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  • Rev. Brandon Rich

Courthouse Elopements

Many couples want a courthouse elopement, in short, the simplest type of elopement that a couple can have. Just as the name implies, this is the type of elopement where the happy couple plans to go to the courthouse, not just to get their marriage license, but also to get married. In previous times, that was a popular option, but in recent years, many jurisdictions have stopped offering this type of service.

The first thing a couple needs to do is research on getting a marriage license in the city and state where they want to elope to find out the local procedure. When a couple gets married in the U.S., they need to follow the laws and procedures of the place where they plan to marry, not where they live. For example, if a couple from Ohio wants to elope in Tennessee, they must get a Tennessee marriage license. They can’t bring one from Ohio. The same applies for couples from any other U.S. state, territory or foreign country. Even if you want to elope in your own hometown, you still have to make sure you meet all the identification requirements and have all the paperwork that the clerk needs before they can issue a marriage license. You have to plan!

The second thing an eloping couple needs to do is to check with the local clerk in the city where they plan to elope and find out if they offer officiating services by staff in their office or by a judge or some other civil official. If they don’t (in 2022, they probably don’t), the next step is looking for elopement packages in the city where you want to elope. Most officiants and elopement venues need some advance notice. Few places offer walk-in service for elopements. Couples – you need to do your homework and make an appointment. This is also where it makes sense to look for elopement packages at venues that specialize in elopements. You may be able to walk in to a clerk and get your marriage license without an appointment, but probably won’t be able to find a venue and officiant with walk-in availably. Your lack of planning does not constitute their emergency, so do your homework in advance of the day you want to elope. Make sure you know what is required of you to get a marriage license in the city where you want to elope, and make sure you know what your options are on where you can elope in that city and who can can officiate, and who is available. Too many couples have romantic yet unrealistic expectations about eloping from TV shows and movies. It all comes down to one word: planning. Even the simplest and least expensive elopement requires some planning. Do you need help planning an elopement in Nashville, TN? Visit

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