5 Things You Need to Know to Elope at the Cook County Courthouse

An elopement in the city of Chicago is one of the most incredible experiences you can have when it comes to elopements. Between the beautiful and fun vibe of the city, the incredible locations for portraits, and endless opportunities for celebrations after you two say ‘I Do’ there’s just so much to love. That’s why I chose to put this guide together on how to elope at the Cook County Courthouse to make your elopement planning as simple and stress-free as possible!

5 Things You Need to Know to Elope at the Cook County Courthouse

1. Marriage Laws in Chicago

In the state of Illinois, there is a one-day waiting period before your marriage license goes into effect, and then it is valid for the next 60 days. This means that you will not be eligible to get legally married until 24 hours after your license has been issued. Illinois law does not require you to have a witness present at your wedding ceremony, and you do not have to schedule an appointment in order to elope at the Cook County Marriage Court. Here are their hours, and while you don’t need an appointment they do ask that couples arrive at least a half hour before closing. All this combines to give your elopement day a tremendous amount of flexibility!

2. What Day of the Week is Best?

The next thing you’ll want to plan out for your elopement at the Cook County Courthouse is when to elope. During the week the Cook County Marriage Court is open for two separate time frames, from 9 am-12 pm and 2 pm-4 pm. On Saturdays, they are only open from 9 am-12 pm, and they are not open at all on Sundays or court holidays. Think about what you and your partner want to do on the day of your elopement when considering which day of the week to go with. If you’re looking to celebrate as intimately as possible in Chicago, consider Monday through Thursday. If you’re looking to let loose and celebrate with the city of Chicago at its liveliest then eloping on Friday or Saturday is the way to go!

3. What You Need to Bring With You

In order to elope at the Cook County Courthouse you and your love will need to bring valid forms of identification such as your driver’s license. You will also need your marriage license and a form of payment for the $10 administrative fee. If you are previously divorced, you will need to know the date when the divorce was finalized, and if you divorced within the last 6 months you’ll need a certified copy of your divorce decree on hand. Luckily, that’s about it and there are no other requirements for your elopement which keeps the process incredibly simple, allowing you to focus on what’s most important the day of, your love for one another!

4. Anything You Need to do Prior

Before you can elope at the Cook County Courthouse, you and your partner will need to go to one of the four Cook County Clerk’s Vital Records locations together and apply for a marriage license. You will both need a valid form of identification for this step as well. There is a $60 marriage license fee for this step. Remember that once the marriage license is issued, it will not go into effect until 24 hours after and it will be valid for the next 60 days. Plan your elopement around this timeframe to avoid any complications!

5. Do You Need A Photographer?

The last thing you need to know for your elopement at the Cook County Courthouse is whether or not you need a photographer for your day. While I might be a bit biased my answer is 100% yes you do! This is such an incredibly special moment between the two of you and marks the next chapter in your lives together. You should be able to not only celebrate the occasion but also capture the emotion and experience from your elopement day to relive for years to come. With that being said I thought it would be helpful to take a look into my elopement packages in case you were considering booking me for your elopement (I hope you do!)

A Look at My Elopement Packages

On my site, you’ll notice that my starting elopement package which is $1600 and includes 6 hours of coverage, unlimited images clicked, a minimum of 400 high-resolution images delivered, and an online gallery where you can order prints. This only scratches the surface of what the packages include though! For your day I will also scout out potential locations for portraits after your Cook County Courthouse elopement. I also include general day of coordination and timeline assistance in the packages. You’ll also have full access to me and my knowledge as a professional in this industry throughout your elopement process. If you want more information send me an inquiry through my contact page and we can create a custom package together that perfectly fits your day and what you are looking for.

Now that you know everything you need to in order to plan your own elopement at the Cook County Courthouse, it’s time to start the planning process. Head to my contact page to send me an inquiry and we can plan your day together. And if you’re looking for more wedding day tips or would like to see some more of my work check out some of my other blog posts here!

April 6, 2023

Sreeja Ankam

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  1. […] County Courthouse located in the heart of downtown Chicago. I actually recently wrote an entire blog post on the ins and outs of eloping here if you’d like to read more about it! With the courthouse’s […]