There is a growing trend in metropolitan areas towards having small weddings in City Hall. These are not necessarily quickie weddings done on a lunch break, as the old stereotypes implied, however. A City Hall wedding can in fact be very chic, elegant, and modern.
One of the first questions to ask yourself if you are considering being married at City Hall is how many people you hope to have witness your vows. If the answer is more than a few, then you would do well to look into other venues. However, if it is your heart’s desire to have only your very dearest friends or family at your marriage ceremony, then City Hall could be a great option. It is also a good way to restrict your ceremony guest list to a select few without hurting anyone else’s feelings.
The ceremony at a City Hall is generally non-religious and quite brief. This doesn’t mean that you can’t treat the ceremony like the special occasion that it is. The customary ensemble for a City Hall bride was a white suit worn with a little hat and tasteful pearl bridal jewelry. The little hat often had a puff of French net or tulle on it, but the bride would typically not wear a veil. A second time bride would opt for something similar, only her suit was in a pastel color.
The modern version of the City Hall bridal ensemble tends to be a sassy shorter white wedding gown. Retro 1950s styles are very popular for knee-length bridal gowns, and are usually topped off with pearl jewelry and a shortie veil. Brides who prefer a chic city look will love all of the mini length wedding gowns that designers are creating from elegant and flowing silk chiffon and charmeuse. Of course, the perfect accessory for a short wedding dress is a fabulous pair of shoes in white or a metallic color.
Just because you have chosen to have a small ceremony at City Hall does not mean that you cannot have a reception afterwards. Some couples choose to keep the entire event very small, only inviting the witnesses from the ceremony to join them for refreshments afterwards. For such a small group, you would generally just go out to lunch or dinner right after the ceremony in your favorite fancy restaurant. Be sure that there will be Champagne on hand to raise a toast to the newlyweds!
It is also perfectly acceptable to have an expanded group of family and friends that are invited to a reception following the private ceremony. The way to handle this is by having the regular sized invitation be to the reception only, with the following wording: The pleasure of your company / is requested at the wedding reception of / Camilla Anne Talbot / and / Gregory Chase Smith / on Saturday, the eleventh of June / at five o’clock / The Heritage Club / New York City. For the select few that are also being invited to the ceremony, you would enclose a smaller card which says: The pleasure of your company / is requested at the marriage ceremony / at four o’clock / City Hall / New York. It is important to note that while it is acceptable to invite additional people to the reception following a very small ceremony, it is quite rude to invite some people to the ceremony but not the dinner to follow.
Your reception following a City Hall wedding can be any style that appeals to you. Due to their smaller nature, these parties are often held in places like chic little boutique hotels, trendy lofts, or private clubs in the city. These intimate settings are the perfect size and style for a chic City Hall wedding.