For couples who don’t want the fuss of a big wedding, city hall ceremonies have emerged as a sweet, personal, and less formal alternative—with similarly streamlined bridal ensembles to match. For your city hall wedding, you've probably already planned to trade that voluminous ball gown for a chic column dress or a short frock. But what about your wedding hair and makeup?
While you likely won’t sidle up to the town clerk with a full face of makeup and 400 bobby pins, you still want your look to feel special: “A city hall wedding has a pure and authentic vibe,” says Los Angeles hairstylist Clayton Hawkins. “You’re going for that less-is-more, you-only-better approach.”
Here are some tips for a look (and day!) to remember forever.
Your go-to ponytail is out of order
Instead, go for a smooth, touchable down ’do. First, shampoo and apply mousse. Then Hawkins suggests using hot rollers and brushing it out. This isn’t tricky—but it also isn’t a style you’d try every day. “You get lush ’60s volume that’s not stiff,” he says. (Keep a clean spoolie brush in your bag to tame flyaways.)
SHOP NOW: Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Styling Mousse, $4.29
Prep for court
L.A. makeup artist Melissa Hernandez suggests amping up your usual look with blush; full, dark lashes (she likes L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara); and “your go-to lip color, only turned up one notch.” (We’re loving Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Shine.) Finish with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which Hernandez says “helps your makeup stay put and gives a velvety finish.”
Scent to city hall
“A special fragrance can help you scent-stamp the memory of the day,” Hernandez says. For full memory-making effect, Hawkins suggests spritzing it in your hair as well as on your pulse points. (Try Dior Dioramour, a soft blend of iris and sexy jasmine.)
SHOP NOW: Dior Dioramour, $220
Need hard evidence that you can be criminally chic at city hall? Check out these brides below who were as stunning as can be at their city hall weddings. Their hair and makeup looks are all the inspiration you'll need.
This courthouse bride chose a tousled, simple style for her locks and you-but-better lipstick hue.
Who needs a white wedding dress when you've got a fabulous floral frock, a flawless complexion, and an effortless 'do?
Tousled, soft curls and full dark lashes are just what the beauty experts ordered.
Beautiful, brushed-out waves? Check. Glowing skin? Check. Bouquet? Check! What more does a bride need?
Jazz up your go-to blowout with a birdcage veil.
With just a sheer sweep of smoky black eyeshadow and a flower crown, this bride is set to say "I do."
You can't go wrong with effortless curls and a just-glam-enough red lip.
A boho crown braid is the city hall bride's version of a tiara.
Barely-there makeup and soft, touchable waves make for a subtly stunning city hall look.
If you do end up choosing to rock an updo, keeps things loose and relaxed with a perfectly imperfect style.
Instead of a traditional veil, this trendy bride paired her natural makeup and hair with a wide-brimmed hat.
These brides know that their greatest accessory is a pair of mile-wide grins.