Getting married without a wedding has become increasingly popular in the 21st century as more people seek alternative ways to celebrate their union. Whether it's due to financial constraints, personal preferences, or the desire for a simpler ceremony, there are various ways to get married without a traditional wedding. This guide will provide you with some practical steps to help you plan and execute a wedding-free marriage.

Options for Getting Married Without a Big Traditional Wedding

1. Civil Ceremony

‍Many couples choose to have a civil ceremony at a courthouse or city hall instead of a traditional wedding. While it deviates from the norm, it is legally binding and can still be a meaningful experience. Here's what you need to know about civil weddings:

  • Legal requirements: Couples must fulfill the specific legal requirements for a civil wedding, which vary by jurisdiction. This typically involves obtaining a marriage license and providing the necessary documentation.
  • Venue options: Civil ceremonies can take place at courthouses, municipal halls, or other designated government offices. Some venues may offer outdoor spaces for a more scenic setting.
  • Officiants: Civil ceremonies are typically officiated by judges, justices of the peace, or authorized government officials. In some cases, a friend or family member with legal authorization can also officiate.
  • Ceremony elements: Civil weddings are often short and straightforward. They usually involve exchanging vows and rings, an officiant's proclamation of marriage, and signing the marriage license. Couples can personalize the ceremony with readings, music, or other meaningful touches.
  • Attire choices: Couples can decide on their attire based on their preferences and the formality level they desire. While some may opt for traditional wedding attire, others may choose more casual or unconventional outfits.
  • Legal recognition: Civil marriages are legally recognized in most jurisdictions, and couples receive a marriage certificate after the ceremony. This certificate can be used for various legal purposes.

2. Elopement

For couples seeking an intimate and private wedding experience, elopement is a popular option. It allows them to exchange vows without the presence of guests. Consider the following aspects of elopement:

  • Location: Elopements can take place anywhere, from a courthouse or city hall to scenic locations like beaches or mountains. The chosen location should hold significance for the couple.
  • Customized ceremony: Couples can design a simple or elaborate ceremony that suits their preferences. It may involve traditional vows, readings, and other symbolic elements.
  • Attire options: Attire can range from formal wedding attire to more casual or comfortable outfits, depending on the couple's preferences and location.
  • Photography considerations: Hiring a professional photographer to capture the special moments of the ceremony is common for elopements. Couples should discuss locations, poses, and desired shots with the photographer.
  • Logistical considerations: Although elopements are usually less complex to plan than traditional weddings, couples still need to consider logistics such as obtaining a marriage license, finding an officiant, and making any necessary travel arrangements.

3. Destination

‍Destination weddings offer couples the opportunity to have a unique and memorable wedding experience in a location away from their usual residence. Here's what you should know about destination weddings:

  • Choosing a location: Couples can select a destination that holds personal significance or offers a picturesque setting. Popular choices include tropical beaches, mountains, vineyards, or historic cities.
  • Legal requirements: Each destination has its legal requirements for marriage. Couples must research and comply with the necessary procedures and documentation for their chosen location.
  • Logistics and coordination: Planning a destination wedding requires careful logistics management. Couples may benefit from working with a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings. They can assist with travel arrangements, accommodations, and coordination with local vendors.
  • Cultural considerations: Couples should respect and consider the local customs and traditions of their chosen destination. Some locations may have specific religious observances or dress codes that should be taken into account.

4. Online Wedding 

Virtual weddings, also known as online weddings, have gained popularity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They allow couples to get married remotely and include guests from anywhere in the world. Consider the following aspects of online weddings:

  • Technology: Reliable internet connectivity, a webcam or smartphone camera, and a suitable platform like Zoom or Google Meet are essential for hosting a virtual wedding. Conducting a test run beforehand ensures a smooth experience.
  • Guest list: Virtual weddings provide the opportunity to invite guests from various locations. However, couples should consider the technological capabilities of their guests and ensure they feel comfortable participating online.
  • Ceremony: The virtual ceremony can be tailored to the couple's preferences, including traditional vows, readings, and other symbolic elements. Recording the ceremony preserves the memories.
  • Attire and decorations: Couples and guests should dress appropriately for the occasion, whether formal or casual. Decorations can be added to create a festive atmosphere, and guests may be encouraged to decorate their own spaces.

People Who Would Want to Try Online Marriage with Courtly

Online marriages with platforms like Courtly can be appealing to a diverse range of individuals and couples seeking a convenient and innovative way to exchange vows. Several groups of people may find online marriages with Courtly particularly enticing.

Firstly, those who desire a flexible and remote wedding experience would find online marriages a perfect fit. The ability to get married from the comfort of their own home or a location of their choosing provides unparalleled convenience and freedom. By opting for an online wedding with Courtly, couples can customize their ceremony to match their preferences and enjoy the flexibility to select the timing that suits them best.

Secondly, couples looking to create a unique and unforgettable celebration will find online weddings to be an ideal choice. Online platforms like Courtly offer a range of customization options, enabling couples to break away from traditional wedding norms and design a wedding experience that truly reflects their personalities and style. This opportunity to craft a distinctive and personalized ceremony ensures a wedding that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Moreover, online marriages are a practical solution for individuals facing circumstances where traditional weddings are not feasible. Whether it's due to travel restrictions, financial constraints, or personal reasons, online marriages through Courtly provide an accessible alternative. Couples can proceed with their wedding plans, overcoming obstacles that may have otherwise prevented them from celebrating their special day.

Lastly, those who wish to include friends and family from all over the world will appreciate the inclusivity of online weddings. Geographical barriers are eliminated, allowing loved ones from different locations to be part of the joyous occasion. With Courtly's virtual wedding platform, couples can invite guests to join the ceremony remotely, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared celebration.


There are numerous options available for couples who wish to get married without having a big traditional wedding. Civil ceremonies offer a legally binding and memorable experience, while elopements provide an intimate and spontaneous celebration. Destination weddings allow couples to have a unique and memorable experience in a location of their choice, and online weddings offer the flexibility to get married remotely and include loved ones from around the world.

Platforms like Courtly serve as valuable guides and resources for couples navigating the process of creating their ideal low-key marriage. Whether couples opt for a civil ceremony, elopement, destination wedding, or online wedding, these platforms provide the necessary tools, information, and support to plan and execute their desired wedding experience.

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.

get married