• Tamara Merri

How to Elope at Travis County Courthouse | Austin, TX

Updated: Jun 18

How to Elope / Get Married at Travis County Courthouse:


Entrance to Courtroom at Travis County Courthouse Precinct Five on Guadalupe St

Courthouse Wedding to do list:


  1. Obtain a Marriage License in person

  2. Choose a provided Judge or your own office of religious organization

  3. Make an appointment at one of the five precinct locations (detailed below)

  4. Read FAQ to discover how you can customize your courthouse ceremony

  5. Arrive, pay the courthouse $80 cash fee in the exact amount

  6. Get married & have the authorized person sign the marriage certificate

  7. Return marriage license to the Travis County Clerk’s Office within 30 days

  8. Hire Tamara Merri Photography to document your union and location scout for the best photo locations.


Judge Chu signing the marriage license

How to get a marriage license in Texas:


  1. Go to Travis County Clerk's office (5501 Airport Boulevard) from M-F 8:00 am-5:00 pm. Bring proof of identity and SSN (you don't need the card) for each applicant.

  2. Pay $81.00 license fee

  3. Get your marriage license at least 3 days before your ceremony. Your ceremony cannot take place within the 72-hour period following the issuing of the marriage license. (exception: Active duty member of US armed forces, and a few other special situations)


Note:

  • A marriage license is valid for 89 days from the date it is issued. If the marriage license is not used before the 90th day then it expires and you will need to purchase a new license in order to get married.

  • After you get married, the marriage license must be returned within 30 day to the Travis County Clerk’s Office. The original license will be returned to you after it is copied and filed.

  • Due to COVID-19, marriage license are only being issues on an emergency basis. To request an appointment, email Recording@traviscountytx.gov.


Courtroom of Precinct Five


Related Blog: Real Travis County Courthouse Elopement


Choose your Austin Precinct/Justices of the Peace:




Precinct One:


COVID-19: Closed until further notice

Where: 4717 Heflin Lane, Suite 107 Austin, TX 78721

Who: Judge Williams

When: Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Weekend availability: Yes

Appointment: By appointment only

Contact Info: Phone: (512) 854-7700. Email: JP1@traviscountytx.gov

Languages: Unspecified


Precinct Two:

COVID-19: Closed until further notice

Where: 10409 Burnet Road Suite 180 Austin, TX 78758

Who: Judge Slagle

When: Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Weekend availability: Yes

Appointment: Appointments accepted, walk-ins are welcomed

Contact Info: Phone: (512) 854-4545. Email: JP2Weddings@traviscountytx.gov

Languages: English, Spanish


Precinct Three:

COVID-19: Closed until further notice (policy put in place March 17 and is being reviewed June 1). However, Judge Holmes is doing zoom weddings.

Where: 8656-B West Hwy 71 Austin, Texas 78735

Who: Judge Holmes

When: Monday-Friday 7:30 am - 4:30 pm

Weekend availability: Unspecified

Appointment: Appointments accepted, walk-ins are welcomed

Contact Info: Phone: 512-854-6763. Email: JP3Weddings@traviscountytx.gov

Languages: Unspecified

Precinct Four:

COVID-19: Open! Courthouse ceremonies can now only accommodate the bride, groom and four other people.

Where: 4011 McKinney Falls Parkway, Suite 1200 Austin, Texas 78744

Who: Judge González

When: Monday-Friday 8 am - 5 pm

Weekend availability: Yes

Appointment: Appointments accepted, walk-ins are welcomed

Contact Info: Phone: (512) 854-9478 or (512) 854-9479

Languages: Unspecified


Precinct Five:

COVID-19: Closed except for essential proceedings until further nothing. Essential proceedings do not include weddings.

Where: Historic Travis County Civil Courthouse located on the first floor of 1000 Guadalupe St, Ste. 112 Austin, TX

Who: Judge Chu (see his photo below!)

When: Monday-Friday 8 am - 5 pm

Weekend availability: Yes

Appointment: Appointments accepted, walk-ins are welcomed

Contact Info: Phone: (512) 854-9049. Email: JP5Weddings@traviscountytx.gov

Languages: English, Spanish, and American Sign Language (with advance notice to schedule an interpreter).


Judge Chu from Precinct Five!

Outdoor photo locations near the Austin Courthouses:

Precinct 1: The outside of the building is not picturesque. However, Blair Woods Nature Reserve is down the street.

