An Epic Summer Memphis Courthouse Wedding in Tennessee

Wedding portrait in front of a speaker wall at Central Station Hotel

When Caroline first called me about her Memphis courthouse wedding, I was hooked right away. I LOVE intimate ceremonies, and weddings at the courthouse just make it better :) If you’ve ever been to the Shelby County Courthouse, you know how pretty it is. I’m a sucker for gorgeous marble and old buildings. And to make it better, they would be celebrating at Jerry’s Sno Cones immediately afterward, followed by a big reception with friends and family the next day. Central Station Hotel and The Emerge Building were the party venues- a very classy set of choices :)

As the wedding date got closer, we learned that the Shelby County Courthouse wouldn’t be doing weddings at all for most of the month of August. So we had about 30 days to figure something out! Luckily, Memphis isn’t short of cool pastors and officiants who are so kind to step in at the last minute. My good friend Tom Fuerst from Bluff City Church was amazing and readily agreed to perform a quick ceremony…in the hallway of the courthouse! This. Hallway. Is. Gorgeous. And you don’t have to take my word for it:

The gorgeous marble hallway of the Shelby County Courthouse, empty and peaceful.
Shelby County Courthouse
The pastor signs the marriage paperwork and family and friends laugh together before an intimate ceremony at the Memphis courthouse.

The Intimate Memphis Courthouse Wedding

Once their closest family and friends had arrived, we got the paperwork signed and made sure everyone was ready to go! It couldn’t have been a better scenario. The courthouse was practically empty, which meant no foot traffic or staff in and out, an empty space to have the ceremony, and uninterrupted portraits. Tom did a lovely (and quick) ceremony and it was such an intimate and beautiful courthouse wedding. In my opinion, that grand hall is the better choice. It’s just so dreamy and elegant. The Memphis courthouse is gorgeous all around. If you’re considering a Memphis courthouse wedding, but aren’t sure of all the details or where to start, hop over here for some info!

An intimate wedding in the hall of the Memphis courthouse.
Memphis Courthouse Wedding

I’m still not recovered from how beautiful their ceremony was in this hallway. I’ll be thinking about this hallway for the rest of my life…and I live here.

Portrait Time

Once we were all hitched and ready for portraits, we sent the family and friends out while we took some epic portraits on the staircase. I highly recommend doing portraits as privately as possible. And I’m usually not afraid to say something- get people to move out of our space. Portraits are already exhausting with the camera being on you 100% of the time, so having the extra pressure of extra eyes watching is a no-go for me.

Quick tip: distracting your fam bam with some Prosecco while you take your photos ALWAYS helps :) Prost!

We utilized the benches in the grand hall of the courthouse, as well as the huge staircase that goes up to the second level, and takes you down to the basement level. There’s really not an ugly spot in the Memphis courthouse to take photos. Here are some of my favorites!

Portraits in window light, on the staircase inside the Shelby County Courthouse.
Wedding portraits in the grand marble hall of the Shelby County Courthouse.

Are you really married if you didn’t have a bubble exit? Some say no :) Caroline and Neil’s friends and family greeted them with bubbles and Prosecco, and there toasts, laughter, and a wildly untamed group photo :)

A bubble exit and champagne toast on the front steps of the Memphis courthouse.
Friends and family gather around for a group photo, laughing and smiling on the steps of the Memphis courthouse.
Caroline’s bouquet by Heaslett Design Studio

Jerry’s Sno Cones Celebration

Apparently you’re not a true Memphian until you’ve had a sno cone from Jerry’s Sno Cones. I hate to admit it, but this post-wedding trek to East Memphis was my first time….I blame my schedule and the fact that I was dairy free for a long time. Regardless, they have a Wedding Cake sno cone that Caroline and Neil both ordered. Honestly was there a better idea? No. It was so fun getting to hang out and have a more casual kind of reception immediately after their wedding at the courthouse. The wedding day can go by so fast- it was good to just chill. Jerry’s Sno Cones is a Memphis staple and I am so, so happy that this is the spot they chose. OBVIOUSLY we got some killer photos :)

Post wedding sno cones at Jerry's Sno Cones in East Memphis.
Jerry’s Sno Cones | 1657 Wells Station Rd, Memphis, TN

Newlyweds take portraits with their wedding cake sno cones from Jerry's Sno Cones.
Red tongues and happy smiles at Jerry's Sno Cones.

