3 Ways to Tie the Knot in 24 Hours

March 28, 2023
8 min

For couples seeking a quick and efficient way to tie the knot, traditional weddings are no longer the only option. With the advent of modern alternatives, such as virtual ceremonies, civil weddings, and elopements, getting married within 24 hours has become a feasible and unique choice.

These options have gained popularity, especially during times of restrictions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, where couples have had to get creative in celebrating their love. If you find yourself in a hurry to say "I do" within a day, fret not, as there are several avenues to explore. However, it is essential to plan carefully and follow specific steps to ensure a smooth and successful wedding in such a short timeframe.

just married couple on balcony

Tips for Getting Married Fast

Getting married quickly can be a wonderful and memorable experience if you plan and organize everything efficiently. The first step is to research the marriage laws and regulations in the location where you want to tie the knot. Keep in mind that different locations may have different requirements and waiting periods for obtaining a marriage license. Once you have a good understanding of the legalities, head to the local county clerk's office or marriage license bureau to obtain your marriage license. Make sure you have all the necessary documents, such as identification and any proof of previous marriages or divorces if relevant.

Next is to find an officiant to perform the ceremony. Whether it's a judge, justice of the peace, minister, or religious leader, ensure that they are available within your desired timeframe. With the officiant secured, it's time to choose the venue. You have various options, such as courthouses, chapels, parks, or even virtual spaces for those who opt for a virtual wedding. Remember to select a location that reflects your preferences and can comfortably accommodate your guests.

To expedite the processing and paperwork, consider using online marriage services like Courtly. They can be a great help with rush processing and filling out necessary forms, making the entire process smoother and quicker. Additionally, opting for a smaller guest list can create an intimate and cozy atmosphere. This way, you can celebrate your special day with only your closest family and friends, making the occasion more meaningful and unforgettable.

Lastly, embrace the idea of choosing a unique or sentimental location for your wedding ceremony. Since traditional wedding venues might not be available on short notice, this approach adds a personal touch to your big day. It could be a place that holds special memories for both of you or a picturesque spot that resonates with your heart.

Following these tips and being open to flexibility can help you make your dream of a quick wedding come true. Remember, what matters most is the love and commitment you share with your partner, and with proper planning, you can have a beautiful and joyous wedding celebration in no time.

How to Have a Fast Civil Wedding

A civil ceremony, also known as a non-religious wedding approved by the state, provides a straightforward and practical option for couples. Typically held in locations like courthouses, city halls, or other official structures, civil weddings are particularly favored by couples who prefer a non-religious ceremony or lack strong religious affiliations.

Here's what you need to know about planning a fast civil wedding:

  • Legal Requirements: Couples must obtain a marriage license from their local government office to proceed with a civil wedding. The specific requirements for acquiring the marriage license may vary depending on the state or county. Typically, it involves providing identification and meeting certain age criteria. Before organizing a civil wedding, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and requirements.
  • Venue Selection: Civil weddings can be held in various venues, including courthouses, municipal halls, and other public buildings. Additionally, some couples opt for the charm of outdoor locations like parks or gardens. The choice of venue can be based on personal preferences and budget considerations.
  • Officiant: In a civil wedding, an officiant who is authorized by the government to perform weddings presides over the ceremony. This officiant is often a judge, justice of the peace, or another government-appointed individual. In some places, a friend or relative with the necessary legal authorization may also officiate the ceremony.
  • Ceremony: Civil weddings typically involve a brief and straightforward ceremony. The exchange of vows and rings, a proclamation of marriage by the officiant, and signing the marriage license are common elements. Couples can add personal touches like readings, music, or other individualized elements to make the ceremony more meaningful to them.
  • Attire: The choice of attire for a civil wedding can vary based on the couple's preferences and the venue. Some couples opt for traditional wedding clothing, while others prefer a more laid-back and informal look.
  • Guests: Civil weddings can be intimate affairs with only the couple and the officiant present. Alternatively, couples may choose to invite a few close family members and friends. However, it's essential to check with the venue beforehand, as some government buildings may have limitations on the number of guests allowed.
  • Legal Recognition: Civil marriages are legally recognized by state law. After the ceremony, the couple receives a marriage certificate, which holds significant value for legal purposes. This certificate can be used for various official matters, such as changing last names or adding a spouse to insurance plans.

Planning for an Elopement

Elopements have become an increasingly popular choice among couples seeking a private, smaller, and faster wedding option. Whether held in courthouses, popular vacation spots, or low-key outdoor venues, elopements offer the freedom for couples to plan their special day on their terms. Websites like SimplyEloped can provide valuable ceremony inspiration, while destinations such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City allow couples to arrange their ceremony and tie the knot in less than 24 hours.

