Courthouse Wedding Ideas

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A courthouse wedding can also be referred to as a civil ceremony or city hall wedding.

There are many reasons for opting for a courthouse rather than a traditional wedding. These weddings have rocketed in popularity in the last year, with conventional weddings being cancelled due to the pandemic.

image reads "courthouse wedding ideas" with bride and groom kissing outside of a courthouse.

A courthouse wedding has numerous advantages. For starters- the cost savings can be astronomical!

The average wedding in the US costs a whopping $38,700.

Perhaps yourself and your significant other have decided against a lengthy engagement, and can’t wait to start your married life together.

Traditional weddings typically take a year or 2 to plan, whereas a courthouse ceremony can be arranged in a matter of months or even weeks!

Courthouse weddings have a much more intimate feeling.

At larger weddings, there’s pressure to try and talk to all your guests. With a small wedding, you can give each of your nearest and dearest your full attention.

Many couples find a smaller wedding less stressful and easier to plan. 

Whatever your reasons behind choosing a courthouse, your wedding can still be memorable and exciting.

Courthouse weddings can sometimes appear a little ‘business-like’, but paying attention to the small details that matter to you can help make the day feel truly special. 

Courthouse Wedding Ideas:

Wear A Wedding Dress

Traditionally, brides tone down their outfits for a courthouse wedding. Many still opt for white for that ‘bridal’ quality, but that is entirely up to you.

White jumpsuits and pantsuits are popular choices.

Buck the trend by choosing the wedding dress of your dreams!

And don’t forget the veil. They don’t have to be expensive either. Check out these cheap wedding veils from Amazon for some ideas.

You can wear anything you like at all to your courthouse wedding, but you should pick something you are excited about, that makes you feel confident.

You may even want to include a veil.

Have A Photoshoot

Many couples planning a courthouse wedding still hire a professional photographer.

Look for a photographer who has experience with more intimate weddings and city hall ceremonies. If there is one area of your wedding you should invest in, it should be the photographs.

These will be keepsakes you keep forever, and perhaps even show your future children one day!

Pinterest has some beautiful boards dedicated solely for courthouse weddings where you can find inspiration.

Photoshoots shouldn’t be kept to only the ceremony itself. Getting ready photoshoots are a nice touch.

You may also wish to have photos taken of your reception or send-off. If you are on a tight budget, perhaps ask a friend who has a keen eye for photography.

You could also give disposable cameras to all your guests, which is a fun way of getting everyone involved. 

Get Your Hair & Make-Up Done By A Professional

Just because you have skipped the extravagant ceremony doesn’t mean you can’t look your absolute best!

Hiring a professional hair and make-up stylist will make you feel confident and glamorous for your big day.

Wedding stylists are skilled at applying make-up specifically for professional photos, ensuring you’ll be proud of your wedding pictures forever.

Talk to your stylist in advance about the appearance you want to go for, and have a trial run first.

You don’t have to choose traditional bridal make-up and hairstyles. Go for something that suits you and makes you feel your best.

Plan A Reception

After the ceremony, you can celebrate your nuptials any way you wish!

This could include a fancy meal at your favourite restaurant or perhaps cocktails at a bar you’ve always wanted to go to.

A reception allows you to have toasts if this is a tradition you have decided to keep.

Remember to book well in advance, and let them know you are celebrating. Many venues will be able pleased to assist with decorating your table.

They may also add little ‘special touches’ like cakes and champagne.

If you are on a smaller budget, you could invite your guests to a gathering at your home after the ceremony.

Many couples find this is more intimate and relaxing. However, there will be some preparation involved in terms of food, drink and decorations. 

Write Your Own Vows

One huge advantage of a courthouse ceremony is you have more control over aspects such as your vows.

Writing your vows can feel more genuine and romantic than re-reading the same ones millions of other couples do.

Check out these funny wedding vows if you want to add some humor.

Pick Your Venue Carefully

There are some architecturally stunning courthouse and city hall buildings available for weddings.

These make gorgeous backdrops for photos.

Choose a location that means something to you as a couple, and is convenient for as many guests as possible. This should be a lot easier with a reduced guest list! 

Go For A Lavish Honeymoon

Many couples use the money they saved on a traditional ceremony to take the honeymoon of their dreams.

