City Hall Weddings – They May Not Be What You Think

A City Hall wedding can be as stylish (or "tacky") as you want it to be...

Last night I received a sweet message on Facebook from an old classmate about her upcoming nuptials. She’s just starting her planning and torn on the type of wedding she wants. I was ecstatic that she now considers Triple B one of her trusted resources for all things bridal (YAY!) but became somewhat puzzled when I read the passage below:

Reality [about my upcoming wedding] has set in. It is no longer “pie in the sky”. A *good friend forbids me using City Hall. I found it efficient and intimate. Yet, “bootleg” and “tacky” have been thrown around.

Although I am a self-proclaimed bridal-junkie, staying true to oneself trumps everything in life for me. Everytime I don’t stay true to myself, I eventually regret it. As I explained in my very first Triple B post, I started this site to give Black women a louder voice in the bridal market. A recent study published in Women’s Wear Daily indicated that the average woman makes about 177 product decisions when planning her wedding. Crazy, right?! I’m hoping that will make those decisions less stressful and confusing.

Just as important to me however is that visitors to this site don’t let their wedding overshadow their marriage. If a justice of the peace ceremony is what will make you and your beloved happy, who cares what anyone else thinks? I’ve never been married but I have covered dozens upon dozens of weddings. Whether the wedding cost $5,000 or $500,000 (Yes, I really covered a wedding that cost half a mil!) what’s most memorable is how happy and in love the couple seemed.

Getting hitched at City Hall can be classy and tasteful (recall a blue stiletto-wearing Carrie in the first Sex and the City flick) and jumping the broom at the Four Seasons might just be gaudy (Platinum Weddings anyone?). There are a kajillion factors to consider so remember everything is relative. When I do tie the knot, I’m hoping to elope with my baby and perhaps our immediate families and then host a big ‘ole reception inviting everyone we love in the following weeks to celebrate. No bridal party, no limo ride to the church ceremony…none of that is important to me at this stage in my life. When I do it, I only want to please my man and myself.

A good friend of mine is tying the knot late summer and decided to have the ceremony and reception in his backyard. He’s admittedly frugal (he owns several properties) and didn’t want to spend a lot on his nuptials but more importantly he wanted a wedding that truly reflected he and his soon-to-be wife. I’m so proud of him for not being pressured by society’s definition of what a wedding should or shouldn’t be. By the same token, I’m not mad at those who opt for the traditional bells and whistles for their big day either…Do you.

In the coming weeks, I will post on specific ways to make a City Hall wedding stylish and personal. But I had to get this off my chest today. I know most of you are shy about leaving comments but I really want to know how you guys feel about getting hitched at City Hall. Please drop me a line below and be honest. Thanks in advance!

*I truly believe said friend had the very best intentions.

Above image courtesy of

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    1. I totally agree with you. The wedding should reflect the tastes and desires of the bride and groom, not what your friends or your parents want. Parents desires may be a bit more difficult to navigate if they are paying for the wedding, but if the bride and groom are footing the bill their wishes are first and foremost.

    2. As a planning bride myself, I totally agree that city hall weddings are totally appropriate and can be stylish and classy and fun as any other wedding. One thing I have noticed since planning my wedding is there is so much JUDGEMENT from the WIC and it is causing brides a lot of angst. And among the bride bloggers that I read that are Caucasian it seems to be doubly bad. It’s ridiculous really. I stopped reading the larger bridal blogs very quickly because they seem to promote grandiose weddings that the majority of brides (regardless of race) can afford. I used them as inspiration and occasionally go back to the for tips or tricks but the REAL community are the bride bloggers, who are doing things their way, on their terms. I would encourage your friend to seek out those resources.

      Sorry for blogging in your comments. :)

    3. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      @ Stephanie – I forgot to mention that important caveat about who is actually paying for the wedding. You’re so right. If mom and pop (or whoever) are footing the bill for your nuptials, then they certainly have some input on the type of shindig it is or isn’t.

    4. I personally think there isn’t anything wrong with a City Hall or Courthouse Wedding! You must do what make you happy as a couple! I know for years I’ve longed for the big old traditional wedding. But, now, I will be more happy to have a small one at the Courthouse and a nice reception following! I do want a party!! This is a great topic!

    5. i’m going to the JP in my jeans. a person’s wedding should reflect the two tying the knot. folks who don’t like it can stay home.

    6. lucretia says:

      Ialso at one time wanted to have a big wedding.I think we all dream of being a princess.At my age now I may have a destination wedding.I think when your older your priorities are diffrent.I can’t even imagine spending 10,000 on a wedding when I can remodel my bathroom and kitchen.

    7. I think each couple should do what works for not only their tastes but also their pocketbooks. As a planner, I’ve seen couples struggle to pay for extravagant weddings and I always say there is nothing cute about starting your new life together in debt. Be smart and focus on the big picture regaardless of where you decide to get hitched.

    8. Ronda from NYC (now in Houston) says:

      I agree that it’s totally up to the B & G to determine what’s best for them. I do, however, think that you should consider it a family event (unless you have special circumstances and are estranged from both sides). While you absolutely should mind your budget and stay true to your own spirits, please don’t exclude the people who love and support you. While we don’t want you to feel pressured or go broke over this affair, your friends and family do want to celebrate your love and honor you as you step into a new phase of life…and maybe enjoy a sip of champagne , too.

    9. Jene- Queens says:

      I have to admit I was one of those people that found the white wedding dress , 6 person bridal party taking pics on the courthouse lawn tacky. This edition of BBB has made me think differently. Dont get me wrong I still think taking a “circus” to City Hall is tacky. But something intimate may not be a bad idea. I look forward to your upcoming post regarding City Hall weddings. Thanks for the enlightenment

    10. If City Hall is what you want–then City Hall is what you get! I don’t feel you need to have a hugh soiree or hop on a plane to marry the person of your dreams..the wedding is a show; an outward showing (although it can be an over-the-top “awesome” show…i.e David Tutera) but it’s really all about the couple and what they desire! I like the idea of having a large reception for the guests at a later date/time for all to enjoy, let loose, and party!


    1. […] week I wrote about city hall nuptials and the post received quite a bit of feedback. Most of you seem to agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong […]

    2. […] This conversation with my friend is just one recent reminder for me that weddings are much bigger than the romantic joining of two individuals. As Tie the Knot Tuesday demonstrates, weddings are celebratory affairs that offer the opportunity to honor deceased loved ones, blend families, create new memories, reminisce over old ones and even honor cultural traditions and preserve a legacy. As one of my wise commentators, Ronda A. in Houston pointed out in this post last summer about City Hall weddings, […]

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