My wedding isn't until April, but we had our legal ceremony on Sunday (for insurance purposes). It certainly wasn't our intent - we found out just on Tuesday that we needed to do it asap - so our families aren't really happy, but they understand the situation.
It ended up being a bigger deal than I wanted, but it was still very nice and a day I'll remember. We had a friend that's a minister come to our apartment and we had about 15 people (parents, siblings, best man and 2 other very close friends). We did exchange rings, because my sister said it might look strange if we didn't, but at the end of the day we took them off and won't wear them again until April. We also did the unity candle, because my fiance (wow he's my husband now!) didn't want our family to travel to us for a 5 minute ceremony. We'll do a sand ceremony in Punta Cana instead to change it up a little. We didn't say our own vows, but we will in April. Afterward the papers were signed, we had some champagne and took everyone to brunch and called it a day.
The legal process in Maryland was very simple. I went by myself to the courthouse to fill out the application (I just need his passport and social security number). I paid the fee and they gave us the forms that would need to be signed by our minister. We had a 48 waiting period before the papers could be signed. We had the ceremony Sunday and I went Monday with the form (or the minister could have mailed them) to the courthouse and they took about 3 minutes to get me the sealed certificate. Really painless!