Halloween Micro Wedding at San Francisco City Hall

Nicole Cadwell Photography

June 7, 2023

Meghan and Tommy’s wedding was a mesmerising fusion of Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos, combining their love for these holidays with their heritages. Breaking away from traditional wedding themes, they invited their 30 guests to don all-black attire, creating a striking and dramatic procession and set of photos!

The couple chose San Francisco City Hall as their venue, a refreshing departure from the conventional church setting. It wasn’t without it’s challenges though as Meghan explains, “The biggest challenge of our wedding was the venue as we could only book it 90 days in advanced. This made it very difficult to lock down the date. We had been trying to get a Halloween wedding there since 2018 and we finally got lucky for Halloween 2022! The only problem was we then only had three months to plan everything!” Luckily, they had a general idea of the theme and who they wanted there.

The ceremony itself was concise and official. However, the they still found it a really moving experience. “We waited for our number to be called for our appointment, got some fun photos in the hallways and made it the best of the government building vibes”, she explained. “We said our vows, which was raising our right hands and saying ‘Yes’ to the judge. She stamped our paperwork and gave her speech, and it was over in less than 10 minutes. Then we walked out of the office crying and our family was waiting for us in the main hall and we all embraced and started the celebration of our union. My father got a special Native American Star Quilt made and adorned it on us in a ceremony to unite us in front of our family and friends. This Native American ceremony was so special.”

Another special element was the incorporation of butterflies, symbolising the souls of departed loved ones. Meaghan continues, “Tommy proposed in Pismo Beach during the migration of the monarch butterflies, under a large grove of monarchs, on Valentine’s Day. For our big day, we also to honour our relatives who passed and couldn’t be there to celebrate with us. In Mexican culture, especially on Dia de Los Muertos, monarch butterflies are said to be the carriers of the souls who return to visit on this sacred day. I drew inspiration from the proposal in Pismo, and added touches of butterflies throughout my dress and bouquet. I also made boutonnières for the wedding party to wear that had silk monarch butterflies and Tommy had ethically sourced monarch wings in his silver cuff link. We wanted to celebrate our special day and our favourite holiday in a traditional way that was classy and memorable.”

The day ended with a photo session with their photographer followed by a meal with everyone at Original Joe’s, an Italian restaurant in North Beach, where they showed up wearing custom embroidered jackets that had their surname, “Martinez”, on the back. Disposable cameras were scattered on the tables, encouraging guests to snap candid moments, while Tommy captured Polaroids, creating a beautiful collection of memories.

In terms of budgeting, the couple made smart choices to manage expenses. Meghan made her own wedding dress with the help of a talented friend and they decided to forgo traditional wedding rings and opted for tattoos by their favourite tattoo artist, symbolising their everlasting bond.

The couple’s advice for future engaged couples is simple yet profound, “Eat your dinner, everyone can wait!” Meghan said. “Also, only invite people who will make you day special, not stressful. The less people you have at your reception, the more you will be able to connect with all of your guests. Do not let anyone ruin your day, it is not their wedding. Thank everyone who made your day special to their faces, this also means the manager of the venue, the wait staff, the hotel staff and anyone else who served you. Everyone is trying to work hard to make your day special, even a little gratitude goes a long way. Oh! And have fun, things will be stressful, but breathe through it and remember that you are marrying the love of your life.”