How to Plan a City Hall Wedding

Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash

While we’d all like to think that throwing a city hall wedding is as simple as it was in Sex and the City movie, it’s not; although planning a city hall wedding’s got nothing on a traditional, overwhelming bash – there’s still a lot of planning behind the scenes that needs to be done.

If you are one of the modern brides that’s replaced her huge wedding with a city hall ceremony, here are a few things to consider upon starting your wedding planning adventure.

Be prepared

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There are no words strong enough to stress how important it is to get your research right: make sure you have all the information, even those seemingly irrelevant. For instance, did you know that you need to book two appointments for your wedding? Yes, that’s right. The first one is for the ceremony itself while the other one is for obtaining the marriage license. Depending on the place of your residence, you may be required to book within 90 days of your wedding, so make sure you get all the logistics figured out thoroughly!

Organize the post-ceremony celebration

The fact you are getting married in a city hall doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to throw a great party afterwards. If you are not into over the top celebrations, invite a few of your dear friends and swing by your favorite restaurant for lunch, have an amazing night out or do anything else close to your heart. However, do consider the fact that city hall weddings are usually early in the morning and ON WEEKDAYS! So, if you’ve got a favorite restaurant in mind, make sure you call in advance to avoid finding it closed once you actually get there.

Get a witness

Photo by Justin Clark on Unsplash

If you were organizing a traditional wedding, we’d be talking bridesmaids but – since you are going lowkey – you each need a witness . Naturally, this still can be your best friend, a relative, someone close to you and your partner or a random person over 18. They’ll be in the room with you to sign the marriage certificate.

Don’t count on a large wedding party

Unlike a traditional wedding, a city hall wedding has a limited number of “guests” that can attend the signing of the marriage certificate. The number varies by location, but the number rarely ever goes above six guests (yes, this includes your official witness). And you will also get a standard ceremony, no personalized text here.

Arrive tip-top ready

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The courthouse, obviously, doesn’t have dressing rooms you can use to change when you get there so make sure you arrive tip-top ready; anything from makeup to your wedding dress should be in order, especially because there are other couples waiting too and no one has the time to wait on your last-minute touch-ups (those are to be handled at home).

NOTE: A (semi) casual wedding like this allows you to drop the wedding gown drama and opt for something more fashionable and closer to your personal style. Be original on your wedding day, order a white bodycon dress, go through intriguing and exotic kaftans online to find your fit, wear a suit or opt a vintage bodysuit. Add a special touch with some jewelry.

Respect other couples

Sorry, but you aren’t going to be the only bride in the room if you are saying your ‘I do’ in the city hall. Usually, it takes about 10 minutes per couple, before the next couple’s name is up. There’s no time for vows, either. So, consider this time frame and be respectful towards other couples. Everyone wants to enjoy their day, don’t they?

Even though you are getting married at city hall, it doesn’t mean your day is any less important than it would be if you had a huge wedding bash. YOUR “I DO” IS STILL A BIG DEAL, so make sure you enjoy every second of it!

Contributing Author: Claire Hastings is Australian designer, writer and regular contributor at ripped.meShe’s been writing as long as she can remember, and she is very passionate about fashion, running, other cultures, and her cat. Social media links:  facebooktwitter

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