The wedding industry may be a $40 billion business, but many couples choose to forgo a lavish affair and the inevitable meltdown over aisle runners in favor of a more intimate ceremony. This year, Boston City Hall has already welcomed more than 1,700 couples—including these four, who shared how and why they made it official.

Laura and Nathan Scott 


This pair of medical students met while interviewing at Columbia, but both ended up at Harvard. School’s not the only thing keeping them busy. “We have a 1-year old daughter and pretty large families, [so] getting ‘just us’ time pretty much never happens,” Laura says. The two celebrated with lunch in the North End after leaving City Hall. A few weeks later, they held a 70-guest ceremony on the Sinclair’s patio with a friend “officiating.”

Julianna and Steven Hanscom 


Photo Credit: Kristin Chalmers Photography

“We wanted to be married in Boston–with all that the city has to offer with its location, history and ambiance–without the stress of going through all the planning of a big wedding,” Julianna says, making City Hall the “perfect choice” for their April nuptials. The couple followed up “I do’s” with an evening at the Omni Parker House, dining at the table where JFK proposed to Jackie.

Scott Friedman and Julia Mickenberg


Photo credit: Leah Haydock Photography

These high school sweethearts had just bought a house when they tied the knot in July, so they wanted a simple ceremony with just parents and Julia’s grandmother in attendance. The group enjoyed lunch with Champagne that afternoon before sending the newlyweds off to their honeymoon at an Ogunquit bed and breakfast. Celebrations continued the next weekend. “We invited all our local friends to a bar,” Julia recalls.

John and Erick Martha-Reynolds 


Photo credit: Leah Haydock Photography

This pair met serendipitously–by crossing paths in the city twice in one night. In June, they got hitched with a small ceremony. “We wanted something intimate for our immediate family,” John explains. Then, earlier this month, the couple exchanged rings and held a lasso ceremony, a tradition from Erick’s native Mexico. The reception took place at the East Boston arts nonprofit ZUMIX, a place music teacher John calls “personal and historic.”

Official Officiant

1029Wedding_CityClerkMaureenFeeneyNC2Bostonians may meet with City Clerk Maureen Feeney about a business certificate or marijuana citation, but she’s also the woman you’ll see should you walk down the aisle in City Hall’s Room 601.

Well, it’s certainly something I never thought about before I was here. People [often] think it’s out at the counter where we do our daily business, and they’re a little squeamish about that. [But] they either go to the assistant clerk or clerk’s office.

It’s really a blessing. Because we have so many functions here and do so much other work, it’s just a special moment. I try to be in the moment for the couple. I think it’s important to do that, as best you can.

For the most part, people are excited and anxious. They approach it with a little trepidation because they don’t know what’s coming, so I try to explain what the ceremony will consist of so that they’ll be more comfortable. And no one has to memorize anything. They always think they have to memorize something.

It still surprises me when I see this big guy standing there, looking very serious—and then we get up and start the ceremony, and suddenly you see the tears. It’s special to share in that personal moment.

I always tell them to remember they need a date night, even if it just means going out for a cup of coffee—staying in for a cup of coffee! Life gets busy and hectic. I’m just celebrating my 40th anniversary, so I certainly believe in marriage.

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