San Francisco City Hall Weddings

San Francisco City Hall is a beautiful place for a ceremony. I’ve had the pleasure to photograph many lovely weddings at this venue, and so I wanted to create a page just to answer questions related to holding a ceremony here.

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How do we book you to photograph our City Hall wedding?
Rebecca Wilkowski Photography is one of the most sought after photography studios in San Francisco for City Hall weddings. We are proud to be one of San Francisco City Hall’s PREFERRED VENDORS. In order to balance this high demand while maintaining our reputation for personalized attention and a boutique experience for our customers, we limit the number of City Hall bookings we accept and give preference to couples who have booked the 4th Floor Balcony for their ceremony. If you’d like to book our studio, please fill out the Contact Form on this website and we’ll be sure to contact you with our availability shortly.

How much does it cost to book you to photograph our City Hall wedding?
Our City Hall wedding commission includes 1-2 photographers and approximately 2 hours of coverage, allowing us to fully capture the story of your day. The investment for this commission is $1,995.

Where can I see photos of San Francisco City Hall weddings?
Just go up to the “Categories” link at the top of the page and click on “City Hall” in the drop down menu.

Do you have Experience photographing Same Sex/Gay weddings?
Yes, just go up to the “Categories” link at the top of the page and click on “Same Sex Wedding” in the drop down menu.

How do I get married at San Francisco City Hall?
In order to get married at City Hall, you’ll need to make TWO reservations in advance; one for your marriage license, and the other for your ceremony. You can choose to make these reservations for the same day, or to obtain your license before the ceremony date. Reservations for either can only be made up to 90 days in advance. Ceremonies can be booked Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Ceremonies are held every 30 minutes, with three reservation slots available during each time period. Couples must pay for their reservation at the time of booking. After submitting payment, the reservation cannot be changed (i.e., changing date/time). The marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date it is issued. Appointments may be made in one of two ways:

·Online – by going to Online Civil Ceremony Reservations. Reservations can be booked with a Visa or MasterCard only. A $5.00 convenience fee will be added.

·In person - Reservations may be made by one of the parties to the marriage or a third party. The person making the reservation must pay at the time of making the appointment. Cash, money order, and debit card are the ONLY methods of payment accepted (i.e. NO credit cards are accepted in person).

Where do we actually hold the ceremony?
Ceremonies are performed in a location determined by the commissioner (usually a private ceremony room or the rotunda, if available.) Unfortunately, specific requests for the rotunda or any other area can not be accepted as they cannot guarantee availability.

For an additional fee, you can choose to hold their ceremony on the 4th floor, or on the Mayor’s Balcony. Both locations offer space for up to 100 guests, up to one hour of time, and also offer more privacy as each area is roped off from the public. Click here to take a Photo Tour of City Hall.

Which location is best?
Every location is gorgeous! My personal favorite location is the 4th Floor North Gallery. If you’d like to see a tour of each location, check out the City Hall website.

The Rotunda is beautiful and free! Things to consider about this location: this location can’t be guaranteed, you are limited to a maximum of 6 guests, there is somewhat limited privacy (it is adjacent to the elevators and administrative offices), and you are allowed a maximum of 10 minutes for the ceremony and photos. (Depending on the day/time, other couples next in line to be married may be standing near by during your ceremony).

The 4th Floor and the Mayor’s Balcony are both more private, can accommodate up to 100 guests, and allow up to 1 hour. Couples may also choose to have chairs provided for their guests, as well as a table for a champagne toast. Things to consider about these locations are that both require advance reservations through the Office of Special Events, as well as an additional rental fee of approximately $1,002.

 

 

How do I reserve the 4th Floor or the Mayor’s Balcony?
Contact the City Hall Events Department at (415) 554-6068 or visit them online. Office hours are 9:00 am-5:30 pm, Monday – Friday.


