How to Elope at Chattanooga's Courthouse

June 24, 2022

A Guide to Planning Your Chattanooga Courthouse Elopement

Couples around the world have been forced to postpone the big weddings of their dreams leading to the revamp of the good ole courthouse elopement! In these days of global shutdowns and mask mandates, courthouse elopements offer something sweet with their intimate and chic nature. If you’re considering a courthouse elopement for your big day, here’s your go-to guide on how to tie the knot in Chattanooga.

While this process is similar in other cities and states, it’s always a good idea to call your County Clerk’s office to verify any information, as these things can change frequently.

The information below is current for Hamilton County as of 10/27/2022.

How to Elope at Chattanooga's Courthouse

Step One

Gather your birth certificates and driver’s licenses (or state issued IDs). This is to prove your date of birth and social security number, which are both required to apply for a marriage license. You can apply for a marriage license at the Hamilton County Clerk’s office, Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm. They are closed on holidays, so make sure you consider that when planning. There is a fee of $102.50 for the license, which is reduced to $40 if the couple has completed a Premarital Preparation course (or pre-marital counseling). If you’ve completed a Premarital Preparation course, fill out the Certificate of Completion.

Step Two

Fill out the Hamilton County Clerk’s online marriage application. It will make your life easier when you go to the office to get your license. The personal information entered on the online form will be sent directly to your Clerk’s office, saving you time and ensuring the information is correct. Who wants to fill out forms by hand these days, anyway?!

Step Three

Go to the Hamilton County Clerk’s office to pick up your marriage license (625 Georgia Avenue, Room 201). After you apply for the marriage license, that license is good for up to 30 days. If you want, you can even get married there the same day you pick up your license, and turn it right back in after the ceremony! 

Step Four

Schedule your courthouse elopement. Be sure to an official to officiate your intimate ceremony as the Hamilton County Court will not provide you one. Also, take note that you can not tie the knot in the Courthouse, you can only get married on the lawns. You can get married anywhere on the lawns at any time, but it’s always good to run it by the County Clerk’s office first: (423) 209-6500. They will likely inform you that chairs outside for the ceremony are a no-no, and that you can’t have a floral installation. Simple & elegant!

Step Five

Plan any additional details you may want incorporated into your day: maybe you still want wearable flowers (boutonniere and corsage) and a wedding bouquet; maybe you’d like a few guests to attend (this is allowed!); will there be a party nearby with your loved ones afterward? Get excited about photography because a lot of photographers offer discounted packages for elopements.

Step Six

Get married! But don’t forget to have your officiant and witness sign your marriage license, then turn it in at the Clerk’s office before you leave the lawns. Your photographer can even be your witness, if needed. Turning in your marriage license is the last thing standing in your way to being official! You only have 30 days to turn it in, so it’s best to go ahead and take care of it for peace of mind. 

Thought it would be harder, didn’t you? Turns out, getting married technically isn’t that difficult. It’s all the little details that can add up to stressful planning and organizing if you’re not careful. So, if you’re a Chattanooga couple that’s just ready to do the damn thing, send me an email and I’ll be at the courthouse with a camera, waiting for you!

How to Elope at Chattanooga's Courthouse

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