Yes, we seriously had two weddings…I’m high maintenance, what can I say? Actually, our wedding was in Mexico with our nearest and dearest friends and family (see the epic post here), but our official US-recognized marriage was here in Atlanta at City Hall in Decatur.
Let me tell you, as unglamorous as a courthouse may be, a civil ceremony at City Hall can be really meaningful and fun if you make it that way. That’s the key – to focus on making it special. We had such a great day, a very positive experience with the judge and a blast with our siblings. Here’s what we did and what to know about a City Hall wedding if you want to do it yourself!
ENJOY THE MORNING AND GETTING READY
Evan’s brother Matt flew in for the weekend to be there. My sister Claire is here in Atlanta so she drove across town, and our dear friend and wedding photographer Nathan drove in. It was the perfect-sized party.
We all got ready together in the morning and made a nice breakfast while hanging out at home. We even did a ‘first look’ in the living room – because why not?!
WEDDING GIFTS TO EACH OTHER
Evan and I gave each other wedding gifts, and they were both extremely special. Evan gave me sapphire studs to match my sapphire engagement ring and my wedding band. They are so freakin’ gorgeous and meaningful, and I’ll wear them forever.
I gave Evan a vintage pocket watch that is 118 years old and still works! His father used to carry a pocket watch, and he’s always wanted one so I searched on Etsy to find a US-made one that he could wear for our wedding celebrations. He LOVED it.
HOW TO GET MARRIED AT CITY HALL
First you need to get a marriage license. This is SEPARATE from the actually getting married part, so I recommend getting the license (you get this from probate or magistrate court) a couple days before you plan to do the marriage part so that you’re not scrambling to do it all at once. We asked the woman who gave us the marriage license what to expect and she gave us the low-down, telling us to arrive 45 mins early, bring the license, and to plan whether we wanted an express or a regular ceremony. I can’t tell you how great it was to know what to expect – there is actually very little out there on the internet explaining the whole process from start to finish!
(Heads up on marriage licenses – if you are GA residents, you can get a marriage license in any county. If you are not, you have to get it in the county where you plan to marry).
Then you come back to the courthouse to get married – and bring the marriage license! You’ll wait in a hallway for about an hour with other couples waiting to get married. Some are dressed up, others aren’t. The judge arrived and we all shuffled into the court room. The judge did the express ceremonies first where you walk right up to her and she asks you your I Dos and you’re done – about 1 minute. We tried to do this but she told us to sit back down because we were dressed to nice and she wanted to do the regular ceremony (4 mins) with us!
- Dekalb County Marriage License at Probate Court: Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4pm
- Dekalb County City Hall Weddings at Magistrate Court: Fridays from 1:30-4:30pm
WHAT TO WEAR
Sure City Hall isn’t fancy, and you will definitely be getting married just down the hall from criminals showing up for hearings. This is no reason not to make it special and dress up a little bit! I’m not suggesting you wear a giant gown, of course, but a suit and a simple dress are perfect.
Evan wore one of his amazingly cut Indochino suits with light pink accessories from The Tie Bar, including pink laces and socks!
I chose a fit and flare look (my power silhouette!) by Eliza J in light bride-ish colors, and these be-jeweled sandals from Jeffrey Campbell, all purchased from Nordstrom. I felt pretty, simple, elegant and playful – all at once.
The most bridal thing I did was wear a little birdcage veil. I didn’t wear a veil or do anything bridal really at our Mexican wedding, so this was the time to do it. Atlanta has a wonderful little bridal shop with vintage and boutique designer items called The Sentimentalist. I found the birdcage there, and I just loved it. Go there! But make an appointment or they’ll get a little sassy with you.
CARRY A BOUQUET
Again, why not?! I ordered my nosegay (a smaller-sized bouquet) from French Market Flowers in Krog Street Market. They were wonderful and accommodating. I emailed them pictures of my ensemble so they could get a sense of the color palette but then I gave them complete creative license to make it. And I LOVED it. It was so beautiful and colorful yet muted. Evan had a boutonnière to match, too!
We decided to have an afternoon celebration at Skyline Park at the top of Ponce City Market in Atlanta because it is so fun and playful up there. There’s a little amusement park and restaurant on the roof, and it was such. a. blast!!!! The staff at 9 Mile Station took such amazing care of us and made us feel like guests of honor while we ate amazing charcuterie and drank champagne. Thank you to them! The amusement park itself is super-charming and fun with rides, games and mini-golf. A must-do for all Atlantans.
Thank you so much for taking a little glimpse into another of our special moments! It’s so fun to share with you my friends. And if you’re new here to Belle Meets World and are thinking of getting married at City Hall – go for it, I say!