Wedding After Courthouse Marriage: What You Need To Know

Today, we’re going to be looking at having a wedding after courthouse marriage, and everything you need to know about courthouse marriages and the celebrations you can have after. One thing is for certain, weddings are becoming more and more expensive. A courthouse marriage is a great way to be married as soon as possible but to save the celebrations for later. There’s a range of reasons why you may want to do this (and we’ll be looking at those later too!). So let’s take a closer look at courthouse weddings.

What Is A Courthouse Wedding?

A courthouse wedding, put simply, is a marriage in a courthouse. Courthouse weddings go by a few names that you may be more familiar with, including civil weddings or civil ceremonies. It’s nonreligious but is a legal ceremony of marriage which is overseen by a government official.

Courthouse Wedding Requirements

It’s not as simple as rocking up to your local courthouse and getting married. Depending on where you are, there will be different rules and regulations for every state (or country). Generally, you’ll need the same information and requirements as a religious wedding. You’ll need ID (of course). And many states require you to obtain a marriage license (which is usually obtainable for a fee). And some states also require a witness or two at the ceremony. It’s important to check out the rules and regulations of where you are before you make any commitments.

How Much Is A Marriage License Fee?

It all depends on where you are in the world. However, in the United States, it can be anywhere from $20-$120. It’s safe to say, that this is the cheapest and easiest way to get married! It’s also a great way to keep the ceremony intimate, but at a far more reasonable price.

Why Would You Want To Get Legally Married Before The Big Day?

Getting legally married before the wedding is far more common than you may think! Especially in the last few years, with the global pandemic affecting the wedding industry so massively. Having a marriage may be the most important aspect of the wedding to you, so many couples are opting to get legally married and worry about the celebrations at a more fitting time.

Here are some reasons some couples opt to have a courthouse wedding and celebrate their wedding later.

Postponing Weddings

In light of recent events, some couples are having to reschedule their wedding for the second, third, fourth time (my sister being one of those people!). Some couples simply want to be married and aren’t happy to wait any longer to call themselves Mr. and Mrs., Mr. and Mr. or Mrs. and Mrs. This is completely understandable. So many couples have chosen a small, intimate courthouse wedding and will focus on the celebrations once the pandemic is over.

Destination Weddings

As wonderful as destination weddings are, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license in your hometown and have your legal ceremony before you depart for your destination wedding. Every state (and country) has a different set of rules, so be sure you’re following the right procedures and requirements before jetting off for your destination wedding.

Anxiety Relieving

There’s such a pressure to have “the perfect day” on your wedding day, and sometimes that’s not always possible. The anxiety I felt on my wedding day was debilitating and it really ruined the lead-up for me as I was so frightened to be the center of attention in front of so many people. Having a small wedding in a courthouse will definitely relieve this pressure and enable you to enjoy the ceremony more if you suffer from anxiety…and then focus on the celebrations after!


It’s definitely a more intimate affair. Whether it’s just you and your partner, or a small gathering of friends and family to witness, having a courthouse wedding really gives you and your partner the chance to focus on each other. There’s less pressure if you mess up, stutter or cry. And it won’t feel anywhere near as overwhelming. The vow exchange will be intimate and memorable for you both.

More Time To Save

This is one of the most common reasons! Your wedding day will be expensive – there’s no doubt about it! So some couples opt to have the ceremony as quickly as possible in a courthouse; which really doesn’t cost much at all. And then save up for a bigger day with bigger celebrations in the future. There’s no unspoken rule that your ceremony and reception need to be on the same day – so have them separate and enjoy two special days!

How To Make It Special

It may feel as though your courthouse wedding can’t be special, especially if it’s a choice that has been thrust upon you because of the pandemic – but that is absolutely not the case! You can still have a perfect day, no matter how small your wedding is. Here are a few tips from on how to make your courthouse wedding special.

  • Invite your nearest and dearest. Whether that’s 2 people, or 10 – it’s not the quantity of people at your wedding that matters.
  • Book a Photographer. You want some photos to remember your special day for and as there won’t be many guests to take snapshots, hiring a photographer is the best thing to do.
  • Plan a Small Celebration After. Whether that’s a drink in the local bar or a meal at your favorite restaurant – go for it!
  • Look Forward to the Traditional Wedding in the Near Future!


I hope this article has helped you to become more familiar with having a wedding after courthouse marriage – and everything you need to know, before and after. Whenever you have your wedding and however you have your wedding, the most important thing is that you’ve chosen to share the rest of your life with that special someone.

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