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Bride and groom exchanging rings

Low-key Fabulous Ways to Make Your Big Day Stand Out

Wedding season hasn’t quite been the same since 2020 reared its ugly head. Whether your lavish wedding was cancelled due to the pandemic or you’re more inclined to organize a low-key affair for the big day, courthouse weddings are seeing a resurgence.

The rigmarole of wedding planning can be overwhelming at best, so there’s no surprise that the simplicity of courthouse weddings are attractive to couples who want to get through the “I dos” and just be married already. After all, isn’t the marriage the most exciting part of it all anyway?

With that said, as quick and simple as courthouse weddings can be, they can sometimes leave you feeling a sense of “was that it?” There are floral arches, breathtaking views, regal aisles, or themed décor (unless an old wooden-clad office lined with ancient books and an inch of dust is your thing).

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make the event a little more special. There are a number of things you and your partner can do to transform your quaint ceremony into something spectacular.

Benefits of a Courthouse Wedding

Less Expensive (Like, Wayyyy Less)

According to a 2017 survey, the average cost of a Canadian wedding is over 42K, with almost 88 per cent accounting for the ceremony, reception, and other expenses like flowers, entertainment, photography, and stationary.

A courthouse wedding in Canada costs less than $200.

Less Time Planning

When you cut out major time-consuming elements of wedding planning like searching for the location, booking the venue, searching for backup locations, picking themes, music, seating, programs for the ceremony – you get the picture – you’ll have less stress since the amount of time spent planning a courthouse wedding pales in comparison to a traditional wedding.

We found a study published in 2019 by The Independent, and they determined that the average time it takes to plan a modern wedding is around 528 hours.

Less Stress and Pressure

Naturally, when you spend less time and money planning an event, you feel less stress and pressure from deadlines, timelines, choices, and accommodating your needs and the needs of everyone invited.

More Intimate

You can’t cram in 150 guests into your courthouse wedding, so there’s no need to be shy when working on your invitation list and slashing through names that don’t make the cut. That’s one of the joys of having a courthouse wedding, you can surround yourself with only the people you love most.

Ways to Make Your Courthouse Wedding More Special

Getting married is special enough as it is, but if you wanted to zhuzh up your courthouse ceremony, check out these ten tips!

Go All Out on Your Dress

Just because you’re getting married in a courthouse or at city hall doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself the incredible joy of wearing a gorgeous wedding gown perfectly designed for your style and personality.

At the end of the day, the moment is about you and your partner and the love you share, so splurge on what will make you look and feel your absolute best on your last day of singlehood. There’s truly nothing better than getting ready and slipping into your dream gown, taking a twirl, and knowing you’re the most beautiful person in the world at that moment.


Pamper Yourself

Following the theme of doing whatever makes you happy on your wedding day, take a moment for some self-care. Whether that’s getting a facial, a mani-pedi, a 90 min massage, doing hot yoga, meditating, dirt biking, getting your favourite breakfast a greasy spoon, or going on a shopping spree, spend the time before your ceremony to check in with yourself and indulge.

Host a Reception

You’ve said, “I do,” you’ve signed the papers, and now you’re married. It’s time to celebrate! There’s no need to hold back on your reception. In fact, you have so many great options to commemorate this joyous event.

Throw a bash, host a party, rent a cottage, have an intimate dinner party, make it a little more formal with a venue, or even throw a “surprise, we’re married” style party.

Invite Your Favourites Only

Do you remember when MySpace was relevant, and you could pick your top ten besties to have on your wall? Think of your courthouse wedding like that.

There may be some hurt feelings, but the day is about you and your partner, no one else has a vote in how you choose to get married.

Invite your core group – the people who truly know you and want to support your exciting new endeavour. But be sure to call ahead to find out how many people you’re allowed to bring with you. Some courthouses have limits, especially due to the pandemic.

Splurge on Flowers

Bring colour, vibrance, and life to the courthouse with a flourishing bouquet adorned with your favourite blooms. Flowers are seasonal and, particularly when they’re from specialty shops, can run a bit of a bill, so call ahead, find out what their selection is and place your order for your wedding day.

Book a Stylish Ride to Whisk You Away

There’s always the tried-and-true limo or UberX, but did you know you can rent luxury vehicles and old-fashioned specialty cars for the day? You can arrive at your ceremony in style and step out of a car even James Bond would envy.

Incorporate Some of Your Own Traditions

Every family has its own set of traditions, whether they relate to the holidays, seasons, or weddings – there’s usually something you do that is unique to you and your loved ones.

Well, you can also apply these traditions to a courthouse wedding!

Take a moment to think about what is important to you and what rituals, observances, or other unique elements you want to factor into your ceremony.

Write Your Own Vows

You are two very unique people with shared life experiences, so it’s fitting to write your own vows to express your special bond.

Hire a Photographer/Videographer

Just like a traditional wedding, you’ll need someone around you to capture the magic.

And we don’t mean your bestie hosting an Instagram live stream of your nuptials.

Make it a priority to hire a photographer and videographer – oftentimes, they can do both – so you can cherish the day for years to come.

They will fall under your wedding party, so make sure you factor them into your final count for the ceremony.

Select a Gorgeous Photo Backdrop

Whether you’re posing in the park, gathering in the garden, or doing a photo shoot at home, your backdrop will make a world of difference.

Scout for the ideal location for your wedding photos or purchase/rent backdrops to host your own photo shoot. If you’ve hired a photographer, they usually have backdrops, so be sure to ask them ahead of time.

Psst – Don’t forget to have a backup location in case the weather doesn’t go in your favour!

A courthouse wedding may be completely customizable, but these ten tips can elevate your experience and allow you to represent who you are, your unique personalities, and the incredible love you have for each other.

In the end, it’s not about the things or the location. The most important part is that you’re with the love of your life, and you’re about to embark on a magical journey together. Make your memories, share love and laughter, and enjoy the ride!