Splurge a little and pick somewhere to tick off your bucket list as a couple.

If you are jetting off straight after your ceremony, have you guests give you a traditional send-off. Remember to have some photos taken!

Hire A Wedding Car

Having a beautiful car pick you up will make you feel super special and glamorous! This also provides another gorgeous photo opportunity. 

You Gotta Have The Cake!

Include Some Flowers

You may not have the pressure of decorating a large room, but some flowers for your big day should still be included.

Fresh flowers add a sense of beauty and occasion.

A bouquet for the bride to carry is a lovely tradition to keep and will provide a pop of colour to enhance any photos.

Boutonnieres and corsages for the groom and guests are optional extras. 

We recommend checking out Sam’s Club Wedding Flowers!

Have A First Dance

Having a first dance can be a special and romantic way to make your courthouse wedding more meaningful.

Even if you’re not having a traditional reception, you can still dance together as a couple to a special first dance song.

Choose a song that has personal significance to you both, or a song that you’ve always loved.

This moment can be captured on camera or film to look back on in the future.

Make Toasts

Don’t forget to have a toast for your wedding! You can ask a special friend or family member to give the toast, and they can say something heartfelt about your love story, give some advice, or just raise their glass to your happiness.

You can even add a bit of fun and personality to the toast by having a champagne toast or serving up a special cocktail.

Do A Unique Unity Ceremony

A unique unity ceremony can be a fun and symbolic way to make your courthouse wedding more meaningful.

A unity ceremony is a ritual that symbolizes the coming together of two people and the creation of a new family.

Some popular unity ceremonies include a sand ceremony, where the couple pours different colored sand into a shared container, or a handfasting ceremony, where the couple’s hands are tied together with a ribbon or cord.

This ceremony can be performed during the wedding ceremony, and can involve your family and friends.

Renew Your Vows

Renewing your vows each year can be a sweet way to make your courthouse wedding more special and to celebrate your love and commitment to each other.

This ceremony involves reaffirming your vows to one another in a meaningful and personalized way.

You can choose to renew your vows on your anniversary or at a milestone in your relationship.

This can be a simple ceremony with just the two of you or you can invite family and friends to join in on the celebration. This can be a beautiful reminder of the love and commitment you share with your partner, and can help strengthen your bond for years to come.

More Courthouse Wedding Ideas

  1. Include a special reading or poem during the ceremony
  2. Wear something meaningful, like a family heirloom or a piece of jewelry with sentimental value
  3. Decorate the courthouse ceremony room with flowers, candles or personal items
  4. Have a friend or family member officiate the ceremony
  5. Choose a special song to play during the ceremony
  6. Invite a small group of loved ones to witness the ceremony
  7. Exchange personal gifts or mementos to mark the occasion
  8. Have a professional videographer capture the moment
  9. Include your pets in the ceremony
  10. Serve your favorite dessert or food after
  11. Write love notes to each other and exchange them before the wedding
  12. Plan a special date night or getaway after the ceremony
  13. Share a first dance as a married couple
  14. Take a special photo at the courthouse to commemorate the day
  15. Have a champagne or signature cocktail toast
  16. Make a wedding day time capsule to open on a future anniversary
  17. Create a personalized wedding ceremony script

A courthouse wedding can be just as special and meaningful as a traditional wedding ceremony.

With a little bit of creativity, you can make your courthouse wedding truly unique and memorable.

From writing your own vows to including special readings, there are countless ways to add a personal touch to your ceremony.

Whether you choose to keep it simple with just the two of you, or invite a small group of loved ones to witness your union, the most important thing is that you are committing to spend the rest of your lives together.

With these courthouse wedding ideas, you can make your special day one to remember for years to come.

Sara, a seasoned expert in wedding planning and date ideas, brings a wealth of experience to our couples blog. With a background in the television industry and hands-on involvement in a dozen weddings, including working as a wedding assistant on "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera," Sara has an innate understanding of the magic that makes weddings truly special. Growing up with four sisters has given her unique insights into the dating world, making her a go-to source for practical and heartfelt dating advice. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her the perfect guide for couples seeking to infuse their relationships with creativity and love.

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