Do You Need Rings for a Courthouse Wedding? The Complete Guide

The allure of a courthouse wedding lies in its simplicity and intimacy and midst of the anticipation of exchanging vows in a courthouse setting, a common question arises: “Do you need rings for a courthouse wedding?”

It’s a choice made by couples who prioritize the essence of their love over the extravagance of a grand ceremony.

Join us on a journey where we delve into the significance of rings in weddings, explore the tradition, and consider the alternatives that make a courthouse wedding uniquely personal and meaningful.

Whether you’re planning a courthouse wedding or simply curious about the role of rings in this setting, let’s uncover the choices and sentiments that define this heartfelt celebration of love.

Overview of Courthouse Weddings

Courthouse weddings are a convenient, low-cost way to get married. Most courthouses provide a judge or officiant to perform the ceremony and handle the marriage license paperwork. The ceremony itself is brief, lasting only 10-15 minutes in most cases. While courthouse weddings don’t usually involve elaborate decor or attire, you can still exchange rings and vows to make it special.

Are Rings Required for a Courthouse Wedding Ceremony?

Rings Courthouse Wedding Ceremony

Photo: Canva

The short answer is no – rings are not required to make your courthouse wedding official. The legal requirements are simply the marriage license, an officiant, and witnesses. However, many couples still choose to exchange rings during the ceremony as a symbol of their commitment.

Some courthouses even have a small selection of affordable rings you can purchase on the spot. But you can use any rings that have significance for you, such as family heirlooms. The most important part is what the rings symbolize in your relationship. You don’t need fancy rings for the courthouse ceremony to be meaningful.

Exchanging vows and rings is a special moment you’ll remember forever. If rings are an important tradition for you, don’t feel like you have to omit that part just because you’re having a simple courthouse wedding. Focus on what will make the ceremony meaningful to you as a couple.

Reasons Rings May Be Optional for a Courthouse Wedding

Even though rings are not legally required, here are some reasons couples may opt out of exchanging rings for their courthouse wedding:

Cost: Courthouse weddings are often chosen for being a budget-friendly option. Couples may decide to skip the extra expense of wedding rings.

Simplicity: Some couples prefer to keep the courthouse wedding as simple as possible without any extra symbols or traditions.

Timing: The wedding may be rushed or last-minute so there wasn’t time to shop for rings beforehand.

Privacy: For couples trying to keep the wedding quiet, wearing rings afterward could lead to unwanted questions and attention.

Style: The couple may simply not be ring-wearers and prefer a different symbol like tattoos or none at all.

While rings have a special significance for many, the most important thing is that the courthouse ceremony reflects what’s meaningful to you as a couple. There’s no right or wrong way to get married!

Considerations for Choosing Rings or Not for a Courthouse Wedding

Deciding whether to exchange rings for your courthouse wedding comes down to personal preference. Here are some things to think about as you make the choice:

Traditions: Do wedding rings hold significance for you, or are you less concerned with traditions? There’s no right or wrong here.

Budget: Rings can be a big additional expense. Make sure this fits within your overall wedding budget.

Style: Consider your personal styles and if you would enjoy wearing wedding rings. Don’t feel obligated either way.

Practicality: Factors like work conditions may make wearing rings difficult or unsafe.

Privacy: Will wearing rings raise unwanted questions about your marital status?

Alternatives: Some couples opt for tattoos, necklaces, or other symbols instead of rings.

Legalities: Be aware of any legal considerations around owning a shared property like rings.

Resale value: Rings can usually be resold, so they aren’t a totally sunk cost.

Talk it through and do what feels right for you. The most important thing is commemorating your love, not following expectations.

Tips for Selecting Rings for a Courthouse Wedding

If you decide to exchange rings for your courthouse wedding, here are some helpful tips on choosing the perfect ones:

  • Shop together and select styles you both like. This is something you’ll wear every day, so make sure you love it.
  • Consider non-traditional metals like tungsten, titanium, or silicone if you have an active lifestyles.
  • Engrave the inside with your wedding date or a special phrase to add sentimental value.
  • Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune. There are affordable options at jewelry stores or even online.
  • Resist pressure from others who think you need a certain size diamond or metal type. Do what’s meaningful for you.
  • If heirloom rings are available, those can be a nice way to honor family.
  • Make sure the size is right. You can get resizeable bands or silicone adjusters for a better fit.
  • Consider plain bands if your job or hobbies make wearing a flashy ring impractical.
  • Go for unique carved, inlaid, or tattoo-style designs if you want something different.

