Civil Wedding Ceremony: Everything You Need to Know


Do you plan your wedding party but have a tight budget? Don’t start panicking. It isn’t a big problem. There is a great solution - a civil ceremony or a courthouse wedding. Nobody says that you don’t need to spend time on planning at all. But preparations are less time-consuming and 100% more cost-effective. Are you dreaming about your great day? Make it the perfect one with the valuable tips below. 

What Is a Courthouse Wedding?

The very first thing you need to keep in mind when choosing this type of wedding ceremony is that it has nothing to do with a religious ceremony. It’s a civil ceremony with a legal official present. “Is a courthouse wedding exactly what I need?” - It’s what you need if your aim is to get an official record of your marriage. 

It’s a good solution for those who want to become green card holders or get a marriage-based visa. Before you choose this option, have a look at the main points that may matter to you. 

  • A marriage certificate is a must for you to become a resident of the USA. 
  • A marriage certificate is issued by official government agencies that are legitimate for this.
  • A marriage certificate and a marriage license are two different options. The last one is a document you need to get before the ceremony. 
  • A marriage certificate is given to a couple after the ceremony. For this, your partner and you must sign a marriage license like an application. 

Do you want to learn more about the peculiarities of the civil ceremony? Find out what steps you need to take to organize this type of wedding. 

Tips on How to Plan Your Civil Wedding for It to Run Smoothly

Here are several vital things you must remember when planning your big day. 

  • Find the location you like most. You can get married either in the state you live in or choose another location. If you prefer some other place, make sure that its requirements allow you to get married if you aren’t a resident of that place. According to the regulations in certain states, you need to get a marriage license in the city you live in. That’s why you’re highly recommended to check all the laws regarding your marriage license. 
  • Check the requirements for your marriage application. The requirements for obtaining a marriage license may vary from state to state. Standard requirements include the need to provide your ID or passport, a copy of the dissolution in case your partner or you were married before, and a payment for the license. Besides, there may be specific requirements in your state.

Another important thing to remember is that a marriage license has an expiration date. That’s why you need to plan your ceremony within the mentioned period. Usually, it is 30-90 days. 

The waiting period between getting a marriage license and your civil marriage is from one day to 6 days. It depends on the state. Remember to have sufficient time to plan your wedding ceremony the right way.

  • Find those who will be your witnesses. You may face a requirement to have two or only one witness. Your witness must be over 18. Choose people who will be your witnesses and check if you have all the necessary documents. Your partner and you must have passports, IDs, marriage certificates, and the payment for the ceremony. Besides, you may need to provide some specific documents. 
  • Plan your big day. It’s high time to think about the list of guests and your wedding attire. Think of the wedding format you like most. It can be either casual or formal. Make sure you can invite a professional photographer to take pictures of you. Not all courthouses may allow taking photos and videos. Check this beforehand.
  • Think of the wedding celebration after the ceremony. The ceremony in the courthouse won’t take more than 20-30 minutes. That’s why you need to plan your holiday that will take place after the civil ceremony. Some couples prefer to go somewhere and start enjoying their honeymoon as soon as possible, while others want to have a cool wedding party with friends. It’s up to you to choose the option that will make your big day special. 

Setting up a wedding ceremony is one of the happiest moments in every person’s life. I hope the tips above will help you to make preparations hassle-free and less time-consuming.

Last Updated 10/29/23 06:10:44AM

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