Bachelor in Paradise couple Serena Pitt and Joe Amabile have revealed that they had planned to keep their courthouse wedding a secret.

Serena and Joe, who got engaged on Bachelor in Paradise's seventh season in Summer 2021, revealed they had started talking about getting married in a New York courthouse two months before their October 27 union during the latest episode of Joe's "Click Bait with Bachelor Nation" podcast.


"We started the wedding planning process and we were like, 'This is gonna take a while. Why don't we knock out the marriage thing?'" Joe told his co-host Tia Booth. "We thought it would be fun. We had some friends that did it."

Joe and Serena said they had wanted the day to be intimate and personal, given their relationship is so public.

"We really weren't going to tell anyone," Joe shared on the podcast, which featured Serena as his guest.

The former grocery store owner from Chicago elaborated, "Initially, the only people that knew were Serena's parents and [Bachelor in Paradise alum Natasha Parker], our witness."

Serena, a Canada native who's currently living with Joe in New York, pointed out how they could only have one person in the courthouse room with them due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I told my parents the night before, and my brother," Joe recalled. "And then we weren't really telling anyone."

Serena said after she and Joe tied the knot on October 27, they talked about calling their closest friends and sharing the news with them.

"That was going to be where we drew the line," Serena said.

But when the couple got home after the ceremony, Joe explained how Serena received a text message from her manager.

"She asked, 'Are you married? Because [a certain] publication either got tipped off or they had somebody that was near there who saw you guys walking out of the marriage ceremony,'" Joe said.

"Realistically, we don't even know if that would've got out, but technically, it is public knowledge [and accessible in public records]."

Serena told Tia that she was really hoping no one would recognize them at the wedding because they were both "so dressed down" and wearing masks.

"I had velour on!" Joe joked.

"We were like, 'There's no way anyone is going to see us.' But we were in this big room, before you go into the individual room, with so many people that we were kind of like, 'Okay, there's a chance,'" Serena said.


Serena pointed out how there was a "shocking number of couples" -- maybe 15 or so -- in the waiting room at 9:30AM looking to get married.

Joe said his original plan, if he and Serena were spotted at the courthouse, was to tell people one of them was there to fight a speeding ticket. However, he didn't realize the wedding section was going to be a separate and large room.

"And Natasha's got a bottle of champagne!" Joe shared with a laugh.

Serena said once her manager notified her that the news could get out, she and Joe decided to say "screw it" and post the video they had.

"If it's going to get out, we might as well release it in our own way," Serena noted.

"And I was pushing -- before we even found that out -- I watched the video, and I was like, 'This video is actually pretty good. I'll drop it. Let's just drop it!' But I said it jokingly [in the cab on our way home]," Joe said.

Serena added how Joe thought the video was "so cute" because they were just "in the moment" and Serena clearly looked very excited.

"So getting spotted was just the push over the edge to [post] it," Serena said. "I think had I known that video was going to go everywhere, I would've dressed a little differently!... But everyone there was in jeans and a T-shirt. It was just casual."

Joe confirmed Serena hasn't changed her surname yet because they "were going to keep [the marriage] private," with Serena adding that she also got "overwhelmed with the paperwork."

Going back to when Joe and Serena were planning their courthouse wedding, the pair hoped they could just exchange vows via Zoom from the comfort of their couch, but that format is no longer allowed.

And Serena elaborated on how they didn't get married on a whim.

"There are multiple steps you have to do in advance. It was a three-week process from when we first Googled it online to when we actually got married," Serena revealed.

Despite their planning, Joe and Serena apparently forgot one big detail: wedding bands.

"We forgot that we had to do the ring thing," Joe quipped, with Serena adding, "So according to our hands, we're just engaged!"

Serena acknowledged she didn't know what to expect with a courthouse wedding but she's so glad they went through with it.

"I just figured you go in and sign some papers and you're married!" Serena said.

"But you go into this room... And this woman was like, 'Face each other, look into each other's eyes and hold hands.' And I got so emotional! It made it really real. Not in a bad way... I was crying the whole time."


Now that the ceremony is over, Joe said he feels a lot of the pressure has been taken off, although he and Serena still intend to have a big wedding in 2023 so their family and friends can attend.

"I already feel some of the pressure is gone," Joe said.

