With its moderate climate and unique positioning between mountains and sea, it's no surprise that Seattle is a wedding hotspot. There are venues all around trendy Seattle and Bellevue, or even in the nearby wine country of Woodinville. For those considering a quick, simple wedding, there's also the Courthouse. Doesn't sound too romantic, does it? However, a courthouse wedding isn't as bad as it sounds. That's what we discovered after our August wedding at the King County courthouse in Washington State, which is actually a very beautiful building. The point of this wedding wasn't fanfare, it was getting the legal ceremony done so we could conduct our destination wedding in Italy with peace of mind.
How to do a Courthouse Wedding in Seattle
For those considering a courthouse wedding in Seattle, here's how to do it. First, visit the Marriage Licensing department to pay for and pick up your marriage certificate. After that is finalized, you must perform your legal wedding ceremony within the specified timeframe. You can have an officiant conduct your ceremony, or you can schedule a wedding with a judge.
There's a long list of King County judges who perform weddings. The list also provides a flat fee that the judge charges for the wedding. Most importantly, note that a majority of judges will only conduct weddings on certain dates at certain times. There are some judges who offer to travel to a chosen venue per your arranged date and time. But not all judges offer this flexibility, so be sure to check on that.
Not much information is given about each judge (not even a photo!), so there’s not much incentive to choose one over another. I literally closed my eyes and pointed to a random name on the list. Within minutes, I sent a quick email inquiry to the judge and quickly heard back from his bailiff who gave us instructions. A couple weeks later, Martin and I met our two witnesses (you can also buy witnesses through judges!) at the courthouse and were legally married.
Wedding Photo Spots in Seattle
As you'll see in the photos below, the King County Courthouse has quite nice architecture. It's a great backdrop for photos. Also, note that dressing up for your wedding is completely optional! At the time, there were four other weddings going on in nearby courtrooms. We were by far the nicest dressed out the other couples there. After the wedding, we walked a few blocks away to a celebratory dinner at Heartwood Provisions. The night was topped off by watching the sunset on the pier by the Seattle Great Wheel. All of these locations were very picturesque for wedding photos.
Below are photos from our courthouse wedding in Seattle. All photos were taken by our good friend Alan Alabastro. The flower leis were fresh and real, thanks to Hawaii General Store in Fremont. I was so happy to find a fragrant lei of my mother's favorite flower, the white tuberose, and a maile lei for Martin. This was our floral contribution and nod to our love of Hawaii.
After our wedding in Seattle, we then jetted off to Italy for our formal, celebratory wedding. See our destination wedding story and photos here.
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