This intimate wedding day was so awesome. So sweet. If you’ve been considering having a wedding at the Shelby County Courthouse in Memphis, do it. You won’t regret it, I can promise you that! There seems to be a lot of FOMO centered around weddings. But this day is about you! Caroline and Neil made this day about them, but also managed to include friends and family along the way.

Central Station Hotel First Look + Cocktails

The day after their courthouse wedding, Caroline and Neil got ready for a first look at Central Station Hotel downtown, before heading off to a reception at The Emerge Building. THIS is where all of their people could come and celebrate with them. Such a great idea.

We started with just a couple of detail shots and minimal getting ready photos- Caroline wasn’t too concerned about capturing all of the prep. Her rings were custom-made by Precious Ghost Jewelry, and Paradigm Jewelry…and they are EPIC.

Wedding rings, shoes, and dress details at Central Station Hotel in Memphis.
Wedding and engagement rings on a window sill. Rings made by Paradigm Jewelry and Precious Ghost Jewelry.

So, the first look. I love them. And I love them even more on a typical one day wedding, because it allows for your portraits to be accomplished before the ceremony. This saves so much time and stress! I have more thoughts and helpful info on a first look right here if you need it!

We did Caroline and Neil’s first look in front of the speaker wall at Central Station Hotel, which NEVER ever disappoints. I am so obsessed with this wall, I’m probably on the brink of overshooting at it. But…I don’t really care :) Central Station Hotel is so vibey and unique. It’s a great place to do all kinds of portraits, wedding or otherwise.

A sweet first look in front of the speaker wall at the Central Station Hotel.
The famous speaker wall at Central Station Hotel
Central Station Hotel | 545 S Main St, Memphis, TN

THE SPEAKER WALL AM I RIGHT?! If anyone is down for their whole gallery to be in front of this wall, send me an email. LOL just kidding. But only kind of.

Eight & Sand, Memphis Listening Lounge

Central Station Hotel also has a really amazing bar called Eight and Sand, as well as a Listening Lounge that is pretty much the coolest thing ever. The cocktails and tunes are a vibe. We were able to take a few minutes in the Listening Lounge and do more portraits– I still can’t believe these wedding portraits are real life.

Newlyweds share a cocktail inside the Memphis Listening Lounge at Central Station Hotel.
Memphis Listening Lounge
Wedding portraits at Central Station Hotel, Eight and Sand, and the Memphis Listening Lounge.

The lounge area next to Eight and Sand and Memphis Listening Lounge is perfect for some cocktails and hangs after a courthouse wedding. Caroline and Neil mingled with their friends and family before doing some family portraits. Then we all headed over to the Emerge Building for their big reception!

The Emerge Building

If you ever need a rooftop in Memphis that has a gorgeous view of the skyline, the Emerge Building is a great spot. It is the home to multiple local companies, with event spaces on the 4th and 5th floors. Once Caroline and Neil made their entrance, conquered their dances with mom and dad, and cut the cake, we went up to the roof for more photo ops :). But seriously, look at this rooftop view of Memphis:

A view of the Memphis skyline and Mississippi River from the rooftop of the Emerge Building.
Memphis Skyline View from The Emerge Building

Wedding portraits on the rooftop of the Emerge Building, overlooking downtown Memphis.

The reception was so much fun :) Lot’s of dancing, laughing, and just straight tearing it up. Craft cocktails and local beers were served. So there was really no shortage of creativity and Memphis love at this courthouse wedding. Pineapple Processions was the wedding planner for the day and they nailed it! If you’re looking for a Memphis wedding planner, they are a great option with a full team!

A wedding reception at The Emerge Building.
The Emerge Building | Memphis

Memphis Courthouse Wedding

These two days were amazing- I’m so grateful to have been a part of Caroline and Neil’s Memphis courthouse wedding and downtown reception. I can’t say it enough: Do what you want to do. And have me photograph, because…I love this :)

I would LOVE to be a part of your day, especially if you’re running to the courthouse and doing your own thing. Let’s chat!

Newlywed couple poses in a photo booth at their wedding reception in Memphis.

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