Are you skipping the grand gala and having your wedding at City Hall instead? There’s no reason you can’t have all the glitz and glamour you like on your big day. Plan with care so you can have all the niceties you need to make your wedding an occasion to remember.

Get a Good Photographer

A talented photographer can make anything look like the event of the season, even if it’s just the two of you standing in front of a brick wall. No matter what City Hall looks like, whether you’re in a city with an ornate building full of sweeping staircases or you’re in a city with a modest, one-story affair, the right photographer will be able to catch all the good angles to make you look your best. Look for photographers who have shot City Hall weddings before, and pick out some of your favorite photo-ops from their portfolio.

If your City Hall has any interesting architectural features, take advantage of them! Pose by sculptures, ornate doorways, marble walls, stairs, fountains, or any other feature that makes your location unique. If the building isn’t exciting enough for your taste, take the photographer outside for some “just married” shots in the sunshine. Try taking photos from a low angle with the sky in the background–whether it’s brilliant blue or full of fluffy clouds, the heavens are always ready to star in the picture of your love story.

Want more exciting pictures? Bring your own props! If you’re holding a beautiful bouquet, a fashion accessory like a feather fan, or two toasting goblets, your photos will take on a bit of extra personality. You can also feature everyday objects as props–immortalize the pen you used to sign your names, for example, by holding it up and smooching in the background.

As an added perk, your photographer can also act as a witness to your marriage. If you want a truly intimate and personal wedding, consolidating the number of people who attend is the way to go.

Get the Dress or Tux You Want

With all the money you’re saving on an expensive wedding venue, you have some wiggle room in your budget for looking your best. Even though City Hall weddings can be more casual than full-on affairs, they don’t have to be. Go ahead and wear that wedding dress or tux you have your eye on. It will make your day feel even more special.

Besides, your wedding photos will stick around for generations no matter where your marriage takes place. Make sure you shine in every photo by dressing for the look you want. Additionally, wearing full wedding regalia will get you a lot of positive attention as you’re entering and leaving City Hall. Get ready for applause and congratulations as the world shares in your happy moment.

Bring Some Cake

If you’re opting for a City Hall wedding because you want an intimate, private union, there’s no reason you can’t have the ceremony you want, and eat your cake, too! Most bakeries can make mini wedding cakes that serve two people. Mini wedding cakes can contain all of the charm and icing decorations as their larger cousins, but without the fuss and expense of having to feed a room full of people.

If you want a DIY baking project, a small wedding cake is much easier to tackle than trying to bake your own wedding cake. In fact, it’s a lot like baking any cake you can fit in your own oven. The only tricky part is getting the decorations just right. The good news, though: how the cake looks is completely up to you!

Mini wedding cakes can take the form of cupcakes, as well. Bring one for your sweetheart and one for yourself–don’t forget to “cheers” before you take the first bite!

Rent a Special Room or Package

In some cities, City Hall has special rooms or packages available for rent. Look for photo-ready rooms with ornate decorations, seating for multiple guests, balconies, champagne toasts, and even tours of the city. While these can cost more money than merely taking advantage of a public space, they are often less expensive than other, similar options in the same city.

If you’re looking for a “bare bones” type of wedding, then adding bells and whistles to your City Hall experience doesn’t make much sense. For the couple who wants a step above, however, a few City Hall extras can add the missing sparkle to your celebration.

Focus on Your Joy

In all the stress and rush of planning a wedding, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of why you’re really celebrating the day. A City Hall ceremony can put the focus back where it belongs–on your union. For many couples, a City Hall wedding is about more than saving a few dollars. It’s about cutting through the hosting hubbub and enjoying a modest celebration of two people joining their hearts and lives as one.

Even if you plan on hosting a large wedding reception after the ceremony, take a moment to savor the simplicity and true meaning of your moments at City Hall. Before you start rushing around to entertain guests or to make sure the best man remembers to give his speech on time, it will be just you, your beloved, and your brand-new marriage. The quieter moments are often the ones we remember the longest.

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