Precinct 2: The outside of the building is not picturesque. It is in a commercial area. There is no public outdoor nature area to walk to. If you'd want to drive, Walnut Creek Park is about 10 minutes away.

Precinct 3: The outside of the building IS picturesque. It is an acceptable backdrop for photos. The parking lot also has a view of the hill country. If you want to leave the premises, Barton Creek Habitat Preserve is right down the road.

Precinct 4: The outside of the building is neither picturesque nor ugly. I'd snap a photo there but then head down the road to McKinney Falls State Park to do photos there! Be aware there is a photography fee for the park.

Precinct 5: The outside of the building is picturesque (see photo below). This courthouse is historic- you'll definitely want to snap a photo out front. Other than the courthouse, there is a field with a gazebo right next to the courthouse. Or if you're willing and able, the Austin Capitol Building is only a few blocks away.


The Front Entrance of Travis County Courthouse on Guadalupe St in Downtown Austin

FAQ


Can I have a photographer at my courtroom wedding?

Yes, although it does require judicial approval. Recommended photographer: Tamara Merri Photography.


How long does a courtroom ceremony take?

Appointments are in 30 minute time slots. Anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending if you choose to say your own vows or not. Make sure to show up early in order to keep your reserved appointment time. The Judge will want to speak to just the bride and groom ahead of time.


How many people can I have in the court room with me?

It may vary based on which precinct you choose. Most of the courtrooms can seat 30 people. You can see from the photo below, that there were 15+ people at precinct five. Ask your precinct representative.

Note:

  • DUE TO COVID-19, only Travis County Courthouse precinct four is open for ceremonies and can only accommodate the bride, groom and four other people. Make sure to ask when requesting your appointment.

COVID-19 Updates:

Check the Travis County website to see all coronavirus updates here. Either click the general COVID-19 info link or click through to each individual Precinct location.

almost 15 people at Precinct Five courthouse wedding ceremony

Can you just show up to the courthouse and get married?

No. You need a marriage license which takes 3 days to get. If you have your marriage license, you COULD just "show up and get married" but it is recommended to make an appointment.


Do I need a witness at my courthouse ceremony?

No, it is optional to have a witness sign the marriage license.


Do we exchange rings at a courthouse ceremony?

You can exchange rings if you have them but it is not mandatory.


Can we say our own vows at a courthouse ceremony?

You have the option to say words, but it is not mandatory. It may vary by Judge. Ask the representative when you call to make an appointment.


Why should I elope over having a traditional wedding?


  • It is more affordable.

  • It isn't as much as a time commitment.

  • You can avoid family drama.

  • Less stress in wedding planning.

  • You need to get married ASAP for reasons such as military deployment, health insurance, or to get a green card/visa.

  • Create a unique wedding day that does not involve tradition.

  • You don't want to be center of attention.



Attire & Conduct for Courtroom

per outlined at: https://www.traviscountytx.gov/justices-of-peace/jp1/rules-attire-conduct

  1. Any type WEAPONS are PROHIBITED in the Courtroom and this building EXCEPT for LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL.

  2. Absolutely no cellular phones on in the courtroom.

  3. Be on time.

  4. Adhere to the bailiff instructions.

  5. Address the court as “Judge” or “Your Honor.” Do not argue with the court.

  6. Address opposing parties, counsel, witnesses and court officers as "Mr.", "Mrs.", "Miss", "Dr.", etc. Do not use first names, except with children 14 years of age and younger.

  7. Do not approach the Judge’s bench without permission.

  8. Racist, sexist, obscene, or profane language is prohibited unless it is pertinent to a case, and is elicited and quoted from facts in the case.

  9. Do not chew gum in the Courtroom or bring drinks or food items into the Courtroom.

  10. Do not enter or depart the Courtroom excessively and do not slam the doors.

  11. Do nothing to disturb or distract the court, counsels, witnesses or other court personnel.

  12. All property in the Courtroom and reception area must be treated with respect. No writing on any papers posted or furniture.

  13. No recording devices are allowed without judicial approval.

  14. Respect court personnel at all times.


Have question this blog did not address? Leave a comment or email me at tamaramerriphotography@gmail.com.


Interested in hiring Tamara Merri Photography for your courthouse elopement? Check out the elopement experience online and submit an inquiry form.


xo,

Tam


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I'm Tamara!

I'm a Massachusetts wedding & elopement photographer. I'm the voice behind this blog and the girl behind the camera. 

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Tamara Merri Photography
Massachusetts based Wedding & Elopement Photographer
hello@tamaramerriphotography.com