Some brides have been dreaming of their wedding day since they were little girls and only a big to-do at their church or a resort will suffice. Others opt for smaller affairs with fewer guests at a local venue. Some abandon with tradition altogether and exchange vows at the courthouse.
While simple, courthouse weddings offer some major benefits. They cost substantially less than a traditional wedding, require a lot less planning and involve less time and hassle all around. In most cases, all you have to do is go to the courthouse, apply for a marriage license and set up a time to exchange vows. You don’t have to find an officiant, you don’t have to find a venue, and most importantly, you don’t have to shell out big bucks.
You can zip in and out and be married in less than 20 minutes. Although brief, there are ways you can make the ceremony special:
Dress up. You don’t have to go all out and spend thousands of dollars on formalwear. You can rent a wedding dress and tuxedo, or you can opt for something less formal, like a nice dress and suit.
Get some flowers. Pick up some bouquets and boutonnieres for the occasion. It is your big day after all, and the arrangements won’t cost a lot. You can even make them yourself from fresh or artificial flowers.
Observe some traditions. Wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Wear your hair up or a strand of pearls around your neck if that is the tradition in your family.
Invite loved ones. Choose a best man and a maid of honor to stand beside you and witness your vows. Bring your kids, parents and grandparents. Fill up what pews are available with family and friends.
Capture the memories. Hire a photographer/videographer or ask someone you know to serve as photographer/videographer. Just because you’re not having a big ceremony doesn’t mean you shouldn’t capture it on film or video. Have some shots taken before and after the event, too.
Celebrate afterwards. Go out to eat, have a little party at home or gather everyone together for a formal reception. A celebration will cost, but again, you don’t have to go all out. A simple meal with friends and family will cap off your big day nicely.
Courthouse weddings may be quick, but that doesn’t mean they have to be uneventful. Do what you can to make yours special. And if you can swing it, consider getting away for a honeymoon, even if it is just a night away at a local hotel.