Berrien Courthouse Museum
The Midwest’s oldest surviving county government complex
1839 Courthouse - 1830 Log House - 1870 Sheriff’s House
1860/1873 County Records and Office Building
Open All Year - Free Admission
For the 1839 Courthouse
Please read the following information and ask any questions before you make plans for your wedding. Sign and date one copy of the form and return it to the museum. Keep the other copy for your files. Scheduled dates are not confirmed until a copy of the form and appropriate deposit and rental fees are paid.
The courtroom of Michigan’s oldest courthouse has been restored to its original early 19th century appearance and is an attractive site for a wedding. To protect the building and guests, a maximum of 120 people may be seated in the courtroom for a wedding. The wooden courtroom benches are rather uncomfortable, so chairs may be more suitable for elderly guests. There are a few captain style chairs in the room that may be utilized. The courthouse is heated and air-conditioned but on extreme days, the system will not provide optimum conditions. The building may be cool in the winter and hot during the summer.
Because Courthouse Square is a public museum, there may be other visitors on the site during regular hours. The courthouse will remain open during the wedding.
Weddings may be scheduled during established hours of operation. Currently, these are:
- Summer: Monday through Saturday - 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
- Fall: Monday through Friday - 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
- Evening or fall weekend hours may be scheduled at a higher rate. *
The building will be available for a maximum of 2 hours for your wedding. This includes time for set up, photographs and other activities. In addition, a one- hour rehearsal may be arranged with the staff. The rehearsal may not be scheduled later than 6:00 p.m.. There is no reduction of fees if no rehearsal is scheduled. The rehearsal and wedding are considered to begin when the principals or wedding party arrive on or before the scheduled time and to have concluded when the staff is able to close the building.
Rental Fees and Deposits
- For weddings scheduled during regular hours, a $200.00 deposit and $200.00 rental are required at the time form is submitted to confirm schedule. This includes a 1 (one) hour rehearsal and 2 (two) hour wedding.
- For evening or fall weekend weddings, $200.00 deposit and $300.00 rental is required at the time form is submitted to confirm schedule. This includes a 1 (one) hour rehearsal and 2 (two) hour wedding.
- If rehearsals or weddings exceed time limits listed above, the time will be charged against the deposit at $100.00 per hour, payable at 15 (fifteen) minute increments for the extra time.
If there are no additional charges for time or cleaning fees, the deposit will be refunded to you within 14 business days after the wedding.
Changes in wedding date (subject to availability) or cancellations may be made with a full refund if done 30 or more days before the originally scheduled time. After this, changes in date or cancellation will result in a $100.00 fee.
Museum staff is available only to open and close the building. All other arrangements including clergy, judge or magistrate, florist, music, etc., are the responsibility of the wedding party.
It is assumed you chose the courthouse for your wedding because of its unique character. It is also important that regular visitors deserve to see the building as it appeared during the 19th century. Decorating is very limited and confined to the courtroom.
Floral arrangements in waterproof containers are allowed in the courtroom. No balloons, paper or other items may be taped to any surface in the courtroom.
No lighted candles are allowed in the building.
Consult with the museum curator or director before moving any furniture in the courthouse.
Stringed and woodwind instruments sound beautiful in the courtroom, but brass instruments are almost deafening. Electrical outlets are available in the front of the courtroom for taped music.
Electricity and Lights
Electrical outlets are accessible on the sides of the courtroom. Electric lights are installed in the courtroom and provide a nice diffused light for evening weddings.
The outside balcony may be used for photographs only. Please restrict its use to the wedding party and photographer. Be sure to lock the door after use. Do not allow wedding guests access to the outside balcony.
The courtroom balcony or gallery is closed to the public.
Food Drink and Smoking
No food or drink is permitted in any museum buildings. Smoking or consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted under any circumstances. Violation of this policy by the wedding party or guests will result in the forfeiture of the entire deposit.
Due to space limitations, the museum is unable to provide dressing rooms. Restrooms are available on the lower level of the courthouse.
The courtroom has soft poplar floors that dent easily. Therefore, no spike heel shoes are allowed on the courtroom floors. Please inform your wedding party and guests of this policy as anyone wearing spike heel shoes will be required to remove them.
No rice, seeds, balloons or other materials may be thrown or released on Courthouse Square.
Everything brought into the courthouse or on to the museum grounds must be removed immediately after the wedding. This includes but is not limited to flowers, boxes, ribbons, cloth and paper products. The museum will not assume responsibility for any item left behind so please make sure you take all personal items with you. If you do not clean up the courtroom and remove any and all materials, cleaning fees based on $100.00 per hour will be deducted from your deposit.