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A couple with their guests getting married at the Minneapolis Courthouse at the Hennepin Government Center


How to Get Married at the Minneapolis Courthouse

February 27, 2021

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Why Consider Getting Married At A Minneapolis Courthouse?

Courthouse weddings are great if you would like an intimate ceremony, are on a budget or a tight timeline, or even if you would like to avoid the stress of planning a larger wedding. You may even consider a small courthouse wedding if you are local to Minnesota and have a destination wedding planned to save on some logistical considerations like obtaining a marriage license or filing paperwork post-ceremony. Keep reading to learn what you need to know to get married in a Minneapolis Courthouse!

Looking for a Courthouse wedding without the Courthouse? Consider an Urban Elopement!

Here’s How To Make It Official!

Complete Premarital Counseling

You and your partner should decide if you would like to complete premarital counseling. There are so many benefits to doing so, and you can complete it with a secular or religious professional. Minnesota also provides a major financial incentive to doing so: completing 12 hours of premarital counseling will lower your marriage license fee from $115 to $40!

Get Your Marriage License & Schedule Your Ceremony

Your marriage license is good for 6 months from the day you get it. That means that you can schedule your appointment to get your license and your courthouse ceremony for the same day, if you wish! You and your partner can fill out the pre-application online before scheduling your appointment.

Hennepin County provides a list of judges who are available to perform marriage ceremonies that week, their contact information, and any special services they provide, like Spanish language or Jewish ceremonies or discounted ceremonies for active duty military and first responders. 

Get Married!

You must have at least two adult witnesses (age 16+) at your marriage ceremony. You can bring whomever you would like, or let the court know that you would like them to provide witnesses for you. 

Your chosen judge will perform your ceremony, direct you and your witnesses in signing your marriage certificate, collect their fee, and file your marriage certificate with the county for you. (An official copy of your marriage certificate will be mailed to you a few weeks after your marriage is official!)

Celebrate After The Wedding!

Celebrate your new union exactly the way you want to! Grab your photographer and explore Minneapolis while capturing the love you and your partner share, book a private room at Barrio to share drinks and a meal with family and friends, stay in a W Hotel suite for a night or two and honeymoon it, go to a show at The Dakota, the sky’s the limit!

Example Timeline

Remember, just because you choose to have a courthouse wedding doesn’t mean that your day is less special or deserves less documentation than a traditional wedding day – it’s YOUR WEDDING DAY!!

  • 12:00pm – Get ready at the Emery Hotel downtown
  • 1:30pm – First look and couples portraits; travel to Courthouse via skyway or street
  • 3:00pm – Ceremony
  • 3:30pm – Family/guest photos
  • 4:00pm – Sunset stroll and couples photos
  • 5:30pm – Dinner or celebratory meal with those closest to you (or just each other!)
  • 6:30pm – Hang and dance by a bonfire or cozy indoor fireplace (let’s be real, it’s Minnesota)

The above timeline would be great for winter, and can be easily shifted for a summer celebration!

Must-Know Details

Here are some things to know about getting married at a Minneapolis Courthouse!

What Does It Cost To Get Married At A Minneapolis Courthouse?

Marriage License: $115 (reduced to $40 with proof of 12 hours of completed marriage counseling)

Officiant Fee: Typically between $150 and $200; this will vary by judge and whether you choose a weekday or a weekend day.

Courtroom Reservation: Included in judge’s fee

Does The Ceremony Have To Take Place In A Courtroom?

Not at all! Talk to your judge about options at your chosen courthouse location. Government Center in Downtown Minneapolis has a beautiful park behind the Center and a lovely fountain in front of it that are options for your ceremony. 

A great indoor option is Minneapolis City Hall, right across the street from the Government Center!

How Many Guests Can I Have At My Ceremony?

This can vary depending on where you choose to have your ceremony.

When you choose the location you’d like to have your ceremony, ask your Justice or their Clerk how many people you can have.

Where Can My Guests Park?

There is an underground parking garage on 3rd Ave S that is specifically for the Government Center. 

If you have guests taking public transit, there are numerous bus lines that will get them within a block or two of Government Center, and both the Green and Blue Light Rail lines have a stop right in front of the building as well!

What Should We Wear for a Courthouse Wedding?

Like any other wedding, you should wear exactly what you want!

Some couples choose to have more casual wedding outfits for their courthouse weddings, like a white cocktail dress or a shirt and tie, and some choose traditional wedding attire, like a wedding gown or custom suit. Whatever you choose, make sure you feel great and get some photos!

What Does Courthouse Wedding Photography Cost With You? What is Included?

Your Courthouse wedding is YOUR WEDDING, and you deserve to celebrate that!

Packages and pricing include:

  • Unlimited assistance in planning your day
  • Wedding floral for you, the couple (i.e. bouquet & boutonniere)
  • Up to 3 hours of photo coverage
  • Sneak peek within 24 hours
  • Digital gallery & print rights
  • Final gallery delivery within 3 weeks

Interested in booking me? Contact me about your courthouse wedding plans here!

What Are Some Photo Spots Near Government Center?

So glad you asked! To start, the inside of Government Center itself has unique architecture and light! As I mentioned above, there is a fountain in front of and a park behind Government Center as well. US Bank Stadium and Orchestra Hall are each a few blocks away, and if you’re up for a little adventure, you’d be about a mile or so from the Mill District and Stone Arch Bridge for some iconic Minneapolis views! Check out Tori and Kennedy’s intimate courthouse wedding, including indoor and outdoor photos near the Government Center!

Couple and their guests arrive at the Minneapolis courthouse in a white limo to get married. Photos start with couples photos and then family.
Ceremony at the Minneapolis Courthouse with a Justice of the Peace. Ceremony is held in an open space in the Hennepin County Government Center
Couple celebrates with their guests after their Minneapolis Courthouse wedding, including a bouquet toss!

Like what you see, or want to consider a courthouse wedding, sans courthouse? I can help! Reach out and let’s get your perfect wedding day underway!

add a comment

  1. Edward says:

    This is such informative post, thanks for sharing. A lot of this information was new for me so I’m grateful that I learned the benefits of a court house wedding!

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