First, let me say this: I seriously don’t know how teachers do it. They survive eight non-stop hours where they manage to teach English, math, letters, and shapes to fully-charged (and perpetually sticky) Energizer bunnies! Don’t get me wrong— I adore kids (especially my own), but they are not for the faint of heart.
They are, however, some of the cutest additions to a wedding party.
Phil and April actually met as kids growing up in Montreal. Doesn’t every great romance begin in the sandbox? At 14 they were close friends and they even dated in their 20s, but when Phil went off to school in the US, they broke up, went their separate ways, and lost touch for over 9 years.
Fast forward to 2018 when April decided to visit L.A. and reached out to ask Phil to grab coffee. When Phil showed up to breakfast with his three kids, they both instantly knew it was love, and April said it felt like “being home again.”
RIGHT!? Did you feel those same goosebumps? There’s really nothing greater than having a love that feels like home.
So of course, when it came time for April and Phil to tie the knot, they did it in typical San Fran style—at the stunning City Hall.
With their kiddos by their side:
And just like when you’re packing up to take the fam on vacation, there are so many things to consider and plan for when getting married at San Francisco City Hall with kids! Which is why I’ve come up with the four best ways to help make your kid-friendly City Hall wedding go so smoothly, you’ll want to have a couple more!
First things first: when it comes to getting married at San Francisco City Hall with your tiny tribe as your bridal party—make sure everyone is wearing comfy shoes!
San Francisco City Hall is an incredible but massive government building. Almost 500,000 square feet, this stunning work of architecture took nearly three years to construct. You and your little ones will be doing a lot of walking to get from here to there and to get those amazing shots, so make sure that your fancy footwear can keep your tootsies looking and feeling good. Between the ceremony and your must-have shots, you could be walking around for almost two hours!
Like with most government buildings, San Francisco City Hall requires that anyone entering (even employees) go through a security check. You probably won’t get frisked, but you will have to go through a metal detector, turn your bags over momentarily, and empty your pockets.
Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but my kids come with a lot of stuff. Pockets? Always full. Diaper bag? Fully stocked. Book bags? Jam-packed. For whatever reason, a trip to the grocery story requires a month’s supply of games, books, and toys.
Before the wedding, help your kids pack one bag strategically and explain the process of going through the security check. You can even practice at home by letting them walk through a doorway and beeping if they forget something. (Totally not necessary but I am here to give you a fun activity to do with your kids to distract you from your wedding jitters.) Explain that there might be a line and give them a little safety review (stranger danger!). City Hall is also stroller-friendly and has elevators, so if your kids are wee little ones that can’t walk yet, keep that in mind when prepping them for the big day.
When it’s time for your nuptials (aka, your appointment), you and your party will need to check in at at the Clerk’s Office.
And just like everything else that is worth having or doing (anything at Disneyland), you then have to wait for your number to be called:
This is a little more time during which your sweet angel babies may need something out of the strategically-packed bag. If you took already took a few pictures before your appointment, and depending on what time of day it is, you may end up with some peckish kiddos. They may still look snazzy in their bridal party outfits, but hangry does not look good on camera:
(Just kidding! Little man had the bright sun in his eyes, not hunger in his belly. No children went hungry in the making of this marriage.)
That said, be sure to pack some (clean!) snacks. Emphasis on clean. Avoid gooey, creamy, or chocolatey goodies.
And, as good-natured as your lovelies may be, a noisy government building full of grown-ups can get a little overwhelming, especially if you’re having to wait 30+ minutes in your my-first-tuxedo for your family’s number to be called, so pack a small book, toy, or game to keep everyone quietly engaged.
Also, if your kids are old enough, print this fun PDF for kids to play games/scavenger hunt – it’s a City Hall Fun Book for kids provided by the City Hall!
Last, but certainly not least: set a good example for your kids on this incredibly special day. Well, set a good example every day, but especially on your wedding day. When you marry someone whose journey brought them children somewhere along the way, you aren’t just saying “I do” to them, you’re saying it to the whole package! This day is about celebrating all the kinds of love that have brought you guys together as a family. Let your smiles, your tears of joy, and your laughter be contagious so that they recognize the real reason for the fancy shoes, the special hair, and the twirly dresses. Encourage them to feel the poet Pablo Neruda’s words: