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Weddings and the lengthy planning


City hall weddings are becoming more and more mainstream because let’s face it, weddings and the lengthy planning can be very stressful (not to mention in some cases – incredibly expensive) rather than the most blissful time of life! Just because you decide a city hall wedding is best for you, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the wedding elements that every couple dreams of. To get you started, here are ten city hall wedding tips and follow along for an incredible special, specifically for our newly engaged readers in the bay area!

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

1) First things first, you need a marriage license before heading to the hall! This is done separately, prior to your city hall commitment ceremony. You can read all about the details here.

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

2) Do you have a special date in mind for your wedding day? You can reserve your significant date 90 days in advance here. Please keep in mind that most vendors will not confirm a contract until a date is set, in this case 90 days out, but do keep in touch with your vendors along the planning process leading up to the day you are able to set a date with the city.

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

3) If it is important to you, don’t shy away from including honor attendants in your marriage license signing. In California, you are allowed to have not one, but two witnesses. So enjoy the experience of including a best man and/or maid/matron of honor in your city hall wedding as witnesses! As for the short ceremony portion that is held in the rotunda, invite all your family and friends – there is no limit!

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

4) What does every single bride have in common on their wedding day? They want to look and feel their very best. It is incredibly important to schedule a hair and makeup professional to pamper you prior to your ceremony, leaving you feeling flawless and confident.

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography


5) Now this, is a serious one. Take your time. No matter what venue, how you celebrate, or where it takes place. Stop and take your time. Take your time to be playful. Take your time to soak in the feelings and emotions you have. Take your time to just be with each other without any distractions. Inevitably, your day will fly by and I encourage you to pause and take in as many single moments as possible so they are with you forever and ever.

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

6) Bride and bouquet go hand in hand, quite literally.. so work with a florist on complementing your bridal look with a bouquet or boutonniere. It gives you the opportunity to include some color and greenery into your day and will be monumental for your wedding pictures as well!

7) Pretty, pretty please invest in a professional photographer! I understand that I am one, so this goes without saying, that it is important for you to hire a professional of your choice that you have chemistry with. Images that you can cherish for life are a must when it comes to such a day like your wedding day!

With a few of the tips in mind, Natalie of Natalie Bowen Designs, Jane of The Glamourist, and myself are excited to share our brand new city hall wedding offer as we join forces as City Love Elopements. Receive a complete package of hair, make-up, bridal bouquet & boutonniere, and 2.5 hours of photography at one reasonable price for those seeking the perfect city hall wedding details. Contact me here to get more information about availability and our promotional rate, and read on for the last few tips!

8) Don’t throw bride and groom inspired attire to the wind just because your city hall ceremony will be intimate. Feeling like a bride or groom is once in a lifetime! Wear something that makes you feel like the best you’ve ever felt.

The bride in the shoot paired a tea length white cut-out dress and nude pointed toe pumps for a completely chic and not too overdone look. The groom dressed up just enough but maintained a relaxed undone collar, a perfect fit for their casual yet classy day.

Ten City Hall Wedding Tips - Melanie Duerkopp Photography

9) Create an equally elaborate invitation for your day, just as you would a traditional wedding. It establishes the same significance as a non city hall wedding to those few guests that may be attending, and serves as a beautiful memento for you and your spouse to frame and keep forever. Not to mention it allows you to include some sort of style or theme into the ceremony that might be included in a reception if you choose to do one!

10) Have a driver for the day if you can, whether a professional or family or friend willing to be your chauffeur for the day. Nothing puts out the flame of magical moments quite like hopping in your own car after having just committed your lives’ to each other.

You’ll get to ooh and aww as you’re driven to your next destination rather than being distracted by traffic or dealing with parking. It will seamlessly transition you from a memorable ceremony to continued celebrations.

Venue: San Francisco City Hall
Photographer: Melanie Duerkopp Photography
Hair & Make-up Artist: The Glamourist
Florist: Natalie Bowen Designs
Bride’s Dress: Self Portrait
Brides’s Shoes (similar): Steve Madden
Groom’s Attire (similar): Express
Groom’s Shoes (similar): Men’s Warehouse

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