Weddings have a bad reputation for being too much work when in reality, all they really need are a marriage license, a recognized officiant, and a few witnesses. A civil ceremony is the answer if you’re looking for a small event, an emergency ceremony, or just want to tie the knot officially and have the big, splashy wedding later. Here’s all you need to know if you’re thinking of jetting to city hall to say “I Do.”
Conduct a Thorough Research
Every state has different laws regarding a civil ceremony. You’ll need to do thorough research regarding the process for a marriage license, the fees for the venue, the age restrictions, and the number of witnesses required amongst other things. Just waltzing down to city hall and declaring your love might not cut it if you haven’t done the legwork. Also, city hall usually provides the officiant you need to preside over the ceremony, but remember to check to be sure.
Decide Who Gets Invited
A civil ceremony might be small, but it doesn’t have to be done with a negligible crowd. Most states ask for 2 witnesses over the age of 18 to be present, while some don’t require any. Choose your witnesses carefully, you might want to add in your parents, siblings, or maybe the choicest, closest friends. Make this a small intimate ceremony, and choose only those without whom the day is impossible. You can have a big, traditional wedding ceremony later. This is only for the nearest and dearest ones.
Add a Few Personal Touches
While getting to the city hall and signing the documents might be the goal, it can’t hurt to add a few touches to make the ceremony a tiny bit special. Pay extra attention to the clothes you wear, it could be something vintage from your wardrobe or something new. Call a photographer to capture the loving and special moments of the ceremony. The intimacy of the event can usually make couples very emotional, and these might be the moments you want to cherish forever.
Celebrate Making Your Love Official
A little celebration never hurt anyone. You might want to finish off your civil ceremony with a family dinner, a toast, or a small celebration with your closest ones. If you still want to throw a big bash, do it in the style that you want. Since you’re already legally married, there are no rules and regulations. It could be as traditional or as funky as you want.