Friday, July 16, 2010

How to do a courthouse wedding properly.

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I was inspired by my brother and his fiancĂ© writing this piece. Sometimes a courthouse wedding is preferred because of it’s quick, low key appeal and sometimes it’s draw is the miniscule budget needed. Whatever the case, I think that a small courthouse wedding can be delightful when approached in the right way. Now I am not saying that you can’t have a long and wonderful marriage if you wear jeans to the ceremony... but... I do believe that one day you will regret it... When it’s time to bust out photos of grandma on her wedding day and she’s in holy jeans. Ew. Major Ew. That screams grandma was a tramp.

My 3 must haves:

1. adorable, retro style outfits.

2. a professional or semi-professional photographer.

3. a small “reception” after the ceremony.


Okay, since fashion trumps all. I expect, for courthouse wedding, to have a very retro/vintage feel. You absolutely do not need to spend a ton of money on this. Search etsy, vintage stores, urban outfitters, etc. These place will offer looks that don’t cost a fortune, but give you that bridal oomph. A pair of vintage t-strap or peep-toe pumps would work perfectly. And lastly I think the best accessory would be a small net veil. it doesn’t even have to cover your face, but man will it make a statement. Etsy is absolutely the best place to find cheap handmade net veils, for reals!!! Depending on the time of year your man can be in a nice suit with a white shirt unbuttoned a bit... very rat pack. Or I even think a pair of chic trousers with a well-tailored button up, sleeves rolled up, nice dress shoes, and a fedora... YUMMY!!! These photos wouldn’t say anything but, “my grandparents were cool as hell!!!” Just be flexible with what you want. When you start wanting very specific things you end up paying dearly for them. courthouse.003

Now, I’m not saying spend thousands of dollars on a photographer, but if you don’t have some awesome pictures you will deeply regret it. Maybe not right after, maybe not 5-10 years after, but someday you will wish you had something better than a crappy pic some random passerby took or even worse, your mother. So, here are a few of my tips. When looking for a photographer, focus on young photags, who are just getting started. Photography majors, awesome! They will have a very similar skill set, just not as developed. Make sure and see previous photos before committing. Also, if you have a family friend who takes ah-mazing photos, ask them to shoot the wedding!?! Budget saver, plus their time and talent can be their gift to you. If you can find a professional with decent prices who’s willing to work with your budget, rock on! You will be getting married on a weekday, which usually reduces charges, as they are not as popular as Saturday. Since you will be having your ceremony during work suggestion is to try and book the last scheduled time on a Friday. Have your photographer show up right before the ceremony, no need to pay them for “getting ready shots” that frees up more time for the party after. If possible, look for a photographer that will give you the rights to your shots, because as much as I love professional photographers they charge a pretty penny to develop photos. Check out mpix for the best quality prints I have ever seen from an online site. Also, this is a budget tip for ANYONE... having your photographer make you an album is a huge waste of money. I’m gonna get in trouble for that one, but I swear it’s true. You can make the chicest albums at and they are super cheap, like under 70 bucks.  

The party shouldn’t be anything too serious. Rent out a small mexican restaurant, have it at your home if space allows, an obliging barn or an old warehouse with entertaining space. If you are in Savannah have it on a square!!! If you opt to forgo catering, you can have it potluck style. In lieu of gifts, have everyone bring a prepared dish! If you wanna get fancy, have a place for the name of their dish on the RSVP and then make cheapo easy tags for them. If your venue allows or if it’s at your home, go to a Wholesale club and buy wine and beer at fantastic discount. If the budget allows, I would still bring in a day of planner. Someone to set up tables, break them down, and general organizing.  Since most of your decor should be DIY it would be nice to just drop it all off with a planner then enjoy your day without stress. Try to avoid spaces where it’s necessary for you to rent a ton of tables/chairs/linens. As far as “decor, there are things you can buy that are so cheap that look ah-mazing when grouped the right way... or if you have enough. Think white candles... boring right!? Wrong! Not if they are everywhere!!! Candlelight is so warm and inviting. If you think you can’t have flowers you are so wrong. DIY is the way to go!!! Find a local florist who sells at your nearby farmer’s market. They will be able to tell you what’s in season, what’s cheap and sell it to you for less than a florist shop. Invest in a few spools of decorative ribbon at a craft store and you are in business. You should be able to pick them up the day before, wrap them, and keep them in water in the fridge until it’s time. Bam! Flowers!!!

So as you can see, there are so many options for you to have an ah-mazing courthouse wedding!! It’s possible to spend very little money and still have a brilliant wedding. Don’t feel like you have to settle when having a low budget ceremony!!! If you have any questions?! Or have some more DIY tips please comment and let me know!!!!

**All of the pieces pictured can be found at Urban Outfitters,, Forever21, or Nordstrom. Please comment for more information!!!!

Until we meet again, stay bridal and don’t skimp on your courthouse wedding. If you wear jeans I will judge you.



  1. I love this! How do you feel about the "reception" dress? Is it okay to wear another white dress? I was considering a courthouse-appropriate white dress and then another white dress that would be appropriate for the reception (the following day). Thoughts?


  2. The Savannah Wedding PlannerAugust 17, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    It is your wedding day! If you want to wear white..we say go for it! But have fun with it!

  3. Where is the last little belted dress pictured from? Adorable!