How to Plan A Court House Elopement in San Marcos, CA

Have An Elopement You’ll Remember Forever

You just got engaged – congrats! Now what?

First off, know that there are so many wonderful things in store for you and your partner as you start this journey together. And depending on what you want to do, there are tons of ways to celebrate your love for one another, whether it’s a full-on wedding, a small ceremony or a courthouse elopement.

Bride and groom sharing a kiss during their elopement shoot with Kristen Vincent Photography

I love photographing all kinds of weddings, elopements and engagements. But there’s something special about a courthouse wedding, and I’ve been to plenty at San Marcos Courthouse. It’s an excellent location for a courthouse elopement and wedding ceremony, especially if you want a lovely, small outdoor wedding.

Are you looking to have a courthouse elopement in San Marcos? Here are a few pointers and ideas for planning a memorable elopement you’re sure to love.

Why Consider An Elopement

Elopements are popular for a lot of reasons. Whether you want a courthouse elopement to save money, expedite your union, or something else, it’s nice to know you can make your wedding day exactly how you want it to be. And with a smaller ceremony, you have much more say in what your wedding looks like.

Ask your partner if they have any thoughts on how to celebrate your wedding, talk about your ideas, and together, create a unique way to commemorate your love for one another. Even if you aren’t planning a big wedding, you can still take time to plan your wedding day.

Couple standing in front of judge during their San Marcos Courthouse Elopement Ceremony

For example, find a wedding dress or suit just for your wedding. Write down your vows. Invite some close friends or family members, but most importantly, decide how YOU want to celebrate! 

Ultimately, today is all about you and your love for your soon-to-be spouse. 

Make Your Elopement Special

Just because you’re having a courthouse elopement doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome wedding day. For example, think about hiring a hair and makeup artist (I have some great recommendations) to help you prepare for your special day. Or rent a beautiful hotel suite so we can take pictures of you getting ready for your wedding.

Groom hugging bride with flowers in his hands, taken by California wedding photographer Kristen Vincent

A courthouse elopement can absolutely be whatever you want it to be. If you want to have a bouquet of flowers, go for it. If you want to have a first dance, just ask a friend to play your favorite song on a Bluetooth speaker. No matter what, there are lots of great ways to celebrate your elopement.

Getting Licenses & Witnesses For Your Courthouse Elopement

The San Marcos Courthouse is where you get your actual marriage license, and only the north county location has the option for both a license and a civil ceremony. Make sure you book an appointment to get your license and bring all the necessary paperwork. 

How to Plan A Court House Elopement in San Marcos, CA. Bride and groom reviewing their documents.

Once you have your license, you can get married anywhere you like in the county or schedule a ceremony and have a courthouse at the same time you get your marriage license. When it comes to witnesses, it’s a great idea to have close family and friends involved in your special day. They can be witnesses for your courthouse elopement and can offer their love and support for you and your partner! 

However, if you’d rather not have anyone else involved in your courthouse elopement, you can pay a small fee to have someone from the courthouse be your witness.

Locations For A San Marcos Courthouse Elopement

Even though you might think that a courthouse elopement has to take place indoors, you can actually get married outside, too! I highly recommend using the outdoor location, even if it’s raining outside. They have a watertight gazebo that keeps you dry, and it has really lovely lighting that makes for some truly stunning wedding ceremony photos.

Newlywed couple sharing a kiss on the beach during their wedding shoot with warm wedding photographer Kristen Vincent

If you’d like to get married indoors for your courthouse elopement, that’s absolutely okay, too! Whether you want to be indoors or outdoors, there are many other places to take wedding photos before and after your courthouse elopement ceremony. I know several great spots nearby, and I love helping couples find gorgeous locations to shoot some truly magical wedding photos.

No matter what, we can create a lot of great moments to commemorate your amazing day together. Plus, you can use those photos as the perfect way to tell the world about your elopement!

Announcing Your Union

One of the most exciting parts about having a courthouse elopement is sharing the big news with your family and friends. Whether it’s a detailed email or a postcard, showing people how much you love one another is truly special. Many couples announce their elopement with several gorgeous photos from the marriage ceremony to show loved ones the story of their wedding day. 

How to Plan A Court House Elopement in San Marcos, CA. Couple looking at each other endearingly during their elopement shoot.

No matter what you’re looking for, have some ideas on how you want your wedding photos to look. Create an idea board with some inspiration photos, so your wedding photographer can accurately capture your love story. When you have this kind of intention for your courthouse elopement, it makes your union all the more special.

Final Thoughts

Elopements used to get a bad rap and were once considered to be something of a scandal. But elopements are more and more commonplace in today’s world, and a lot of couples are opting to keep things simple but special. Whether you’re saving money to buy a house or want to have your marriage to be just for you, courthouse elopements are anything but taboo. 

It doesn’t matter if you want a big wedding with 300 people or if you want a courthouse wedding with a couple of close friends; at the end of the day, your wedding is about your commitment to one another.

I can help you select a gorgeous spot for your wedding photos, from hilltops and oak trees to sandy beaches or the location of your first date. As a photographer who LOVES love, I’m passionate about creating a fun, exciting environment to take wedding photos.

Have a special event coming up? I’d love to hear about it!