What does it cost to get married at San Francisco City Hall?
There are several fees involved:

1) The marriage license fee is $99, AND

2) The fee to hold a ceremony on-site in the Rotunda or a private ceremony room with the County Clerk is $75, OR

The fee to hold a ceremony with a County Clerk off the City Hall grounds is $220. For more information, contact the Office of the County Clerk, Room 168, at (415) 554-4950, by email at: county.clerk@sfgov.org, or online at www.sfgov.org/countyclerk , OR

The fee to hold a ceremony on the 4th Floor or Mayor’s Balcony, is $1,002.

For more information on holding events in the evening or on a weekend, please contact the Office of Special Events, Room 495, at (415) 554-6079 or visit them online.

 

 

How far in advance do we have to reserve a reservation for a City Hall ceremony?
For Rotunda weddings, appointments may be made up to 90 days in advance. Weddings booked on a private balcony may be reserved up to a year in advance. Popular dates, such as Fridays or Valentine’s Day or etc book up quickly!

Where is San Francisco City Hall located? Where can I park?
San Francisco City Hall is wheelchair accessible and very convenient to public transportation. The closest accessible Bart Station is Civic Center, three blocks from City Hall. Accessible Muni lines are the 42, 71 and F Line to Market and Van Ness, Civic Center. Public parking garage is conveniently located across the street (under ground) from City Hall at Civic Center Plaza.

Where do we go for the marriage license?
Room 168, on the first floor. The couple and up to 2 witnesses should arrive at Room 168′s Information Desk for check-in 10 minutes before your appointment time (other witnesses will be asked to wait in the waiting area.)

What do we need to bring with us on the big day?
Legal photo identification, cash or check to pay all fees, a valid marriage license, 1 witness, and no more than 6 guests.(And don’t forget the rings!)

Do we need a witness?
If you are obtaining a public marriage license, then YES, you do need 1 witness. Note: Unfortunately, City Hall can not/will not provide or act as your witness. If you are obtaining a private marriage license, you do NOT need a witness.

Can my photographer act at my witness?
Yes! I have done this for my clients in the past, and welcome the opportunity to do so again. It’s an honor. Just ask!

How long does the whole process take?
It takes approximately 30 minutes to obtain the marriage license. It is recommended that if you plan to obtain the marriage license on the SAME day as the ceremony, that you book the two appointments at least 1 hour apart. The actual ceremony lasts about 5 minutes, with a total of 10 minutes given to each couple, when the ceremony is performed in the Rotunda by the County Clerk. Ceremonies conducted on the 4th Floor or Mayor’s Balcony, or those performed by a private officiant, may last up to 1 hour.

After the ceremony, then what?
Breathe….relax…..celebrate! After the ceremony, we typically photograph family and couple shots on-site at San Francisco City Hall. For larger City Hall packages, we also visit several sites around San Francisco for photographs.

 

 

  • January 5, 2011 - 12:43 pm

    Toni - Thank you for all the information! Your photographs are absolutely gorgeous and I hope to use your services at my nuptials.

  • March 10, 2011 - 6:59 pm

    Sue - Good information about marrying at City Hall, San Francisco.

  • March 24, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    Cynthia Gregory - Your information is very complete and easy to understand. Great resource.

  • April 8, 2011 - 7:42 pm

    PAULINE - I JUST NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRIVATE WEDDING

  • April 9, 2011 - 6:51 pm

    Mecia - I’m looking to get married on 11-11-11,but San Fracisco City Hall will be closed. Are you aware of any Mass Weddings in the Bay Area?

  • June 15, 2011 - 6:00 pm

    Megan - Hi, I am planning on getting married in San Francisco City Hall in May 2012. Can you advise if I need to do anything extra besides apply for the marraige licence, as I’m not a US citizen?

