Zoe and Earl could not have been a more vibrant or dynamic couple to photograph. Between their 1000 watt smiles, bear hugs and relaxed vibe, these two pulled off the perfect wedding celebration. They, of course, got married at San Francisco City Hall, one of the most beautiful buildings I know. The architecture is breathtaking and makes everyone look like royalty. Because they rented a private space, the Mayor’s Balcony, with their own officiant, they were able to invite a few dozen guests and have a longer, private ceremony. No eyes were dry in the crowd and two families were united with great joy. They even exited with style in a stunning white Rolls Royce as they made their way to a Peruvian restaurant for their dinner reception. I’ll never forget you guys, you bring a smile to my face each and every time I think of you!
San Francisco City Hall Marriage
I wanted to share some tips on getting married at San Francisco City Hall to make it the easiest and most pleasurable experience possible.
- Get you marriage license on a different day than your wedding ceremony. It’s too stressful to do it on the same day. Both parties must be present and have unexpired government identification. Once you’ve made your appointment for your marriage license, you’ll submit your application to the County Clerk’s office (room 168) on the first floor. Be sure to check the County Clerk website at sfgov.org/countyclerk/MARRIAGE for complete requirements. You can obtain your marriage license from any California County. California Marriage Licenses are valid for ninety days.Check out this page to see the requirements.
- If you are planning a civil ceremony to be done by the San Francisco County Clerk Deputy Marriage Commissioner, know that they are very brief, about 5 minutes long. There will be couples before and after you. The location of the ceremony will be determined often by the officiant. You may only invite 6 guests.
- If you want more flexibility, rent a private space at San Francisco City Hall and hire your own officiant. The package includes private use of either the Mayor’s Balcony or a Fourth Floor Gallery for up to one-hour from Monday through Friday, with the earliest ceremony beginning at 9:00 am and the latest beginning at 3:00 pm. Therental cost for the package is $1,000, which includes an hour of access for up to 100 guests. Chairs are an additional equipment rental, with the Mayor’s Balcony seating up to 40 and the Fourth Floor Galleries up to 60 (remaining guests stand for the ceremony). It might be worth it, my couples love this option!
- Consider a beautiful bouquet/boutonniere and dress/suit/outfit that makes you feel amazing. I know couples feel like this will be casual and just a legal procedure, but it’s often quite emotional and moving. The grandeur of this civic palace, the formality of the officiant marrying you and exchanging vows is truly special.
- Just because it’s a City Hall wedding doesn’t mean you should not invest in professional photography. I can’t tell you how many couples lament the fact that they ignored investing in professional photography. This is a unique and powerful ritual that you will want to remember and share with those you love. The memories only gain more value over time.
Congratulations to Zoe and Earl and to all those engaged couples out there!