A Vintage Courthouse Wedding

Tips for Planning a Vintage Courthouse Wedding Elopement

The beautiful architecture, old-world charm, and sense of history you get from vintage courthouses create a romantic backdrop for couples looking to elope. If you’re planning an intimate wedding and want to skip the stresses and expenses of a large, traditional affair, exchanging vows at a historic courthouse can be the perfect solution. But planning a vintage courthouse elopement does require some extra consideration to get the details just right. This complete guide will provide you with tips for planning a vintage courthouse wedding elopement that captures the nostalgic, timeless vibe you’re going for on your big day.

From choosing the ideal vintage courthouse venue to finding the perfect retro-inspired outfits, we’ll cover everything you need to know to craft a unique elopement experience. You’ll get advice on how to style beautiful vintage wedding decor, work with vendors to create stunning photography, and pull together all the final touches for an unforgettable intimate courthouse affair. If a small wedding with throwback appeal sounds like your dream scenario, use these tips for planning a vintage courthouse wedding elopement to make it a reality. Keep reading for ideas and inspiration to start planning a wedding that combines vintage elegance and whimsy!

Finding the Ideal Vintage Courthouse for Your Big Day

Getting married at a stately historic courthouse lets you surround yourselves with beautiful architecture and the charms of years past on your wedding day. But with so many venues to choose from, how do you select the right one? Follow these tips to find a vintage courthouse with the perfect blend of nostalgia, elegance, and romance to host your nuptials.

Research Historic Courthouses in Your Area

Start your search by looking at vintage courthouses located in your city or state. If you live in a major metro area, there may be multiple historic venues to consider. Search online for terms like “historic courthouses in [your state]” or “vintage wedding venues [your city].”

Finding the Ideal Vintage Courthouse for Your Big Day

Once you compile a list of options, look at websites and reviews for each one. Historic courthouses are often still functioning government buildings, so the county website will have useful details. Read about the history, architecture, and past weddings held there.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Courthouse

As you research potential venues, keep these key factors in mind:

  • Architectural style – Consider courthouses with vintage styles like Art Deco, Beaux Arts, Gothic Revival, or Neoclassical. The style that appeals most to you will help narrow options.
  • History – Prioritize courthouses with deeper roots in their community for a stronger sense of the past. Look at when it was built and key historic events.
  • Size and capacity – Check if the courthouse can accommodate your ideal guest count. Historic spaces often have lower limits.
  • Photo opportunities – Look for grand staircases, ornate details, and beautiful outdoor spaces to enhance wedding photos.
  • Location – A more central, urban courthouse makes accessing lodging and transportation easier for guests.
  • Availability – Verify that the courthouse hosts weddings and doesn’t have restrictions like limited days or times for ceremonies.
  • Cost – Account for rental fees, deposits, and any extra costs related to vendors or insurance when comparing venue options.

Schedule an In-Person Tour of Top Contenders

Once you narrow down your top 2-3 vintage courthouse picks, schedule in-person tours. This lets you get a firsthand feel for details like:

  • The ambiance of key rooms and spaces
  • Sizing and layout
  • Lighting and acoustics
  • Any access limitations or logistical challenges

Visualizing how your wedding will fit the venue is hugely beneficial when finalizing your selection. Don’t underestimate touring in making that all-important venue decision!

With the right vintage courthouse as your backdrop, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a stylish and utterly romantic elopement or micro wedding. Take your time researching all the historic options in your area and imagining your big day unfolding there. Keep the tips above in mind, and you’ll soon discover the perfect vintage venue to say your vows in!

If you love the grandeur of historical spaces but want something different than a courthouse, consider hosting your wedding at a romantic train station or private estate.

Crafting a Charming Vintage Vibe with Your Wedding Decor

Beyond the venue itself, the decor is key for creating a nostalgic vintage wedding aesthetic. From your bouquets to signage and beyond, the right details infuse your historic courthouse elopement with old-time romance. Follow these tips for selecting decor that transports guests back to an earlier era of elegance.

Choosing the perfect vintage wedding dress for your elopement

Incorporate Vintage Props and Accessories

Vintage items like the below add visual interest and carry through your retro theme:

  • Antique books
  • Vintage typewriter
  • Vintage stationery, letters, or postcards
  • Old maps or globes
  • Vintage camera and photography equipment
  • Retro Telephone
  • Vintage luggage, stacks of old books, or suitcases
  • Vintage tea sets, glassware, or food trucks

Display these types of props on tables, bars, shelves, or other surfaces throughout your venue.

Use Vintage Inspired Signage

Signage styled with a vintage flair can enhance your decor. Consider signs for:

  • Welcome/escort cards
  • Guest seating assignments
  • Gift/guest book table
  • Bar menu/offerings
  • Bathroom directions
  • Table numbers

Paint signs on old window panes, mirrors, or rescued wood. Or print signs using vintage-inspired fonts and designs.

