My "Field Trip" to City Hall...

Ceremony & Vows, NY, NJ and CT, Real Weddings, Wedding Style & Decor
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Photo: Tom Corbett for BRIDES Magazine

Every wedding is different. In 2003, my cousin Jackson tied the knot at Excalibur in Vegas; the ceremony was presided over by a duly appointed justice of the peace dressed up as...Merlin. Contrasted with such ludicrousness is the surprising sublimity of my "field trip" to New York's City Hall yesterday for the wedding of a friend.

It's been ungodly hot in the Big Apple of late, so you'd expect New York's civil servants and citizens alike to be on edge as my friend and the bride meandered through the bureaucracy of the City Clerk's Office, but actually no. The bride and groom—plus a dozen relatives and close friends—glided effortlessly from station to station to fill out the necessary paperwork and sign their marriage license. But for the fact that our little group was gussied up for the occasion (and sweating our various "you know what"'s off), it might have been difficult to discern that this was in fact a wedding and not, say, your typical sojourn to the DMV.

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