You May Now Kiss the Clerk You May Now Kiss the Clerk
City Hall as a Wedding Venue
Alameda City Hall has become a newish venue for local residents seeking an intimate setting to recite their vows.
“It’s a very peaceful and architecturally harmonious building,” says John Katoozian, 61, who married his fiancée, Nazee, 45, on Aug. 1, 2011. “It feels as if you are being married in a temple.”
The Katoozians were surprised to walk into beautifully decorated city council chambers and to have their special moments captured on film by a professional photographer. But you, too, can enjoy similar treatment, because the city expanded its wedding services in 2011 to offer several wedding packages. Couples can choose packages that include a marriage certificate souvenir, personalized wedding vows, decorations, photographs and video of the event. Up to 100 guests may be accommodated, with packages priced from $120 to $270.
The mayor, city council members and several city staff members were appointed as deputy marriage commissioners with the right to legally perform civil marriage ceremonies in 2008. Since then, they have been overseeing approximately 15 weddings each year.
The Katoozians, who first met in Alameda in 1997, were among the first couples to exchange vows at City Hall last year.
“I fell in love with her smile and positive attitude,” Katoozian says of his new bride. “After I proposed to Nazee, we both agreed that we wanted to be married in Alameda. [Former Alameda Mayor] Beverly Johnson has been my attorney and dear friend since 1998, and she got me interested in Alameda history and City Hall.”
Katoozian says the ambiance of City Hall, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, was one of the many attributes that sealed the deal as the perfect location for his wedding.
Other nuptials have occurred at City Hall, and there was one auspicious day in the fall that attracted many couples: Nov. 11, 2011. When other city halls across the East Bay were closed for Veteran’s Day, Alameda City Hall remained open to grant the wishes of local couples that wanted to be married on that once-in-a-lifetime date. Eleven couples entered the City Council Chambers at City Hall to separately pledge their love to each other on that day. With June tending to be the most popular month for weddings, the staffers at City Hall are looking forward to many more weddings this summer.