Tips for Hiring a Courthouse Wedding Photographer and Planning Your Private Wedding

July 15, 2022 | Morteza Safataj
Tips for Hiring a Courthouse Wedding Photographer and Planning Your Private Wedding

Big fairytale-esque weddings are not for everyone. Whether it’s because of the rising costs for weddings or simply less desire for traditionalism, many people choose intimate wedding ceremonies to make their lifelong romantic commitments. In fact, elopement is on the rise since it takes the pressure off the couples planning the “perfect” wedding that social media portrays.  

While there are significantly fewer details to decide on for an intimate wedding ceremony, there is still some planning to do. Said Yes Studios is here to provide tips on hiring an elopement or courthouse wedding photographer and other private wedding planning. 

Courthouse wedding in Houston

Houston courthouse wedding shot by wedding photographer

elopement wedding at a Houston, Texas courthouse

Why Hire a Wedding Photographer?

If one reason to not have the big wedding day ceremony is to not give in to the pressure of social media, why hire a wedding photographer at all?

A wedding photographer captures moments before, during, and after the ceremony. This means that you and your partner can see how you were feeling in those moments leading up to the first look or the ceremony itself, and every little look and detail you do include will be captured as well as the glowing expressions after the ceremony.

Also, wedding photos are not just for social media! It is a personal choice to post them at all, but they are wonderful to have to preserve precious memories. You and your sweetheart can look back on the photographs for years to come, and these photos can be shared with loved ones if they have travel restrictions or if you two decide to have a family down the line. A photo is worth a thousand words, and the stories you will be able to tell from these photos will bring people together.

signing of a marriage license in a courthouse

Courthouse weddings are intimate affairs

What You Need for a Private Wedding Ceremony

Now, what you may need for a courthouse wedding or any other kind of intimate wedding will depend on the city or state you live in. We are going to be looking at the guidelines provided by the City of Houston, so the following is to be taken as an example. 

First and foremost, you need a valid Texas marriage license, and you need to obtain this before you schedule your wedding day. You need to get the license within 90 days of your wedding date, but you also have to wait at least 72 hours after purchasing your marriage license to have your wedding ceremony. No Vegas-style weddings here, folks!

Courthouse weddings may also have restrictions on how many people you can bring. The City of Houston courts are limited to a maximum of six guests, not including the engaged couple. You should take time to consider who will be in your wedding party and think how important it is to the two of you who is there on your special day. In other words, don’t be afraid to say no to Aunt Bess, who feels like she has to have an invitation.

You also have to pay a fee for using the courthouse, just as you would for any venue, but the price is significantly less than traditional wedding venues. The Municipal Courts of Houston charges $100 for weekday ceremonies and $150 for Saturday weddings. Special holidays like Valentine’s Day will usually have higher fees too. 

elopement wedding

limited guest are allowed in the courthouse for a wedding

Other Pieces of Advice for Courthouse Weddings

Whether or not you are familiar with courthouse marriages, we’re here to help!

Pick a place to get ready. This can be the house of someone from the wedding party or a nearby hotel. We recommend somewhere you and your future spouse can be comfortable and somewhere near the courthouse so you don’t have to worry about being late to your appointment if there’s traffic. 

Expect other people. Since courthouses are open to the public, you are 100% likely to run into people who are not a part of your wedding party, and you never know what will be going on that day. You also may run into other couples getting married. 

Be flexible. This tip also goes with running into strangers, but here it applies to the room because you won’t know what you get. It may be stunning or “minimalistic.” But courthouse weddings are low-cost and low-stress for a reason.  

If your courthouse wedding is in Houston, the Historic 1910 Courthouse at 301 Fannin St. is the best venue, with its lobby rotunda on the second floor and lovely grounds outside. Our team also recommends reaching out to Judge Jay Karahan as your officiant. He is a well-known and experienced wedding officiant, having presided over more than 3,000 weddings in Houston and Texas.

the exciting moments after a wedding

Houston's courthouses provided great opportunities for photos

Say Yes to Said Yes Studios

As mentioned before, wedding photography is a great way to capture the memories of your special day, and a courthouse wedding photographer can help you and your boo feel glamorous after saving big. 

Said Yes Studios is happy to capture the moment of all weddings. For your courthouse wedding, you can contact us and share the details of what you want to include in your photography services. We can create a custom package that fits your budget and hopefully all of your desires for wedding photography to create memories that last a lifetime. 

Author Morteza Safataj
With over 12 years of experience in photography, Morteza has won numerous awards for his skilled artist efforts in lifestyle, fashion, and marketing photography. His masterful compositions and expert use of color and lights help make his pieces appear timeless while still retaining fresh and modern elements. Furthermore, Morteza has worked with a wide range of clients to execute their vision, including celebrities, models, and clothing designers.
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