A Stress-Free Guide to Planning Your Courthouse Wedding

February 9, 2024

Stephanie Thomas

Planning a courthouse wedding can be a wonderful and intimate way to celebrate your love without the fuss and stress of a larger ceremony. While it may seem like a straightforward process, careful planning is key to ensuring a smooth and memorable experience. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of planning a courthouse wedding and offer valuable tips and a detailed checklist to make your special day stress-free.

Step 1: Research and Choose Your Courthouse

Before diving into the planning process, it’s essential to research and choose the courthouse where you want to tie the knot. Different courthouses may have varying procedures, requirements, and available services. Check the official website or contact the courthouse directly to get information about marriage license applications, fees, and ceremony options.

Step 2: Obtain a Marriage License

One of the first and most crucial steps is obtaining a marriage license. Requirements for obtaining a marriage license vary by location, so check with the courthouse for specific details. Generally, both partners will need to provide identification, proof of age, and pay a fee. Ensure that you meet all the requirements and allow enough time before the wedding date to secure the license.

Step 3: Schedule Your Courthouse Wedding

Once you have your marriage license, contact the courthouse to schedule your wedding ceremony. Some courthouses may offer walk-in services, while others may require appointments. Be sure to choose a date and time that works for both you and your partner, and inquire about any additional fees or specific guidelines for the ceremony.

Step 4: Invite Your Guests

While courthouse weddings are often more intimate affairs, you may still want to share the special day with close family and friends. Consider inviting a small group of loved ones to witness your ceremony. Keep in mind the capacity of the courthouse and any restrictions on the number of guests allowed.

Step 5: Plan Your Outfits

Decide on your wedding attire well in advance. Courthouse weddings provide an opportunity to choose outfits that are both comfortable and stylish. Even though courthouse weddings are generally more casual, you can still embrace the chance to wear something special that makes you feel radiant on your wedding day. Whether it’s a chic cocktail dress, a stylish jumpsuit, or a traditional gown, choose an outfit that reflects your personal style and sets the tone for the unique celebration of your love. Remember to communicate any dress code considerations to your guests so they can dress appropriately for the occasion. And don’t forget to factor in any specific dress codes or guidelines set by the courthouse.

Step 6: Prepare Your Vows and Rings

Although courthouse weddings are often short and sweet, preparing personal vows can add a meaningful touch to the ceremony. Write heartfelt vows to exchange with your partner. Additionally, ensure that you have the wedding rings ready for the exchange. Double-check the courthouse guidelines to ensure rings are allowed during the ceremony.

Step 7: Arrange for Photography

Capture the memories of your courthouse wedding by arranging for a photographer. While some courthouses may have restrictions on photography, many allow it within designated areas. Discuss your photography plans with the courthouse staff and hire a professional or ask a friend to capture the special moments.

Step 8: Plan a Post-Wedding Celebration:

After the ceremony, consider planning a post-wedding celebration with your guests. This could be a simple brunch, lunch, or dinner at your favorite restaurant. Choose a venue that holds sentimental value or reflects your personalities as a couple. Consider bringing a wedding cake to your celebration!


Courthouse Wedding Checklist:

  1. Research and choose the courthouse.
  2. Obtain a marriage license. Make sure you have all the required documents.
  3. Schedule the courthouse wedding ceremony.
  4. Choose your wedding date and time.
  5. Check courthouse requirements, such as needing a witness.
  6. Invite a small group of guests, if you’d like. Consider the courthouse’s capacity.
  7. Plan your wedding attire, considering courthouse guidelines. This is your moment to wear your dream wedding outfit! (Book an appointment at a bridal boutique if needed.)
  8. Prepare personal vows and ensure rings are ready.
  9. Arrange for a photographer and discuss courthouse photography rules.
  10. Plan a post-wedding celebration with guests. Consider making a reservation at a restaurant.
  11. Order a wedding cake from a local bakery to sweeten your celebration.
  12. Order a bouquet and/or any additional florals, like boutonnieres, if desired.
  13. Confirm all details with the courthouse in advance of the wedding day.
  14. Send invites to guests (recommend sending invites at least 2-3 months in advance).
  15. Consider creating a wedding registry if you wish to guide guests in gift-giving.
  16. Plan your honeymoon! Check out our top travel agents who can help plan your dream honeymoon.
  17. Begin the process of changing your name if you plan to do so after the wedding. Update identification, bank accounts, and other relevant documents.


Planning a courthouse wedding can be a stress-free and joyous experience when approached with careful consideration and organization. By following this courthouse wedding guide and checklist, you’ll be well-prepared to celebrate your love in a meaningful and intimate setting. Cheers to your upcoming wedding and the beginning of a beautiful journey together!

Join our online bridal communities (links on this page) to connect with other brides, share ideas, ask for advice, and of course, show off your beautiful photos post-wedding!

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