Long before Carrie and Big made the courthouse wedding chic, civic centers around the country have humbly welcomed couples seeking an intimate space to say "I do." While these buildings are often ideal for no-fuss brides and grooms looking for a low-key union, these structures aren’t solely utilitarian; many can stand up to some of the grandest of event venues. From deep historical significance and awe-inspiring architecture to incredible views and immaculate landscapes, there’s a variety of wedding styles these sites are primed for.
From coast to coast, there’s likely an impressive hall of justice to suit your taste. Maybe a Seattle courthouse wedding with sweeping city views sounds like the perfect match or perhaps Cleveland’s Old Courthouse and its grand staircase is more your speed?
Read on to explore some of the most iconic wedding-friendly courthouses across the country.
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Right in the heart of downtown, the Seattle Municipal Court offers three different unique settings best suited for weekday minimonies. Of the three options, two indoor spaces feature floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic city vistas but the tenth-floor rooftop deck is a crowd favorite, offering incredible views of Puget Sound, the Olympics Mountain, and downtown Seattle. Thanks to its prime location within walking distance of Occidental Square, the stadiums, the waterfront, and the Seattle Public Library, a Seattle courthouse wedding will lend you endless opportunities for memorable wedding photos. Beyond the nearby landmarks, the area is full of artsy alleyways, charming courtyards, cozy coffee shops, and more positioning you for the perfect first look moment or post-ceremony photoshoot.
San Francisco City Hall attracts travelers from around the world as both a tourist destination and a popular spot for weddings. The courthouse is located in the heart of the city and has held various star-studded ceremonies including that of high-profile couple Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio in 1954. Couples can choose from various packages including a swift one-hour wedding on the mayor’s balcony with stunning views of the Grand Staircase, or a full evening wedding with dinner and dancing under the ornate rotunda for up to 320 guests.
It’s no surprise that in a celebrity hub like Beverly Hills this courthouse has been the choice for famous brides such as Kristen Bell and Jessica Alba, but this city hall has much more to offer than its celebrity appeal. Inside this 1932-built landmark, couples will find original terrazzo floors, marble walls, intricate ceilings, and an evolving art space known as the Municipal Gallery. Outside, the dramatic Spanish-inspired edifice is surrounded by palm-fringed gardens, dramatic archways, and romantic balconies that create a sweet and sunny post-ceremony backdrop. A few blocks away from the courthouse, you’ll find the city’s famously manicured Beverly Gardens Park where couples can continue shooting red-carpet-worthy wedding photos.
Set in the center of a charming city square, the meticulously restored Caldwell County Courthouse is characterized by a dominant mansard roof, a high central tower, and an antique Seth Thomas clock anchored by a 900-pound bell. If the Caldwell County Courthouse looks familiar, its ethereal exterior is featured prominently in several episodes of HBO’s The Leftovers starring Justin Theroux, but it’s also often referred to as the most photographed courthouse in Texas. Following a ceremony here, newlyweds can celebrate at a number of mom-and-pop restaurants around the square and take advantage of Lockhart’s world-famous BBQ
Originally constructed in 1899, this recently renovated edifice is a visual, architectural, and cultural landmark found amidst the rolling hills of Lexington’s horse country. While it’s no longer a functioning courthouse, the building was refreshed to introduce a combination of modern spaces and unique concepts to a historic locale and is now home to establishments such as Zim’s, a chef Ouita Michel restaurant, and Thirsty Fox Bourbon Bar. On the top floor, Limestone Hall is home to four event rooms featuring a neutral color palette, an on-site catering kitchen, and soundproof doors, all within a central location made for couples seeking an urban site steeped in southern charm.
A soaring three-story central court framed by marble columns, hand-carved wood trim, and stained-glass windows centered by a dramatic, curving staircase sets the stage for fairytale weddings at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. Completed in 1912, The Old Courthouse is one of the finest examples of the Beaux-Arts architecture style in Cleveland and is large enough to accommodate 300 guests—the upper balcony is ideal for a cocktail reception, after which your guests can descend the grand staircase where they will be greeted with grandeur that they won’t soon forget.
New York City Hall typically gets all the attention thanks to its Sex and The City cameo, but further upstate, a beautiful Greek Revival-style building constructed in 1858 is an important landmark and distinct part of women's history. In 1873, suffragette Susan B. Anthony was tried and found guilty at the Courthouse for voting illegally, but infamously refused to pay the fine. Couples seeking a venue with feminist roots in the Finger Lakes Region can tie the knot here and snap their first photo as newlyweds in front of the charming yellow exterior—with Anthony’s Lady Justice statue looking over from atop the building’s gold-painted cupola.
Built of granite and marble at the turn of the century, the Mitchell Courthouse was largely recognized as the grandest in America when it opened in 1900. Embellished with huge brass doors, mosaic-tiled floors, mahogany paneling, and beautifully painted murals, the structure is a picture of elegance inspired by European design. If the old walls could talk, they would share over a century’s worth of stories of high-profile trials, countless marriage ceremonies, celebrity visits, and international visitors—descendants of the building’s artisans have traveled to Baltimore from France, Italy, and Spain to glimpse the courthouse’s precious Sienna marble columns sourced from the pope’s quarry in Rome.
Arguably the most iconic of all courthouses, the Supreme Court of the United States is the ultimate place for political junkies or history buffs to form their own perfect union. It should be stated that you can’t actually host a wedding at the Supreme Court, but Washington D.C. is one of few places in the country where you can self-officiate. By checking the self officiate box on your marriage license instead of choosing to sign with an officiant, you can marry yourselves anytime, any place in the district. Head to 1 First Street, say your vows by the powers vested in you, and then stay for an epic photoshoot in front of the Marble Palace.
On the third floor of The Main Courthouse in The Palm Beaches, hundreds of Lilly Lovers have said "I do" inside the one-of-a-kind hand-painted chapel. The team behind the famed, floral-infused fashion brand Lilly Pulitzer generously donated their time and talents to create a colorful signature print to adorn the interior of this pink-hued courthouse. Inside, images of flowing palm trees, bright flowers, and shimmering seashells will surround you in true Palm Beach style. Best of all, you’ll be but a few minutes away from the beach where you can sink your toes in the sand as your Florida honeymoon begins.