25 Courthouse Wedding Ideas to Make it Uniquely Yours

Our courthouse wedding ideas can make sure your big day is the special and memorable event you've always dreamed of.

Published February 21, 2024

If you find yourself telling people, "Oh, I'm just having a courthouse wedding," I'm going to have to stop you right there. Every wedding is worthy, no matter where you get married. Even though some people choose to have modest legal ceremonies, there are plenty of ways to make your courthouse wedding special. Use these tips to plan a courthouse ceremony that you'll look back on with a smile.

Wear Something That Makes You Feel Special


Anything goes when it comes to what to wear to a courthouse wedding, but you'll want to put on whatever you feel best in. That could mean a white ballgown or the matching onesies that you and your partner wear every Sunday night when you watch Netflix.

Do Your Own "First Look"


In many cases, partners will travel to the courthouse together for their wedding. Why not do your own take on a "first look?" My husband and I did, and it turned out really great. 

We got ready in separate parts of the house, then met each other at the front door a few minutes before we had to leave. We each did a little spin for the other and spent some time admiring our soon-to-be spouse. I'll cherish that time forever.

Include Your Dog as a Witness


In some U.S. states, your dog can legally serve as a witness at your wedding. They can even sign the license with a paw print. Of course, you'll need to reach out to your local courthouse to find out if and where dogs are allowed, but how special would that be?

Related: 21 Ideas for a Non-Traditional Wedding That's Totally You

Hire a Photographer


You'll probably want photos of your big day, but instead of asking your family, friends, or someone who works at city hall to take them, it's wise to hire a photographer. This way, anyone you invite can be present and take everything in. Plus, you can take group photos and will end up with way higher quality pics than if you asked someone to snap them with a phone.

Quick Tip

A photographer doesn't have you cost you a boatload. Since courthouse weddings are relatively short, you can probably hire one for an hour or contact a local photography school and hire a student for a fair rate.

Do a Photoshoot Before or After


If having meaningful photos is your thing, it's a great idea to plan a little photoshoot before or after the ceremony. Do it on the courthouse steps, in a nearby garden, or head somewhere else that's meaningful to you.

Related: DIY 'I Do': A Guide to Self-Solemnizing Your Wedding

Get a Bouquet or Boutonniere


Flowers are a traditional part of a wedding ceremony, and they can be a fun addition to a courthouse wedding. Grab a pretty arrangement from Trader Joe's or have your local florist design a custom bouquet. Either one will look great in photos, and, from experience, it'll give you something to hold so you don't awkwardly wring your hands or pick at your cuticles.

Pick an Iconic or Historic Courthouse


Some courthouses are absolutely stunning. It's worthwhile to check out the different options in and around your area to pick the one you like best. And, if you're willing to travel, you may even find a historic city hall elsewhere that calls out to you.

Go Out With Friends and Family Afterward


Keep the celebration going even after the ceremony. Invite everyone who attended your wedding out to grab a bite to eat, or let them know you're heading to the bowling alley to celebrate.

Quick Tip

Instead of celebrating with others, you could also go out for dinner as just the two of you.

Or Throw a Bash at Your Home


As an alternative, you could throw an after-party at your home. This is also a fun option if you only had a few or a handful of people attend your wedding. Now you can toast and celebrate with everyone.

Related: 13 Ideas to Host the Small Intimate Wedding of Your Dreams

Incorporate Personal Touches


Don't be afraid to add personal touches to your courthouse wedding. Because I'm half-Indian and henna is a big part of our wedding culture, I got my hands decorated with elaborate henna for my courthouse ceremony. This small detail meant a lot to us and made the day that much more special.  

Create a Gift Registry


It might feel strange creating a registry without hosting a big wedding, but trust me, people will ask where you're registered. This isn't information you need to just put out there without being prompted, but definitely have a registry for those that ask. They want to celebrate your big news and treat you to something. Let them!

Write "Just Married" on Your Car


Spread the news that you tied the knot by writing "Just Married" on your car before heading to the courthouse or driving home. You'll definitely get a few honks and waves, which will no doubt make you two feel special. 

Quick Tip

If you really want to leave the courthouse in style, consider renting a vintage car or convertible as your "getaway" ride. Take it for a spin and enjoy each other's company before heading into your new married life.

Send Out Wedding Announcements


The joy doesn't have to stop after your courthouse wedding ends. Think about sending out announcements to let everyone know you tied the knot. It can be a simple printed card or even an email that features a photo from the ceremony. This is especially great if you eloped or had a small wedding with only a handful of attendees.

More Courthouse Wedding Ideas


There are plenty more ways to make your courthouse wedding extra special. Think about incorporating these:

  • Wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
  • Write your own vows to deliver during the courthouse ceremony or on your own before or after.
  • Have a staycation or plan a little getaway as your own little honeymoon.
  • Have a bachelor or bachelorette party the night before the wedding.
  • Spend the night before apart.
  • Have someone record the ceremony so you can watch it again later.
  • Plan a spa day before or after the wedding so you can indulge in some self-care together.
  • Bring your own witnesses if that doesn't cause added stress.
  • Bring some (non-alcoholic) bubbly to toast with after you tie the knot.
  • Consider asking your mayor if they'll marry you.
  • Live stream it for friends and family who can't attend.
  • Make your own wedding playlist with all your special songs. 

Courthouse Weddings Are Anything but Boring


There are plenty of reasons people choose to have courthouse weddings. They’re often less expensive and less stressful than traditional wedding events, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be meaningful. Use these courthouse wedding ideas to add a little extra touch to your ceremony. We hope it’s as special as you always imagined it would be. 

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25 Courthouse Wedding Ideas to Make it Uniquely Yours