Photo Gallery: Julie & Kyle

It never occurred to me before just how pretty a city hall wedding could be. I envisioned people walking in and out and not necessarily making an event of it. But when I saw the photos of my friend Julie’s September wedding to Kyle, I realized that a city hall wedding doesn’t necessarily mean bare bones. You can still have a bouquet, bride and groom signs, and an amazing photographer — not to mention a very sweet, heartfelt ceremony.

Julie tells us more about her wedding day.

On choosing a city hall wedding — and selecting San Francisco, when the couple lives in Los Angeles.

We started planning a big downtown Los Angeles wedding for December and were really excited about it. (We like to make it clear that we’re not anti-wedding, we just think our way was the best choice for us.) A week or two into the process we were at a baby shower in our friends’ backyard and felt like it had the same vibe we wanted for our wedding. Even though we ended up just having a backyard reception [at a later date], not a ceremony, that was the conversation that steered us toward our choice.

When we got home from the shower, we Googled “San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer” because I’d seen some pretty photos of weddings there on various wedding blogs. We saw Rebecca Wilkowski‘s pictures and were sold. We did a quick tour of our favorite married friends, and every one of them told us that if we didn’t feel the need to have a big wedding, and our families were on board, we wouldn’t look back and miss one. Thankfully, our families were down with the change of plans.

San Francisco made it seem like it still had an element of ceremony to it, and it made it into a fun weekend for everyone to get away and be together. Plus, we stayed in the city for the weekend as a built-in honeymoon.

On choosing what to put money toward and why.

I think the total to get married at city hall was about $80, so we opted to spend most of our budget on nice, convenient hotel rooms for our guests and our photographer. Those were the two things that were most important to us … our guests and having photos that felt like “us” and weren’t too staged.

On the benefits of having a photographer who frequently shoots at the San Francisco City Hall.

One of the reasons we loved our photographer was that she whisked us through the entire process, so we never fumbled around wondering if we were in the right line or anything like that. It was great and sooo easy. It seemed like a lot of the photographers who specialize in San Francisco City Hall weddings do that kind of thing. She was essentially our photographer and wedding coordinator in one. She was instantly easy, helpful and personable and a great combo of laid back and efficient.

Photos by Rebecca Wilkowski

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