When planning an elopement, here are some essential factors to consider:

  • Location: Elopements can take place in a variety of settings, from a simple neighborhood courtroom or city hall to a breathtaking beach or mountainside getaway. The key is to choose a location that holds significance and will create lasting memories for the couple.
  • Ceremony: The beauty of elopements lies in their flexibility. The couple can decide on the level of simplicity or elaboration they desire for the ceremony. It can be as intimate and straightforward as they prefer or incorporate typical wedding elements, such as vows, readings, and symbolic gestures, with an officiant, judge, or religious leader presiding over the ceremony.
  • Attire: Elopement attire can be tailored to suit the couple's wishes and the chosen location. They may opt for a formal wedding dress or embrace a more relaxed and comfortable look, depending on their personal preferences.
  • Photography: Hiring a photographer is a common practice for elopements. Capturing the unique moments of the ceremony and celebration ensures lasting memories of the special day. Additionally, photographers can offer valuable suggestions for venues and other suppliers.
  • Logistics: While elopements are typically less involved than traditional weddings in terms of planning and coordination, some important logistics should not be overlooked. This includes obtaining a marriage license, finding a suitable celebrant, and making any necessary travel arrangements.
  • Celebration: After the elopement ceremony, couples have the freedom to celebrate in various ways. They can opt for a small reception, embark on a romantic honeymoon, or enjoy a private dinner. The extent of the celebration can be tailored to their preferences, ranging from simple and intimate to extravagant.

The Quickest Option: Online Marriage

A virtual wedding, an online ceremony that allows family and friends to attend from a distance, has gained significant popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the challenges of traditional in-person weddings. Virtual weddings offer flexibility and convenience and they provide a special and imaginative way for couples to tie the knot during these challenging times and beyond. Websites like Courtly or MarryFromHome offer platforms to host virtual weddings, making it easier for couples to plan and coordinate these unique celebrations.

Virtual weddings are a speedy and efficient option, with services like Courtly even offering rush processing to get couples married in as little as 24 hours. The platform takes care of paperwork and logistics, allowing couples to focus on the meaningful aspects of the ceremony. A typical Courtly ceremony lasts only 10 minutes, and couples receive a digital copy of their marriage certificate within 24-48 hours after the ceremony.

When planning a virtual wedding, several important factors need consideration:

  • Technology: The success of a virtual wedding depends on the technology used for streaming. Couples need a reliable internet connection, a webcam or smartphone camera, and a suitable platform for hosting the ceremony, such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype. A test run before the wedding ensures everything runs smoothly.
  • Guest List: Virtual weddings allow for a wide range of guests from various locations to attend. Couples can invite as many as 100 guests with platforms like Courtly. However, careful consideration should be given to the guest list, ensuring that everyone has access to the necessary technology and feels comfortable participating online.
  • Ceremony: The virtual wedding ceremony can be as simple or elaborate as the couple desires. It may include traditional vows, readings, and symbolic actions, with the officiant's guidance. The ceremony is recorded, providing a lasting memento of the special day.
  • Attire: Despite the remote nature of the event, the couple and their guests should dress appropriately for the occasion. The bride and groom can choose to wear formal wedding attire or opt for a more casual look.
  • Decorations: To add a festive touch, the couple may choose to decorate the virtual wedding venue. They can also suggest that guests decorate their homes with flowers or balloons during the ceremony, creating a more celebratory atmosphere.
  • Reception: Couples may opt to host a virtual reception following the ceremony, allowing guests to mingle and celebrate online. Providing entertainment such as music, games, or other activities enhances the virtual reception experience.


Couples today have a plethora of unconventional options to create a truly memorable wedding experience. Whether it's eloping to a meaningful and picturesque location or embracing the convenience of a virtual wedding, these alternatives offer unique and cost-effective ways to celebrate love. Not only do they allow for faster planning, but they also shift the spotlight to the core of the occasion - the couple's relationship and commitment to each other. Eloping grants the freedom to design a deeply intimate and personalized ceremony, away from the pressures of a traditional wedding. 

On the other hand, virtual weddings bring loved ones from all corners of the world together, overcoming geographical boundaries and making the event even more special. Whichever route couples choose, these modern alternatives pave the way for an unforgettable wedding that aligns perfectly with their preferences and circumstances, making the start of their journey as a married couple truly magical.

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