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How Much For A Courthouse Wedding? Affordable Elegance

Bride and groom at a courthouse wedding.

The cost of a courthouse wedding can vary widely depending on the location, but it is generally a more affordable option compared to traditional weddings. In the United States, the fees for a courthouse wedding typically range from $50 to $100, which usually covers the cost of the marriage license and the service performed by a judge or a magistrate. Additional costs may apply for extras like a copy of the marriage certificate or if you wish to have guests attend the ceremony.

We’ll discuss this topic in more detail in the paragraphs below…

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly wedding option, a courthouse wedding might be just what you need. The cost of a such a wedding is significantly less than a traditional wedding, but it still requires planning and budgeting.

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  • Carter, Lisa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 107 Pages - 04/06/2024 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Courthouse Wedding Expenses: What to Consider

While having a courthouse wedding might seem like a budget-friendly choice, couples should still be aware of the various expenses involved. Here are some factors to consider when planning your wedding:

ExpenseCost Range
Marriage License$30-$100
Ceremony Fee$25-$250
Add-On ServicesVaries

The cost of a marriage license varies by state and county, with some locations charging as little as $30 while others may cost up to $100. In addition to the marriage license fee, most courthouses require a ceremony fee. These fees can range from $25 to $250 or more, depending on the location and whether the ceremony is performed during business hours or on weekends.

Some courthouses also offer add-on services, such as photography or personalized vows, which can increase the overall cost of the wedding. Couples should inquire about available services and their costs and decide if they fit within their budget.

You should be aware that fees and requirements may differ between courthouses, so it is crucial to research the specific venue. Couples should also consider any additional expenses, such as attire, transportation, and lodging if necessary.

Bride and Groom at Courthouse Wedding

How Much Does a Courthouse Wedding Cost?

A courthouse wedding is a budget-friendly option for couples looking to tie the knot without breaking the bank. But just how much does a courthouse wedding cost?

On average, a courthouse wedding can cost anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on various factors such as location, the number of guests, and any additional services. The cost will typically include a marriage license fee and ceremony fee, which can range from $25 to $100.

ElementAverage Cost
Venue$25 – $300
Officiant$50 – $150
Photography$100 – $300

Couples can opt for additional services such as photography, flowers, and transportation, which can increase the overall cost.

It is important to note that prices may vary depending on location and the specific courthouse or city hall. Some courthouses may offer package deals for ceremonies that include the officiant and photographer, which can help couples save money.

Tips for Planning an Affordable Courthouse Wedding

Planning a courthouse wedding on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing style or quality. With a little creativity and smart planning, you can have a memorable and meaningful wedding ceremony without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you plan an affordable courthouse wedding:

  • Choose an off-peak time: Courthouse wedding fees may vary based on the time of day and the day of the week. Consider scheduling your ceremony during less popular times, such as weekdays or mornings, to take advantage of lower fees.
  • Keep the guest list small: Limiting your guest list to close family and friends can significantly reduce your expenses on catering, drinks, and venue rental fees. Plus, having a more intimate ceremony can create a more special and personal atmosphere.
  • Go for simple but stylish: You don’t need to go overboard with decorations and outfits to have a beautiful courthouse wedding. Focus on simple but elegant details such as fresh flowers, personalized vows, and a tasteful dress or suit.

Another great idea to keep your courthouse wedding budget-friendly is to skip the formal reception and choose a simple celebratory dinner or brunch instead. You can even DIY your wedding reception by preparing a home-cooked meal or setting up a potluck feast with your loved ones.

Bride and Groom at courthouse wedding

Understanding Courthouse Wedding Fees

Before planning a courthouse wedding, it’s important to understand the fees involved. While it may seem like a budget-friendly option, there are still costs that couples need to consider.

The first fee couples will encounter is the marriage license fee, which can range from $30 to $100, depending on the state. This fee is non-negotiable and must be paid before the couple can legally get married.

In addition to the marriage license fee, couples will also need to pay for the actual ceremony. Courthouse ceremony fees vary widely depending on the location, with some charging as little as $25 and others charging over $200. Couples should research the fees for their specific courthouse in advance to get an accurate idea of the cost.

It’s important to note that these fees typically only cover the basic ceremony, and couples may need to pay extra for additional services such as a religious or personalized ceremony, or the use of a specific location within the courthouse.

Finally, couples should also budget for any additional expenses such as transportation, attire, and photography. While these costs can be minimized with some DIY planning, they are still worth considering in order to have a complete idea of the total cost of a courthouse wedding.

Factors Affecting Courthouse Wedding Costs

The overall cost of a courthouse wedding can vary depending on several factors, some of which are within the couple’s control and others that are not. Here are some of the key factors that can affect the cost of a courthouse wedding:

LocationThe cost of getting married at a courthouse can differ depending on where the courthouse is located. Courthouses in more expensive cities or regions may have higher fees than those in more affordable areas.
Guest countMost courthouses have restrictions on the number of guests allowed at a wedding ceremony. If a couple plans to have a larger guest count, they may need to rent a separate space for a reception, which can add to the overall cost.
Additional servicesIf a couple wants to include additional services like professional photography or a live musician, these will add to the overall cost of the wedding. It’s important to carefully consider which services are most important to the couple and prioritize accordingly.
Time of year and day of weekThe cost of a courthouse wedding can also be affected by the timing of the event. Getting married during peak wedding season or on a weekend may increase the cost, while choosing a weekday or off-peak season may result in savings.

