Simplicity Is Beautiful
While many couples plan elaborate weddings at fancy venues (which are very fun), some choose to plan a small, intimate ceremony at the courthouse, inviting only their closest family members. It’s intimate, romantic, and beautiful in its own way.
That’s exactly what Nicole and Jake did, back in the Summer of 2022. It was magical, to say the least.
Nicole and Jake decided on a Sarasota County courthouse wedding, thanks in part to the beauty of this historic building. It’s ornate and full of character and charm, the perfect backdrop to tie the knot with just a handful of family members.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the Sarasota Historic Courthouse:
On the day of their elopement, we decided to meet at the courthouse before they opened in the morning. This allowed us to get some photos in the beautiful morning sunlight.
We took quite a few portraits around the courtyard. Once they opened, we headed inside for the short and simple ceremony. A few family members acted as their witnesses as they committed themselves to each other before the deputy clerk.
After the ceremony, we took a few family photos. Later on in the day, we met up at the beach on Siesta Key for some celebratory photos, as they cracked a bottle of champagne and held each other during the sunset.
Reasons to Plan a Sarasota Courthouse Wedding
Small, intimate weddings and elopements aren’t for everyone. But they are just as special and meaningful as a larger wedding celebration.
The biggest reason is the cost. To get married at the Sarasota County Courthouse, you’ll pay a $30 fee for the deputy clerk to perform the wedding ceremony (not including the cost of a marriage application). You can go alone, or bring along family and friends. They even accept larger parties, but your Sarasota County Courthouse wedding ceremony might be limited to 30 minutes.
Aside from saving money, the Sarasota Historic Courthouse is beautiful. It was built in 1926 and designed by architect Dwight James Baum, who is also responsible for designing the famous Ca’ d’Zan. The courthouse building instantly takes you back to the Mediterranean Revival style, providing the perfect backdrop for courthouse wedding photos, which you’ll cherish forever.
How to Arrange a Courthouse Wedding Sarasota County
Want to know how easy it is to plan a courthouse wedding in Sarasota?
You don’t even need to book a date or time. You can show up whenever you want (during business hours).
There are two steps to consider:
- Applying for a Marriage License
- Your Marriage Ceremony
To make things easy on your wedding day, you can start your marriage application online. Then, you only need to go into the courthouse to have a deputy clerk finalize the application. Or you can fill out the application at the courthouse, but it takes around 30 minutes. Either way, it’s $86.
Once the application is filled out, see the deputy clerk at the counter inside the courthouse. You’ll submit payment, make an oath, and receive your marriage license.
Once you have the license, it needs to be filled out by the deputy clerk who will perform the ceremony. But if you’re performing your marriage ceremony at the courthouse, the deputy clerk performing the ceremony can sign it to make your marriage official.
It can be confusing, however. If you fill out your marriage application but didn’t complete pre-marital counseling, you’ll need to wait 3 days before you can get married and sign the marriage license.
If you already completed pre-marital counseling, you can get married the same day. Likewise, if neither of you is a Florida resident, then you can get married on the same day as well.
When planning your wedding date, know that holidays (like Valentine’s Day) are super busy for the courthouse. So you might stand around waiting for a while. And it might be hard to get photos with so many other people around.
After the 3-day waiting period, you can show up at the courthouse for a ceremony anytime during business hours. Sarasota County Courthouse wedding hours are between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM, Mon-Fri. No appointments are needed but plan at least 30 minutes for the ceremony (longer if it’s a busy day).
Courthouse Wedding Photographers Near Me
No, you don’t need to have a dedicated photographer for Sarasota Courthouse weddings. But you are definitely welcome to bring a photographer of your own to capture the magical moments.
Since most couples are saving tons of money by choosing a courthouse wedding, they are often more than happy to hire a photographer to capture their day.
After all, it’s your wedding, one of the biggest days of your life. You’ll still want to remember and cherish this day forever.
My name is Kelsey, a wedding and elopement photographer who lives just a few miles away from the Sarasota Courthouse. If you’d like to have professional, authentic courthouse wedding photography, I’d love to meet you!
Since courthouse weddings are super short and sweet, we can also plan to take additional photos at another location, such as the beach, or at a party celebrating with family and friends.
Browse Wedding and Elopement Photos
Want to see some more photos of weddings and elopements? You can see my portfolio here.