Seeking Wedding Ideas for Post Court House Marriage

Updated on August 07, 2009
R.R. asks from Mountain View, WY
14 answers

Hi, my husband and I were married at the court house in October 2008. We had been engaged in March of that year and had decided to try for a baby in May in which we were successful and gave birth to our baby girl, Marley, on March 4, 2009. We had originally planned to be married in June of 2009 but decided to go to the court house before our baby was born instead. It was very informal with none of our family there. We are wanting to have a wedding ceremony and reception on June 26, 2010 for our family and close friends and I am wondering if any of you have gone this route before and how did you go about planning and hosting it?? We want it to be like a regular wedding with our lines and flower girls and everything. My dilemma is since we are already married, what do I do? Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for all your suggestions and ideas. Tammy, I really liked your idea of "Celebration of Love" and may just use that on my invites and say something like "Join us as we Celebrate our Love.." Also a baby attendant is an excellent tip. I was just going to have my MIL watch her but now I will find a trusted cousin or friend to keep an eye on her during the ceremony so my MIL can enjoy watching her youngest get married. I have planned to try to make my daughter my honorary flower girl whether or not she ends up walking down the aisle with her two cousins :)
So I am just going to plan it like it was the first time with everything and just change up the wording a little to work for our second wedding. We would like it really layed back because there wont be that stress because we are married so we were thinking of getting big ring pops to exchange instead of our real rings. It would fit our personalities and our families would love it! AND I want tons of pictures to remember it by as well, especially with my daughter. :) I was 2 when my mom married my step-dad and I love seeing all the pictures of me and my mom in our pretty dresses. It would really be special for me and my daughter to share that same experience as well.

Good luck with your planning also!! I'm sure it will turn out perfect and exactly how you want it. Let me know how it turns out :)

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

You set it up like a regular old wedding, but instead make it a vow renewal...
From there you just plan a wedding... find venue, food, entertainment ect.
Don't over think the fact that you are already married and just enjoy planning. Just because it would be a renewal doesn't change much...

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answers from Billings on

I just attended a wedding that fits your situation, however, they were not married before the wedding. (had their child and were living together, homeowners, and and the works for two years before the wedding this summer.) Everything else, just not married yet.

They did the "full-package" so to speak. Invitations, RSVPs, bridesmaids, groomsmen, their son was the ring bearer, in our church with our pastor, formal reception afterwards, dinner, cake, and so on,heck they even had a bridal shower and bachelor party even.

I guess what I am saying is: whatever you feel comfortable doing go ahead and do. Do what you feel is appropriate for your situation. (Remember, if you feel something may not be appropriate to do, then it probably is not and you should reconsider that idea.)

The "cons" I heard guests speaking about— 1) it was uncomfortable for a lot of folks to expect gifts from them when they had basically been married for a few years prior.
2) Other women were commenting that it was inappropriate for the bride to be wearing white.

Other than the cons I have mentioned everyone seemed to really enjoy the special occasion and wished them their best.



answers from Denver on

I did the same thing. We did the justice of the peace and then a year later we had a formal wedding. What you can do is a reaffirmation of your vows. We were able to find some wording on the internet and printed it on some nice paper. The person who performs your wedding signs it as well as both of you. Also, you can adjust the wording when you say your vows. If that is something that you want to do.
For the ceramony we chose to do all the traditional except we had our wedding at a park.
Hope your wedding turns out the way you picture it.



answers from Provo on

I would focus on renewing your vows. Do everything like a wedding but just change the wording slightly to something like "will you recommit to love and cherish" etc. and then answer back "I will". Then it includes all the family, they get to hear the original vows you took at the courthouse and now you can involve you little one if you'd like. You can still walk down the isle, exchange rings, and be officially presented as husband and wife. Hope this helps.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I'm doing the same thing but want to skip the "church" wedding. I am having trouble finding a venue for the ceremony and one for the reception that won't break the bank. Most of the all inclusive places charge way more than I would spend seperatly plus you have to use their caterer which in some cases is not very good. Since the marriage is already legal I don't need their pastor either. Anyone did this in a non-tacky way? Meaning had their ceremony and reception without using an all inclusive place or have the ceremony in the church. I'd love my best friend to officiate.