Do Courthouse Weddings Save Money?

One of the biggest reasons couples choose to have a courthouse wedding is the potential cost savings compared to a traditional wedding. But do courthouse weddings actually save money?

The answer is yes. According to a recent survey, the average cost of a traditional wedding in the United States is around $30,000, while a courthouse wedding can cost as little as a few hundred dollars.

Of course, the exact cost of a courthouse wedding will depend on various factors, such as those mentioned above. However, in general, a courthouse wedding can provide significant cost savings for couples.

Some of the ways couples can save money with a courthouse wedding include:

  • Avoiding the high costs of traditional wedding venues, such as a ballroom or hotel reception hall
  • Skipping expensive wedding attire and opting for more casual, affordable clothing
  • Choosing a weekday or off-season date to save on ceremony fees and vendor costs
  • Opting for a smaller guest list to reduce catering and decoration expenses
  • Forgoing expensive floral arrangements and decorations in favor of a more simple, minimalist aesthetic

Tips for Budgeting and Saving for a Courthouse Wedding

Planning a wedding on a budget requires careful financial planning and strategizing to ensure everything goes according to plan. Couples can take various steps to keep expenses under control and create a courthouse wedding experience that meets their particular needs and preferences.

Here are some tips for budgeting and saving for a courthouse wedding:

  1. Set a budget: Before embarking on planning, couples need to determine their budget for the wedding. They should sit down and discuss their expectations, priorities and decide how much they can realistically spend. By having a clear understanding of what they can afford, they can manage their expectations and avoid overspending.
  2. Trim down the guest list: The cost of a courthouse wedding often depends on the number of guests invited, so trimming down the guest list can help to keep expenses low. Couples should consider inviting only their closest family members and friends to attend and celebrate their special day.
  3. Choose an off-peak day or time: Courthouse wedding costs can vary depending on the time of day or week of the ceremony. Couples can save money by choosing an off-peak day or time, such as a weekday morning or afternoon, when courthouse fees may be lower.
  4. D.I.Y. decorations and accessories: Couples can save money on decor and accessories by creating their own centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, and more. There are plenty of tutorials and inspiration ideas available online, making it easy to create beautiful wedding decorations on a budget.
  5. Choose a simple reception: The reception is where a significant portion of the wedding budget goes, so couples can save money by choosing a simple reception. For example, they can serve hors d’oeuvres or cocktails instead of a full meal and host the reception in a family member’s house or a public park instead of a rental venue.
  6. Keep an eye out for discounts and deals: Couples should look for discounts and deals on various wedding-related services, such as photography, makeup, and flowers. They should also try to negotiate contracts and prices wherever possible to get the most value for their money.

Alternatives to a Traditional Courthouse Wedding

For those looking for a more unique or personalized experience while still keeping the costs low, there are alternative wedding options that couples can consider beyond a traditional courthouse wedding.

One option is a city hall wedding, where couples can exchange vows at their local city hall or courthouse. City hall weddings are often more affordable than traditional weddings and provide an intimate and simple setting for the ceremony. Couples can also choose to invite a small group of family and friends to witness the ceremony.

Another alternative is an elopement, which offers more flexibility and freedom in terms of location and ceremony style. Couples can choose to elope to a scenic destination or a meaningful location and have a private and intimate ceremony. Elopements are often less expensive than traditional weddings and allow couples to focus on their commitment to each other rather than the details of a big celebration.

Planning Ahead: Factors to Consider for a Budget-Friendly Courthouse Wedding

Before embarking on planning a budget-friendly courthouse wedding, there are key factors that couples should consider to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.

1. Timeframe: Booking the courthouse in advance is essential to secure your desired date and time. Courthouses can be busy, and popular dates may book up quickly. It’s recommended to book at least a few months in advance to ensure availability.

2. Legal Requirements: Couples should review their state’s legal requirements to ensure they have all the necessary documents and paperwork ready for their wedding day. This can include obtaining a marriage license and providing proper identification.

3. Available resources: Couples should determine what resources they have available to them for their wedding. This can include any family or friends who can assist with planning or providing services, as well as any DIY options for decor or photography.

4. Guest count: Courthouse weddings are generally more intimate affairs, but couples should still have an idea of their guest count to ensure they choose an appropriate ceremony location and can properly accommodate their guests.

5. Prioritize expenses: Couples should determine what areas of their wedding are most important to them and prioritize their budget accordingly. Some couples may place more emphasis on photography, while others may prioritize the ceremony location or attire.

6. Additional expenses: Couples should consider any additional expenses that may arise, such as transportation or accommodation for out-of-town guests. These should be factored into the budget from the beginning.


A courthouse wedding can be a budget-friendly and practical option for couples who value simplicity and affordability. While the costs of a courthouse wedding may vary depending on various factors such as location, guest count, and additional services, there are ways to plan a beautiful ceremony without breaking the bank. By considering all the expenses involved and assessing their priorities, couples can make informed decisions and create a memorable experience that reflects their values and personalities.

Planning a budget-friendly courthouse wedding requires attention to detail and careful budgeting, but it can be a rewarding and satisfying process when done right. By researching the legal requirements, exploring cost-saving alternatives, and seeking advice from experienced sources, couples can organize a ceremony that meets their needs and celebrates their love.

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