Stephanie & Zachary’s budget-friendly courthouse and pizza wedding

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This week we're celebrating intimate weddings with destination elopements, cozy city hall vows, and private romantic ceremonies. It's the warm fuzzies on a smaller scale.


The offbeat bride: Stephanie, student

Her offbeat partner: Zachary, United States Army

Date and location of wedding: Douglas County Courthouse, Superior, WI — June 11, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Zachary and I wanted something different and our own. We decided to have our wedding on a Monday. He wore his Class A's and I wore a short, white dress. Our ceremony took place at our local courthouse, where we had a beautiful ceremony despite it being from a judge that we had never met before.


We had just our immediate family and closest friends at the ceremony as well as at our pizza lunch reception that followed. After our lunch, we spent the evening bar-hopping with a group of friends before finding a hotel for the night. We weren't spending hundreds of dollars trying to impress anyone, we just wanted to be authentic and celebrate our love and commitment.



Tell us about the ceremony: We were at the mercy of whatever our judge wanted to say. Luckily, his readings were perfect. He really tailored it and made it personal to us. By the tears in our families' eyes, it was beyond amazing.


Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was whether or not to invite extended family and more of our friends. We ended up just inviting our immediate family because we figured the relatives would understand if it was just those closest to us. Our extended families showed overwhelming support for our decision, which was a relief.



My funniest moment: I remember when my husband tried to put the wedding band on my finger during the ceremony (it was a little snug) and I said, “It'll fit!” Everybody started laughing.


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I thought that I wasn't going to have enough time or enough skill to do my own hair and makeup. I showed up about five minutes late to the courthouse to fill out paperwork because of that. But I think it was just fine in the end.


My advice for Offbeat Brides: Plan a wedding within your means, and hire an amazing photographer. You can have the most gorgeous wedding in the world, but make sure the photographs do it justice. Also, consider a mid-week wedding. You will save big money everywhere, and those who really care will show up.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Remember to go with your gut, and be confident about your decisions. We would have been unhappy with a big wedding, so we chose to cater the size to our preference. People are going to ask why you did such-and-such, and you just have to own your choices.



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Comments on Stephanie & Zachary’s budget-friendly courthouse and pizza wedding

  1. your photographer did an amazing job….pics look awesome…congrats!!!!!

  2. Do you know that we just decided on this same exact format for our wedding, and had a bit of a disagreement of why I would want a photographer. This post has been sent to show him I’m not crazy. This is exactly what I was trying to express to him unsuccessfully. It doesn’t matter that we aren’t having something big and fancy. It IS special and I want all the little moments captured.

    • This IS almost like what we are doing, and this is why I want a photographer too. Memories are one thing, but to display works of art are another. Plus, everyone gets dressed up a bit and it makes them appreciate it too. 😀

  3. So sweet! My favorite is the “pinkie promise” ring shot 🙂

    Many blessings to you both!

  4. Click the “THIS” button if you agree with me that the staircase photo is the most intimate and romantic-looking one out of this entire post.

  5. Oh girl! Please let me tell you: I worked at David’s Bridal for a year, during which your fabulous wedding dress hit the racks! I was DYING to see someone walk down the aisle in it but none of my bride’s would take the bate. I know why not: ’cause they could not have pulled it off half as well as you did! That dress was made for you. You look stunning. Your pictures are stunning. And you look like you had the time of your life. Congratulations!

  6. My fiance and I just started to re-visit wedding plans (we just went through a huge move and a career change). We decided we want to do something along these lines (only that we have our pizza at a bowling alley, so we can bowl :D) I have some concerns and questions about courthouse weddings though. How did you handle/co-ordinate the “walking down the aisle” and then the processional? Obviously it isn’t going to be like a traditional wedding where there is almost a parade going on, but I’m curious to see what other brides have done. Any experiences, opinions, etc. would be great! Also, the pinkie promise picture is my favorite too! 🙂

  7. Your wedding was the inspiration for ours! I did not want an over-the-top, fancy affair, just something simple and real and I didn’t want to eat food that I didn’t love. We’re getting married in our backyard by a friend with a reception at Pizza Luce in Minneapolis.

  8. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these!!! This made me so much more happy with our decision to have a very small wedding (less than 20 people) and then pizza and cupcakes afterwards. The ‘reception’ is held in a local conservation park, where there is no alcohol allowed, and I’m 100% fine with it. Again, thank you! Your wedding looked perfect!

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