5 Things You Need for Your Courthouse Wedding

What do you think of when you hear “courthouse wedding”? Maybe it conjures up images of an elopement or a quick in and out ceremony while wearing sneakers and maybe a tee shirt with a bow tie print. 

Whatever your initial thoughts on a courthouse wedding, don't let the idea fool you into thinking the bare minimum. Lots of couples wed at the courthouse for various reasons: it’s intimate, cost effective, and more casual than a traditional wedding, but just because there’s less planning involved doesn’t mean the experience can’t feel like a wedding.

Courthouse couples can do everything a traditional wedding couple can do: send out invitations, dress up, carry a bouquet, and even hold a reception afterward. 

If you're considering a civil ceremony, keep reading for five things you need to have a courthouse wedding that's as special as a traditional one.

1. Photographer 

So many brides have said that splurging on a wedding photographer was one of the best decisions they made, and this is particularly true for courthouse ceremonies. There are plenty of moments to capture, from the bride getting ready to the exit down the courthouse steps.

One of the best things about hiring a professional photographer for your courthouse wedding is that she can put all the focus on you and your fiance. At a traditional wedding, the photographers are often rushed to capture a few good images of the bride and groom after the ceremony and they typically have lots of people to organize and deal with (think family, friends, bridal party, groomsmen).

At a courthouse wedding you'll have plenty of time to work on capturing some unique images of just the two of you.

2. Wedding Attire 

Okay, maybe there are people out there who would rather wear jeans and a blouse to their courthouse wedding, but let's assume you're not one of those people. 

Maybe you've been thinking, can I wear an actual wedding dress to the courthouse? And the answer is YES! You can wear whatever you want, whether it's a retro tea length wedding gown, a crop top and skirt, or a bold-colored ball gown.

There's no wedding attire rule that you have to abide to, and that goes for your partner as well. Will he wear a blue tux, a sophisticated suit, or a casual pair of jeans?

3. Bouquet

Will you regret not carrying a bouquet during your courthouse wedding? Maybe not, but "they" say people regret the things they don't do, so you might as well carry one. Besides, a bouquet of seasonal flowers won't break the bank. And have your partner wear a boutonniere that matches your bouquet. The photos will look lovely! 

4. Vows

Take your courthouse wedding to the next level by writing your own vows. Otherwise, you'll get stuck with whatever the judge reads, which is probably the traditional vows. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but wouldn't it be special to write and recite your own words? If you need some help writing your vows, read this A Practical Wedding article.

5. Invitations 

Invitations may seem superfluous for a civil ceremony, but if you're inviting anyone else, even a small group of people, it's worth sending invitations. If you want to save the trees, consider a digital invite from somewhere like Paperless Post or Evite. If not, create your own invitations on thick stock paper or hire a designer if you want to splurge a little. The nice thing about a paper invitation is that you can put it in your wedding album or scrapbook as a memento.


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