Tag Archives: San Francisco City Hall
Depending on how you are scheduling your ceremony at San Francisco City Hall and how many hours you book your photographer for, will determine when you should arrive and take couples portraits. This couple hired me for 2 hours. Since we knew they were having a pretty good amount of guests for their ceremony and were planning on spending time with them but didn’t need event coverage after, we decided it was a good idea to start their portraits an hour before the ceremony and spend the remaining hour capturing them interacting with their family, having their ceremony, taking family formals and few images outside of city hall. All of which fills up the last hour really fast.
Once in a while, I will do a 2-hour session with couples who want images at a second location and will not have any guests attending. To time the locations right, you need to take in a few factors. What time is your ceremony? Will city hall be less busy before or after your ceremony and what time is the sun setting? If your ceremony is in the morning I highly suggest getting to city hall right when they open and utilizing the hall for portraits before other couples and tourists show up. If your ceremony is already in the afternoon and we will be doing outdoor images say near the beach we will want to make sure we can wait as long as possible before going to the beach for the best light. In that case, I would say we meet at ceremony time, do city hall images then head over to the beach.
To get those grand staircase shots and utilize city hall without many people in the hall, we need to be there on off hours. That means we meet before city hall opens and start shooting as soon as they open. Or we shoot a few hours after the ceremonies by their judges have ceased. Your next question! “What If I have my ceremony is set for 2:30 pm and we want to do couples portraits at 8 am to have fewer people in the hall? We can! I have incorporated a small fee per hour that I charge while I am idle to make it possible to do just this!
If you are interested reach out and I’d love to chat about it and your San Francisco City Hall Wedding!
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photography
Joel and Emily are two of the most adventurous and free spirited people I have had the pleasure of working with. They travel everywhere together and very spontaneously. When they decided they wanted to elope they canceled their big wedding they were in the middle of planning out in So Cal. They decided this is who they were and this is how they wanted to do it. They drove all night long from Southern California to elope with just the two of them. They are in love and knew what they wanted. Being the lucky ones we are we were able to use the 4th floor since no weddings were being held there at the time. The 4th floor is a location that is the one of the more expensive areas to reserve for your wedding in City Hall unless you are renting out the entire hall. After their marriage, we walked around the city and just had fun taking photos. From City hall to cross walks to the symphony, cabs, cupcakes at the ever so wonderful Miette bakery and the finally ending our adventure in the woods. Being as spontaneous as they are they didn’t mind that I didn’t have a set plan of where to take them , they just wanted to enjoy the city and have fun with photos. After that they proceeded to travel to a few places around the world to continue their celebration.
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photography
I can hardly wait to show more from this beautiful and fun San Francisco City Hall Wedding. But until then, here is this little teaser! God, I love City Hall and every bride that I work with there!
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photography | How to get married at San Francisco City Hall
San Francisco City Hall is stunning from the outside to every single detail inside. It’s ornate, has charm and gives you the option to have an elopement that is small and casual or a longer wedding where you can rent the mayors balcony or even the entire hall for a few hours on a Saturday. Regardless what you decide to do for your wedding, you can guerentiee that your wedding will have personality and you will be surrounded by beautiful architecture and light. Oh the light!
Sometimes the steps to get married can be confusing but I’m here to help! How to get married at San Francisco City Hall
First you will need to get your marriage licence. A marriage licence is a permit to get married. It is valid for 90 days after applying. Meaning you will need to get another one if you do not have your elopement or wedding within the 90 days of signing. The permit cost $103.00 (cash,money order and/or debit card)
You will need to go to:
San Francisco County Clerk
City Hall, Suite 168
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102-4678
Phone: (415) 554-4950 ( you’ll need to call and make your appointment first )
Between the hours of 8am and 4pm Monday – Friday. You do not need to be a legal resident of California to apply either =) So if you are visiting from out of state and want to get married here you are welcome to. Both parties need to be 18 and older and both be present . Don’t forget to have a legal I.D. card with you. Find out more here . To get to the city hall you can get there by BART and get off at Civic Center Bart station. Walk up the staircase to Market street and literately just walk straight, you’ll come to a split in the street, take the slight right on Hayes St. keep walking straight and then make a right on Polk. You wont miss it. It’s huge. If you are driving There is a parking lot underneath Civic center plaza and you can enter on McAllister Street, between Polk and Larkin. There is a ton of street parking as well.