Incorporate Beautiful Bouquets

Your floral arrangements should also align with your vintage vision. Some retro-inspired bouquet options include:

  • Roses, peonies, dahlias, and other lush, romantic flowers
  • Muted color palettes like mauves, pale greens, or ivory
  • Incorporating herbs like rosemary or sage
  • Choosing vintage vases, vessels, or teacups as holders
  • Wrapping stems in lace, pearls, or ribbon for an old-fashioned look
  • Using a brooch or other antique as an accent

Talk to your florist about crafting gorgeous bouquets with throwback charm.

Beautiful Bouquets

Set the Table with Vintage Style

Your tablescapes present another chance to interject vintage flair. Ideas include:

  • Mixing antique table linens with lace overlays
  • Using vintage china or glassware
  • Folding cloth napkins in intricate shapes
  • Adding candelabras with dripping candles
  • Scattering loose petals, pearls, or sequins
  • Displaying floral centerpieces in vintage vessels

With so many opportunities, embrace vintage decor details to craft a wedding aesthetic that feels timelessly romantic. Surround yourselves with beauty, nostalgia, and old-world grandeur as you exchange vows in your historic courthouse venue.

If you prefer truly grand and ornate backdrops, a fairytale castle or luxury yacht may better suit your wedding style over a courthouse.

Crafting Your Vintage Wedding Day Look

You want your wedding day attire to complement the distinctive retro flair of your vintage courthouse elopement. Whether you opt for period-perfect historical costumes or modern looks with throwback details, your outfits deserve special consideration. Follow these tips for choosing attire to complete your nostalgic aesthetic as a couple.

Selecting a Vintage-Inspired Wedding Dress

For bridesmaids seeking a unique vintage dress, consider:

  • Lace details – Delicate lace adds romantic, old-world appeal. Look for lace overlays, cap sleeves, or off-the-shoulder lace bodices.
  • Sleeves – Long sleeves, poet sleeves, or cap sleeves have a retro vibe.
  • Necklines – Sweetheart, bateau, or squared-off necklines complement the vintage style.
  • Skirt silhouettes – Tea length, calf length or ankle-skimming hemlines pair well with courthouse vows.
  • Fabrics – Rich satins, crepe and, delicate chiffons beautifully capture vintage elegance.
  • Accents – Add a sparkling brooch, dainty pearl necklace, or floral hair clip for a finishing touch.

Dapper Vintage Inspired Groom Attire

For grooms seeking sharp vintage suiting or tuxedos:

  • Suit style – Opt for vintage cuts in materials like tweed, linen, or velvet. peak or notch lapels add retro personality.
  • Shirt – Crisp white dress shirts lend a classic touch. Vintage collars and cuff styles also work well.
  • Ties and bow ties – Bold vintage prints, unique pre-tied bow ties, and bolo ties provide throwback flair.
  • Vests or suspenders – For another accent, add a coordinating vest or bold suspenders.
  • Shoes – Wingtip Oxfords, spectator shoes, or slim vintage boots make dapper choices.
  • Grooming – Slick side parts or slick backs complement vintage suiting. Handlebar mustaches also add flair!

Vintage Touches for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

  • Jewelry – Cufflinks, tie clips, brooches and hairpieces with vintage appeal
  • Hats and gloves – Colorful gloves and fascinator hats or feather caps for bridesmaids
  • Accessories – Vintage watch and tie chain for the groom. Retro eyeglasses or fans for bridesmaids

Take inspiration from iconic vintage fashion when crafting your wedding day looks. Share inspirational photos with your stylist or seamstress to welcome guests into your retro wedding vision!

A happy couple eloping at a vintage courthouse wedding ceremony

As you make decorative choices to enhance your vintage vibe, keep in mind how each element will contribute to the overall aesthetic. A cohesive look is key for executing tips for planning a vintage courthouse wedding elopement.

Capturing Your Vintage Wedding Memories with a Photographer

Your wedding photos will be cherished for a lifetime, making your photographer one of the most important vendors for your vintage courthouse elopement. Follow these tips for working with a talented wedding photographer to capture nostalgic, romantic images you’ll treasure.

Hire a Photographer Experienced in Vintage Style

Review photographer portfolios and look for examples of:

  • Brides in vintage wedding gowns
  • Couples posing with vintage props and details
  • Soft, film-like editing reminiscent of vintage wedding photos

Prioritize photographers familiar with posing couples in romantic, timeless ways.

