Depending on where you're getting married, it's an essential part of the planning process, so it's crucial that you know who is responsible for this task.

For the vast majority of weddings—which means the ones that take place at established venues—permits aren't something you'll even need to think about. However, if you're planning to bring in tenting or fireworks or else want to get married at a venue that isn't regularly used as a wedding location (such as a private estate, a local park, or your own backyard), permits should be high on your priority list. Here are some of the most common permits you'll need, as well as information about whose job it is to coordinate them.

lauren dan wedding tent with wooden floor and reception tables
Credit: Perry Vaile

Tenting Permits

Many towns and counties require you to pull a permit for a tent of a certain size. Typically, a fire marshall will also pay a visit prior to the event to approve that all emergency exits are appropriately marked and to check that fire extinguishers are readily available. This permit is always coordinated by your tenting company.

Special Event Permits

If you're planning a wedding at a venue that regularly hosts weddings and private events, you likely don't need to worry about pulling a permit for the occasion. If, on the other hand, you're having a backyard or private estate wedding, a special event permit is essential. It will fall to the couple (or their wedding planner) to request this permit. To do so, start by contacting the local city council and find out which permits are required as this can vary greatly from one region to the next.

Fireworks Permits

Many cities and counties require permits for fireworks displays at private events and weddings. Furthermore, you may be required to employ a certified pyrotechnician to fire the display. In this case, the company responsible for the display would file the necessary permits.

Alcohol License

Depending on your region, you may be required to obtain a one-day license to serve beer, wine, and liquor. These regulations vary greatly, and are typically looked after by your catering or bar management team.

Parking Permits

If your wedding will take place at a venue with enough parking on the grounds for your guests, you don't need to worry about additional permits. If you're planning to host your wedding in a residential neighborhood, it may be necessary for you to obtain a parking permit, or consider having the street blocked for parking. Some valet companies will handle this for you, but it's typically the couple's responsibility.


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