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How to choose a wedding ceremony site

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While many reception venues have optional space to hold your ceremony, for a number of reasons you may still want to opt for a different ceremony site. In this article, we list some of the most popular ceremony sites, as well as to talk about some pros and cons of class of sites.

Courthouse weddings

Courthouses are generally a good option for couples seeking a fast, easy and fairly affordable (provided the couple is married at the courthouse on a weekday during business hours) ceremony. In this case, the total cost of the ceremony would be around $60 and would likely not take longer than 20-30 minutes from start to finish. Note that the cost does rise to $250+ for the ceremonies held on weekends.

Benefits of getting married at the courthouse

One benefit of being married at a courthouse is that, compared to other options, you can be assured that all the paperwork is completed correctly, and your officiant is far less likely to forget to mail the paperwork in before the deadline. In addition, since the judge or justice most likely has a lot of experience with performing marriage ceremonies, there is less likelihood that something may go wrong (such as the officiant forgetting the script or mixing something up).

Also, because the judge followings the standard script, the bride and groom do not need to spend time helping create the script or writing their own vows (as is generally the case if the couple's officiant is their newly ordained friend performing the ceremony for the first time in their life).

Disadvantages of having a wedding at the courthouse

First, having your wedding ceremony at a courthouse can be a less than romantic experience. For one, courthouses are rarely decorated with flowers and aisle runners or equipped with audio systems to play Mendelssohn's wedding march.

Secondly, as you arrive, aside from your wedding party, the courthouse will be filled with lawyers, courthouse workers, people submitting claims, individuals disputing tickets and other shady personalities who will be lining the hallways and bustling around as you make your way to the courtroom where your ceremony is to be held.

Finally, it's possible that the judge performing the ceremony will ask the bride and groom and their witnesses to step out into a different room (judge's chambers) to sign the legal paperwork while the rest of the wedding party and guests silently await for their return.

Summary: weddings in a courthouse

Pros: easy, no planning required, fast, cheap for ceremonies performed on weekends, experienced officiant

Cons: not very romantic atmosphere, standard boring script, expensive for weekend ceremonies





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