How Much Does a Courthouse Wedding Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

A courthouse wedding, as the name states, is a ceremony that takes place at a courthouse in front of the judge.  Whether you want to save tens of thousands of dollars or you can’t afford the big wedding, a courthouse wedding can take you out of the spotlight and legally marry you, just like any other couple.

The Cork City Courthouse by ctoverdrive, on Flickr
The Cork City Courthouse” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ctoverdrive

How much does it cost to get married at the courthouse?

The costs of a courthouse wedding will really depend on the state and city you’re getting married in.   According to our research, the average courthouse wedding, just for the application alone, will cost anywhere from $30 to $150.  Aside from this application, the court may charge an additional $20 to $45 for a civil ceremony.  For most, you should budget at least $50 to $100 to legally get married at your local courthouse.

In Maricopa County of Arizona, for instance, the cost of a marriage license is $76.

JD at says the average courthouse wedding is about $25 to $75, depending on your state.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, the cost of a marriage license is $55, and it’s another $25 for the civil ceremony.  If you were to need a replacement license in the future, this could be an additional $10.

Getting married at a courthouse

In order to get married at a courthouse, you will need to present the clerk with a valid identification and the marriage license application.  You will also need two witnesses, who are at least 18 years or older, to sign your application.  This is pretty standard across the United States.  The only difference will be the age of consent.  In some states, you can get married if you’re younger than 18 years old; however, if you were to go this route, you would need your parents to sign off on it.

If you do plan on getting married at the courthouse, you will need to call the court ahead of time since they only have certain blocks and days when a judge performs a ceremony.  From there, you can schedule your wedding.  Depending on the schedule, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

The ceremony, on average, will only last 10 minutes and will take place in one of the court’s designated courtrooms.  When you enter the courthouse, you will proceed through security, check in and patiently wait for your number to call, just like any other courthouse service.

What are the extra costs?

Once a marriage license has been recorded, you can request a certified copy either via mail on in person.  Depending on the state guidelines, additional copies may cost anywhere from $10 to $30+ each.

Like a traditional wedding, you may want to hire a professional wedding photographer on the day of your wedding.  Don’t forget to budget anything else you may want to include such as the flowers, lunch/dinner afterward and/or a party.  The same can be said about your wedding attire.

Tips to know:

Before you apply for a marriage license, you will want to know your state and city’s requirements.  Some may require you to be a resident for a certain time or may require a blood test.

An appointment will always be required, so be sure to call up the courthouse ahead of time to set up an appointment.

Remember, you will need two witnesses who are older than 18.  Be sure to bring them along so they can sign your application upon submission.

Some courts may limit the number of guests you can bring.

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