  • June 16, 2011 - 1:36 pm

    admin - Hi Megan
    I tried to reply, but your email does not work. So, I’ll post a response to your inquiry here on the blog.
    To answer your question, both citizens and non-citizens follow the same process:
    -You don’t need to be a California resident, or a US citizen, to get married in SF City Hall
    -You book your marriage license appointment online, a maximum of 90 days in advance of the date you plan to get married. (You can book with as little notice as 24 hours, providing there are open slots.)
    -You book your marriage ceremony appointment online, a maximum of 90 days in advance of the date you plan to get married. (You can book with as little notice as 24 hours, providing there are open slots.)
    -If you are from out of San Francisco, it is recommended to book the license and ceremony on the same date, and one hour apart (for example, license at 2pm, ceremony at 3pm)
    -In order to check in and be processed (and therefore be married), you will need to present valid authentic legal photo identification card containing photograph, full legal name, date of birth, date of issue, and date of expiration (Examples: passport, driver’s license, naturalization certificate, resident alien card, military I.D.) If the legal picture I.D. card does NOT contain your full legal name (i.e. It only has a middle initial rather than your full middle name) you must ALSO present a certified copy of birth certificate or social security card, showing your full legal name.
    - You will also need a witness, which the photographer can serve as if you will not have any guests with you.
    -In order to receive a CERTIFIED copy of your marriage license, you have to wait 2-4 weeks. This means, if you will not be in San Francisco for 2-4 weeks after the ceremony, you will need to make arrangements to receive your copy in another way. Many other countries require a Certified Marriage License in order to recognize unions that happen outside of the country.

  • July 14, 2011 - 8:41 pm

    scott fay - We don’t have a witness.

    What is the difference between a public vs private marriage license?

  • July 15, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    admin - Public Marriage License: You must be at least 18 years old. Persons under 18 with written consent from at least one parent (or legal guardian) AND permission from a California Superior Court Judge may marry. Emancipated minors are NOT exempt from this process. Contact the County Clerk’s Office in your county for further information regarding these requirements. The marriage license may be obtained from any county in California. You are not required to get married in the county where you purchase the public marriage license; however, you must be married in California. You must file the license in the county where it was purchased. You must have at least one witness present at your ceremony. (Your photographer can act as this witness). The license contains a place for two witnesses if you prefer. You may NOT have more than two witnesses sign the official marriage license. Licenses received with more than two witnesses signatures will be returned to the officiant and a duplicate marriage license will need to be purchased. There is no age requirement in California for witnesses, however, they must be old enough to know that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony, AND be able to sign their name on the official marriage license. The marriage license is registered at the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the license was purchased, and is a public record. Anyone may request copies of the marriage license by submitting the required fee to the County Recorder. Only one officiant may sign the marriage certificate as solemnized.

    Confidential Marriage License:
    The participating parties must be at least 18 years old to apply for a confidential marriage license. Minors may NOT purchase a confidential marriage license. The participating parties must be living together as spouses at the time they apply for the marriage license, and must sign an affidavit on the license attesting to those facts. The couple MUST be married in the county where the license is issued. No witnesses are required to be at the ceremony, AND no witnesses sign on the marriage license. The marriage license is a confidential record and is registered at the County Clerk’s Office in the county where it was purchased. Only the couple may purchase copies of the marriage license and must present valid picture identification together with the required fee to the County Clerk in order to do so. Persons other than the married couple requesting copies of a confidential marriage license may only do so by presenting a court order to the County Clerk in the county where the license is registered. Copies of confidential marriages are not available from the state office.

  • October 3, 2011 - 5:42 pm

    Christine Hansen - We are planning on getting married at city hall, but I was wondering if the $77 fee to get married by the county clerk includes the marriage certificate or if we have to pay for that seperatly. We apreciate all your help.

  • October 23, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    Amanda - Thank you for providing great information. I have a few question however.

    1.I know you said we must have a witness and no more than 6 guests. Does this mean 6 including the witness? or 7 including the witness?

    2. Can we have our own photographer? (I assume this would count as one of our guests) If we use their photographer does that not count as a guest?

    3. Would you be able to provide a link for the ceremony reservation?

    Thank you for all your help in advance.