answers from Denver on

Hi R.- We went to the courthouse in November 2002 and welcomed our first son two months later. It was just my husband and me at the courthouse. So the following July, we had a church ceremony where we renewed our vows in front of about 50 friends & family and had our baby baptized at that time. I had my wedding dress, flowers, photographer, etc. We had our ceremony early on Saturday and a lunch reception at Maggianos, yum. We did not have a dance but it was perfect for us.



answers from Denver on

I also had a courthouse wedding, then had the big ceremony later on. You can do the same as you normally would, but whomever marries you needs to know you are already married so they can change the wording a little. It's not that big a deal, good luck and happy planning!



answers from Denver on

Hi We did the same thing since I am non-U.S.A. person. We got married in court and had wedding in U.S. at cathoric church and had reception in my country. Well, since we wanted to get married (again) at church for my husband's parents, we had to go to marriage preparation classes. Then we had normal wedding at church. Actually my husband's father, who is deacan, married us at church. There were anything different. We just have many aniversaries now. Good luck! We thought it was necessary to show people we were getting married at church and had fun!


answers from Fort Collins on

You are actually married when you sign the marriage certificate not when you say your vows. So any engaged couple that signs the paperwork before the wedding is already married at the ceremony. You do not have to change the wording and make it a "commitment ceremony" instead. You are inviting people to your wedding not to watch you get married, they are two different things. Plan your wedding however you want and enjoy it. It is your day and it does not matter that it did not come in the standard way.

Just FYI... My hubby and I went to the courthouse to get married and then he deployed a month later. We had a big wedding when he got back a year later, complete with bridal shower and bachlo/rette parties. It was actually less stressful because we were already married and there was no "coldfeet" to deal with. Being married already also gave us the choice to use someone one other than a pastor to marry us, so my brother MC'ed our ceremony and that was so much more special than having a stranger do it. The only complication we had is that we do not know which anniversary to celebrate 8- )



answers from Colorado Springs on

I'm not sure you can actually do "getting married" vows, you might need to renew them. But why can't you have your dream wedding? I'm hoping to squeeze mine in during hubby's next cycle break. Ours was a quick courthouse wedding too-hubby was leaving for an Army school in 3 days-so nobody but his sisters & some of his nieces were there.
Plan it like any other wedding-but since you're already married, there's no added stress of somebody backing out at the last minute.
I'm going to have ours at my Grandma's house, outside under a tree (the house was built before the 1850s & some of the trees are ancient too-and beautiful. I just want to do a potluck get-together like we do in our family, with the added bonus of some of my friends too. I found some very pretty wedding invites I was going to do for the very special guests-our parents, sisters & my grandmas. I lost all of my links when my computer crashed but I believe it was called "message in a bottle"-it was lavender sprigs & an invite inside a small corked bottle. Look online. That's where I got ideas for our wedding vows (we're military) & incorporating our boys.
For invites, I was going to do a bunch of different designs since I've never been able to settle on just one & print them out myself. I decided last week that I'm going to do family pictures from when we met (he had 2 little boys who are now giants) until now & the theme will be "all because 2 people fell in love".
I want easy & last-minute friendly so whoever I have in my wedding, we'll be picking wildflowers for our bouquets & I'm going to pick up a bunch of potted wildflowers flowers to throw here & there-and for people to take home with them.
I'm having my white dress & bare feet that I always wanted & you can too. Who cares that you already said vows once?
I'm not asking for gifts though, or registering, since we've already got an established household. I'm totally fine w/people bringing me presents if they want though ;)
Hope it's a beautiful day & things go perfect for you!


answers from Denver on


I am in the process of doing the exact same thing! My husband and I had a baby on March 7, 2008. We became engaged Mothers Day 08 and set a wedding date of Sept 26, 2009. We decided to get married sooner, and did on April 18, with just immediate family there.

