Sharing tips on how a Minnesota courthouse wedding is like, as well as all the things you need to have a courthouse wedding!

Everything you need for your Minnesota Courthouse wedding to be a success!

bride and groom celebrate exit at their minnesota courthouse wedding

You really don’t need much to have a wonderful and meaningful day! When you do a Minnesota courthouse wedding, the wedding is performed by a judge who will be your officiant. You have to still complete the marriage license process and find a date that works for both parties. Just go through this quick checklist:

1. Pick a Courthouse

The most beautiful courthouse wedding locations in the Minneapolis St Paul Area are:

2. Contacting the county or court Judge Chambers

You will want to contact the court before your wedding date to find out all of the requirements that are necessary for marrying within the court. Jumping online is the main way you can find information!

If you would like to have a civil marriage ceremony in the courthouse, you must contact a judge who can perform a wedding ceremony. Minnesota does not have any Justices of the Peace.

Search or call the judge’s chambers to schedule your ceremony or see their listed numbers online.

Generally if a wedding is during the work week at a courthouse it must be before 8:00 am or after 4:30 pm, but you can also get married on a weekend at a different schedule, depending on your judge!

3. Apply For A License

You will need to fill out an application, which can currently be done online in most counties. You will need to be over 18, provide proof of identification as well! Double-check anything and everything!

To apply for a Minnesota  marriage license you are not required to be a resident! The license only allows you to marry in the state of Minnesota and it expires after six months.

4. Witnesses

The day of your wedding you will need to bring your license and at least two wedding witnesses , but you can request the court to provide them.

5. Paying The Fee

There will be a fee involved with obtaining their marriage license, but you might have the option to pay in person later. Once this is completed, you will submit it and receive your marriage license.

The Minnesota Marriage license fee is $115 .

What does a Courthouse Elopement look like?

For many couples, spending their life together is just what they want!  A big wedding might not feel like it fits their plans, or their personalities! Sometimes a courthouse wedding feels official and private and that’s what they love about it!

How to get married in the Minneapolis Courthouse?

In Minneapolis, the Hennepin County Government Center serves as the hub for  many legal proceedings, including civil marriage ceremonies.  You can choose to get married in the Government center modern building, wether is a court room or the main lobby. You can also choose to get married in the Minneapolis City Hall historic building across the street  . Conveniently connected with an underground tunnel, these choices are both a wonderful option for couples wanting a more spontaneous and intimate ceremony!

How to get married in the Hennepin County Government Center?

300 South 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55487

If you would like to get married in the Hennepin County, you must fill a pre-application online before scheduling your marriage appointment.

Finding a way to do  premarital counseling is a great option in Minnesota. Minnesota law provides for a reduced marriage license fee from $115 5o $40 when a couple completes 12 hours of premarital education.

Your marriage license is valid for 6 months from the day you receive it. You can schedule an appointment the same day you receive your marriage license or for a later day . The appointment will be with a judge from the Hennepin County Government Center.

Hennepin County has a list  of “on call” judges available for marriage ceremonies, along with their contact details, you can find it the list of judges here . Moreover, You can also request a judge if they would do your ceremony.

Judges I like at the Goverment Center in Minneapolis: Judge Wahl and Judge Gina M Brandt

Keep in mind most judges, schedule their appointments after their work day, around 4:30PM, but you can request different times depending on your judge. Also, you will most likely have to go through security to access the building (except the main lobby area) .

Hennepin County Contact Information:

List of  judges available weekly at Hennepin County: County Marriages / Website / 612-348-9962

Hennepin County Courthouse Wedding Photos

Elle and Cody were married in a beautiful and intimate ceremony at the Minneapolis Courthouse with their closest and dearest family members there to witness their union.  Their vows were sweet and simple, and I love that the courthouse had flower pens available to sign the marriage certificate!

After the ceremony, we strolled around the city taking photos of their courthouse elopement. Their guests met them later for a small celebration and dinner!

It was an intimate affair, full of comfortable conversation and lots of laughs and hugs! SEE FULL GALLERY HERE

How to get married in the Minneapolis City Hall?

350 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55415

The City Hall is an absolutely gorgeous building to have your ceremony with plenty of photo opportunities. The windows have gorgeous stained glass and the walls are made of carved Italian marble.

You can have your judge perform their courthouse ceremony at the City Hall upon request (Please note this depends on the judge! ) and there is no cost for a small ceremony with minimum guests. Since you can’t reserve the building during building hours,  I would suggest to arrive early!

You can have a small wedding at the City Hall or actually reserve the City Hall for a bigger guest list, including caterer and reception!

City Hall Wedding Information can be found at : Wedding Rentals To be married by a judge at the District Court, please call 612-348-9962 or visit Marriage Ceremonies.

If you want to have your ceremony at the City hall, you can find plenty of charming Restaurants to celebrate around Minneapolis that offer dining for smaller groups! Read about them here.

How to get married in the Ramsey County Courthouse?

15 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102

The Ramsey County Courthouse is in St Paul, this historic building is beautiful.

List of  judges available at Ramsey County: Ramsey Marriages

In Ramsey County, Marriage licenses must be requested in-person.

Marriage licenses are issued by the Department of Vital Records, located in the Plato Building . You will need to fill out a pre application and submit it to the Vital Record Office.

Plato Building: 90 Plato Blvd W, St Paul, MN 55107

Your marriage license is valid for 6 months from the day you receive it. You can schedule a marriage appointment for the same day you receive your marriage license or for a later day . The appointment will be with a judge from the Ramsey County

Ramsey County provides a list of judges who are available to perform marriage ceremonies.