    Amanda Archuleta

  • November 20, 2011 - 9:27 pm

    Filipe R. Colombo - Hello,

    My fiancee and I are both Brazilians and we would like to get married here in San Francisco. Is it possible?

    What are the steps we should do?

    We apreciate all your help.

  • December 21, 2011 - 10:20 am

    Nicole - I live in Portland Oregon but would LOVE to get married in San Fran City Hall! As someone being out of town how would I go about getting everything that I would need to be able to get married?

    PLEASE HELP!!!!

    Thank you!

  • December 26, 2011 - 9:43 pm

    Danielle - My husband and I are renewing our vows in February 2012.
    Do we still need a marriage license or would we do the private marriage license? Thank you!

  • January 3, 2012 - 11:38 am

    Amanda - Can you advise if I need to do anything extra besides apply for the marraige licence, as I am a UK citizen? We are planning on getting married this year

  • January 10, 2012 - 3:05 pm

    Ashley - Thanks so much for this info, SF doesn’t have this anywhere. Greatly appreciated!

  • January 19, 2012 - 12:40 pm

    roneeta - Do you have images of SF City Hall (door and entire city hall) in black and white? I would like to purchase them as a wedding gift for a friend.

    Roneeta
    cell 415.310.7664

  • January 22, 2012 - 7:48 am

    Mariza Nelson - Thank you for this great resource! I was searching in the city yesterday for places for our wedding and was getting overwhelmed with the venues, pricing and such. Later that evening, I was directed to your site and a light bulb came on and I knew right away that city hall would be the best place for our wedding! We are hoping to get married around November and I love your work! I would like to set up a time to meet and look at your work first hand.

  • January 27, 2012 - 12:06 am

    Kathleen Lloyd - My daughter is getting married at SF City Hall this year. They will be getting married on a Saturday with many guests for the two hour time slot. We’re interested in your service and also can you recommend a hotel that for the girls to spend Friday night. Would you come to take photos of that rather than the licensing segment?

  • February 8, 2012 - 12:47 pm

    Valerie Lee - Wow, this helped a lot! Thank you!

  • March 12, 2012 - 1:12 pm

    Jen - Is city hall absolutely strict on the rule about only 6 guests? I really want 9 people there. Is there anyway around that without paying the $1000 for the big room?

  • March 26, 2012 - 1:08 pm

    Teresa - How much would you charge to be a witness and then only take pics after the ceremony outside steps of city hall and the grand staircase!? 30-60 mins of pics?? Please email me your response.
    Thanks!!

  • April 17, 2012 - 10:01 pm

    JH - How much would it cost for you to be a witness and take some pictures during the ceremony? Please e-mail me.

  • April 23, 2012 - 2:07 pm

    Shay - Thank you for all the amazing information! My fiance and I are getting married in SF City Hall in June but I was curious about the 6 guest maximum policy. I had a friend get married there in December and he and his wife were able to have all of their guests watch them get married in the rotunda. Is that something they usually let slide? Please let me know! Thank you. :)

  • May 1, 2012 - 8:38 pm

    Sarah An - Hello, Thanks for your information. I reserved my marriage licesne on May 18th, 2012. But I didn’t reserve for the ceremony. Cos we are planning to have our wedding in China. In this case, do I still need to reserve for the ceremony? THank you very much!

  • May 22, 2012 - 4:24 am

    sarah - hi rebecca, can you email me some prices for your photography service? we are thinking of getting married at city hall next april.
    cheers, sarah

  • June 11, 2012 - 7:08 am

    ilynn - how much would you charge to be a witness and take pictures during the ceremony and outside steps of city hall ang grand staircase…please email me..thank you so much..

  • June 28, 2012 - 11:41 pm

    Gina gallegos - What if we live out of town? I live about four in a half hours away but would love to get married here. Do we need to bring our marriage license from our county? Please email me some more info thanks!!

