A Guide to Courthouse Weddings
Updated: Feb 5
Quick note: (written February 5, 2021) Most courthouses are doing things quite a bit differently these days due to the COVID pandemic. For example, in Charlotte, NC, they are currently doing courthouse weddings as well as applying for the marriage license itself by appointment only. And you must create your appointment at the courthouse before starting the marriage license application online. Be sure to check with your local courthouse to see what their most up-to-date policies and procedures are. We will update this section with new information as we obtain it.
Getting married at your local courthouse can be a simple, efficient way to tie the knot. The laws are often significantly different for every state and every county, but it always basically boils down to two items - 1. Obtain your marriage license, and 2. Meet with a magistrate and a witness (number of required witnesses different per state) to perform a quick ceremony and sign the marriage license. 3. Return the signed marriage license.
I was originally planning to list each of the state procedures for courthouse weddings, but as we started to research, I realized just how different each state can be. Luckily, there's an amazing resource available for just such a purpose: https://www.usmarriagelaws.com. This amazing site lists not only each state's marriage license requirements, but their officiant requirements, and a breakdown of each county's Courthouse Wedding options. Note: not every county or even state offers a courthouse wedding. Follow this website, and search for first your state, then your particular county, to see the requirements and options.
In Charlotte, NC, the couple are both required to be present at the Registrar of Deeds office to obtain the marriage license.. You can apply online if you want to avoid some of the paperwork at the office (http://meckrod.manatron.com/Marriage/MarriageApplication.aspx). The license can be picked up at The Register of Deeds office, 720 E 4th St #100, Charlotte, NC 28202, and costs $60. Once you’ve gotten the license, it must be used within 60 days in whatever marriage ceremony you choose. To be actually married at the Magistrate’s office in Charlotte, you have to show up at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse (right next door to the Register of Deeds office) between 2pm and 4pm on Monday or Friday. OR you can get married at the jail (801 East 4th St., Charlotte) on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm (nothing says romantic like a jail!). At either of these locations, it is first-come-first-serve basis, and you may wait in line for awhile. Also, if you show up late (the cutoff is 3:30p), you may not be seen that day. Remember, each county is different; these are just the rules for Charlotte, as of the last time I checked. We attempt to check these regularly and make sure we are always providing the most accurate information. However, it's always a good idea to check with your local county before planning your Courthouse Wedding.
Courthouse weddings are a good option for simplicity. At The Elopement Co., we want to give you the chance to capture your memories and celebrate no matter where you get married. While the Mecklenburg County courthouse does not allow inside photography (AT ALL - they are really strict about this), the grounds right outside the courthouse allow for some really great photo ops. And with our Courthouse Wedding Plus packages, we also include one other location in Charlotte, so that we can get some great images in your session at some of the great Charlotte locations. So you wanna rock a Courthouse Wedding? Let’s do it. Let’s be simple, efficient, and fun! Let’s make it look beautiful and rad at the same time.