Hi all! As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, my husband and I are coming up on our three year anniversary and I think this is as good a time as any to reflect on our wedding. Our courthouse wedding. No, I wasn’t pregnant. He wasn’t joining the military, and we didn’t do it for insurance purposes. We just loved (and still love) each other, and that’s what we decided to do, for several reasons.
For as long as I can remember, my dream wedding was just my husband and I on the beach in some tropical destination. When we got engaged in November of 2013, my mother in law made it very clear that something like that would not be acceptable, so we tried to figure out a way to still do that but bring our close family along. I don’t know if any of you have ever looked into destination weddings, but they are not cheap. We were a year out of college, drowning in student loan debt, and lived in a rented house in BFE for $300 a month. We most certainly did not have the funds to pay for us and ten of our closest family members to fly to Tahiti.
Together, we talked about other options for a while, but I really didn’t want to have a stuffy church wedding, and my heart just wasn’t really into planning it since it wasn’t what I ultimately wanted. My main issue was that I am ridiculously shy and awkward and didn’t want to have a hundred people watching me. It was very challenging for me to intentionally plan subjecting myself to that, and I would get frustrated and angry. One day, in a fit of rage, I shouted “WHY DON’T WE JUST GO TO THE COURTHOUSE AND DO IT?!” And Hubby, bless his heart, said, “Okay.” And it was that easy!
We thought everyone would just croak when we told them, but it actually went over pretty well. Our parents were all satisfied since they would get to be there, which was nice. Everyone else was largely supportive said it was easy and cheap and a great choice. I did, however, have a few naysayers imply that I would regret not having a “real” wedding for the rest of my life. I’m here to tell you, I would make the same decision a hundred times over, and here’s why I think it was great:
Do you know how much it costs to get married? No, I’m not talking about the “average” of $20,000 or whatever it’s up to now that’s so often discussed. I’m talking about how much it actually costs to get married. The required cost. No? In Iowa, it’s $35. Thirty five dollars. Not $35 thousand. $35. It varies by state, but in all states, the cost to get a marriage licence, which is all you need to be married, is less than $100. From what I remember in my reading, some places will charge you to use the courthouse officiant, but ours did not. Our wedding, overall, cost $35. Here’s the receipt, which my husband kept just in case he needed to return it (har har), and which now hangs in our hallway:
You’re more focused on what’s important.
Here’s a list of things that’s not important about getting married: seating charts, fancy clothes, jewelry, flowers, save the dates, cake tastings, makeup, hair, rehearsals, music. What is important: promising to spend the rest of your life with someone that you love very deeply. Instead of worrying about all of that other stuff, Hubby and I both were just blown away by the magnitude of what was actually happening.
There are very few (or no) people watching you.
This was honestly my #1 reason. As I mentioned, I am really shy and I don’t want to have a hundred people looking at me ever, much less at such a personal moment. No thank you. We had a grand total of eleven “guests” at our wedding, and it was perfect.
You don’t have to plan it.
This would be a close second for “best reason” in my book. We had to get our marriage license and book the appointment with the courthouse. Oh, and tell our family to be there. That was it. We weren’t preparing months in advance, or spending sleepless nights addressing invitations. In short, we didn’t have to run around like chickens with our heads cut off. It was fantastic.
It’s actually great for pictures in many cases.
Most courthouses that I’ve seen are really pretty, old buildings. We didn’t take any pictures outside because it was March and freezing, but the building is neat. Inside was all natural light and old and just really unique. It was definitely different than just a church altar and a crucifix in the background. Here’s the outside…
Pretty imposing, I suppose, though it doesn’t even hold a candle to some really big city courthouses. The options are limitless!
It’s super fast.
We got married in literally less than two minutes. It took us longer to get in the courthouse with our parents, siblings, and two best friends (and get them all to sit down and stop talking) than it did to get married. Bing, bang, done. Outta there. We stayed and took some pictures for a bit, but it was seriously so quick and painless.
It’s super fun.
Since you’re not worried about everything that goes along with a traditional wedding, you can relax and actually enjoy yourselves. It wasn’t stuffy or serious, and it didn’t have to be perfect. We laughed and had a great time through the whole thing. There are fun parts to a traditional wedding, but not actually during the ceremony–it’s all saved for afterwards. We, however, got to enjoy ourselves throughout. We have tons of fun, goofy pictures. An example: here we are laughing as the officiant said “You may now kiss your bride”.
So, there you have it! Seven reasons I not only do not regret having a courthouse wedding but actually think it was one of the best decisions Hubby and I have ever made together. What do you think? Would you do it? Have you? Drop a comment below; I would love to hear from you!