  • July 8, 2012 - 4:31 am

    gnet - hello! thanks for the detailed info. very helpful! we are planning to get married in SF city on september. How much would you charge only take pics during & after the ceremony outside steps of city hall. Please email me your response. thank you.

  • July 18, 2012 - 5:47 am

    wendy - we are getting married 31 August, but we are from outside the USA and know noone could you be pour witness and if so, how much do you charge

  • September 6, 2012 - 11:43 pm

    Rachelle Escosio - I’m planning to get married next year.and I’m thinking doing it here.I really the 4th floor.For the priceis the chair included?Can you recommend

  • November 6, 2012 - 1:32 am

    Jim Macdonald - Just a few questions..
    My wife and I have been married for 23 years, and will be in the city in April to renew our vows.. we’re from Scotland, what will we need to bring? What will be the cost/m will it be possible to renew our vows inside City Hall?

  • January 24, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    Robin Streocker - I am interested in finding someone just like you to help me with my daughter’s intimate wedding , hopefully on June 21st, 2013. At SF city hall for up to 55 people. Are you available? Please email me back and we can start from there. Thank you. Robin streicker

  • January 26, 2013 - 4:10 am

    beehappy - hi! have you tried photo services for renewal of marriage vows in the city hall? we already have a washington state marriage license and we’re wondering if we still need to reserve and pay the fees for the wedding ceremony at san francisco city hall? thanks a bunch! :)

  • February 12, 2013 - 10:18 am

    Susan finer - We will be coming from out of town to a wedding at the court house, can you recommend a nice hotel within a short walk? Thanks!

  • February 25, 2013 - 12:17 pm

    Sadie - Thank you for this fantastic source of information for getting married at city hall! So helpful :)

  • March 5, 2013 - 8:03 am

    An Ode To San Francisco City Hall Weddings - [...] anyone who’d like more information on San Francisco city hall weddings, check out this wonderfully helpful blog post by SF photographer, Rebecca [...]

  • June 16, 2013 - 11:11 am

    Cinthia Araica - Hi, I wanted to have a small wedding for myself on August 31 2013 I don’t have much saved but I just wanted to get married and have a couple fotos of my memories could you help and guide me on what I should do. My guests would probably be just a few friends and close family nothing big but the memorable day of my wedding in the city hall please help and give me some advice on the steps and what I need to do thanks

  • July 2, 2013 - 10:17 am

    Goodbye_DOMA_hello_love - Thanks for a very helpful post.

  • August 31, 2013 - 10:05 am

    A Bit of R&R | Paxton and C.J. - [...] must give a shout out to the blog that was really a lifesaver in clarifying the process. Thank you Rebecca Wilkowski Photography for the incredibly helpful blog post on weddings at San Francisco City [...]

  • November 26, 2013 - 10:19 pm

    Tricia Cashman - If you already have the license and your ceremony appt is set for 3pm, does anyone have any idea how far in advance you need to get to City Hall before your ceremony time? I can’t find anything about this on the City Hall website.

  • December 11, 2013 - 6:30 am

    Bre Marie - what is the best time that ensures you have your wedding in the rotundra? i dont want to be in the private room

  • May 27, 2014 - 11:11 pm

    Rubi Martinez - Thank you very much for all the information! Love all your pictures, so beautiful! I live in Los Angeles and I would love to get married at San Francisco city hall on 02/19/2015. Do you know if a Los Angeles wedding license is valid? Also how strict are they on the 6 ppl? I’d really want 9 and don’t want to pay the $1000 for it. Would you also be able to email me pricing for your photography?

  • July 23, 2014 - 10:00 am

    Rich - My partner and I are scheduled for a marriage license and ceremony in August 2014. We are traveling to SF for this ceremony and will not be able to provide a witness. If we were to select a confidential license does that mean in order to obtain a certified copy of the marriage certificate we must be present or can we request the copy via mail? We live in OH and will only be is SF WED – Sun, with Thursday being our big day. Will the marriage certificate be ready by Friday, the day after our ceremony? Sorry for the barrage of questions:)

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