Courthouse Ceremony Or Full Wedding Ceremony?

After The Proposal

Man with ring in hand for wedding proposal

He proposed. And, you shockingly, excitedly, and tearfully looked at him and said ‘yes’. So, where do you go from there?

Should you hire a wedding planner or should you plan everything all by yourself? Or maybe you’re not even in to the ‘logistics’ of it all…

Just the other day, I had a friend ask me which would be better – a courthouse ceremony or a full wedding ceremony?

I, of course, told her that it all depends on where her mind was at and what she ultimately desired.

But, when I meditated on her question a bit further, I began to weight out the pros and cons of each.

And, with her asking me that, it made me wonder about the countless amount of other women who were probably asking themselves the same question – courthouse ceremony or full wedding ceremony?

Let’s weight them both out.

What’s A Courthouse Ceremony?

A courthouse ceremony would basically consist of having a courthouse judge or county clerk perform a quick ceremony in order to legalize your union under the law.

Both you and your fiancé would need to bring an identification card and your social security card and then pay the fee for the marriage license.

If you take a premarital class before the date of the ceremony, the clerk of court may discount the price of your marriage license and if you wanted to have a ceremony immediately after receiving the marriage license, you would have to wait 3 days before having the ceremony.

Overall, the marriage license would remain valid for 60 days once issued. So, make sure you give yourself enough time to plan prior to getting the license (check your state’s clerk of court website for information pertaining to court ceremonies in your state county).

You can decide to just hold your mini wedding ceremony right there at the courthouse between you and your future husband, some close friends, and family, and the clerk officiating the ceremony.

It’s ultimately up to you on whether or not you want to get fancied up and dress up in a beautiful gown or you can keep it casual. Totally your choice.

Full Wedding Ceremony

Now, the full wedding ceremony is exactly as it sounds – full wedding ceremony!

This ceremony would consist of inviting guests, having a venue, would more than likely be held at a church, it would have flower girls, maids of honor, best men, the first dance, etc.

But, again, that’s TOTALLY up to you and your spouse as far as how you’d like your ceremony to be. Everyone’s view and take on ‘full wedding ceremony’ varies.

The Pros and Cons

Pros of A Courthouse Ceremony

With a courthouse ceremony, you wouldn’t necessarily need to do a lot of planning. All you’d really have to do is follow the steps that your state county outlines as requirements in order for you and your spouse to get married and then that’s that (and, getting your last name changed at the social security office once it’s all said and done).

The length at which you would have to wait for you to have the ceremony done at the courthouse would, of course, be contingent on when you file to get your marriage license, the available dates and times, and also the availability and duration of the premarital class (if you and your spouse decided to do that).

Everything else (either than time and anything else such as personal issues) should be easy and smooth sailing. Plus, it saves you dollars in your pockets.

If you decide to go for the courthouse ceremony, whatever money you had that would have gone to the wedding ceremony could be used towards something else like buying a house. Again, it’s all up to you!

The Cons Of A Courthouse Ceremony

Bride’s shoes,  flowers,  and wedding dress

If you’re the type of person that wants everything to be fancy and in order, then I wouldn’t vouch for a courthouse ceremony.

I say this because the courthouse is not fancy, there will be other people there waiting with you for other services provided there at the courthouse, and there won’t be any special music, dancing, etc.

On top of that, you wouldn’t be able to choose the pastor/person that you’d like to conduct your wedding ceremony for you. Say for instance, you always wanted your church pastor to marry both you and your husband at the church house. That wouldn’t be able to happen at a courthouse ceremony (at least not where I’m located).

As far as vows, the clerk usually just proceeds with reading everything verbatim off of the wedding document that he/she has and you and hubby would just have to repeat what the clerk says to one another.

Correct me if I’m wrong: but I don’t believe that there is even time for you and your spouse to read your vows to one another while you’re there. And, this is solely because they are time-restricted (but, maybe it can happen…let me know if you were able to if you had a court ceremony).

This is not to say that you can’t make the most out of what you have. I know people who have had courthouse ceremonies and unless they told you or unless you were actually there, you would’ve thought that they had an actual full wedding ceremony just from looking at their wedding pictures.

Again, this all depends on your preferences, budget, and creativity.

The Pros Of Having A Full Wedding Ceremony

Now, if you were raised watching fairytale weddings and just envisioned your wedding day since a little girl, then I’d DEFINITELY recommend going with a full wedding ceremony!

If you love to plan and even if you don’t (because you can always hire someone to do the planning for you), then a full wedding ceremony would best fit you.

If you want to invite all of your family, friends, and loved ones, if you want to choose your own venue, have your bridesmaids doll it out with you, etc., then a full wedding ceremony tips in your favor.

Bridesmaids  before wedding

With a full wedding ceremony, there’s no limit to how your wedding can look and feel. YOU set the ambiance. You choose the location, and YOU choose who gets to be where and do what!

You can have your special pastor/person marry both you and and your soon-to-be spouse. And, you and hubby can read your special vows to one another whilst gazing in to each other’s eyes as tears trickle down your cheeks.

Y’all can dance the night away with family and friends in utter bliss! No worries, no strangers, and no fretting about time limits (that timeframe is discussed between you and the staff at the venue location prior to the ceremony).

The Cons Of A Full Wedding Ceremony

The number one thing that would fall under a con for a full wedding ceremony would be financial expenses.

Full fledge weddings can be VERY costly and is almost always something that has to be planned (well, it should be planned for).

They can definitely take a hit to your pockets. But, again, that’s your prerogative on what you’d like to do (it is YOUR big day).

In addition to that, a full wedding ceremony is not as convenient and quick as a courthouse wedding ceremony. But, again, that depends because I’ve been to some weddings that are short and to the point.

So, Which One? A Courthouse Or Full Wedding Ceremony?

The decision is ultimately between you and your soon to be spouse.

If you both feel that a courthouse would be better, then go for the courthouse ceremony.

Or, if you’ve always wanted your dream wedding and your pockets are good enough to withstand the costs, then go for that!

The important thing is that your union is solidified and blessed by YAH. At the end of the day, it’s you and your hubby that will be with each other ’til death do you part. So, make that decision together.

Married  couple on mountain overlooking ocean

I hope you enjoyed the read. Until next time! Toodles! 💜

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