Currently set to Index
Currently set to Follow

(Updated February 2021) San Francisco City Hall is still CLOSED due to state ordinances. They are holding video marriage services here 

San Francisco City Hall Weddings –
The Ultimate City Hall Wedding Planning Guide 

San Francisco City Hall Weddings are one of the most common ceremonies every week, so I made this guide to help in your planning. With hundreds of weddings photographed there, I created this ultimate planning guide to help answer the most common questions to San Francisco City Hall weddings.

Don’t forget to BOOKMARK (command + D) this page to reference it throughout your planning process!

San Francisco City Hall Weddings (easy one step process)

Marriage License and Civil Ceremony Appointments

These are two separate appointments and can be done on two different days if you want (to avoid stress on the wedding day).
Monday – Friday 8:15AM – 3:30PM
Marriage licenses cost $110 and last 90 days.
Civil ceremonies cost $90 
Ceremonies done at the Rotunda with a max of 6 guests
Book your appointments here

Book the Mayor’s Balcony or the 4th Floor (optional)

Monday – Friday 9AM – 3PM
$1000 1 hour rental fee
Can fit up to 60 seated guests (40 for the Balcony, 60 for the 4th floor). Chair rentals are an additional fee.
North Side of the 4th Floor is suggested for better lighting
Musicians can be used from this approved list 
You will need your own officiant to get the most out of this space. Or you can have someone you know get ordained and do it

San Francisco City Hall + Fort Scott Evening Wedding Shoot - Mariame and Andrew - 5.2.19_46_1 web (1)

Day of Wedding Step by Step Guide (Standard Rotunda Ceremony)

Check – In to Room 168 (first floor)

It is recommended to have your marriage license appointment at least a day before your wedding day, but you can have it up to one hour before your wedding ceremony time if you want it all done in one day.
10 minutes prior to your ceremony time, check in again at room 168. Don’t forget your IDs! 
You will get a number. Wait times vary from 5 – 15 minutes for your number to be called.
Sign marriage certificate with up to 2 witnesses and legalize the marriage!

Wedding Ceremony (2nd floor Rotunda)

Make your way to the Rotunda
There is approximately a 5 – 15 minute wait until your ceremony so you have time to take relax, take photos, or make any adjustments
90% of the time your ceremony will not start at the designated time – so don’t stress!
Ceremonies last anywhere from 5-8 minutes depending on the Judge

Family Formals

I typically take these on the 4th floor since it has the best light and most space.
Time and space permitting, we can do these at the grand staircase

Couples Portraits

We will photograph throughout the interior and exterior of City Hall (time permitting)

Day of Wedding Step by Step Guide (Mayor's Balcony / 4th Floor)

Wedding Ceremony

Make your way to the ceremony location
Chairs (if purchased) will be set up and the area cordoned off with rope
Ceremonies last anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes depending on your officiant 
Your Officiant will need up to 2 witnesses to sign the marriage certificate

Family Formals

We will take as many groups as you’d like in the ceremony location
It’s best to write out every group photo you want to make it efficient

Couples Portraits

We will photograph throughout the interior and exterior of City Hall (time permitting)

bride and groom dancing in front of the grand staircase in San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer

FAQ for San Francisco City Hall Weddings

San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer

When is the best time for an empty staircase photo?

I’d recommend booking the first available time slot (9AM) or the latest (3:30). With the latter, there is a small chance that City Hall will be rented out for a private event and decor will already be in place. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically the least busy days.

Where do I park?

There is an underground parking lot one block away from City Hall (Civic Center Garage) in addition to metered parking around the building. Street parking is medium difficult. Pay attention to 3PM towing / street cleaning signs – they will tow!

Where can we take photos?

There are 4 levels to photograph in San Francisco City Hall, but we will focus on the 3 main ones to give you the best images. Time permitting we can explore the interior and exterior. Getting the grand staircase is a given, but I cannot guarantee an “empty staircase” photo since it is the most popular area in the building.

Where do you recommend for the reception?

Fortunately, SF City Hall is centrally located and you have a ton of options to go to after your ceremony. If you want the most popular location, Absinthe is an few blocks away and has a full bar. If you want a more extensive list of venues a short distance away, take a look at my Top Places to Eat Around San Francisco City Hall.

How much does it cost?

Marriage License – $110
Wedding Ceremony – $90
(optional) Mayor’s Balcony / 4th Floor – $1000
(optional) Weekend 2 hour rental – $5000
(optional) Evening / Weekend rental – varies

Where is the ceremony held?

There are several ceremony locations to choose from, but the main area is going to be the Rotunda, which is located at the top of the grand staircase. This is the location that comes with your standard civil ceremony fee. For additional costs, the Mayor’s Balcony and 4th Floors are available. Personally, I would recommend the North 4th Floor for best photos.

Do you know any Makeup Artists (MUAs)?

I have dozens of wedding industry contacts and would be happy to suggest vendors I have worked with to aid in your wedding planning. Florists, MUAs, Officiants, Musicians, and Videographers to name a few.

Where else can we take photos in San Francisco?

As a San Francisco native, I love showing off the City! Here is a list of the most popular photo locations in San Francisco, but of course I’m more than happy to suggest more uncommon locations to suit your style.

415 756 9335 

ianchinphotography@gmail.com

762 10th Ave San Francisco, CA 94118

Scroll to Top