I'm all about ball gowns and fabulous fetes, but your wedding doesn't have to be a grand spectacle to feel special. A courthouse wedding can be just as chic and glamorous as a traditional wedding, and saying "I do" at city hall is typically less stressful and provides a couple a more intimate experience.
Last year my husband and I got married at the courthouse. We were only in America visiting family for five weeks and wanted to tie the knot there. There was no time to plan a big affair, so we kept it sweet and simple.
I wore a flowing sea green dress and carried a bouquet of yellow roses. Family dressed up and came to watch and mom-in-law snapped photos. The judge recited a poem and provided us with the most beautiful vows.
Afterward, we had cake and champagne at the house with family. Later that night, the two of us had a luxurious dinner out and spent the night in a hotel. And when we got back to our home in the Philippines we had a get together with our friends on this side of the world. It was all very simple, but exactly what we wanted.
If you're considering a courthouse wedding, whether it's for budget reasons, time constraints, or just the way you'd rather go, here are some tips on how to make it creative and personal.
|Photo by Photojenick Photography via Intimate Weddings|
Whether you plan on inviting your loved ones or not, it's nice to send out an invitation, or at least an announcement if you're eloping. You can send digital wedding invitations from places like Paperless Post, My Digital Wedding, and Wedivite. Or go the traditional route and send an invitation through the mail. Peruse through Etsy, Wedding Paper Divas, or Minted to find your perfect invite or to just get some inspiration.
Wear Your Dream Dress
Many courthouse brides wear white cocktail dresses, but if you want to deck yourself out in a full ball gown or dress up in pastel pink, go right ahead! My dress skimmed the floor and is what I like to call "boho mermaid." I wanted something semi dressy, but still casual enough to wear after the wedding day. I paired it with flat, gold sandals. It's exactly the kind of outfit I would've picked had we had a traditional ceremony. So don't skimp on your wardrobe just because you're popping down to City Hall. Take some time to find that perfect dress, accessory, and shoes.
|Photo by Rebekah J. Murray|
Every bride needs her bouquet. You can carry flowers or wildflowers or something unique to you, like a bouquet made of book pages or buttons. And if the groom's down for it, he can wear a boutonniere. You could even carry something fun, like balloons, which makes for a creative prop for the after photos.
And Speaking of Photos - Get Them!
Whether you spring for a professional photographer or hand the job over to family and friends, make sure the day is documented. Have all the moments captured, from the time you get ready to the exit. Many brides will tell you that splurging on a photographer is one of the best decisions, and since a courthouse wedding is budget-friendly, you can put more money towards a professional who will capture all the special moments.
|Photo by Coppersmith Photography via The Budget Savvy Bride|
Plan a Reception
A get-together after the wedding is the perfect way to cap off the big day. Have it in the backyard buffet style or invite guests to a sit down dinner at your favorite restaurant. You could even just have cocktails and cake. For an extra special touch, say cheers with personalized champagne glasses and cut the cake with an engraved cutter. Use them again on your anniversary.
Okay, you don't literally have to sneak away, but when it's all said and done take some time for yourselves to reflect on the day and enjoy each other's company. Stay in a hotel overnight or take a "getaway" car to a private place where you can relax and savor the moment.