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.
Seriously, 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! But if you do prefer a more extravagant or traditional wedding, that doesn’t mean you have to rule out city hall—the bigger ones, such as San Francisco City Hall or Cleveland Town Hall, can host larger ceremonies and even receptions.
Whether your nuptials are intimate or lively, you can’t go wrong with a city hall’s glamorous setting. 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—our favorite part of these buildings is their history and vintage charm. Just take a scroll through these amazing photos to see for yourself!
San Francisco City Hall in San Francisco
No city hall is as classic or popular for a wedding as the beauty of San Francisco City Hall. With a lavish interior and sweeping grand staircase, it’s enough to make any bride’s fairytale dreams come true.
Tradition Town Hall in St. Port Lucie, Florida
Tradition Town Hall in St. Port Lucie, Florida, lives up to its name a simple white and gray building that evokes classic town hall feels. Accented with palm trees, the setting is full of Florida charm.
Wake County Justice Center in Raleigh, North Carolina
There’s something simple and intimate about true love’s kiss in the sleek and modern Wake County Justice Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, in front of stark walls and a window looking out onto a misty gray sky.
Mechelen City Hall in Mechelen, 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, Pennsylvania
Elegant arches and a rich mahogany door make the perfect spot for a kiss at Allegheny County Courthouse.
Philadelphia City Hall in Philadelphia
This adorable street shot just screams Philly bride, nailing the bustle of Broad Street and the famous majestic look of Philadelphia City Hall.
Chicago City Hall in Chicago
Glamorous and chic with stunning architecture, Chicago City Hall is a dream for the classic bride.
The Mural Room in the Santa Barbara Courthouse in Santa Barbara, California
Breathtaking, right? The Mural Room in the Santa Barbara Courthouse is a divine masterpiece, making for a unique backdrop perfect for the artsy bride.
Milwaukee Courthouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
We love how this bride’s vintage-inspired dress complements the hues and history of the Milwaukee Courthouse behind her, combining for a timeless shot.
Copenhagen City Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark
An elegantly framed photo captures the moody romance of Copenhagen City Hall in Denmark, along with the love and sensitivity between these two newlyweds.
Cleveland City Hall in Cleveland, Ohio
We’re totally feeling the old-world romance vibes of this splendid spiral staircase in Cleveland City Hall—the perfect way for a princess bride to show off her gorgeous train.
New York City Hall in New York City
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 in San Diego
Blush tinted walls, teal trimming, and lush tropical greenery lend San Diego City Hall a whimsical SoCal vibe, making for a colorful portrait background.
Spokane County Courthouse in Spokane, Washington
Prince Charming and his bride perched outside a turret window? There’s a bit of dreamy magic going on at Spokane Courthouse.
Islington Town Hall in London
A pause in the stunning halls of Islington Town Hall captures the marriage of modern and history, both in design and in love.
Arlington Town Hall in Arlington, Massachusetts
Found: the most incredible light at Arlington, Massachusetts, Town Hall, making wedding portraits look like Renaissance masterpieces.
Manchester Town Hall in Machester, England
Gothic romance is written all over this photo, where the dramatic gates to Manchester Town Hall in England serve as the gates to old, historic beauty.
North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina
The magnificent structure of Raleigh, North Carolina’s capitol building sets the stage for an equally magnificent love.
Seattle City Hall in Seattle
Nothing beats panoramic views of the city as the backdrop to your ceremony—just look at how pretty the gray skyline is at Seattle City Hall.
Dublin City Hall in Dublin, 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.