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Minnesota Courthouse Wedding – Tips and Photos

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

What does a Courthouse Wedding 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!

What the couple decided to do for their day

 They 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. 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!

bride and groom celebrate exit at their minnesota courthouse wedding

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 !  

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

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. The Hennepin County Courthouse is very beautiful and so is the Minneapolis city hall! Just go through this quick checklist:

1. Pick a Courthouse

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 .

Courthouse Locations in Minneapolis, St Paul and surrounding Metro

Popular courthouse wedding locations in the Minneapolis St Paul Area are

Hennepin County Government center

The most popular location, which is illustrated in this article.

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

Gallery of a Hennepin County wedding

Ramsey County

Located in St Paul, this historic building is pretty cool.

List of  judges available at Ramsey County: Ramsey Marriages

Gallery of a Ramsey County wedding

Minneapolis City Hall

The City Hall is an absolutely gorgeous building  full of  stained glass windows and carved Italian marble.

You can have a small wedding or a bigger guest list, including caterer and reception.

City Hall Wedding Information can be found at : City Hall Marriages.   Wether or not you can get married at the City Hall depends on your judge.

Gallery of a Minneapolis City Hall Wedding

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.

couple signing wedding certificate minnesota

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!

Documenting your memories

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!

Can you walk in to get a marriage

Right now only the Dakota County has walk in marriage license availability in the Twin cities!

How to celebrate with your family after your courthouse wedding?

  • Pop up some champagne!
  • Have a meal with your most special people in a small and beautiful restaurant
  • Have a backyard party

After their courthouse wedding, this couple celebrated at Alma restaurant

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’ !

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!

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I'M LAURA.

I document real life true love stories for the outdoor lovers, dance party initiators, and the ones who still believe in magic.

I anticipate and capture the candid moments full of emotion on your day, as well as guide you to the most natural portraits to create truly beautiful and honest images. These are the images that will become your first family treasures. 


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