How Much Does It Cost To Have A Courthouse Wedding? Unlock Affordable ‘I Dos’

Wondering how to tie the knot without breaking the bank? A courthouse wedding costs between $5 and over $100, depending on location. This article breaks down expenses, from license fees to additional options, making planning simpler.

Find out more—keep reading.

Key Takeaways

Courthouse weddings are a cheap way to get married, costing between $5 and over $100. The price changes based on where you live.

You need a marriage license to have a courthouse wedding. This can cost from $18 in places like Indiana to $93 in Arizona.

Having your wedding at the courthouse cuts down on stress and costs less money. You don’t have to pay for big venues or many guests.

Officiant fees at courthouses change by location, too. They might be between $50 and $200.

Extra costs can include things like photos, ceremony room booking, or bringing your own officiant. These add up, but are usually cheaper than traditional weddings.

Courthouse Wedding Overview

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A courthouse wedding means getting married with legal papers and a person who has the power, like a judge. It’s simple and fast. Sure, some might dream of a beach wedding in the Caribbean—sounds amazing, right? But not everyone wants that.

Courthouse weddings are for those looking for ease, less stress, and saving money. They’re official and just as special as any other way to get married.

Courthouse weddings, also known as civil ceremonies, require a few key steps before saying “I do.” First, couples must get a marriage license. This step involves showing a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.

You’ll also need to prove you’re legally allowed to marry in the U.S.—birth certificates and green cards often work for this. Some courthouses ask for more money if you skip premarital counseling.

So, it pays to be prepared.

Next up—paying the fee. Yes, every courthouse charges something for processing your marriage paperwork. The cost can change based on where you’re tying the knot. Remember, cash is king here; many places won’t take cards or checks.

Moving on from fees and legal stuff gets us into planning the actual courthouse wedding day…

Benefits of Courthouse Weddings

Courthouse weddings stand out as a smart choice for many reasons. They’re less costly and set up is quick, letting couples tie the knot without spending a fortune or waiting too long.

Just imagine saving thousands by skipping the big venue rental, lavish meals, and extensive wedding party expenses. This means you can put that money towards something else—like a honeymoon or a new home.

These ceremonies also cut down on stress. You don’t need to worry about guest lists, decorations, or entertainment. It’s all about the two of you making your marriage official in front of a justice of the peace.

Plus, getting your marriage license and scheduling with the courthouse is straightforward—you’ll know exactly what documents to bring (photo IDs) and how much it will cost upfront.

For those wanting to start their married life simply and affordably, choosing a civil ceremony at the courthouse checks all the boxes.

Courthouse Wedding Costs

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Courthouse wedding costs vary, but they’re often less than big weddings. You’ll pay for a marriage license and maybe an officiant fee… Extra items like photos or special vows add to the price.

Marriage License Fees

Marriage license fees vary widely across states and counties. They are a key part of courthouse wedding costs. Let’s break it down with specifics.

StateLowest CostHighest Cost
Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi$18$20
Florida, Kansas, Arizona$32$93

From personal experience, paying for a marriage license feels straightforward. In Indiana, I paid $18 — quite a deal. Yet, friends in Arizona shelled out nearly $93. This stark contrast shows location matters a lot.

Some courthouses add fees if couples skip premarital counseling. This bumps up the overall cost. Always check your local requirements.

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Besides the license, consider officiant fees and any extras. Each piece adds to the total.

Next, we’ll dive into officiant fees and what to expect.

Officiant Fees

Courthouses usually provide an officiant, meaning you don’t have to pay extra to find one. Even so, officiant fees do exist and they vary by location. Typically, you’ll find these fees range from $50 to $200. The cost reflects the officiant’s timeconducting the ceremony, and signing your marriage license. Here’s a quick look at what you might expect to pay, based on general trends:

Location TypeExpected Officiant Fee
Average Cost Area$50 – $100
High Cost Area$100 – $200

Officiant fees are just part of the courthouse wedding budget. Remember, some places offer more elaborate ceremonies for a higher fee. Choose based on what fits your budget and preferences. For a simple, cost-effective ceremony, courthouse weddings often hit the mark, especially with officiant fees included. Consider your local courthouse for specific fee details, as prices can fluctuate.

Extra Costs and Options

Courthouse weddings save money, but some extra costs can come up. Knowing what to expect helps you plan better. Here’s a list:

  1. Photographer: Capturing your big day is key. Courthouse steps or nearby parks make great backgrounds for wedding photos. Costs vary, but local photographers might offer short session deals just for courthouse weddings.
  2. Officiant fees: Some courthouses require you to bring your own officiant, which adds to the cost. Prices differ based on experience and demand.
  3. Ceremony room booking: For a more private feel than a quick exchange of vows at the clerk’s desk, you can book a separate ceremony room. This option costs more and prices change depending on the city.
  4. Marriage license: Before saying “I do,” you need a marriage license. Fees range across states and sometimes within counties.
  5. Extra ceremony details: Cities offer more elaborate options like one-hour ceremonies for higher fees if you want something beyond the basics.
  6. Essential documents: Don’t forget about the cost of gathering necessary items like your driver’s license or state ID, and possibly an identification card proving United States citizenship if required.
  7. Day-of extras: Small details count too, like lingerie for your wife or outfits that fit the occasion without breaking the bank.

