How Many People Can Attend a Courthouse Wedding

A courthouse wedding, also known as a civil ceremony, is a simple and cost-effective way to tie the knot. It typically takes place in a local government building and is officiated by a judge or magistrate. Many couples choose this route to avoid the stress and expenses associated with a traditional wedding. However, one common question that arises when planning a courthouse wedding is: how many people can attend?

When it comes to planning a courthouse wedding, there are several factors to consider. From legal requirements to guest limitations, there are important details to keep in mind. In this article, we will dive into the ins and outs of courthouse weddings, including the maximum capacity for guests, tips for inviting guests, and the pros and cons of having a limited guest list.

Whether you’re considering a courthouse wedding for practical reasons or simply prefer an intimate affair, understanding the logistics of such an event is crucial. By exploring the various aspects of courthouse weddings, you can make informed decisions that will ensure your special day goes off without a hitch. So, let’s take a closer look at what exactly constitutes a courthouse wedding and what you need to know before planning one.

The Legal Requirements for Courthouse Weddings

When it comes to planning a courthouse wedding, it’s important to understand the legal requirements that may impact the number of guests you can invite. The specific regulations for courthouse weddings can vary by location, so it’s essential to check with your local courthouse for the most accurate information. In general, courthouse weddings are known for their simplicity and efficiency, but there are still certain legal requirements that must be met.

One of the most common legal requirements for a courthouse wedding is obtaining a marriage license. This typically involves completing an application and paying a fee before the marriage can take place. Additionally, some courthouses may have specific guidelines regarding the maximum number of guests allowed to attend the ceremony. It’s important to inquire about these regulations when making arrangements for your courthouse wedding.

In many cases, courthouses have limited space and seating available for guests during a wedding ceremony. As a result, they often have restrictions on how many people can attend a courthouse wedding. The maximum capacity for guests at a courthouse wedding can vary significantly from one location to another, ranging from as few as 5-10 people to as many as 50 or more. Be sure to discuss this with courthouse staff when making plans for your special day.

Legal RequirementMaximum Guest Capacity
Marriage LicenseVaries by location
Courthouse RegulationsRanges from 5-10 up to 50 or more

The Maximum Capacity for Guests at a Courthouse Wedding

When it comes to planning a courthouse wedding, one of the most important things to consider is the maximum capacity for guests at the venue. Courthouse weddings offer a simple and intimate way to tie the knot, but it’s essential to know how many people can attend to ensure you stay within the limits. While each courthouse may have different regulations, here are some general guidelines for the maximum capacity for guests at a courthouse wedding:

  • Courthouse capacity: Before sending out invitations, it’s crucial to check with the specific courthouse where you plan to get married. Some courthouses may have a limit of 10-20 guests, while others may be able to accommodate up to 50 or more. Make sure to inquire about this early in your planning process so that you can make informed decisions about your guest list.
  • Standing room vs. seating: Keep in mind that the maximum capacity may be based on standing room only or include seating for guests. If you’re hoping to have a larger guest count, consider whether the courthouse has options for additional seating arrangements.
  • COVID-19 restrictions: In light of current health and safety considerations, courthouses may have specific guidelines in place regarding the number of people allowed in the venue at one time. Be sure to inquire about any COVID-19 related restrictions that may impact your guest count.

Ultimately, understanding the maximum capacity for guests at a courthouse wedding will help you plan accordingly and ensure that you stay within the limits set by the venue. Whether you’re dreaming of an intimate gathering or a slightly larger celebration, knowing these details will allow you to make informed decisions as you plan your special day.

Tips for Inviting Guests to a Courthouse Wedding

When it comes to inviting guests to a courthouse wedding, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. While courthouse weddings are typically more intimate affairs with a limited guest list, there are still ways to include your loved ones in the celebration. Here are some tips for inviting guests to a courthouse wedding:

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1. Decide on the number of guests: The first step in inviting guests to a courthouse wedding is determining how many people you want to invite. Courthouse venues often have strict limits on the number of guests allowed, so be sure to check with the courthouse ahead of time to find out their specific policies.

2. Prioritize close family and friends: With limited space available at a courthouse wedding, it’s important to prioritize inviting your closest family members and friends. Consider creating a small list of essential guests who you cannot imagine getting married without.

3. Consider post-wedding celebrations: If you have many loved ones who are unable to attend the actual ceremony due to space constraints, consider planning a larger celebration or reception at a separate venue after the courthouse wedding. This allows you to include more people in your special day without exceeding the capacity of the courthouse venue.

Ultimately, while planning a courthouse wedding with a limited guest list may require some compromise, it can also lead to an incredibly intimate and meaningful experience for both you and your guests. By carefully considering the number of guests and finding alternative ways to celebrate with those who cannot attend the ceremony, you can create a memorable and inclusive event for all involved – no matter how many people can attend a courthouse wedding.

Pros and Cons of Having a Courthouse Wedding With a Limited Guest List

Having a courthouse wedding with a limited guest list has its pros and cons. One of the main advantages is that it can be a more intimate and personal experience. With fewer people in attendance, the couple can focus on each other and enjoy the moment without feeling overwhelmed by a large crowd. Additionally, a smaller guest list often means less stress and expense when it comes to planning the event.

On the flip side, some couples may feel that they are missing out on having all their friends and family present to witness their special day. This may lead to feelings of regret or disappointment for some individuals who had envisioned a larger celebration. Furthermore, having a limited guest list means that not everyone who is important to the couple can be there to share in their joy.

Ultimately, deciding whether to have a courthouse wedding with a limited guest list depends on the preferences and priorities of the couple. Some may value intimacy and simplicity, while others may want to include as many loved ones as possible in their celebration.

