How many witnesses needed for a wedding?

So how many witnesses for a wedding? When tying the knot it’s a legal requirement to have people witness the event but how many do you need to witness your happy occasion? We’ve got answers and advice for you…

Lisa from Chicago wrote to us about wedding witnesses…


How many witnesses should I have at my wedding?

Dear Joy & Sam, I am getting married at a church, June of next year and my fiancé and I were discussing how many witnesses should we get for our wedding. I just recently attended a wedding of an office-mate and she had 20 witnesses – 10 men and 10 women. Do we really need that huge number of witnesses? So, at least how many witnesses should be present for a wedding? Thanks for your help.


witnessing the wedding vows

Witnessing a wedding. (photo Hannah Headley)

How many witnesses?

Well, hi Lisa. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and for your good question as well. For you to get married, whether at a courthouse or at a church, you will only need 2 people to sign as witnesses for the wedding to be officially acknowledged.

Of course, you don’t need to have as many as 20, which can already be your entire expected wedding guests.You can have 2 witnesses and cut the cost of having more than that. However, if you want to be extra special and be flanked by so many wedding witnesses for your wedding photos, then go ahead, you actually have the choice to choose how many witnesses you want but only 2 of them get to officially sign as witnesses.

Witnesses at a Courthouse Wedding.

The same is true if you are getting married at a courthouse, you are only required to have 2 witnesses. They will be your legal witnesses as they are the ones that get to sign the marriage papers. If you want more then it depends on how large the the courthouse is where you get to say your ‘I Dos’, the judge may allow you to have other ‘witnesses’ or ‘ guests’ at your wedding.

Sam at - Wedding Planner

Need ideas for simple private weddings? We got ideas and advice.

“If you want to keep it simple then 2 witnesses are enough for your wedding ceremony.”

wedding witnesses

Witness wedding signing. (by Lachlan Hardy)

Find out what to wear for a courthouse wedding.

Requirements for Wedding Witnesses.

Keep in mind too that there are age requirements for your witnesses. Some may require witnesses to be age 18 and above and other requirements such as the witness should be able to understand the language used in the wedding ceremony.

In other cultures however, the number of witnesses depends on how many you want and they also get to sign the marriage papers. If you are planning for a destination wedding or you plan to marry somewhere else then make sure you also get to learn their own guidelines and rules.

How many witnesses did you have at your ceremony? Got any interesting stories? Comment and let us know.

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