Wedding Budget Wednesday: City Hall Is Underrated by Meg Keene A few of you have emailed me, with maybe the slightest edge of desperation in your voice, commenting that you don’t have a ton of money to spend on your wedding, and people are pushing you towards going into debt, because that is just what it takes to get married. This is so scary and horrible! A wedding should be a fresh start, and the idea of starting your married life saddled with a lot of debt from a one day party really sad. With that in mind I’ve decided that its time to make some old fashioned, classic, and affordable ideas hip and cool again. What about getting married at the City Hall and having a little party afterwards?Maybe it is because San Francisco’s City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen, or maybe it’s because I’m a little in love with the fashion and simplicity of the 1940’s, but I sort of wish that we did things the European way, and had a civil ceremony in the courthouse before we had a religious ceremony. You can wear something simple and stylish, have only your closest family and loved ones with you, and then meet everyone else for a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant, or have a party at home. Its chic, affordable, super romantic and cuts out all of the expensive excess. The thing I think is the coolest about having a ceremony at city hall, is that you will have wedding clothes that you can re-wear. One of my grandmothers got married in a civil ceremony, and a few years ago she pulled out a really worn lovely lacy blouse to show me. “This was my wedding blouse” she said, “But as you can tell, I loved it so much that I wore it until it fell apart.” Check out this bride rocking a short yellow dress at her wedding party, after her ceremony in the Rabbi’s study. And Emily put together this set of mix and match outfits that includes some lovely ideas of what to wear for a simple courthouse ceremony. Also, look at photographer Jessamyn Harris and her husband all aglow at their ceremony at San Francisco’s City Hall. **Update: You must read all about Jessamyn’s experience with a courthouse wedding in the comments. You’ll run out on to the street, snatch someone up and run right to the courthouse to get romantic!** Meg Keene Founder & Editor-In-Chief Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.