ASHEVILLE COURTHOUSE WEDDINGS

LOOKING FOR A UNIQUE WAY TO GET MARRIED IN ASHEVILLE?

Want to grab the marriage license, skip the religious ceremony, fill out the legal paperwork, and be done with it? A trip to downtown Asheville, inside the Buncombe County Courthouse at the Register of Deeds office, might be where you need to start!

I’m Michael Freas, and I also photograph courthouse weddings. I love photographing couples who choose to elope at the Buncombe County Courthouse. Not only is this a more straightforward and intimate way of tying the knot for couples getting married in North Carolina, but it also allows you and your partner to focus on creating beautiful photos that will last a lifetime. We can spend a couple of hours running around downtown Asheville and hitting a couple of breweries while taking badass photos! It’s a great way to be accessible to couples not looking to do the entire wedding experience.

groom places ring on finger of bride during a wedding ceremony at the buncombe county courthouse

SO WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR AN ASHEVILLE COURTHOUSE WEDDING?

Getting married at the Buncombe County Courthouse in Asheville, North Carolina, is fast and straightforward. All you have to do is apply for your marriage license at least three days before the ceremony, gather two witnesses, find an officiant (if needed), and prepare for your big day!

Regarding the photo process, there are a couple of options. Some couples drive separately and have a first look outside the courthouse doors. In contrast, others get ready and arrive together.

Suppose we are doing a first look at downtown Asheville. In that case, I will meet you at the parking garage directly across from the Buncombe County courthouse. Then we’ll go through security and make our way to the register of deeds and magistrate’s office for the short wedding ceremony. Once the technicalities are out, we’ll move on to the fun part – the photos!

Then, we’ll take some fantastic photos! We’ll start inside and around the old courthouse, then move on to the new building. After that, we’ll head out front to take shots on the concrete steps and pillars and then walk across the street to the upper level of the parking garage. If you like, you can even book us for an extra hour, and we’ll explore downtown Asheville and some of our favorite locations that we’ve shared in our engagement photo blog post.

Here’s a timeline of what to expect:

  1. Initial meeting 
  2. First look (optional) 
  3. Security check-in 
  4. Magistrate wedding ceremony 
  5. The signing of the marriage certificates 
  6. Bathroom break
  7. Wedding photos around downtown Asheville
bride and groom taking wedding photos downtown asheville at pack square

WHAT DOES GETTING MARRIED IN ASHEVILLE AT THE BUNCOMBE COUNTY COURTHOUSE COST?

For just $50 in cash (exact change appreciated), you can book an appointment with the magistrate to perform your civil wedding ceremony. Call them at (828) 259-6471 to schedule your appointment to pick up your marriage license.

IS A MARRIAGE LICENSE REQUIRED TO GET MARRIED?

You must get a marriage license before your wedding to get married in North Carolina.

The general statutes state this explicitly: NCGS § 51-6 outlines how a minister, officer, or any other person must receive a license signed by the register of deeds or their lawfully appointed assistant before they can perform a marriage ceremony. Additionally, there must be at least two witnesses present at the ceremony. If you’re thinking about having an Asheville Courthouse Wedding, make sure to follow these rules carefully!

just married couple in front of hi-wire brewing

WHO DO I CONTACT ABOUT PERFORMING THE WEDDING CEREMONY?

For just $50 in cash (exact change appreciated), you can book an appointment with the magistrate to perform your civil wedding ceremony. Call them at (828) 259-6471 to schedule your appointment to pick up your marriage license.

bride and groom kiss at fountain in downtown asheville

Getting married in Buncombe County is a total breeze! First, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license. Once you’ve got that in hand, you can arrange to have a civil ceremony conducted by a magistrate on the 2nd floor of the courthouse.

Call the magistrate’s office at (828) 259-6471 to make an appointment. The fee is a measly $50 — but please make sure you bring exact change, as cash is the only payment accepted.

If you need to schedule your ceremony outside of regular hours, ring the criminal magistrate’s office at (828) 250-4690 to check their availability.

There are endless reasons to say “I do” at Asheville Courthouse. Still, the abundance of stunning photo backdrops tops the list! Pack Square, located just across the street, is a shaded, lush green space perfect for family and couples photos. Wander around its nearby streets for a plethora of incredible portrait opportunities. I find new areas to capture the ideal shots whenever I shoot there.

Pricing starts at $500 for 1 hour which can include family photos, couples photos and the ceremony.