Now I am in the middle of planning our "wedding" on Sept 26! We have a guest list of over 200. I have a wedding dress, we are having bridesmaids and groomsmen, and a large reception, catered, with a DJ and cake after. We already did the traditional vows, I'm not entirely positive what we are going to do next. I was thinking of more of reccommiting vows. We will have the entire ceremony, and pictures done. Our officiant is tweaking the wording and saying "I am proud to present Mr and Mrs" instead of "introduce Mr and Mrs". We will have the DJ do the same. There's just minor changes that need to be done, or you can just pretend that its the first time, whichever you prefer. Since no one was there, it is the first time for them! There honestly aren't any rules when it comes to weddings nowdays.

Good luck planning, and congratulations on your baby! Girls are so much fun!




answers from Denver on

We did virtually the same thing! When we discovered that we were pregnant in summer of 2007, we got married at the courthouse. Since I was planning on a simple wedding, we went ahead and scheduled it for that September. It turned out great! We even had a second reception for my husband's family in Michigan who were unable to join us here in Colorado. I don't believe that there is any dilemma at all, since I am sure that your friends and family WANT to celebrate with you. What you have had is the legal marriage; now, it is time for your religious/community ceremony! GO FOR IT!

If many of those family and friends have already given you some sort of gift to celebrate your marriage, then you should probably make it clear on the invitations that no more gifts are expected at this future ceremony.

To Chelsey,
We also did not have a "church" ceremony. I had the ceremony at a favorite spot in a local park, with a back-up room reserved in a nearby building in case of bad weather. I had a friend officiate, too. Then we had the reception at a local hotel, which had fabulous food. The table and chair linens were included, then we decorated the rest ourselves, mostly with the things that decorated the ceremony in the park. You might try some sort of arrangement like that. I've seen weddings and receptions held at picnic shelters that looked like a lot of fun, too. I'm not sure what you would consider tacky, but just try to "think outside the box" when considering venues. I picked a spot that was particularly special to me because of time spent there with my husband as we were courting.



answers from Billings on

I had two wedding ceremonies myself. We had planned to get married in May 05 after our child was born (due in Jan 05 didn't know that it was a girl until she was born). My husband's brother was going to be going to Iraq and my husband really wanted his brother there. Our first ceremony was a small family only ceremony held in a very small church we were attending with the reception held at his sister's place (luckily she can do simple wedding cakes). That ceremony was held in Nov 04 and was pulled off in about 10 days including doing the mints, flowers, and getting a simple dress for me (there wasn't time to alter the one I had bought earlier in anticipation of the wedding in the spring)

For our 2nd ceremony which was held on the date we originally planned we called it a celebration of love.
The minister just explained to everyone that we were married before but we were just making a public declaration of our vows and reaffirming our love to each other. The only sad points were not only were his one brother not in attendance due to being in Iraq his other brother and his family did not attend because he did not approve-his attitude was you are married you don't have the money (my parents were paying for most of it)you should have thought about it before you got pregnant and had to have a quick wedding. Not telling you this to get you to feel sorry for me but to warn you that there are people that have this attitude-we had before the first ceremony in the early planning stages let everyone in the family know that there would be a second ceremony later and no one had a problem with that at the time.

As far as any advice as to the ceremony I highly recommend getting photos of you with your daughter, of your husband with your daughter, and some of both of you with your daughter. I also recommend having someone you trust as a designated baby attendant and not grandma since her roll is that of mother of the bride or mother of the groom. For me I had a beloved aunt of mine and a cousin of mine who were the official baby tenders. (if you have a nice dress for her to wear have them place her in it just before the ceremony even if you do pictures before change her out really quick-trust me even if she is not a spit up child the moment you want to keep an outfit nice from photos to ceremony is when it will happen).
If your baby is going to be at the reception I would plan a bit of a lower key reception or at least for the part the baby is going to be there-if grandma wants to take her for the night and is going to leave early than crank out the party after-just be sure and do the cake cutting, first dances, ect before they leave.




answers from Cheyenne on

Congrats on everything!! I did this too because my Hubby is in the Air force and was going to be over seas for a year. so we hope a plain to Vagas and when he came back home we decated our vows aka our second wedding. I did everthing jsut like it was the real deal as for the I DO, most churchs have somthing for people decating there vows. I would start asking around and find someone that you and your hubbs like and want to work with. I am sure everthing will be great! Best of Luck hun!!

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