Getting Married At The Courthouse
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Getting married at Chicago City Hall is the best option for many couples, and it’s a very affordable option at just $10. You may not need the work and cost of the wedding, so the City Hall ceremony will be good for you. So we’ve put together some tips for planning your Chicago City Hall (also known as marriage court) wedding.
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However, before you jump into City Hall, know that there are some big changes due to COVID-19. Read below what weddings are like at City Hall now. Due to COVID the rules change frequently so be careful!
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NOTE: The Marriage Court only makes appointments 2 months in advance. For the most up-to-date information on Town Hall ceremonies, call the Marriage Court at (312) 603-5660.
Marriage appointments are made by calling and leaving a message with the scheduled date, and someone from the marriage court calls back to confirm. However, the marriage court returns calls from an international number; therefore, you will not be able to schedule an appointment.
For another way to plan your trip to Chicago, check out SIMPLY WED, a special package for international couples looking to get married in Chicago.
To get married in Cook County (where Chicago is located), you must obtain your marriage license from the Cook County Clerk’s office. The cost of a marriage license is $60.
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A marriage license is valid for 60 days and you must get your license in the city where you plan to get married.
If you plan to get married at one of the Chicago-area venues, check their website for instructions, fees, and policies. County guidelines for marriage courts vary greatly, so definitely check the county where you plan to get married!
Only four people are allowed in the marriage court for your ceremony. This includes your photographer! The ceremony rooms are small, so you will get the best photos if you only have your own photographer.
If more people join you, they won’t be allowed in the waiting room, so the best thing to do is invite your friends and family to join you elsewhere.
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You can enter from any entrance of the Marriage Court. The closest entrance to the lower level, where the Marriage Court is located, is 119 W Randolph, directly across from the old Thompson Center.
NOTE: If you received your permit at the Chicago Daley Center, this is not the same building. The Matrimonial Court is across the street.
And don’t forget it! You must bring your marriage license, valid identification for each of you, and a $10 fee for your ceremony. And if you plan on exchanging rings, remember those too!
There is no mask present in the Marriage Court. However, it is recommended that you bring a mask, if you request to wear one.
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Wedding ceremonies are held in the lower level of the City Hall and last 3-5 minutes. Don’t think you have to plan something to say to each other during the ceremony. But if you want to write a few short words to make your own ceremony, remember to tell the judge before you start.
Also, especially since your friends and family won’t be able to witness your ceremony, don’t forget to hire a photographer to capture the moment! There are no photographers there to capture your last-minute date, so if this is something you want to do, be sure to book a photographer in advance (more on that below).
Hiring a professional photographer for your City Hall wedding can take your wedding day to the next level. Not only do you have someone with you to capture all the great moments of the day (it goes by so fast!), but someone with Chicago breakout experience will be with you throughout the day.
I can’t tell you how many couples who have joined me are grateful to have me there, not only to give them special pre-date tips and advice, but also to show them the best photo spots. Really, all you have to do is show up with your license, ID, rings, and cash, and I can help guide you with others!
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Also, a photographer can help you organize your day. If you like the city of Chicago, be sure to include places like where you got engaged, where you live, where you like to go as a couple. If you’re willing to take an Uber, there are plenty of great places in the city to take photos, plus other places where other people take their wedding photos.
I love elopements and small weddings, it’s all I do! I specialize in these weddings and I love working with couples to make their day special and personal.
If you’re looking for an alternative city for a small Chicago wedding or elopement, contact Lisa Kathan Photography.
City Hall, Courthouse, Curator – Photography, Downtown, Elopement, Small Wedding, Wedding Wings, Micro Wedding, Tips & TricksLisa Kathan Courthouse marriage is very popular with some couples. The court wedding for the military, in particular, is beautiful today. With Deployment Schedules or PCS, it is only possible for some military spouses to get married in the Justice of the Peace.
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1) Cool Photos – Most of the wedding courts are in the city. Most of the townhouses are in the heart of the city. This means you’ll have some pretty cool photos of the city on your wedding day (as seen in photos taken here by Amy Hutchinson Photography).
2) Financially friendly – this is usually the first reason for the court wedding ceremony. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is close to $30,000. Oh! Court wedding fees range from $25 to $75, depending on your state.
3) Intimate Setting: Maybe you or your fiancé are shy. You don’t want 200 eyes looking at you as you walk down the aisle, say your vows, or dance. That’s right. A small wedding means you don’t have to deal with the “show” of the wedding. Speaking of small weddings…
4) Less Stress – There’s less stress when you’re not packing a place with hundreds of family and friends. You don’t have to worry about enough seats, wedding favors, cards, or anything like that.
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5) Shorter Engagements: You’ve met the one, so why wait? Why wait for a spot to open up MONTHS or YEARS in line? If you agree that this is one for the rest of your life, you shouldn’t wait another day.
6) No time limit – I’ve always had a wedding, and the first thing the person in charge sent me was “Schedule”. It’s like going to school again. I have spent more time eating, more time taking photos, etc. With a court wedding, you’re in, you’re out, and then you’re free to do whatever you want.
7) Main Content – I admit it, images of beautiful place cards or centerpieces can be good. However, with a courthouse wedding, the photographer has one thing to focus on and that is you and your new spouse. You don’t have to waste time taking photos of the guests or waiting for the aunt to be in the family photo. You have many photos of the two of you as a couple.
8) Focus on love – Don’t use flowers, a DJ or fancy centerpieces to take center stage, it’s your love. And that’s an amazing thing.
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My name is J.D. A lot has happened in my life in just a few years. I like to write about things that are important to me. I write about the everyday challenges of being a working mom and being a military wife. I am inspired by my family, my friends and the fun that I can follow.
Subscribe to receive my latest and best posts! I promise not to abuse your inbox or sell your information. That is just rude. The circuit court office is currently not a wedding. Check out our Best Elopement Spots in Memphis, Tennessee blog post for other great intimate wedding venue ideas, as well as our recommendations for a great one-on-one!
We have couples who go to the courthouse or a place nearby and then go there to take photos because they love the place and want to take the photos there.
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One of our AMAZING couples who got married in a Memphis courthouse shared lots of great ideas in a recent Instagram post of hers, I
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