How can you possibly get married without a wedding, you ask? Is it even possible? The short answer is YES, of course you can! With more and more couples breaking customs and opting out of traditional weddings, you can plan to get married without the bells and whistles of a conventional matrimony. You have more of the world at your fingertips, so why not bring marriages into the 21st century and make it more digitally friendly.  Even if you don't want to plan a virtual wedding because you prefer a more traditional route, you can still opt for a Civil ceremony or elopement instead.  Listed below, are some options you can take to get married without a big traditional wedding.

Civil Ceremony

Getting hitched at the local courthouse or city hall has been a tried and true way couples have chosen to get married for a long time. While it strays away from traditional weddings, it is still legally binding and will be a memorable experience for the pair.  

Here is what you need to know about civil weddings:

  1. Legal requirements: Couples must obtain a marriage license from their local government office in order to conduct a civil wedding. The requirements for acquiring a marriage license vary depending on the state or county, but typically involve presenting identity and being of a specific age. When organizing a civil wedding, it's crucial to learn about the local regulations and specific requirements beforehand. 
  2. Location: Courthouses, municipal halls, and other public buildings are just a few venues where civil weddings may be held. Moreover, civil marriages may be performed outside in parks, gardens, or other public spaces. Couples can pick a place based on their tastes and budgets.
  3. Officiant: A judge, justice of the peace, or other government person with the authority to perform weddings is frequently the officiant for a civil wedding. In some places, a friend or relative who has the required legal authorization can also be the officiant for the ceremony. 
  4. Ceremony: A civil wedding typically has a brief and straightforward ceremony. It usually involves exchanging vows and rings, the officiant making a proclamation of marriage, and the couple signing the marriage license. To make the ceremony more special to them, couples can add readings, music, or other individualized touches.
  5. Attire: Depending on their choices and the venue, couples may decide to wear formal or informal dress for their civil wedding. While other couples decide to wear traditional wedding clothing, some couples adopt a more laid-back look.
  6. Legal recognition: State law recognizes civil marriages, and following the ceremony, the couple will be given a marriage certificate. This certificate can be used for legal purposes, such as last name changes and adding a spouse to insurance plans.


If you don't want a big wedding or to even invite guests to your special day, elopement could be your ticket. This form of marriage can be more spontaneous as you can choose to make it just about the two of you without notifying anybody in the process. Couples who desire a smaller, more intimate wedding are increasingly choosing to elope. They provide couples the chance to design a wedding on their terms without the fuss and expense of a traditional wedding.

Let's take a closer look at what an elopement may look like:

  1. Location: Elopements can take place anywhere, from a local courthouse or city hall to a scenic location like a beach or mountaintop. The location should be significant and memorable for the couple.
  2. Ceremony: The elopement ceremony can be as simple or elaborate as desired. A judge, officiant, or religious leader may conduct the ceremony, which may include traditional wedding vows, readings, and other symbolic elements.
  3. Attire: The couple may choose to dress formally or casually for their elopement. The bride and groom can wear traditional wedding attire or opt for a more relaxed and comfortable look.
  4. Photography: Hiring a photographer to capture the unique moments of the ceremony and reception is common for elopements. The photographer may also provide suggestions for venues and vendors.
  5. Logistics: While elopements are typically less complicated to plan and coordinate than traditional weddings, there are still logistical considerations, such as obtaining a marriage license, finding an officiant, and making travel arrangements if necessary.

Destination Wedding

This form of marriage can be more spontaneous but it also requires more planning as destination weddings are usually held in a place outside of the couples' place of residency, and there may be some local customs you must abide by. It can still be momentous for the couple, but plan accordingly and do your research if you want to take on this option. This style of wedding has become increasingly popular as couples seek unique and memorable experiences for their special day. While they can be more expensive, destination weddings offer a one-of-a-kind experience that a couple never forgets. 

Read below to get some information about destination weddings:

  1. Location: The venue and location is crucial with this process as couples have a range of options to choose from, including tropical beaches, mountains, vineyards, and historic cities. Popular destinations for destination weddings include Greece, Mexico, Italy, and the Caribbean to name a few. After choosing a location, couples must select a venue for the wedding ceremony and reception. Many destination weddings take place in resorts or hotels where wedding packages are available, including everything from the ceremony site to catering and lodging. Alternatively, couples can opt for a unique setting such as a private villa, or a beachside restaurant.
  2. Legal Requirements: Couples must also consider the legal requirements for marriage in their chosen location, which can vary from nation to nation or state to state. They should research the local laws and make plans accordingly. 
  3. Logistics: Logistics can be a challenge when planning a destination wedding, as couples must coordinate travel, lodging, and local suppliers. Working with a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings can help manage these but it could also add to the cost.
  4. Cultural Considerations: Couples should be respectful of local traditions and customs while considering the cultural conventions of their chosen location. Some nations may have mandatory religious observances or strict dress codes that should be taken into account.

Online Wedding

A virtual wedding, often known as an online wedding, enables friends and family to participate completely online. Virtual marriages have become more common during the COVID-19 pandemic as social segregation laws have made traditional in-person weddings difficult or impossible. They provide a unique and creative option for couples to get married both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. While they provide flexibility and make it simple for visitors to participate remotely, they call for careful planning and coordination. When done with the right technology and planning, virtual weddings may be a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate a couple's love and commitment. You can have a virtual wedding using websites like Courtly or WebWed, to name just a few.

  1. Technology: Technology plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of a virtual wedding. To host a seamless event, the couple must have a reliable internet connection, a webcam or smartphone camera, and a suitable platform like Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype. A test run is necessary to ensure that everything is in working order before the big day.
  2. Guest List: One of the advantages of a virtual wedding is that it allows guests from all over the world to attend. With tools like Courtly, couples can personalize their Zoom link and invite up to 100 guests. However, the couple should still be selective with their guest list, ensuring that everyone has access to the required technology and feels comfortable participating online.
  3. Ceremony: The couple can choose to make the virtual ceremony as elaborate or as simple as they desire. The officiant can facilitate customary vows, readings, and other symbolic actions. The ceremony is recorded, providing a keepsake of the wedding day.
  4. Attire: Even though the event is virtual, the couple and their guests should dress appropriately for the occasion. The bride and groom can opt for formal wedding attire or something more casual.
  5. Decorations: The couple may choose to decorate the venue to create a more celebratory and personalized atmosphere for their virtual wedding. Additionally, they could suggest to their guests that they adorn their homes with flowers or balloons during the ceremony to enhance the festive experience.

Planning your small intimate ceremony like a pro

These days, if you are trying to obtain a low-key marriage without a wedding, there are many options you can choose from. Conventional matrimonies may be a course many couples take, but some couples may not have that option. This is where platforms like Courtly can help. Marriages without a wedding are no longer taboo in today's society, so if you want the celebration to be between just the two of you, you can look at these options as a guide to create your ideal marriage.     

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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