Minnesota Courthouse Wedding – Tips and Photos

July 17, 2019

Elopements, Small Weddings, Wedding Stories

couple sitting on government center stairs

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

We rode the light rail that morning, taking some time for portraits in between.  We were very lucky it wasn’t a busy time, and got a full car to ourselves!  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 had a delicious meal at a small restaurant where they found a separate room and reserved it for their small reception!

It was an intimate affair, full of comfortable conversation and lots of laughs.  Later in the evening, I took Martha and Charlie to the edge of the Mississippi River to enjoy the sun setting over the water and to capture some romantic images of the newly married couple.

bride and groom kiss outside minnesota government center     bride and groom holding hands on twin cities light rail

Quick checklist 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. Contacting the county or court

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 want to be married by a judge, 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!

2. 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!

A marriage license expires after six (6) months.

3. 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.

bride and groom on twin cities light rail systemCourthouse Wedding Photos of couple going inside the courthouse

Courthouse Locations in Minneapolis and St Paul

Popular courthouse wedding locations in the Minneapolis St Paul Area are

  • Hennepin County Government center
  • Minneapolis City Hall
  • Minnesota Capitol Building
  • Family Justice Center
  • Juvenile Justice Center
  • Brookdale, Ridgedale and Southdale Regional Service
  • Scott County City Hall

bride and groom together inside couthouse

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!

guests at courthouse wedding watch the ceremony marriage ceremony at minnesota courthouse  courthouse wedding couple kissing in black and white   couple signing wedding certificate minnesota

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

Martha and Charlie had a delicious meal at  (currently closed due to Covid) , where they also stayed! It is a gem very close to St Anthony Main, which allowed us to walk around the area and take photos.

wedding dinner at alma minneapolis 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’ !


couple touch noses in front of mississippi river after courthouse wedding black and white image of couple beside mississippi riverintimate wedding portrait at sunset beside mississippi river

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, Mar and Char!  I wish you many more joy-filled years together!


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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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