Natural environments are beautiful, but getting married in the heart of an urban landscape has its own kind of appeal. And while lavish weddings are fun and pretty, there’s something simple and intimate about tying the knot downtown. Enter: city hall. City hall weddings and elopements offer so much for a low-key ceremony. Hate the stress of wedding planning? Prefer to avoid being the center of attention? Don’t want to blow the bank on one day of your life? With city hall nuptials, you can kiss all those worries goodbye.
And if you value time, there are even more benefits: a shorter engagement, since you won’t have to wait months for your venue to be available, and no time restraints on the big day—you’re in and out with a courthouse wedding. And just because you choose the courthouse doesn’t mean you’ll do away with the flowers, the dress, and the shoes. In fact, it’s the perfect excuse to go nontraditional—rock a chic pantsuit, flirty minidress, or bold colored heels if you like!
From the European city halls of Copenhagen and Dublin to the iconic New York City Hall or historic Santa Barbara Courthouse, the dramatic architecture of each sets a backdrop for striking portraits. Just take a scroll through these amazing photos to see for yourself.
San Francisco City Hall
No city hall is as classic or popular for a wedding as the beautiful San Francisco City Hall. With a lavish interior and sweeping grand staircase, it’s enough to make anyone's fairytale dreams come true.
Mechelen City Hall in Belgium
Swoon...what’s more romantic than this couple dancing in the historic walkways in the city hall of Mechelen, Belgium?
Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh
Elegant arches and a rich mahogany door make the perfect spot for a kiss at Allegheny County Courthouse.
Chicago City Hall
Glamorous and chic with stunning architecture, Chicago City Hall is a dream for the classic bride. Flaunt your newly married status by snapping a photo beneath the iconic city hall sign.
Philadelphia City Hall
This adorable street shot just screams Philly bride, nailing the bustle of Broad Street and the famous majestic look of Philadelphia City Hall.
The Mural Room in the Santa Barbara Courthouse
Breathtaking, right? The Mural Room in the Santa Barbara Courthouse in California is a divine masterpiece, making for a unique backdrop perfect for artsy brides.
Pasadena City Hall in California
Perhaps one of the most photogenic city halls, Pasadena City Hall's stunning façade and iconic courtyard will give couples something to remember. The early Renaissance style with Spanish influences can be admired from every angle—this couple sets the bar high with their romantic shoot.
Copenhagen City Hall
An elegantly framed photo captures the moody romance of Copenhagen City Hall in Denmark along with these two newlyweds.
Cleveland City Hall
We’re totally feeling the old-world romance of this splendid spiral staircase at the city hall in Cleveland, Ohio. It's the perfect way for a princess bride to show off her gorgeous train.
New York City Hall
A stolen moment in the columned portico amidst the Georgian and Renaissance architecture of New York City’s iconic city hall takes a step back in time.
San Diego City Hall
Blush tinted walls, teal trimming, and lush tropical greenery lend San Diego City Hall a whimsical SoCal vibe, making for a colorful portrait background.
Islington Town Hall in London
A pause on the stunning steps of London's Islington Town Hall feels at once modern and old school.
Arlington Town Hall in Massachusetts
Found: The most incredible light at the town hall in Arlington, Massachusetts. It makes wedding portraits look like Renaissance masterpieces.
Manchester Town Hall in England
Gothic romance is written all over this photo, where the dramatic gates to England's Manchester Town Hall serve as the gates to old, historic beauty.
Dublin City Hall in Ireland
Dublin City Hall is one of the more breathtaking venues around the world for a civil ceremony. With antiquated architecture and striking windows, it’s easy to see why.
The Old Marylebone Town Hall in London
It doesn't get more captivating than the beautiful Marylebone Town Hall, located in London. Both the interior and exterior of the building (an example of Edwardian Greco-Roman classicism) serve as the perfect backdrop for wedding photos. Play up the drama by posing alongside the stunning Corinthian order columns.
Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City
We can't think of a more perfect spot for an intimate elopement than the Utah State Capitol Building. Besides being a historic landmark for nuptials, the grand staircase inside is practically begging for some wow-worthy shots of the bride's gown.
Norfolk County Courthouse in Dedham, Massachusetts
The quiet simplicity of the Norfolk County Courthouse in Dedham, Massachusetts, is enough to stop anyone in their tracks. Throw in monumental Greek revival architecture and let the photographer work their magic.
Yonkers City Hall in New York
The French renaissance revival style of Yonkers City Hall makes it a top contender for traditional brides looking to book a city hall wedding. This happy couple could not be more elated to get their photo snapped in front of the gorgeous façade.
Atlanta City Hall
Atlanta City Hall's high-rise Neo-Gothic building was completed in 1930. The historical significance itself will make a civil ceremony (and the photos to follow) pretty memorable.