Boston City Hall Wedding

January 31, 2024 7 min read

boston city hall wedding

Boston City Hall, an emblematic structure in the heart of Boston, has become a popular venue for couples seeking a straightforward and efficient way to tie the knot. Known for its brutalist architecture, the building contrasts with the typical wedding venue, offering a unique backdrop for nuptial ceremonies. With its central location in Government Center, City Hall is easily accessible and stands as a reflection of the city’s rich history and governance.

A wedding at Boston City Hall is a practical option for couples looking to celebrate their union without the complexity and expense of a traditional wedding. The process involves a simple yet intimate civil ceremony, officiated by a city clerk or a justice of the peace. The interior's minimalist aesthetic allows couples to focus on the essence of their commitment to each other, surrounded by the grandeur of municipal history.

City Hall weddings in Boston serve as an affordable and memorable choice for couples who value simplicity and convenience. With the city bustling outside, inside City Hall, they can exchange vows in a ceremony that epitomizes the city's blend of historic significance and modern urban life. This setting appeals to those who wish to start their married life in a place that's both iconic and intrinsically connected to the life of the city.

boston city hall wedding

Photography: scarletroots

Planning Your City Hall Wedding

To marry at Boston City Hall, couples should be attentive to the date selection, appointment booking, and associated fees, ensuring a seamless experience for their special day.

Determining the Date

When choosing a date for a City Hall wedding, couples must consult the calendar well in advance. Boston City Hall offers wedding ceremonies on specific days, which are usually weekdays. It is crucial to check for public holidays and existing appointment slots to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Setting an Appointment

Securing an appointment is essential. Couples must contact the City Hall to reserve a slot for their ceremony. Appointment slots are limited and fill quickly, so one should book early to secure a preferred date and time. Boston City Hall typically requires appointments to be made at least three weeks in advance.

Understanding the Costs

Costs are an important aspect of planning a City Hall wedding:

  • Service Fee: This is the cost for the actual ceremony at City Hall. Prices may vary.
  • License Fee: There is also a fee for the marriage license, separate from the service fee. As of the knowledge cutoff date, the fee in Boston is typically a set amount.

Costs must be confirmed directly with City Hall as they are subject to change. It's advised to check the latest information on Boston City Hall's official website or by contacting the office directly.

boston city hall wedding

Photography: lenamirisolaphoto

Marriage License and Legal Requirements

Couples planning to wed at Boston City Hall must navigate a series of legal steps to obtain a marriage license. The process involves filing an intention form, providing necessary documentation, observing a waiting period, and potential waivers.

Obtaining a Marriage License

In Massachusetts, the Registry Division is responsible for issuing a marriage license. Applicants must appear in person at the City Hall to start the process. They should be prepared to provide their legal names, as well as other personal details required by the state.

Marriage Intention Form

To marry, couples must fill out a Marriage Intention Form. This form requires both individuals to disclose their:

  • Legal names
  • Addresses
  • Social Security numbers (if applicable)
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth

Required Documentation

Applicants are required to present valid ID to confirm their identity and age. Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • State-issued driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Military ID

Furthermore, if this is not the first marriage for either party, additional documentation such as a divorce decree or death certificate of the former spouse may be required.

boston city hall wedding

Photography: lenamirisolaphoto

The Waiting Period and Waivers

There is a mandatory three-day waiting period in Massachusetts between filing the Intention and receiving the marriage license. Couples can apply for a Marriage Without Delay Waiver if they wish to marry before the three days have passed. For a waiver, they need to:

  • File a petition
  • Obtain court approval

This waiver is subject to a fee and is not automatically granted; reasons for the expedited timeline must satisfy legal criteria.

The Wedding Ceremony Essentials

An essential aspect of a Boston City Hall wedding involves a well-coordinated ceremony that aligns with legal requirements, personal vows, thoughtful guest inclusion, and the preservation of memories through photography and videography.

Officiants and Legalities

Boston City Hall weddings require a legally authorized officiant to conduct the ceremony. Couples must obtain a marriage license from the City Clerk's office before the ceremony can legally proceed. The couple must ensure that the officiant signs and returns the marriage license to the City Clerk's office to certify the marriage.

Vows and Rituals

The exchange of vows is a pivotal moment in a wedding ceremony. Boston City Hall allows couples to choose between traditional vows provided by the officiant or personalized vows that they have crafted themselves. Rituals, such as ring exchanges, can be integrated into the ceremony based on the couple's preferences.