"[But] it hasn't changed our wedding in any way other than the fact we're already married... Now it's just, like, a celebration," Serena clarified.

Serena confirmed Joe has been "very involved" in the wedding planning so far.

The Bachelor in Paradise 7 finale, which featured Joe's marriage proposal to Serena, aired in October 2021.

Serena moved in together this past spring in New York City, and in September, Serena told Us Weekly that she and Joe hadn't begun wedding planning yet.

"We have to be a little flexible in terms of venues and such and what's available," Serena told Us. "But we would love to get married next September. We definitely wanna get married next year."

Serena revealed that she and Joe would be open to "maybe August or October" in 2023 as well.

"But [it's happening] next year, and it's gonna be somewhere in the U.S. -- probably not Toronto or Chicago," Serena said, confirming the couple won't be having a destination wedding.

"We'd just like to make it kind of a destination for everyone, and we just want it to be a fun weekend. I have to start looking at wedding planners. That's actually on my written to-do list for next week. So hopefully I'll have a wedding planner soon."

Serena admitted at the time she was "very overwhelmed by the planning process" but felt ready to dive in.

"Joe will start off saying, 'Whatever you want,' but he is an opinionated guy. He has a vision for the wedding, for sure," Serena shared in September.

"I think it's actually gonna be very 50/50. I want it to feel like our wedding, not my wedding. And if anything, I would say he's probably more opinionated than I am about this stuff... It'll be a team effort."

As far as her wedding gown goes, Serena said she doesn't have a dream dress in mind.

"I think once we see the venue and where we pick to get married, I'll be able to start envisioning a mood board for the dress and the hair and the makeup," Serena explained.

"But I don't wanna, like, look or feel like anyone else on that day. You know, I love my neutral, glowy bronzed makeup and that's probably what I'm gonna do on my wedding day even though that's what I do every day because that's what I love."

She added, "For my wedding dress, I want it to be comfortable. If I have to wear it all night, I want to be comfortable in it."

Serena and her fiance celebrated their engagement party in July 2022, and that's when their parents met each other.

Back in June, Serena said she "definitely" wants to have kids with Joe, hopefully two children, adding, "I told him on our very first date in Paradise if he didn't want kids, that would be a dealbreaker for me!"

"I grew up working with kids teaching dance and swim lessons, so I have always wanted my own," she said.

Serena also mentioned at the time how the couple would be interested in getting a dog but they'd have to stop traveling so much for that to become a possibility.

Serena gushed in early November 2021 that she and Joe make "a fantastic team together," according to Hollywood Life.

"He's a fantastic communicator," Serena said. "We just understood each other and felt very comfortable and safe and open with each other in the relationship."

Serena and Joe believe they established a strong relationship foundation while filming Bachelor in Paradise.

Serena, for instance, never let the fact Joe's ex-girlfriend of nearly two years, Kendall Long, was on the beach get in the way of her connection with Joe.

Serena kept her eye on the prize, avoided jealousy, and trusted Joe as Kendall sought closure.

Looking back on Joe's marriage proposal, Serena previously told Becca Kufrin on her "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast how she was in "complete shock" by Joe's decision to propose marriage on the show.

"The logical thing to do would be like, 'This is crazy. This is so fast, let's just do the step-by-step thing and get engaged down the line,'" Serena explained at the time.

"I was so emotional when he got down on one knee and I was so excited to say 'yes.' I was obviously in complete shock but I knew he was the one."

Serena called the moment "beautiful" and insisted she had no regrets about the quick engagement.

Prior to appearing on Bachelor in Paradise 7, Serena dumped Matt James on his The Bachelor season that aired in early 2021 after her hometown date.

And Joe got eliminated very early from Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette and met Kendall on Season 5 of Paradise.

Despite being happy and in love, Joe and Kendall broke up because they couldn't agree on whether to live in Chicago or Kendall's home city of Los Angeles long-term.

Joe gave Los Angeles a chance during and after his stint on Dancing with the Stars in 2018 and wanted to move back to Chicago to be with his friends and family, but Kendall apparently wouldn't even consider relocating and trying out a life in Chicago.

Kendall announced in late October she's moving to Germany with her new boyfriend, Mitchell Sage.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.