If you can not afford a big wedding or if you just want to save tens of thousands of dollars then you can choose to get married at a courthouse. The ceremony will take place in front of the judge and you will be legally married, just like any other couple who chooses some other place for this big day.
How Much Does a Courthouse Wedding Cost?
The state and the city you are getting married in will greatly influence the costs of a courthouse wedding. During our research, we found that you will have to pay anywhere between $40 and $160 just for the application if you want to get married at the courthouse. Besides this fee, there is an additional charge for the civil ceremony, which would be anywhere between $25 and $50. So, if you plan to legally get married at your local courthouse, you should budget anywhere between $60 and $120.
For example, the price of a marriage license in Maricopa County of Arizona is around $85.
According to an article on the semidelicatebalance.com website, the average cost of a courthouse wedding is anywhere between $30 and $80, depending on the state where you want to get married.
If you want to get married in Montgomery County, Maryland, expect to pay around $60 for the marriage license and another $30 for the civil ceremony. In case you will need a replacement license in the future, you will have to pay another $15.
Details about getting married at a courthouse
You must present the marriage license application and a valid identification document to the clerk in order to get married at a courthouse. Also, your application must be signed by two witnesses who are older than 18. Across the United States of America, this is pretty standard. Though there is a difference regarding the age of consent as there are states that allow you to get married even if you are younger than 18 years old. But your parents have to give their consent in this situation.
There are certain days when a judge performs a wedding ceremony, so you will have to call ahead of time and make an appointment if you want to get married at a courthouse. You may have to wait for a few days, or even weeks, depending on their schedule.
The ceremony will take place in one of the court’s designated courtrooms and will last only 10 minutes on average. The procedure for this is just like for any other courthouse service. You will have to pass through security when you enter the courthouse, check-in and after that patiently wait for your number to be called.
The judge gives a short speech, you both say “Yes” and then sign in the registers. The husband signs first, after which the wife will sign with her new name.
What are the extra costs?
You can request a certified copy either in person or via mail after the marriage license has been recorded. Be prepared to pay anywhere between $15 and more than $35 for every extra copy, depending on the state guidelines.
You may want to keep these memories forever and hire a professional wedding photographer on the big day. Also, you should not forget to budget for some other things you may want to have at your wedding such as decoration, flowers, a party or a lunch/dinner. Your wedding attire is another cost you must consider.
Important things to consider
Make sure you check your city and state’s laws before applying for a marriage license. There are cities and states that may require a blood test or to be a resident for a certain period of time.
You will have to make an appointment every time. So, make sure you call a courthouse beforehand and make a reservation.
Also, it is important to know that you will need two witnesses who are at least 18 years old. Upon submission, your application has to be signed by them.
There are some courts that allow a limited number of guests you can invite to your wedding ceremony.