Cambridge City Hall Wedding: Maggie + Andy

This fun and colorful Cambridge City Hall wedding is the perfect thing to brighten my spirits today!

Maggie and Andy were joined by their parents for the ceremony and strolled around town for drinks and photos after. They popped into one of their favorite bars and hit up Graffiti Alley which is my now on must visit list!

Check out more images and Q&A with the couple below!

Photography: MacRamos Photography

Ceremony Location: Cambridge City Hall

How did you two meet?

We met at a dinner party at a friend’s apartment, where we spent the better part of the night talking about the differences between human languages and computer languages. Maggie has studied about a dozen human languages (Scottish Gaelic is her specialty), and Andy’s a polymath software engineer.

We spent about three years as friendly acquaintances – members of the same friends group, hanging out with all our other buds on the regular – before we realized that oh WAIT, THIS is what needs to be happening!

How did you decide on the location?

Cambridge City Hall was the obvious choice for us! We’re both atheists so didn’t want to be married in a place of worship, it’s a beautiful building, and Cambridge is where the magic happened — where we met, where most of our adventures were set. It’s also right across from the little dive bar where we had our first date (listening to bluegrass!), and just down the street from a bunch of our favorite shops and hangouts.

We had a strict limit on the number of people allowed to be in the room with us in City Hall, which meant that we weren’t able to bring our siblings in. In the end, it was just us, the Justice of the Peace, our parents, and our photographer.

We followed up our ‘lil city hall wedding with lunch at a favorite Mexican place with all our siblings and their families, and that night, we had a little barbecue for our local friends in the backyard of the place we first met, hosted by Maggie’s BFF Alexa and her incredibly gracious parents.

How did you decide to elope/ have a tiny wedding? What challenges came with this decision?

There are a bunch of things that contributed to the decision.

* We are both intensely private people, and neither of us loves big social events. We even exchanged our vows privately at home the night before the wedding to take one big emotional moment out of the public part of the day.

* We’re also both independent and practical. We paid for the wedding, and agreed that we’d much rather put our savings towards a down-payment on a house or a super-fun trip abroad. Our big splurge was our magnificent photographer!

* The whole theater of the traditional wedding just didn’t feel right. We’d been together for six years by the time we got married, and had lived together for five of them. We were in our mid-thirties. In some ways, getting married didn’t feel all that important — our commitment to each other and to our shared life together was already rock-solid. We wanted to do it – it was an important symbol (and logistical/legal step – taxes, wooo) – but we didn’t *need* to do it.

So we decided to invite our parents and siblings, and no one else. The courthouse didn’t allow as many people as that, though, so only our parents attended the actual wedding part.

Andy’s family understood. He’s got an ENORMOUS family, so there’s never an expectation that everyone will be invited to weddings; it’s just not practical. We got hugs and well-wishes at the next holiday gathering. Maggie’s mom, on the other hand, was really disappointed that she wasn’t able to invite her brothers and their families. She’s from a tight-knit southern family where weddings are a really big deal, so there was a little tension around not inviting her extended family.

How did you tell everyone about your choice to have a tiny wedding vs. a big traditional event?

We let everybody know from the get-go. Andy spread the news by word-of-mouth; his parents took care of letting the extended family know what we were doing. Maggie sent emails to her extended family letting them know that we were sad that we had to exclude so many people we loved from this fun thing, but that we were doing our best to make the right decisions for ourselves — and that we’d make a time to celebrate our joy with them as soon as we could. Most of the family was absolutely lovely about it. <3

What was your favorite part of the day and why?

The best part was really the ceremony. The woman who married us gave a brief, heartfelt, *perfect* little homily, and exchanging rings and saying those magic words was just … perfect. Married forever to my absolute favorite person! We both still get emotional remembering it.

A very close runner-up was walking out of the courthouse to be greeted by two of our dearest friends, who pelted us with rice.

What advice do you have for other couples planning their elopements or small weddings?

Sit down, have an honest conversation about your priorities, and write them down. Then, when the inevitable “oh holy crap that would be amazing we have to do that!!” comes up, have a look at what really matters to you and reconsider it. The wedding industry is engineered to make you think you need absurd amounts of stuff to create the perfect day — but the day itself doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s really hard with the onslaught of everybody else’s opinions of what you “absolutely *must*” do, but try to keep perspective on the most important thing — that awesome, awesome badass you’re marrying.