If you're not one for fancy weddings and would rather just get it over with, you can choose to get married at city hall. Sure, it may not be the most extravagant event, but it won't cost you nearly as much as a traditional wedding either. Sound like something you're interested in for your upcoming wedding? Follow these steps on how to get married in city hall.
Pick a date. Before you can start any of your wedding planning, you need to decide on a date. Choose a date that means something to you, or go with something that works for your family. (You should give ample notice to your guests, especially if they're traveling from out-of-town, so that they'll be able to make arrangements to attend your city hall wedding).
Schedule your wedding. Once you have decided on your wedding date, contact city hall to confirm that they'll be able to perform your wedding ceremony on that day. Generally, city hall only needs a few days notice but don't rely on this when planning. Always have a second wedding date in mind in case they can't accommodate your first request.
Determine which guests to invite. Sometimes city hall will only allow for a limited amount of wedding guests to attend your wedding. Look into this before you start to make out your wedding guest list. You'll need to also look into seating at city hall. Ensure that there will be chairs to accommodate everyone you invite.
Hopefully, one of your wedding guests will be handy with a camera. Request that your guests snap lots of shots during the ceremony. This will save you the cost of a photographer. If you'd rather have a professional photographer, make sure you book him or her far in advance of your city hall wedding date.
Fulfill any special state requirements. As with any wedding, you'll need to fulfill a few of the state marriage requirements before your wedding will be considered official. Of course, you'll need to apply for a marriage license and have it ready and in hand before the day of your ceremony. Ensure that it is valid in the state you're planning to get married in. To get married, you'll also need to show proof of identification, like a passport or a driver's license. You may also want to bring along proof of your address, and any papers related to past marriages when applying for your marriage registration just in case (such as annulments, death certificates and divorce papers). This will ensure that you'll get your marriage license and your wedding at city hall will go off without a hitch.
Incorporate traditions if you want. Although city hall weddings are generally short and sweet, it is okay to incorporate a few of your most favored traditions into your wedding ceremony at city hall. The bride may want to wear a white wedding dress, or at least "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue." Or perhaps you'll skip the reception and get right to the cake cutting after your city hall wedding. The events of your wedding and the order in which they occur will depend on your preference and what city hall will allow.
Buy rings to exchange during the ceremony. Of course, you'll need rings in order to get married at city hall. Purchase bands to exchange during your wedding ceremony.
Don't forget the flowers. While the decorations at your city hall wedding will likely be sparse, you will still need to have some flowers. The bride needs a bouquet, the groom will need a corsage, and special guests require corsages as well. In addition, consider preparing small wedding favors to give your guests as a "thank you" for attending your wedding at city hall.