet my pants from laughing at it all– who would have thought that the position of a rope or the speed of the boat might be the one thing that keeps our marriage from actually being legal?!
So…. anyone else have a super odd-ball detail in the ceremony, the reception or any of it that was so completely unexpected that you just had to laugh over it?