The Ultimate Guide for a Vancouver, WA Courthouse Elopement



Are you planning a courthouse wedding?

Hi friends! This guide is for anyone who is planning on eloping at the Clark County Courthouse in downtown Vancouver, WA! As a wedding photographer, I made this guide as a way to help you realize that your wedding day can be everything you want it to be and more! Also, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Vancouver, Washington Courthouse elopements, offering tips, inspiration, and everything you need to know to make your intimate celebration truly special!!

Why Elope at Clark County Courthouse?

Eloping at a Courthouse?

1. Intimacy: This is great for couples who want to still celebrate their moment but keep it intimate and simple!

2. Money: Weddings can be expensive! This allows you to save room in the budget for things that are just for the two of you like a photographer, your dress, etc.

3. Location: The Clark County Courthouse is actually a historic site and has beautiful architecture! You don’t have to sacrifice the aesthetics that you would get with a full venue with this decision. Plus you have the flexibility of adding on photos at other locations as well! 

Understanding the Legal Requirements

Courthouse Prerequisites

1. Apply for a marriage license at the Clark County Auditor’s Office. There’s a three-day waiting period after issuance before you can get married.

2. Bring government-issued photo IDs (like a driver’s license or passport) for both parties.

3. The marriage license fee varies, so check the current rate on the Clark County website.

4. Appointments are required, at least one day in advance and you must have a valid marriage license. This is important because ceremony appointments will only be scheduled during the valid date range of your marriage license!

5. Make sure you have Two (2) witnesses! (Perfect for if you want a mini wedding party too!)

Getting Ready for your Courthouse Elopement

Enjoy the Getting-Ready Process

So many couples think that they have to skip this part of the day because they are doing a courthouse elopement! In actuality, it is one of the most special parts of the day! So many of my couples will ask their parents, siblings, best friends, or even partners to be there with them as they get ready! It sets such a beautiful and intentional tone for the day! 

The Ceremony

Share your vows!

One of the best ways to make a courthouse wedding feel even more intimate and special is to share your vows – even if you choose to do so in private. Since the courthouse has a set amount of time for each couple, don’t feel like you can’t do this! We can find a beautiful location nearby so you can still have this shared experience! 

After the Ceremony

So first- check off the legalities! Get your certified copies of your marriage certificate and make sure all the paperwork is filled out correctly! Ask for a decorative marriage license that you can also keep as a memento! After that, most couples choose to take some photos outside of the courthouse or if you’re up for an adventure we can even venture out to the Downtown Vancouver Waterfront, Fort Vancouver National Historic site, or even drive out somewhere to the Gorge or Coast if you are dreaming of some more epic nature-esque shots!! Once we wrap up photos, don’t hesitate to keep the post-elopement celebration going! That’s all in the next section!

Places to Celebrate in Downtown Vancouver, Washington!