Guest List Considerations

While Boston City Hall is a more intimate venue, it is important for couples to determine who will attend their elopement. They should consider the number of guests, which may be limited due to space constraints. This ensures an intimate experience that can include parents and close family members, preserving the personal nature of the event.

Photography and Videography

Capturing the wedding day is crucial. Couples should hire a professional wedding photographer who is experienced with Boston City Hall's unique setting and lighting conditions. The option for videography depends on the couple's preference, but having photos of their Boston elopement will ensure that precious moments are not forgotten.

boston city hall wedding

Photography: lenamirisolaphoto

Post-Ceremony Steps

After the wedding ceremony at Boston City Hall, couples have essential steps to complete. These involve documentation and legal changes to formalize the marriage.

Obtaining the Marriage Certificate

The couple must apply for a Marriage Certificate, which serves as legal proof of their union. Once the wedding ceremony is completed, they are given a Pick-up Card, which they can use to collect their certificate. Boston City Hall issues the certificate and it can be picked up in person, or the couple can request to have it mailed to them.

  • In Person: Visit the office with the Pick-up Card within the given timeframe.
  • By Mail: Send the Pick-up Card with a mail request form to the city hall’s office.

Couples should ensure they obtain several certified copies, as they will need these for various legal processes post-wedding.

Changing Your Last Name

If one decides to change their last name after the marriage, they must complete a series of steps using the certified Marriage Certificate. They should notify several entities and update important documents:

  1. Social Security Administration: Submit a form to get a new Social Security card.
  2. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): Update driver’s license and vehicle registration.
  3. Banking Institutions: Adjust account names and order new checks and credit/debit cards.

Additional notifications include:

  • Employers
  • Insurance companies
  • Utility providers
  • Voter registration office

Each entity may have different requirements for the last name change process, so it is important to contact them directly to confirm procedures and any needed documentation.

Additional Tips and FAQs

When planning a wedding at Boston City Hall, consider the logistics such as accessibility and where to celebrate afterward. It's also important to know how to navigate any special circumstances that may arise.

Accessibility and Parking

Boston City Hall is located in the city's bustling Government Center. For guests arriving by car, there are multiple parking garages nearby, including the Government Center Garage. Metered street parking is also an option, though less reliable. The venue is accessible by public transportation, with Government Center Station serving both the Green and Blue Lines.

Individuals with disabilities should be advised that Boston City Hall offers ADA-compliant access and facilities. For specific accessibility concerns, contacting the Registry Department in advance is helpful.

After the Ceremony: Celebration Spots

Once the ceremony concludes, couples often seek nearby spots for continued celebration. For an intimate dinner, the romantic restaurants of Beacon Hill or the contemporary eateries in the Seaport district offer a range of dining experiences. Groups planning for a Valentine's Day wedding should book these venues well in advance due to the high demand.

The Public Garden, with its scenic beauty, is perfect for post-ceremony photos, especially during spring and summer. Couples often receive positive feedback from guests about the charm and iconic backdrops of this location.

Handling Special Circumstances

Occasionally, couples encounter unexpected scenarios. It is crucial to communicate any concerns directly and in person with the Registry Department, where staff are trained to assist with various needs and last-minute changes. Whether it's a sudden change in the number of guests or a need for translation services, the department's personnel are prepared to handle such situations swiftly and with expertise.

Regulatory Updates and Contact Information

Recent changes to regulations and procedures for Boston City Hall weddings necessitate a review of office hours, COVID-19 protocols, and available resources for assistance.

City Hall Office Hours and Holidays

Boston City Hall's Office Hours for the Registry Division are from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday, excluding public holidays. Prospective couples should note that any plans for a wedding ceremony at City Hall must take these hours into account. An updated list of observed holidays can be found on the City of Boston's official website.

er Assistance

For further information or assistance regarding wedding ceremonies at City Hall, individuals should contact the City Clerk's Office directly. Records and research related to marriage licenses can be obtained here. If an interpreter is needed for any part of the wedding process, it is essential to request this service in advance through the Registry Division.

Contact Information:

Please refer to the City of Boston's official website for additional details or updates to these regulations.

boston city hall wedding

Photography: lenamirisolaphoto

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