Planning takes effort but knowing these costs upfront avoids surprises later on. Next, let’s focus on picking a courthouse location that matches your budget and style preferences.

Courthouse Wedding Locations

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Courthouse weddings vary in cost across different places. Some spots are cheap, while others ask for more money.

Most Affordable Locations

Weddings can be expensive. Yet, courthouse weddings stand out as a budget-friendly choice. Indiana, Michigan, and Mississippi offer the cheapest options for your marriage ceremony. Let’s dive into why these places help you save money.

  1. Indiana – A prime spot for those looking to tie the knot on a budget. The state keeps it simple with low marriage license fees. Here, spending less doesn’t mean you compromise on the significance of your civil wedding.
  2. Michigan follows closely with its affordable approach to nuptials. You won’t break the bank getting your marriage license here. Plus, Michigan’s efficient legal services ensure that what you need for your wedding day is both affordable and accessible.
  3. Mississippi rounds out our list of budget – friendly locations for courthouse weddings. With some of the lowest marriage license costs in the country, it’s a haven for couples wanting to celebrate their love without a hefty price tag attached.

Each state not only offers savings on marriage licenses but also allows for additional cost-cutting opportunities. Whether it’s avoiding a large venue fee or minimizing decoration expenses, choosing one of these states for your courthouse wedding means more money stays in your pocket—perfect for starting your life together without financial stress hanging over you.

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Most Expensive Locations

Courthouse weddings can hit your wallet hard in some places. Costs vary widely across the US, especially for marriage licenses. Here’s where prices soar:

  1. Florida tops the list. You’ll shell out $93 for a marriage license here. If you take a premarital course, it drops to $32, but it’s still a pinch.
  2. Kansas doesn’t hold back either, charging $85 for its license. Planning a quick ceremony in the Sunflower State means preparing for these fees.
  3. Arizona rounds out these costly spots with a $76 fee for its marriage certificate. Even with its stunning landscapes, getting hitched here requires extra budgeting.

Each location offers unique perks despite the high costs, from beautiful courthouses to streamlined services. Yet, knowing these prices upfront helps men plan their budgets better and avoid surprises during wedding planning.

Courthouse Wedding Planning

Courthouse wedding planning starts with picking a date and paying fees. You must bring your driver’s license, birth certificate, and sometimes more papers.

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Scheduling and Fees

Schedule your courthouse wedding early, as dates fill up quickly. Costs vary by location, with marriage license fees ranging from $30 to $150. Some courthouses offer premarital counseling for a lower license fee.

Always check the specific fees in your county.

Bring essential items like driver’s licenses and payment for fees on your scheduled day. My buddy forgot his wallet once, and it almost ruined the day. Fees include the cost of the marriage license and possibly an officiant fee if you choose one outside their staff.

The best man’s role is more than just holding rings; it’s making sure you’ve got everything ready for the big day.

Essential Documents and Items

Planning a courthouse wedding means keeping things simple, yet some essentials must be in your pocket before saying ‘I do.’ Marriage license fees change based on where you are, so know the cost. You’ll pay anywhere from $30 to $150. Also, if you skip premarital counseling, expect to pay more.

Here’s what men need for the big day:

  1. Marriage License – This is a must. Check the local county rules where you plan to marry. Some places ask you to wait a few days before it becomes valid.
  2. Photo ID and Birth Certificate – Bring these for proof of who you are and how old. Most places want a driver’s license or passport.
  3. Proof of End of Previous Marriages – If this isn’t your first rodeo, come prepared with divorce decrees or death certificates for former spouses.
  4. Witnesses – Some states need one or two people to witness your marriage paperwork signing.
  5. Payment Methods – Have cash or a check ready, since some offices don’t take cards.

From personal experience, double-checking what documents the courthouse needs saved me time and stress. I made sure my best man had his ID because he was my witness.

Don’t forget about small but meaningful touches if allowed:

  • Rings: Not all couples exchange these in a courthouse, but having them adds tradition.
  • Vows: Write down any special words you want to say; not all places require formal vows.

Every man walks into a courthouse wedding thinking it’s just paperwork. Yet, those essential items make it official and memorable. Be sure everything is correct and enjoy making it legal without much fuss.

FAQs About the Cost To Have a Courthouse Wedding

What’s the price of a courthouse wedding?

Courthouse weddings… they’re affordable, quick. You might spend around $50 to $100 on the license, plus extra for paperwork or ceremony fees. Prices vary by location.

Can we skip the big wedding and just do it at the courthouse?

Absolutely! A courthouse wedding simplifies things—no need for a destination wedding or a lavish bachelor party. It’s you, your partner, maybe a few witnesses… and that’s it.

Do I need an attorney for my courthouse wedding?

No lawyers needed here! Courthouse weddings are straightforward—fill out forms, pay fees, say “I do.” No law firm or attorney-client privilege concerns in sight.

How fast can we get married at the courthouse?

Quickly! Once you’ve got your marriage license—from same day to a few days wait—you can usually tie the knot right there in the courthouse. Check with local USCIS (if applicable) rules first, though; make sure all is clear.




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Chad is the co-founder of Unfinished Man, a leading men's lifestyle site. He provides straightforward advice on fashion, tech, and relationships based on his own experiences and product tests. Chad's relaxed flair makes him the site's accessible expert for savvy young professionals seeking trustworthy recommendations on living well.

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