More intimate and personal experiencePotential feelings of regret or disappointment
Less stress and expense in planningNot everyone important can be present

Making the Most of a Small Courthouse Wedding Venue

When it comes to planning a small courthouse wedding, making the most of the venue is essential for creating a special and memorable experience for you and your guests. While courthouse weddings may have a limited guest count, there are still ways to enhance the charm and intimacy of the setting.

Personalize the Space

One of the benefits of a small courthouse wedding venue is the opportunity to personalize the space. Consider adding decorative elements that reflect your personalities and relationship. Whether it’s fresh flowers, photos, or meaningful items, adding personal touches to the venue can transform the space into a meaningful setting for your special day.

Consider Seating Arrangements

While courthouse weddings often have limited seating, consider how you can make the most of this by arranging chairs in a way that creates an intimate and inclusive atmosphere. Think about how to create a seating arrangement that allows all guests to feel involved in the ceremony, even with a smaller guest count.

Utilize Natural Light and Architectural Features

Courthouses often feature beautiful architectural details and ample natural light. Embrace these features by working with your photographer to capture stunning images that highlight the unique character of the venue. Additionally, consider how you can incorporate natural light into your ceremony for an ethereal and romantic ambiance.

Ultimately, while a small courthouse wedding venue may limit guest numbers, there are numerous opportunities to make the most of this intimate setting for a truly unforgettable experience. By personalizing the space, considering seating arrangements thoughtfully, and utilizing natural light and architectural features, you can create a special celebration that is meaningful for you and your guests.

Alternative Options for Celebrating With a Larger Group After the Courthouse Wedding

After the intimate ceremony at the courthouse, many couples may want to celebrate with a larger group of friends and family. Fortunately, there are several alternative options for celebrating after the courthouse wedding. One option is to have a small reception at a nearby restaurant or private event space. This allows the couple to host a larger group of guests for dinner and drinks, while still keeping the celebration relatively intimate.

Another option for celebrating with a larger group after a courthouse wedding is to host a casual gathering at a park or backyard. Couples can set up picnic tables, bring in food trucks, or even have a potluck-style meal to accommodate their guests. This informal approach allows for a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere where everyone can come together to celebrate the newlyweds.

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For those who want to have a more traditional wedding experience after their courthouse ceremony, hosting a separate reception at a later date is also an option. This gives the couple more time to plan and save up for a larger celebration with all of their loved ones in attendance. It allows for more flexibility in choosing a venue and planning out all of the details without feeling rushed.

Having an alternative celebration after the courthouse wedding can be an opportunity for couples to personalize their big day even further. Whether it’s hosting a casual outdoor gathering or planning a traditional reception down the line, there are plenty of ways to continue the celebration with those who couldn’t attend the courthouse ceremony.

Real-Life Stories

The Intimate Ceremony

One couple, Sarah and John, decided to have a small courthouse wedding with only their immediate family members present. Sarah shared that they wanted a more intimate and personal ceremony, where they could focus on the significance of their union without the distractions of a large crowd. With just 10 guests in attendance, including their parents and siblings, they were able to exchange vows in a cozy setting at the courthouse.

The Intimate Reception

On the other hand, Mark and Emily opted for a courthouse wedding with a slightly larger guest list. They invited 25 of their closest friends and family members to witness their special day at the courthouse.

After the ceremony, they hosted an intimate reception at a nearby restaurant where they were able to celebrate with their guests in a more relaxed setting. Mark expressed that although they had limitations on the number of attendees at the courthouse, they were able to make up for it by having a memorable reception afterwards.

The Virtual Celebration

Due to various constraints such as travel restrictions and health concerns, some couples have opted for virtual courthouse weddings with only the officiant and witnesses physically present. One such couple, Alex and Michael, had their nearest relatives join via video call to witness their marriage. Although it was not what they initially envisioned, they found creative ways to involve loved ones from afar in their special day.

These real-life stories demonstrate that regardless of how many people can attend a courthouse wedding, couples have found unique ways to make their ceremonies meaningful and memorable within the limits set by the venue.


In conclusion, a courthouse wedding can be a unique and intimate experience for couples looking to tie the knot in a simple and budget-friendly way. While the legal requirements for a courthouse wedding may vary by location, it’s important to research and adhere to these requirements to ensure that your marriage is legally recognized.

When it comes to the maximum capacity for guests at a courthouse wedding, this also varies depending on the specific courthouse or city regulations. Some may allow only a handful of guests, while others may have slightly larger capacities. It’s essential to check with the courthouse where you plan to get married and communicate this information clearly with your guests.

While having a limited guest list at a courthouse wedding might have its pros and cons, there are ways to make the most of the experience. For some couples, having an intimate ceremony with only their closest family and friends is exactly what they want. Others may opt for alternative options such as hosting a larger celebration or reception after the courthouse wedding.

Ultimately, regardless of how many people can attend a courthouse wedding, it’s important for couples to focus on what matters most – their commitment to each other. The love and joy shared on this special day are what truly make the occasion unforgettable. Whether you choose to have a small or large gathering, making meaningful memories is what truly counts in celebrating your love and beginning this new chapter together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Vows Do You Say at a Courthouse Wedding?

At a courthouse wedding, the vows exchanged are usually the traditional ones that include promises to love, honor, and cherish each other. However, couples can also choose to personalize their vows to reflect their unique relationship.

How Many People Can You Have at a Courthouse Wedding in NJ?

In New Jersey, the number of people allowed at a courthouse wedding can vary depending on the specific courthouse’s capacity and regulations. Generally, immediate family members and a few close friends may be permitted to attend.

How Many People Can Attend a Courthouse Wedding in NYC?

Due to the limited space in many courthouse wedding venues in New York City, the number of people allowed to attend a courthouse wedding is often restricted. Typically, this means only a small group of close family and friends can be present for the ceremony.

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