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.
If a courthouse wedding is right for you, keep reading to see how to get married at the Ramsey County Courthouse!
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. I’d recommend checking out Prepare and Enrich, a program created by a native Minnesotan! 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
To apply for your marriage license you’ll need to fill out a pre-application and submit it to the Vital Record Office (the Plato Building as of June 5, 2023). 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!
Ramsey County provides a list of judges who are available to perform marriage ceremonies, their contact information, and any special services they provide, like Spanish or Hmong language or Jewish ceremonies or discounted ceremonies for active duty military and first responders.
Get Married at Saint Paul Courthouse!
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 — be sure to keep this for your records!)
Celebrate After The Wedding!
Celebrate your new union exactly the way you want to! Grab your photographer and explore Downtown Saint Paul while capturing the love you and your partner share, book a private room at W.A. Frost & Company to share drinks and a meal with family and friends, stay at the Saint Paul Hotel, go to a show at Palace Theatre, paddle board on the river, the sky is the limit!
Must Know Details for Planning a Saint Paul Courthouse Wedding
Here are some things to know about getting married at the Saint Paul Courthouse!
What Does It Cost To Get Married at the 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. There are some beautiful spots in Downtown Saint Paul to consider, like Rice Park, or along the riverfront!
***Keep in mind if you do want to get married in the actual courtroom, that you leave time to get through security before your ceremony!***
How Many Guests Can I Have At My Ceremony?
The number of guests you can have will depend on the specific courtroom you’re in or the location you have chosen. Talk to your Justice or their assistant about the number of guests you have planned to come for your ceremony so they can help you out with a great spot!
Where Can My Guests Park?
There is street parking around the Courthouse, as well as several parking ramps that your guests can park in. Be prepared to walk outside a bit or have your guests carpool on days that have events downtown!
If you have guests taking public transit, there are numerous bus lines that will get them within a block or two of the courthouse as well.
How Much Does Photography For A Courthouse Wedding Cost With You?
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
What Are Some Photo Spots Near the Saint Paul Courthouse?
So glad you asked! To start, there is a neat, Hogwarts-vibe atrium on the main floor of the Courthouse building. Outside the actual courthouse, you can head to the Wabasha Bridge, the riverfront, outside classic Saint Paul landmarks like the Capitol, Science Museum, and various theaters.
Want to learn more about how to elope in the Twin Cities? Check out my blog here!
Check out Sarah & Gary’s Saint Paul Courthouse wedding with their parents to find some inspiration for your own courthouse wedding!