How To Get Married Without A Wedding

How To Get Married Without A Wedding: Quick Guide

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Opting for a non-traditional wedding ceremony may be unconventional, but it can be a great option for those seeking simplicity, cost-effectiveness, or a one-of-a-kind experience.

I’ve explored different ways to tie the knot and learned practical strategies that let you celebrate your love without the hassle of a big wedding.

Today, I’ll give you practical ways on how to get married without a wedding that reflects your values and priorities, without the big fuss and high costs of a traditional wedding. Read on.

7 Ways To Get Married Without Throwing A Traditional Wedding

Married Couple Holding Hands

1. Elopement

Eloping [1] is an excellent way for a couple to get hitched without planning and throwing a traditional wedding celebration. 

It is an intimate and romantic option in which a few chosen family members and friends are present. You can pick any stunning secluded area or an iconic place for tying the knot. 

Lastly, elopement is usually much cheaper than arranging a regular wedding. But how do you pull off a surprise wedding?

2. Courthouse Wedding

This type of wedding takes place at a courthouse, typically overseen by a judge or other court official. 

Undertaking a courthouse wedding is much more economical than a hotel or outdoor ceremony, and being brief, it involves no special preparations such as decor or wedding parties. 

Couples are still required to obtain a marriage license, and they can still make it special by taking a romantic dinner afterward or going on a honeymoon getaway.

3. Destination Wedding

You can make this as basic or elaborate as you like. 

A wedding at a destination could consist of simply the two of you on a beach somewhere, or it could include a select group of close friends and family members.

But what are some Jack and Jill wedding shower themes?

4. Backyard Wedding

A simple ceremony in your backyard can be a very intimate and personal way to get married. This could involve just the two of you or a few guests.

It allows you to choose your outdoor space for the ceremony, whether a lawn [2], garden or terrace, making it a more magical experience.

5. Adventure Wedding

For adventurous couples, getting married while doing something you love, like hiking, scuba diving, or hot-air ballooning, can be a unique and memorable option.

6. Common Law Marriage

Few states in the US and some countries recognize common-law marriages. 

“A small wedding is not necessarily one to which very few people are invited. It is one to which the person you are addressing is not invited.”

Judith Martin, American Columnist

Couples cohabiting for a certain period may be legally married, even without a formal ceremony.

7. Having A Small Wedding In A Rental Home

Couples may consider a small wedding in a rental home for a more exclusive and affordable way to commit to each other. 

Couples can create a cozy atmosphere that suits their smaller guest list without renting out a large event space. 

Getting Married & Having A Wedding: What’s The Difference?

Bride and Groom

Getting married typically involves obtaining a legal certificate, having a ceremony, and exchanging legally binding paperwork to confirm the marriage. 

“The extravagance of a wedding does not define marriage, but by the depth of the commitment shared between two souls.”

Howkapow Gift Site

On the other hand, having a wedding usually involves elaborate cultural and social gatherings to celebrate the union, often including a wedding dress, decorations, cake, music, and rituals. 

Is It Okay To Get Married Without A Ceremony?

It is absolutely fine for people to get married without a large celebration. Many couples now choose private weddings instead of public ones with many family and friends.

It could be for financial reasons or to dodge the stress of organizing a big event. But regardless of the reason, a meaningful moment still takes place.

Do You Need A Wedding Ceremony To Be Officially Married?

Couples don’t need to have a wedding ceremony to become officially married. 

All that is necessary for legal marriage is to sign a marriage license, generally with a witness or two, a clergy member or a court official present. 

Yet often, couples opt for a special ceremony to commemorate their union.

Also Read: How Can You Ask Someone To Officiate Your Wedding?


What do you call a wedding if the couple is already wed?

A wedding for a couple already wed is often called a sequel wedding. After getting married discreetly or eloping, the happy couple may want to celebrate with a large ceremony. 

Check out these messages to write for your husband on your wedding day here.

Is it okay to rush into getting married?

No, take the time to get to know your partner and be certain that you are making the right decision before rushing into marriage. 

Rushing into marriage can lead to unrealistic expectations and a slower divorce process, so it’s important to proceed cautiously.

Let’s Sum It Up

In my journey, I’ve learned that you don’t need a big wedding to get married. There’s magic in keeping things simple. 

Whether you choose the simplicity of an elopement, the efficiency of a courthouse wedding, or the adventure of a destination celebration, the key lies in embracing the essence of love and focusing on what is truly important for the both of you.

By sidestepping the traditional wedding norms, you can create a day that reflects your unique journey and values. 

So, take the leap, think outside the box, and craft a wedding experience that will last a lifetime. 


Kimberlee Johnson
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