Everything You Need to Know for Your Courthouse Wedding
You’ve decided to make things official and tie the knot – congratulations! We are so excited to be a part of your journey. Now, if you’re here, then you’re considering mixing things up a bit and having a courthouse wedding. Whatever has led you to this decision, we are here for it! When it comes down to the details of your guests, wedding dress, and post events, there is a lot to consider, and since it’s more than just walking through the courthouse doors and saying, “I do”, let’s get started!
- Location and Date
When it comes to selecting a courthouse, keep in mind that they can operate in tremendously different ways from place to place; where one location may allow for six guests, another may only allow two. You’ll want to start by picking an area that holds sentimental value. Perhaps it’s the city where you met, the current city you live in, the destination of your first trip together, or the destination of your honeymoon. Your wedding could practically occur anywhere, but it’s best if there is a reason behind your choice.
Once you’ve selected a city/town with significance to your relationship, now you can consider if a specific date and time matter to you and what those might be. It’s important to note that courthouses don’t always give you much freedom with a choice of day and time. When looking for a specific courthouse, it’s important to understand there’s a possibility of not getting all of your planned preferences. Let’s look at some potential complications that you may run into:
– Undesired location
– Low number of guests permitted
– Undesired date
– Unavailable wedding appointment slot (potential wait time on the day of)
– Elements of personalization not permitted
All could go right, or some could go wrong; when choosing your courthouse, be sure you have a checklist ready with all the specifications you desire – and rank their importance.
Now that you’ve selected the perfect destination, courthouse, wedding date, and all of your wants and wishes are aligned, we can discuss the legal documents.
As we mentioned earlier, every courthouse has different rules and regulations, but more importantly, every city/state may also require other documentation to ensure your marriage is legal and official! Documents may include a marriage license, banns form (for religious declaration of marriage), courthouse appointment permit, or certificate of divorce, in addition to two pieces of ID. Create a checklist to help you organize all the details you will need on your big day.
- Document! Document! Document!
While it may not feel like some grand occasion, it is still your wedding day, and that’s as exciting as it gets, so we recommend hiring a photographer or videographer to join you on your big day. Trust us; you will definitely want to look back on this day and remember all the happy, loving, and memorable moments.
As you’ve already checked with the rules and regulations for your chosen courthouse, you’ll be aware of how many guests they allow to join you. You also want to look into how many witnesses are required for it to be a legal marriage. One handy tip: if this union is meant to be just for the two of you or you’re pressed for numbers, make your photographer one of your witnesses! Otherwise, it’s best to keep your numbers low as courthouses typically have limited space; try to keep your guest list to your closest friends and family members only.
- Your Outfit
Our one piece of advice – wear what you want! If you would like to rock that chic white jumpsuit you bought on sale last month, go for it! On the flip side, if you’ve always imagined your wedding dress to be a princess-style ball gown, don’t feel limited by your simpler venue. A wedding is a wedding, it’s a day where you deserve to feel more beautiful and more special than any other; there is absolutely nothing simple about it – even at a courthouse. Wear what you want, we promise you will not regret it. What’s really cool about a courthouse wedding is the element of complete freedom. Take Emily Ratajkowski’s wedding, for example; her mustard-colored suit paired with a black netted hat was anything but the ordinary, and yet she had women (and men) from all over, absolutely obsessed.
- Personal Touches
We mentioned earlier that something to look out for when booking your wedding appointment is whether the courthouse allows certain personalization elements. Such as:
– Reciting vows
– Flowers and Decor
We recommend considering these elements to incorporate in your big day to make it significant to you and your hubby if they are permitted. Remember that a courthouse wedding can still be special and unique to you and your partner, and that’s precisely how it should be.
Your guests will likely want to spend some time with you newlyweds, congratulating and celebrating your brand-new union. What you should do, is plan a post-ceremony celebration. It could be at someone’s home, a unique venue, a park, or a restaurant. But you should definitely continue to celebrate before jetting off onto your honeymoon. It doesn’t need to be a grand event, but it creates the perfect opportunity for toasts, dancing, eating, and of course, making memories!
A courthouse wedding is a fantastic method for getting married and indeed a venue worth considering. If you’re having a hard time selecting how to host your small wedding, check out our post on The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Small Wedding – we think it could help!