How Long is a Courthouse Wedding? A Quick Guide to the Duration of Courthouse Ceremonies

Courthouse weddings have become increasingly popular in recent years, due to their simplicity and affordability. These types of weddings are usually short and sweet, lasting only a few minutes. But how long is a courthouse wedding, exactly?

According to Loud Bride, courthouse weddings last up to 10 minutes max. This includes the waiting time before the official ceremony, which is usually 30 minutes. All in all, courthouse weddings are conducted in just a few minutes. The short duration of these weddings is due to the fact that they are typically very simple affairs, with minimal decorations and no music or readings.

Despite their brevity, courthouse weddings can still be meaningful and romantic. They allow couples to focus on the most important aspect of their wedding day: their commitment to each other. Whether you’re planning a courthouse wedding or just curious about how they work, understanding their typical duration is an important first step.

Booking a Courthouse Wedding

Courthouse weddings are a popular option for couples who want a simple and affordable way to get married. Booking a courthouse wedding is a straightforward process, but there are a few things that couples should keep in mind.

The first step in booking a courthouse wedding is to determine the location. Couples can get married at any courthouse in their state, but they should choose a courthouse that is convenient for them. They should also check the courthouse’s website or call the clerk’s office to find out if they need to make an appointment or if they can just walk in.

Once the location is chosen, couples should check the courthouse’s requirements for obtaining a marriage license. In most cases, couples will need to provide identification and pay a fee. They should also find out if there are any waiting periods or other requirements that they need to fulfill before they can get married.

After obtaining the marriage license, couples should schedule the wedding ceremony with the courthouse. Some courthouses allow couples to schedule the ceremony online or over the phone, while others require couples to visit the courthouse in person to schedule the ceremony. Couples should also find out if they need to bring a witness or if the courthouse will provide one.

On the day of the wedding, couples should arrive at the courthouse early to allow time for any last-minute details. They should also dress appropriately for the occasion and bring any necessary documents or paperwork. After the ceremony, couples should make sure to obtain a copy of their marriage certificate from the courthouse.

Overall, booking a courthouse wedding is a simple and straightforward process. Couples should choose a convenient location, check the requirements for obtaining a marriage license, schedule the ceremony, and arrive prepared on the day of the wedding.

The Ceremony

A courthouse wedding ceremony is typically very simple and brief. It usually lasts around 10 to 15 minutes, but can be even shorter if there are no readings or other special elements included. Most courthouses have a specific room or area where the ceremony takes place, and it may be decorated with flowers or other simple decorations.

During the ceremony, the couple will usually stand in front of a judge or other authorized person who will officiate the wedding. The officiant will typically ask the couple to state their names and to confirm that they are entering into the marriage of their own free will. They may also be asked to exchange rings or to recite vows, but this is not always required.

After the ceremony, the couple will sign the marriage license along with the officiant and any witnesses who are present. The license will then be filed with the county clerk’s office to make the marriage official.

Legal Requirements and Paperwork

Before tying the knot at a courthouse, couples must meet certain legal requirements and complete necessary paperwork. The specific requirements vary by state and county, so it’s important to research the rules in the area where the wedding will take place.

One of the most important documents needed for a courthouse wedding is a marriage license. This legal document grants permission for the couple to get married and is typically obtained from the county clerk’s office. The cost of a marriage license varies by location and can range from $20 to $100. Couples will need to bring valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, and may need to provide other documents, such as divorce papers or a birth certificate.

It’s important to note that there may be a waiting period between obtaining the marriage license and the actual wedding ceremony. In some counties, couples must wait a few days before getting married, while in others, there may be a waiting period of up to 90 days.

In addition to the marriage license, couples may need to complete other paperwork, such as a marriage certificate or application. Some counties may also require a blood test or a premarital counseling certificate.

Overall, couples planning a courthouse wedding should be prepared to navigate the legal requirements and paperwork involved. By doing research ahead of time and ensuring all necessary documents are in order, couples can ensure a smooth and stress-free wedding day.

After the Ceremony

Once the ceremony is over, the newlyweds and their guests can head to a reception or celebration, or simply go home and relax. Depending on the couple’s preferences, they may choose to have a small gathering with close family and friends or a larger celebration with a DJ, dancing, and a catered meal.

If the couple chooses to have a reception, they may want to consider hiring a wedding planner or coordinator to help with the details. A planner can help with everything from choosing a venue to selecting a menu to arranging transportation for guests.

Even if the couple decides not to have a reception, they may still want to celebrate in some way. They could go out for a nice dinner, take a weekend trip, or simply spend time together at home. Whatever they choose to do, the important thing is that they are starting their new life together.


A courthouse wedding is a simple and cost-effective way to tie the knot. It is a perfect option for couples who want to avoid the hassle and expense of a traditional wedding. The ceremony usually lasts up to 10 minutes and does not require a long guest list.

However, it is important to keep in mind that a courthouse wedding may not be for everyone. It may lack some of the traditional elements of a wedding, such as a grand entrance or a first dance.

Additionally, the length of a courthouse wedding may vary depending on the state and the judge. Some judges may offer a brief ceremony, while others may allow couples to exchange personal vows. Couples should research their state’s laws and regulations to ensure they understand the process and requirements for getting married at a courthouse.

Overall, a courthouse wedding can be a wonderful option for couples who want a simple, intimate, and budget-friendly ceremony. With a little planning and preparation, couples can make their courthouse wedding a memorable and meaningful experience.

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