A city hall wedding is a beautiful occasion. You get to be with your closest family and friends to tie the knot with your partner. The ceremony can be as simple or extravagant as you choose, and better yet, you make the rules! You can ditch or keep whichever classic traditions you want without hundreds of eyes on you.
Whether you and your partner decide to hold an intimate ceremony with your loved ones present or want to be the only two people at the event, there are many ways you can make the day special and memorable without the stress of traditional wedding planning.
So to start this new chapter, pick your guest list, nail down a date, hire a photographer if you choose, and start celebrating! We’ve compiled a list of 24 city hall wedding ideas for couples that want an intimate ceremony.
Keep reading to discover how to plan your city hall wedding or jump to our inspiration boards below:
On to the exciting part—planning your city hall wedding. Embarking on this new journey together may mean heading to your local city hall or making an exciting getaway by choosing the city hall in your dream destination. Here are some ceremony planning tips to add to your courthouse wedding checklist:
Do your research: You don’t want anything to get in the way of your special day. Make sure you check all the requirements prior to the event such as reserving a time, have your I.D., birth certificate, and proof of citizenship on hand. If your city hall hands out tickets for spots in line, keep your ticket to frame as a keepsake. From New York to Chicago, every city has different requirements.
Find your city hall: You can take your city hall wedding on the road or stay in your hometown for your special day. Book tickets to a city that’s meaningful for the two of you or choose an at-home celebration.
Get your marriage license first: Depending on your city hall of choice, you are able to get your marriage license and tie the knot in one day, others take up to two weeks. Call beforehand to make sure you are fully prepared for your big day.
Create your vow books: Add another sentimental memory to your city hall wedding and craft vow books before your big day.
Make your guest list: Maybe you just want to elope or you may want your closest family and friends there with you. As some city halls are limited in capacity, plan who you want to be there at least a couple weeks in advance.
Hire a photographer: This is a day you won’t forget, so hire someone to capture the day as you start this new journey.
Assemble your bouquet: A bouquet is a classic way to spruce up your city hall wedding day look. You can choose something simple to make at home or have a florist use your favorite flowers to make one for you.
If you’re planning a city hall wedding, you have it easy when it comes to picking the perfect outfits. Whether you and your partner want to show up in classic attire or even color coordinate your outfits, it’s your day, and you both can wear what you choose. Read on for outfit inspiration:
Embody classic elegance: Even though you may be hosting a less traditional affair, you can still stick to the basics when it comes to attire. Consider wearing traditional colors like black and white to start married life on a classic note.
Pick out bold attire: Step out of the box and wear something you normally wouldn’t to surprise your partner and any other guests. Pick out a fun bow tie or an eye-catching jumpsuit to play up this special day.
Be comfortable and casual: Maybe putting on a dress or a suit just isn’t your thing, and that’s okay! Opt for jeans and a nice top with classic shoes and a fun accessory.
Play up your winter wear: If you’re having a city hall wedding when the snow is falling, you may want extra layers to keep you warm. A long dress or a suit layered with a scarf or stylish coat adds the perfect warmth to your special day.
Include timeless details: Break out your favorite pearl necklace or classic watch for a more sophisticated look on this special day.
Integrate a touch of color: If you want to wear your favorite color, do it! Spice things up by choosing a non-traditional color—it’ll make your wedding photos pop.
From the ceremony to the after-party, you likely have everything covered by now, but what about the extras that make a city hall wedding day so special? From wedding signs to announcement inspiration, we’ve listed six of our absolute favorites.
Make wedding signs: Craft a wedding sign to feature in your pictures. If you want a sign that shows the date you got married, hang it up on the back of your getaway car to create the picture-perfect moment.
Find champagne toasting glasses: Toast to your journey as newlyweds with perfectly crafted champagne glasses. You can paint them yourself or order your favorite “I do” glasses online.
Choose your stylish getaway: Make a grand exit and attach balloons, your wedding sign, flowers, or even cans to your vehicle of choice to let others know you just got hitched!
Plan your wedding exit: Make your exit light up! Glow sticks, paper airplanes, ribbon wands, confetti, and bubbles are just a couple of ways to make your exit bright.
Send out elopement announcements: If you decide to go to city hall just the two of you, consider sending out elopement announcements to let your family and friends know you tied the knot.
Keep mementos: Have a guest book or sign and frame your city hall ticket for a heartwarming reminder of the day you two tied the knot.
If you’re hosting an intimate wedding or elopement with just the two of you, consider celebrating with your loved ones after. Some couples may want to keep things casual, while others may wish to go all out with an extravagant get-together.
Celebrate in a courtyard: Throw a reception in your backyard or nearby park and invite your closest family and friends to celebrate this special event.
Cater a food truck party: Host a food truck party with your favorite bites. Whether you enjoy ice cream sandwiches, burgers, or stir fry, cater your favorites for the day.
Visit an art gallery: For an elevated after-party, celebrate with beautiful works of art all around you. There are various gallery types and sizes out there just waiting to be booked.
Host a boozy brunch: If your ceremony is early in the morning, consider celebrating your nuptials over brunch. Host an after-party with Bloody Marys, pancakes, coffee, and plenty of champagne.
Dance after dark: Hire a DJ or local band to celebrate your memorable day with lots of dancing and fun-filled moments.
Taste test food and wine: Sip wine with your loved ones at a restaurant, or have your own wine tasting bar catered.
After figuring out the basics of your beautiful city hall wedding, it’s time to put your plan into action. Whether you want to take things a step further and get a wedding cake, figure out which flowers you want in your bouquet, or look for inspirational wedding gifts, check out Zola to help style your dream city hall wedding.