Written by Alexandra Dillard | Photography by Lynn Yati Photography
Have you been thinking about having a courthouse wedding? Whether for sentimental intimacy, legal practicality or budgetary ease, a city hall wedding certainly has its charm. To give you a glimpse into the allure of city hall weddings, Klaudia Dworzanczyk shares the details she and her partner James incorporated to make their city-chic elopement come to life.
Klaudia was never the little girl imagining herself walking down the aisle. So when it came time to “make it official” with her partner James, a courthouse elopement felt right.
“For us, it was more of a ‘why not?’ moment than a ‘why.’ Our families are on the smaller side, and our family dynamics are a bit unconventional, so eloping just felt like the right fit. Both of us are pretty focused on our careers and building a future together. We didn’t want wedding planning to become a major distraction. Opting for an elopement allowed us to stay on track financially while still having a heartfelt, intimate ceremony.”
What guided the design of their day? A few weeks before their official engagement, Klaudia stumbled upon a bridal shop closing and found a beautiful white dress by V. Chapman. It just so happened it was the only one left and in her exact size. “I didn’t think it would all happen so soon,” says Klaudia, but the details fell into place with the dress in hand. “The dress called for a vintage aesthetic, so every detail was very 1950s inspired — from the accessories to our rented car.”
Klaudia rented accessories from Aveil, a bridal accessories rental company, to complete the glam look. From Aveil, Klaudia rented a Cult Gaia freshwater pearl choker, a pearly mini-bag by Sophia Webster and shimmery Amelie George earrings. Alongside these luxury rentals, Klaudia completed her 1950s bridal look with Jeffrey Campbell heels, a Monrowe brimmed hat with a birdcage veil, Dior sunglasses and For Love and Lemons lace gloves.
With the fashions perfected, there were only a few choices left to nail down. “I only booked vendors that were important to us. We didn’t focus on things like flowers or food. Most of the day revolved around photos, so I prioritized everything ‘aesthetic’ — our outfits, my hair and makeup by Glam Atelier, photo permits and car rental. I’m extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have celebrity photographer Lynn Yati create such timeless captures!”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day for Klaudia and James was learning just how common city hall weddings are. “We arrived at the courthouse when it opened, and within a few moments, a line out the door formed. It was wonderful to see all the happy couples from different walks of life, and all putting their own spin on their ceremony — from the fashion choices to the size of their party.” While not as publicized or heavily photographed, the city hall wedding is alive and well in Chicago!
After the paperwork was signed and witnessed, Klaudia and James celebrated with an intimate dinner at Cindy’s Rooftop on the 13th floor of the Chicago Athletic Association. The hotel’s aesthetic matched their vintage style perfectly, making for some killer photo-ops. Wrapping up the oh-so-editorial day, they were treated to a classic Chicago scene: “We even got
to enjoy a firework show from their beautiful balcony overlooking the city!” So what advice would Klaudia give to couples considering a civil ceremony or mini-celebration? “There is no right or wrong move. The only wrong decision would be one that’s skewed by others. As long as you follow what is important to you, make your day as elaborate or simple as you’d like, and remember that all this is to celebrate your love — it will be perfect.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Lynn Yati Photography
HAIR & MAKEUP Glam Atelier
NAILS Nail Candy Sandie
HAIR CUT & COLOR Jillian Boeckh with Elle Salon
EXTENSIONS BELLAMI from Sarah Page Hair
PHOTOGRAPHY VENUES Chicago Athletic Association, Cindy’s
BOUQUET East Olivia
DRESS V. Chapman
ACCESSORIES & JEWELRY Aveil
SHOES Jeffrey Campbell
GLOVES For Love and Lemons
CAR RENTAL Chicago Vintage Vehicles
Klaudia owns Glam Atelier, a luxury on-site beauty services company specializing in glamorous and dramatic hair and beauty artistry. As a wedding industry professional, Klaudia is well-versed in the intricacies of wedding planning and execution.