Planning a marriage not a wedding

After saying yes to John’s proposal, we both felt like we had finally arrived. The last two years had been quite the ride and we were ready to begin this new chapter of our lives together.

It was exciting to share the news with John’s family, but I was fretting about telling mine. How do I tell them I am getting married yet again? I made John promise to keep the secret from his family but everyone who was close to me knew the truth.

I find it interesting just how much turmoil I can create in my own mind. I shared the news with the important people in my life, and of course every single one of them were very happy for me.

The rest didn’t matter, and once I got over my fears about being judged I settled down and began planning our wedding.

John and I quickly agreed to a very simple service and started looking for a place for a quiet celebration. When John’s sister suggested San Francisco City Hall, we went on a little day trip to check it out.

First of all, if you have never been to San Francisco City Hall, I highly recommend you add it to your list next time you visit. From the second we walked up the steps to the main entrance, I was in awe.

The building is simply stunning. Its architecture is reminiscent of the American Renaissance era from the turn of the 20th century with a huge dome in the center. The photo opportunities on the outside alone are enough to warrant a visit.

Once inside, there is a grand staircase leading up to the magnificent rotunda.

The details in the dome and just about everywhere we looked had me completely captivated. There is an inscription in the main rotunda that reads:

“San Francisco

O glorious city of our hearts

That hast been tried and not found wanting.

Go thou with like spirit to make the future thine.

1912 James Rolph Jr. Mayor 1931”

The grand staircase leading up to the rotunda

Everything about this place was perfect to us. “Go thou with like spirit and make the future thine.” How wonderful is that??

We walked all around and checked out every corner, then headed for the office to fill out the necessary paperwork. We were asked to pick a date and since City Hall is only open during the week we picked Monday, March 18th, the day after St. Patrick’s Day.

That gave us just about one month to make all the plans.

With a grand total of six guests and a civil ceremony there were very few details to go over. John chose his siblings and mother and I rounded out the total with my best friend and her husband.

We were so excited to have found the perfect place to express our commitment to each other, and when John’s sister offered to make my bouquet all that was left was to find a dress.

Estelle and I went shopping, and I ended up finding the perfect dress at JC Penney for under $50. Everything fell into place effortlessly and neither John nor I had a desire to complicate things.

All was set and on St. Patrick’s Day we packed our bags and drove into the city.

Reader Comments

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      I didn’t know you were born and raised in San Francisco! It’s my favorite city.
      And isn’t it great to just keep it simple!? It’s all about the marriage, not the wedding.

  1. Stephanie

    Happy almost anniversary! I went to school in SF, but never visited City Hall.. Boo me. I guess I’ll have to make a cross country visit someday!

    I got married on Treasure Island.. The view of the City is pretty incredible from there.

    Looking forward to more of your story!

  2. Kar

    Loretta, you are a woman of my own heart. I always wanted a phrase to describe how I felt about tying the knot and you said it. Yes I wanted “A marriage , not a wedding.”

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Kar, thank you. I chose this title because years ago, in 1980 I got married. When I wrote about it here I titled that post, “Planning a wedding, not a marriage.” I thought this was perfect for this post!

  3. Kim Cook

    So glad to see your post. We are planning a trip to Northern California in the Fall. We plan to spend 2 or 3 days in San Francisco. This courthouse is now on our list. Thank you for the information and the great photos.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Kim! I will be posting some amazing shots on Monday. We are heading to SF this weekend to celebrate our anniversary and I have a post about our wedding ready to share.

  4. Anita

    So if I’ve read everything correctly, it’ll be 6 years on Monday. Congratulations! And may you be blessed with many, many more loving & healthy years together! 😊

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Anita, yes, and thank you!! I can’t believe it’s been 6 years already. We are having the time of our lives! Xx

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