Check out the photo gallery of a Ramsey County wedding.

Other courthouse Locations in Minneapolis, St Paul and surrounding Metro

Other popular courthouse wedding locations in the Minneapolis St Paul Area are

Scott County

Located in Shakopee, this building has a very classic  courthouse feeling to it and it’s a great to show you what MOST courthouses look like.

List of  judges available at Scott County: Scott County Marriages / 952-496-8432

Gallery of a Scott County wedding

Other Popular Courts

– Minnesota Capitol Building

– Family Justice Center

– Juvenile Justice Center

– Brookdale, Ridgedale and Southdale Regional Service

Anoka County

– Stillwater Courthouse

To find more courts you can use the map on this link.

Timeline of a courthouse wedding

If you are getting married at the Courthouse and do a portrait session afterwards, the portrait session will be during the golden hour, which is one to two hours before sunset ( 4:30pm – 6:30pm depending on the  time of the year)

A courthouse wedding timeline for the afternoon would look like :

3:00pm – Arrive at the courthouse

3:30 – Ceremony

4:15pm – Exit the courthouse and celebrate!

4:30pm – Travel to portrait locations

4:45pm – Portraits start

6:00pm – Approximate time to finish portraits 

8:00pm – If you are making a dinner reservations ,  I would suggest make it for 8pm !  

How to announce your courthouse elopement?

You’ll probably want to tell your friends and family about your wedding, even if they were not invited!  A court marriage is short and sweet and you can share a photo or send a postcard to everyone after it!

What Should You Wear a Courthouse Wedding?

The clothing that you and your future spouse decide to wear is totally up to you. You will want to consider that you can be very casual or very dressy, whichever you prefer. The best thing is to make sure that you both will be comfortable and feel like yourselves! Think about the moment and what it means to you, imagine saying your vows and what you will want to be wearing in your memories! This visual exercise helps to me! . Be sure that you think about these things before you make your plans so that you have everything that you need in order to make your day the very best that it can be!

Frequently asked questions about getting married at the Courthouse

Can you walk in to get a marriage and get married the same day ?

Right now only the Dakota County lists the possibility of “walk-in” marriage licenses availability in the Twin cities!

Do we have to do ceremony in a courtroom?

You can talk to your judge about the ceremony location, wether in the courtroom, or outside the courtroom.

How long do courthouse weddings last?

Most courthouse ceremonies last 10 or 15 minutes!

Do you saw vows at a courthouse wedding?

This is something you can opt – in or request to do , or you can skip this part.

Do you exchange rings at a courthouse wedding?

Same as saying your own vows, you can let the judget know you will be exchanging rings.

What happens in a courthouse wedding?

Your judge will give you an appointment time, let’s say 4:30. At this time you will meet with them at the courthouse and they will lead and your guests you to where you will have your ceremony. There is no “processional” and no formal parts of the wedding. You just pick a place, stand with your witnesses or guests and the judge will start the short ceremony. After declaring you “married” , you sign your license and be wed!

Documenting your Courthouse Elopement

Do you know the saying “Pictures or it didn’t happen”?  Taking pictures and videos is also part of the fun and enjoyment of your big day! Be sure to get your pictures done by a professional photographer with wonderful scenes inside and outside when you get married in Minnesota. It will be something that you will cherish for a very long time to come!

How to celebrate with your family after your courthouse wedding?

  • Pop up some champagne!
  • Have them wait for you outside the courthouse with a handful of biodegradable confetti!
  • Have a meal with your most special people in a small and beautiful restaurant
  • Have a backyard party

What else can you do after your courthouse wedding?

  • Take photos around the area ! In Minneapolis and St Paul you will find beautiful landmarks that work as wonderful backdrops such as The Sculpture Garden, Stone Arch Bridge and Minnehaha Falls.
  • Explore a new and inspiring area – Going for a beautiful stroll around the lake is what Martha and Charlie did on their day, and we got to snap some wonderful sunset photos.
  • Stay at your favorite hotel in the Twin Cities and have the time of your life. The Hewing Hotel has a pool in the rooftop, just sayin’ !

Photography locations for your Minneapolis wedding

  • The front of the Municipal buildings
  • The nearest plaza and park
  • Stone Arch Bridge
  • Boom Island Park
  • Nicollet Island
  • St Anthony Main
  • Northloop

There is something so special about being invited to share in this intimate occasion, and I am absolutely honored when a bride and groom choose to bring me along for such an important, personal day.

Congratulations!  I wish you many more joy-filled years together!

All of the photos reflect the love.

Laura went above and beyond to capture our wedding day. We had a few special requests, like some photos with our dog and photos of each table, and she took these in stride. We wanted the focus of the photography to be on our families, since we are rarely in one place at one time, and I feel like she succeeded in this 100% - all of the photos reflect the love and importance of family togetherness.



Laura was great and was truly invested in our whole story. We were so happy with our photos. they really captured us. We were continually impressed by her creativity and visual storytelling, her plans, and her preparedness.

jacqueline + anthony

Super creative and fun

Laura was so wonderful as the photographer for our wedding. She made us both feel so comfortable and made everything feel as natural as possible. Laura is super creative and fun to be around. She made my wedding day better and hiring her was the best decision I made for my wedding day - besides saying I do to my groom!










2024 copyright laura alpizar photography | MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55401  | WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS MPLS  UPDATED 7/13/2024