Focus on finding wedding rings that reflect your style as a couple. The courthouse ceremony is all about making it official in your own special way.

How to Have a Meaningful Ring Exchange at a Courthouse Wedding

Exchanging rings can be a special moment during your courthouse wedding. Here are some ideas to make it more meaningful:

  • Write your own vows to say as you place the ring on your partner’s finger. Share from the heart.
  • Pick a ring placement tradition like placing it first on the thumb with a kiss, then on the index finger, and so on until the ring finger.
  • Face each other and slip the rings on at the same time while looking into each other’s eyes.
  • Ask the officiant to share a short reading or blessing as you exchange the rings.
  • Hold hands during the ring exchange and don’t let go afterward to symbolize your unbroken bond.
  • Exchange your rings right after saying “I do” to emphasize their significance.
  • If family rings are used, share their history and meaning before exchanging them.
  • Engrave your wedding location and date inside the rings to mark the special day.
  • Kiss your rings together after placing them on each other’s fingers.
  • Exchange heartfelt, personal vows you wrote as you give the rings.

With thoughtful planning, exchanging rings can be a memorable moment in your courthouse wedding ceremony.

Creative Ring Alternatives for a Courthouse Wedding

Rings are a tradition, but not required for a courthouse wedding. If you want to exchange something meaningful without traditional bands, consider these creative ideas:

Engraved wood rings – nature-inspired and eco-friendly.

Tattoo wedding bands – permanent body art symbolizing your bond.

Beaded rings – customizable with colors and patterns symbolic to you.

Braided leather rings – handmade and bohemian styled.

Ceramic rings – sculpted into unique shapes with various textures.

Metallic rings – titanium, tungsten, stainless steel for durability.

Gemstone rings – birthstones, diamonds, or other sparkling stones.

Fingerprint rings – etched with your unique fingerprint patterns.

Puzzle rings – pieced together like your lives now joined.

Handfasting cord – not a ring, but a Celtic tradition of binding hands.

A courthouse wedding opens up lots of possibilities for ring alternatives. Choose something meaningful to you as a couple to exchange during your ceremony.

Advice for Celebrating Your Courthouse Wedding Without Rings

Getting married at the courthouse without exchanging rings? You can still celebrate your union in meaningful ways:

Focus on your vows – the words you say to each other carry more weight than any ring could.

Display your signed marriage certificate – frame this important document as a symbol of your commitment.

Take portraits – capture your joy with professional wedding photos together.

Exchange gifts – find thoughtful personalized presents with significance.

Write love letters – pour your emotions into handwritten notes to each other.

Create a memory box – filled with mementos like tickets, photos, and more from your wedding day.

Have a first dance – even if just the two of you, sway to a special song.

Make a toast – pop a bottle of champagne and make a wish for your future.

Get inked – mark the occasion by getting matching tattoo wedding bands.

Splurge on a mini-moon – plan a romantic overnight getaway trip together.

A courthouse wedding without rings can still be momentous. Discover other personalized ways to commemorate your marriage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should a bride wear to a courthouse wedding?

A bride can wear anything from a simple dress to a full wedding gown for a courthouse wedding. Most brides opt for a nice dress or pantsuit. Choose something that reflects your style and makes you feel confident.

How do I get married at the courthouse in TN?

In Tennessee, you need to apply for a marriage license at the county clerk’s office, and then schedule a civil ceremony with the county. You’ll need to provide your ID and your marriage license at the ceremony.

How much does it cost to get married at the courthouse in Arizona?

It costs around $76 to get married at the courthouse in Arizona. This covers the marriage license fee. You may have to pay additional costs for copies of the license or other services.

Are wedding rings legally required?

No, there is no legal requirement to exchange rings. The marriage license and ceremony make the marriage valid.

What if we want to use rings later?

You can exchange rings later anytime you want in a special ceremony.

Do we need a marriage license?

Yes, you need to obtain a marriage license before the ceremony to make it legally binding.


Courthouse weddings provide a simple, affordable option for couples looking to make their union official. While you don’t need to follow all the traditional wedding customs, some symbolic gestures like exchanging rings can add meaning. Overall, focus on what will make you and your partner happiest on your special day. And remember, you don’t need rings for a courthouse wedding if you’d prefer to skip that tradition.

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