There are three things to know if you’re unsure about what do you need for a courthouse wedding. We have also included a checklist for a courthouse marriage to guide you with this type of wedding.
And if you have more questions regarding civil or city hall weddings, you can browse our blog for specific guides. For one, do you know how does a courthouse wedding work?
Checklist Of What Do You Need For A Courthouse Wedding
Find a courthouse
- The first thing you need for a courthouse wedding is the courthouse where you’ll get married
- Courthouse weddings will vary in requirements depending on the location
- Larger city halls would be ideal for couples who still want to get married in beautiful architecture, while smaller courthouses would be perfect for those who want something less busy and more intimate
- Consider how close the courthouse is to your home as well so you can manage your wedding timeline with practicality in mind
- Each courthouse will vary in the limitation they set for the wedding guests, so keep this in mind if you have already decided who will accompany your marriage ceremony
Study the marriage laws
- The second thing needed for the courthouse wedding is to ask yourself if you already know the local and state laws
- Like with any other legal union, you should know the laws in your state regarding marriage
- Make sure that you and your partner are both qualified to get married in the first place
- Furthermore, select a city hall that is available for the time and date you want for your wedding
- You should also know the requirements and limitations of the courthouse where you’ll have your marriage ceremony; for example, what are the wedding witness requirements and if a wedding photographer is allowed with you
Acquire the legalities for the courthouse wedding
- Call the county clerk’s office or set an appointment to know the instructions and wedding requirements for your civil wedding
- Typically, you must acquire a marriage certificate by providing the documents and fee, depending on the area where you live; you might also be required to undergo premarital counseling
- Understand that there is a waiting period for the marriage license and its validity, so set your courthouse wedding date during the time when your license is valid
- The fees can be bigger if you’re not living in the state where you want to get married
- Some city halls may also include a ceremony, officiant, or witness fee for the marriage ceremony
What Is A Courthouse Wedding?
A courthouse wedding is a legal marriage ceremony because you’ll still accomplish the required documents and follow the marriage laws in your state. But instead of a traditional wedding commonly presided by a religious officiant, a courthouse, city hall, or civil wedding is led by a judge, court clerk, or legal official.
What happens at a courthouse wedding?
- The officiant will give a few opening words or directly talk about the couple’s consent to marriage since civil weddings are quick and short
- After receiving the couple’s consent to wed, vows may be exchanged by the couple as well; the vows can be standard statements led by the officiant, or the couple may write their own
- Ring exchange is optional in a civil wedding; if you don’t want to feel rushed with your unity ceremony, you can have another event after the courthouse wedding instead
- The officiant will pronounce the couple married with closing words and other specifics to make the ceremony legal
Besides the marriage requirements, you might also be curious about the expenses for civil weddings. Here’s how much does a courthouse wedding cost to give you an idea.
How Do You Get Married At A Local Courthouse?
To get married at your local courthouse, it’s essential to acquire the marriage requirements and follow the state laws. Like any other kind of wedding, you must prepare the necessary documents to ensure that your wedding ceremony will be legal.
- Obtain your marriage license by providing the necessary documents, filling out paperwork, and paying for the fees
- Call the court to know the days they perform wedding ceremonies and book a date
- Ask the court office about the vow and ring exchange, guest number, what to wear, if decors are allowed, and if a photographer is allowed
- Find a witness that fits the state requirements where you’ll get married
Can You Get Married At The Courthouse Right Now?
It’s unlikely to arrive at the courthouse and get married the same day. For one, there is a waiting time for the marriage license to be issued.
You should also book a date for the wedding ceremony as the times and dates vary per courthouse. Remember that some places will only perform walk-in ceremonies, so you must wait in line to get married.
Do You Make An Appointment To Get Married At The Courthouse?
It’s best to set an appointment to ensure you can get the date you want for your civil wedding. Most courthouse weddings are first come, first served when picking the wedding date, so you want to arrange everything early on.
And that’s it! You just learned what do you need for a courthouse wedding, which includes booking a date, acquiring a marriage license, finding a witness, and ensuring you know the state marriage laws.
A courthouse wedding is fast and easy, but it’s unlikely to get married the same day because the marriage license has a waiting time before release. Regardless, a civil wedding is perfect for couples who want a legal union without that much hassle in planning.