5 reasons to have a courthouse wedding

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Bride and Groom smiling, at each other.

By: Woman Getting Married

A wedding is about celebrating you and your future spouse, which can make throwing an extravagant reception seem overwhelming not only for your schedule, but your wallet as well. If you're simply not the big wedding type or you'd rather save yourself (or your parents) the big expense, a courthouse wedding may be exactly what you're looking for. And just because you're choosing the courthouse doesn't mean you can't still have the flowers, the dress and the shoes. You can still enjoy the same traditions in an intimate setting where the true focus is really you and yours. So if you're newly engaged but not totally interested in the large wedding and all it entails, consider these reasons to having a City Hall wedding.

An Intimate Affair
The planning hurdles you encounter with a large wedding can sometimes make a couple lose focus of the reason you are throwing that great big party in the first place. Worried you'll have too many guests? What about too few guests? Having a courthouse wedding means you may only need one witness at hand, and you can still invite your closest family and friends to attend (just make sure to check the witness requirements and guest allowance, which vary by state). A courthouse wedding affords you an intimate ceremony with only those people who truly matter. Forget about those random friends who you would have otherwise "had" to invite.

"No Rules" Party
Getting married at the courthouse means you have the ultimate freedom to throw away the rules. There's hardly a checklist–just make sure you have your witnesses and identification. All other components are simply optional. Without hundreds of eyes on you, you're free to ditch conventional guidelines. Never thought of wearing a wedding dress? No problem! Come in denim. It's your wedding, these are your rules. Even though it's a courthouse, they'll be no one there to judge your decisions!

The Budget Friendly Wedding
If you have a specific budget in mind, a courthouse wedding should be on your list. Courthouse ceremonies will provide you with a cost-efficient venue where the fee can be as little as $25, and you can still bring in all the extras that will make the day feel special. After the ceremony, take the party back to your home for a cookout. Or perhaps choose a nearby restaurant, where because of the limited guest count, the bill won't be as high.

A Venue with Character
Finding yourself searching for the perfect wedding venue, but that amazing museum or historical landmark will cost a fortune? Consider none other than City Hall! In many cities, the City Hall building is anchored in the historical district and the walls are adorned in character. Those vaulted ceilings? Check. Plus, you're not only limited to your city's own courthouse. Consider a quick jaunt to a nearby town that may have that rustic feel you're after. Or consider hauling you and your husband (and guests) to a courthouse across the country, such as San Francisco or New York, where the architecture is dramatically beautiful and the pictures will be timeless. Just remember to plan in advance: Each state has different requirements between applying for your marriage license and having the ceremony.

At Your Leisure
Depending on your state, you may not be able to make reservations for your wedding ceremony. This means you can show up at your leisure whenever you're ready to do the thing! And, if it's just you and your husband, and the weather calls for rain, you can go the next day. While waiting, take a moment to enjoy the happiness of other couples who are there to do the same very thing. When we went to City Hall to get our marriage license, we saw so many couples waiting for their turn to make it official. Since we live in NY, there were many culturally diverse ceremonies and it's quite an interesting part of the process. The common thread, definitely love. A lot of it. The best part is, you're not on anyone's time but your own. Arrive when you can (as long as they're not about to close the doors), and kick back, relax and wait to say, "I do."

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