Do an Engagement or “Trash the Dress” Shoot

Schedule a separate shoot before your wedding to:

  • Scout potential vintage locations with your photographer
  • Experiment with poses and vintage props
  • Allow your photographer to learn your preferences

Trying a “trash the dress” shoot lets you wear your gown again after the wedding for dramatic artistic photos.

Determine Must-Have Photo Locations and Groupings

Provide your photographer with a shot list of:

  • Important venues, architectural details, and outdoor locations
  • Essential posed photos – wedding party, families, venue shots, rings
  • Your preference for posed vs. candid photos

This ensures you get all the photos you want.

Request a Mix of Colors and Black and White

Ask your photographer to edit photos in both original color and black and white. The vintage charm of black and white beautifully complements courthouse nuptials.

Consider a Vintage Wedding Album

Display your favorite images in a custom album:

  • Leather album covers with engraved titles or insignias
  • Title pages with artful calligraphy
  • Album pages edged with ornate gold detailing
  • Vintage album styles like accordion folding displays

Work closely with your talented photographer to end up with a priceless collection of nostalgic wedding memories. Your wedding album will become an heirloom you’ll treasure for years to come!

Additional Tips for Pulling Off a Memorable Vintage Courthouse Elopement

To pull off a seamless vintage courthouse wedding, use these additional tips for planning a vintage courthouse wedding elopement.

Additional Tips for Pulling Off a Memorable Vintage Courthouse Elopement

Send Change of Plan Announcements

If you previously planned a larger traditional wedding, send change of plan cards to update guests. Include:

  • Your new wedding date and courthouse location
  • Accommodation details if out-of-town guests will attend
  • Mention of any related events like a dinner or reception

This keeps guests up to date on your evolving plans.

Rent a Vintage Limousine or Car

Hiring a vintage luxury car or limo adds retro flair:

  • Classic cars – Model T, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Cadillac
  • Limousines – Stretch limos from the 70s or 80s
  • Transportation styles – Trolleys, carriages, or double-decker buses

Just ensure your vehicle fits with your overall vintage vision.

Throw a Vintage After Party Celebration

Consider hosting a celebratory dinner, cocktail party, or reception after the courthouse wedding. Choose venues that fit your theme like:

  • Swanky art deco ballrooms or hotels
  • Roaring 20s-style speakeasies
  • Retro diners, soda fountains, or ice cream parlors

Send online invitations to invite guests to attend your after-wedding event.

Announce Your Elopement Creatively

Send printed vintage-style announcements or digitally share photos from your big day. Ideas include:

  • Mailing formal printed wedding announcements
  • Creating a wedding website to share photos and details
  • Posting a recap video of your vintage wedding on social media

Find creative ways to update loved ones after your intimate courthouse affair.

Craft a Special Vintage Guest Book

A customized guest book becomes a treasured keepsake. Opt for a vintage style:

  • Leather or brocade cover with your names engraved
  • Signing pages with Art Deco borders
  • Polaroid photo slots so guests can add candid shots

Personal touches make your guest book more memorable.

With these last tips, you’re ready to tie together all the details into a beautiful vintage courthouse elopement that you’ll fondly remember forever. Enjoy crafting an utterly romantic one-of-a-kind event as you prepare to say your vows. Your historic courthouse venue will provide a timeless backdrop as you start your lives together.

Bring Your Vintage Courthouse Wedding to Life

Saying “I do” at a vintage courthouse combines old-fashioned romance with meaningful history for an unforgettable intimate wedding. As you plan your special day, keep all these tips in mind:

  • Choose a historic courthouse venue that aligns with your style and guest count. Consider architecture, location, and venue requirements.
  • Set a date that avoids busy seasons and gives guests time to make arrangements.
  • Decorate with vintage flair using props, bouquets, signage, and tablescapes with throwback charm.
  • Find attire for both of you that complements the vintage vibe, whether period-perfect or modern looks with retro accents.
  • Work with a photographer experienced in capturing nostalgic wedding imagery. Do an engagement shoot and provide shot lists.
  • Add final touches like vintage transportation, announcements, guestbooks, and after-parties to complete your vision.

Planning a courthouse wedding or micro wedding takes work, but the effort pays off with an extraordinarily romantic experience. By incorporating vintage details, you can craft a unique affair brimming with old-world grandeur.

Surround yourselves with beauty, grace, and time-honored elegance as you come together in marriage at your ideal historic venue. If a vintage vibe speaks to you as a couple, embrace these tips for an elopement that friends and family will remember forever. Honor the past while celebrating your future surrounded by the idyllic charm of a bygone era.

Hopefully this guide provided helpful tips and inspiration as you plan your own vintage courthouse wedding elopement. Use these tips for planning a vintage courthouse wedding elopement to craft an intimate, romantic wedding day full of vintage charm.

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