Once you have your licence signed and paid for you will want to reserve your time slot for your wedding. Reservations for your ceremony costs $76 and need to be paid when booked. You can do it online (must have a credit card visa/mastercard) or in person up to 90 days in advance. If you go in person make sure you are both there and have your I.D.’s as well as a payment form of cash, money order and/or debit. Make sure it’s the date you want because you can’t change it or get a refund. You’ll have to pay again.
Ceremonies are available Monday-Friday at 9:30 a.m through 3:30 p.m. Every half hour. There are three reservation slots available during each time period. A very popular option for a more privet and larger event is renting the North or South Mayors Balcony for for your ceremony. You get a longer allotted time frame and can have up to 100 guests. It cost $1,002.00 and you’ll want to contact the Events Office at City Hall for more info (room 495, 415-554-6086)
If you plan to purchase your marriage license on the same day as your ceremony reservation, you must make and pay for a marriage license reservation for the same day at least 30 minutes PRIOR to your ceremony reservation time. For example, if your ceremony reservation is 10:00 a.m., your marriage license reservation should be scheduled no later than 9:30 a.m.
The day of your wedding you will want to go to the information desk at City Hall, Room 168 to check in 10 minutes before your appointment time. (Don’t forget you have to go through the secerity line. Normally the line moves pretty fast but you should give yourself at least 30 minutes before you need to check in) You can bring up to two witnesses with you. There’s a waiting area outside of the room for your other guests. This where everyone signs the marriage licence. =) (you can bring photographers with you as well. I’ve gone in with addition to the two witnesses and haven’t been told to leave yet. =)
Make sure to have your valid marriage licence, both of your I.D’s and your witnesses. You need at least one witness. If you would like me (your photographer) to sign as your witness I would be honored to.
During the ceremony they say the rule is no more than 6 guests and that includes a photographer. Because the hall itself is open to the public, I have seen people have more guests standing around. =) People have never been turned away. Which also means you may have standby-ers and tourists watching as you marry =) unless you have a more privet wedding in the mayors balcony. People may peek in but normally they will stay back and you wont even notice them.
The ceremonies are from 10 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday and held mostly in the Rotunda on the second floor above the large staircase and are about 10 minutes long. Where you will be having your ceremony is really up the the judge that will be marrying you and how many other weddings are happening. If it’s slow and not many people are getting married before or after you, it’s always worth it to ask and see if you can get married in one of the mayors balconies. You get to meet your judge when you sign your marriage licence.
Fridays are the busiest days to get married at the city hall. While Mondays-Wednesdays in the early part of the day are the slowest at the hall. If it’s possible to get married on one of those days I always suggest it. This gives you and me better photo opportunities around the hall. Often times when it is very busy It’s much harder to get photos with out people in the background. And tourists don’t think about the weddings that will be going on before they plan to come visit the hall. So they come in the dreaded neon green shirt and stand around oblivious to everything around them. Also there is more waiting for areas while another photographer is using the space. For more information on ceremonies at city call you can read here
You might want to spend a separate day just walking around the city hall to familiarize yourself with it. Figure out where certain places are in the building and the bathrooms =) The bathrooms are on the first floor on both sides in large room’s. If possible apply for your wedding licence before the day you are going to get married. It can get really hot in the city hall. It’s a very old building and not insulated well. Don’t be shy to wear a fun shorter wedding dress other then a long heavy one.
If you plan on doing something after your wedding for your guests, there is an abundance of great food and restaurants around the city! Don’t forget to make your reservations before. You can also rent trolleys to give your guests a tour of the city! It’s very fun! You will get ton’s of love from all of the city natives and if your guests are from out of town they will love all the sight seeing that comes along with it! Don’t forget to have me document what ever celebration you have planned after! You will want the memories!