These Celebrity Couples Ditched a Big Wedding (at Least at First ...) for an Intimate Courthouse or City Hall Ceremony
Cooper Hefner & Scarlett Byrne
The son of the late Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner, married Harry Potter actress Byrne at the Ventura County courthouse in California in November 2019.
The pair, who got engaged in August 2015, revealed that they would be celebrating with friends and families in a larger ceremony at a later date.
Hefner wrote on Instagram following the nuptials, “Scarlett and I have made it officially legal and the two of us could not be happier. Cheers to a life full of love, happiness, adventure, and great purpose, Mrs. Hefner. I love you dearly and very much look forward to planning our wedding celebrations in the months ahead. I love you, Scarlett.”
Dax Shepard & Kristen Bell
The low-key couple began dating in 2007 and were wed in a courthouse wedding in Beverly Hills in 2013. Shepard and Bell had been waiting for same-sex marriage to be legalized before tying the knot. The wedding cost just $142 to pull off.
Bell told PEOPLE of their decision, “I don’t fault anyone who wants a big day – especially girls, [but] we get more than enough attention in our everyday lives. I also wear more than enough party dresses.”
Emily Ratajkowski & Sebastian Bear-McClard
Ratajkowski married her actor and producer hubby in February 2018, just weeks after meeting him, sharing on Instagram that they wed at N.Y.C.’s City Hall.
Ratajkowski wore a pantsuit from Zara for the occasion, and a black brimmed hat with a French netting veil.
Penn Badgley & Domino Kirke
The You actor and former Gossip Girl, Badgley married Kirke (sister to Girls star, Jemima Kirke) in a ceremony at a Brooklyn courthouse in February 2017, following their vows with a simple restaurant reception.
Friends, family and stars alike celebrated the pair again when they held another wedding celebration in June of that same year.
You know you love him, xoxo …
Jessica Alba & Cash Warren
Chris Ivery & Ellen Pompeo
The Grey’s Anatomy star quietly wed music executive Chris Ivery in November 2007, with Pompeo’s dad telling PEOPLE, “She just didn’t want a big thing.”
N.Y.C.’s then-mayor, Michael Bloomberg, served as a witness at the brief ceremony, which was performed at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Keira Knightly & James Righton
Knightly and Righton were engaged for one year before getting married in an intimate ceremony at the town hall in Mazan, a small village in Provence, France, in 2013.
The bride wore a strapless tulle dress and a Chanel jacket for the occasion, with flowers in her hair.
The ceremony was extremely private, but 30 to 50 guests were reportedly invited to attend a luncheon and evening party.
The mayor of the town said of their ceremony, “It was really lovely. They were really happy. You could see it. They were laughing and sharing this moment with family. It was very emotional, but really simple. They were happy about the rings and they took pictures of them.”
Morgan Macgregor & Michael C. Hall
For the Dexter star’s third wedding in February 2016, he and his bride decided to keep things low-key by getting married in N.Y.C.’s City Hall.
Salma Hayek & Francois-Henri Pinault
The actress married the French billionaire in a simple civil ceremony in Paris, the City of Love, on Valentine’s Day 2009.
The pair followed up their nuptials with an extremely lavish, fairytale wedding in Italy, held in April of the same year. Stars invited included Anna Wintour, Charlize Theron, Bono and Woody Harrelson.
Luciana Barroso & Matt Damon
The pair met in 2002 and were wed three years later in 2005, in a ceremony at City Hall in N.Y.C. Luciana’s 7-year-old daughter from a previous marriage served as the witness.
Like many other couples on our list, the duo eventually opted for a more formal celebration, renewing their vows in 2013 in St. Lucia surrounded by family and famous friends.
Chrissy Teigen & John Legend
Though the pair did end up enjoying a lavish Italian wedding in 2013, Teigen revealed to E! News that she and her EGOT-winning husband also got married in an N.Y.C. courthouse with a very special witness.
Teigen said, “We actually got married after going to a couple Fashion Week shows at Vera Wang, ironically who actually did my dress, but we got married at the courthouse right after. We are dumb and didn’t realize that our Italian wedding would not be recognized unless we had a real ceremony in New York City. So Irina Shayk was our witness — the most beautiful woman on earth!”
Hailey Baldwin & Justin Bieber
One year before their star-studded to-do in South Carolina, the pair made it official at N.Y.C.’s City Hall, on Sept. 13, 2018.
“They went ahead and did it without listening to anyone,” a source close to the couple told PEOPLE.
A religious source spoke to the family and confirmed to PEOPLE that they were legally married at the courthouse, but were still going to have a religious ceremony and celebration with family and friends. “They’re going to have a big blowout, in front of God and everyone they love,” the religious source told PEOPLE.