Our Top 10 Tips for Planning an Easygoing Courthouse Wedding

November 27, 2023
4 min

As you plan your special day, consider the convenience and charm of a courthouse marriage. With its relaxed atmosphere and stress-free nature, a courthouse wedding allows you to focus on your love and commitment to one another. Embrace the simplicity of this intimate ceremony and create a truly memorable occasion. 

Here are 10 tips for planning a stress-free and enjoyable courthouse wedding.

10 Tips for Planning a Courthouse Wedding

Planning a courthouse wedding can be a wonderful and intimate experience. Here are ten tips on how to get married in a courthouse:

Plan Well in Advance

Due to the popularity of courthouse weddings, it's crucial to book your date and time well in advance. This ensures you secure your preferred spot, considering the high demand for these intimate ceremonies.

wedding planner with wedding rings

Schedule an Off-Peak Time

Choose a weekday or less busy time to minimize waiting and maximize privacy. Familiarize yourself with legal requirements, as each courthouse may have different rules. This thoughtful planning minimizes stress and streamlines the process.

girl scheduling through a calne

Obtain a Marriage License Online

Check if your local county offers an online marriage license application. If not, ensure you know the requirements before heading out. Some courthouses may require in-person applications, so plan accordingly. Online civil ceremonies, like those offered by Courtly, provide a convenient option for obtaining all legal documents.

girl in her bedroom with laptop

Choose the Right Courthouse

Select a courthouse aligning with your vision, considering factors like location, aesthetics, and availability. This choice sets the tone for your special day and enhances the overall experience.

courthouse in the US

Personalize Your Ceremony

Despite their simplicity, courthouse weddings offer opportunities for personal touches. Consider writing your vows or incorporating meaningful rituals to make the ceremony uniquely yours.

groom writing wedding vos

Select Appropriate Attire

Keep it casual and opt for attire that suits the courthouse setting. Encourage guests to do the same, fostering a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for everyone involved.

couple walking in the courthouse

Plan a Small Guest List

Courthouses may have limited space, so decide whether to include family and friends accordingly. Keeping the guest list intimate ensures a relaxed atmosphere and smooth arrangements.

RSVP card for a wedding

Delegate Responsibilities

Assign tasks to family or friends, such as managing music and photography or gathering guests. Even for simple courthouse weddings, documenting the day is essential, so consider hiring a professional photographer or designating a friend or family member for this purpose.

man po

Plan a Low-key Reception

Consider a simple and informal celebration at a local restaurant or home for a stress-free post-wedding gathering. This allows you to extend the celebration in a relaxed setting without additional complications.

simple wedding reception

Virtual Attendance Options

In today's digital age, offering virtual attendance options ensures that everyone can be part of your special day, even if they can't attend in person. Explore various online platforms to include remote guests in the celebration.

friends on zoom call

Or Skip the Courthouse Entirely

If the traditional courthouse setting doesn't align with your vision, Courtly offers a modern alternative, enabling couples worldwide to legally marry online. From securing a marriage license to orchestrating a remote ceremony, Courtly streamlines the entire process. 

Courtly ensures that the process of obtaining a marriage license and conducting the ceremony online adheres to legal standards. Additionally, with the platform’s transparent pricing, starting at just $499, Courtly covers all the essentials for a legally binding online marriage. Whether you're planning a destination wedding or overcoming geographical challenges, Courtly offers global accessibility, making it the ideal choice.


How long does a courthouse wedding ceremony take?

Every courthouse varies, but a civil ceremony is typically pretty quick, lasting around 10 to 15 minutes.

How many people can you have in a courthouse wedding?

Every courthouse has different policies, but you can expect no more than 10 to 15 people max. This includes everyone from the officiant to your photographer and immediate family members. 

How much does it cost to get married at the courthouse?

Courthouse wedding costs differ based on your location and special circumstances. You may pay as little as $30 or up to $120 for a basic courthouse wedding. There may also be additional fees for securing certain spaces or bringing your officiant.

How do I apply for a marriage license?

You can find out the marriage license requirements for your state by contacting your local county clerk's office or visiting their website. Some states require that you and your partner get tested for certain communicable diseases before applying, while others don't. Some states allow couples who are not local to apply at an office other than where they plan on holding their ceremony, while others don't.

Once you know the requirements for your state, you can gather the required documents. These documents may include:

  • A valid photo ID (passport, driver's license)
  • Social Security Number (if applicable)
  • Birth certificates for both partners
  • Proof of residency for both partners
  • If previously married, a copy of your divorce decree or annulment decree
  • A copy of your death certificate if your previous spouse is deceased

In some states, you can apply for your marriage license online or in person. If you apply online, you will need to scan and upload any required documents. If you apply in person, you will need to bring the original documents with you.

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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