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  • Writer's pictureTamara Merri

How to Elope at Travis County Courthouse | Austin, TX

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

How to Elope / Get Married at Travis County Courthouse:


entrance to the courtroom at historic travis county courthouse on Guadalupe St
Entrance to Courtroom at Travis County Courthouse Precinct Five on Guadalupe St

*this blog was written in 2020 and some information may differ now that restrictions have lifted


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 photography your union and more!


waiting room of austin texas travis county courthouse preicinct 4
Waiting room of Precinct 4

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.

  • To request an appointment, email Recording@traviscountytx.gov.


bride and groom standing in front of Judge Gonzalesduring wedding ceremony at travis county courthouse
Courtroom of Precinct Four

 
 

Choose your Austin Precinct/Justices of the Peace:


Judge Nicholas Chu Justice of the Peace name plate on desk of courtoom at travis county courthouse

Precinct One:


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:

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:

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:

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


Judge Gonzales from Precinct 4!

Precinct Five:

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).


bride and groom smiling with judge chu after travis county courthouse wedding
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.



Out front of Precinct 4

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

group of wedding guests in front of captiol building for wedding portraits
Austin, Texas Capitol Building down the street from Precinct Five

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FAQ


Can I have a photographer at my courtroom wedding?

Yes, although it does require judicial approval. Recommended photographer: One of Tamara Merri Photography's Austin-based associates.


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.


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.

wedding guests gather for a photo after wedding ceremony for a selfie using an iphone and a selfie stick. Judge Chu holds up marriage certificate. The group is in the courtroom of precinct five at the historic travis county courthouse
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.


elopement ceremony at Austin travis county courthouse
Courtroom of Precinct Five

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

  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 hello@tamaramerriphotography.com


Interested in hiring Tamara Merri Photography for your courthouse elopement? Fill out the inquiry form below or visit The Elopement Experience to learn more. While the lead photographer + owner Tammy currently resides in MA, we still have a team in Texas ready and willing to photography you and your day!


xo,

Tam


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a list of locations to take your wedding photos based on which austin courthouse your choose to elope at

2 Comments


Guest
Jan 11, 2023

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Tamara Merri
Tamara Merri
Apr 19, 2023
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I'm glad you found it valuable!

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