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Discover How to Get Married at San Francisco City Hall (2024)

Groom lifts up bride and kisses her San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer

Hi! My name is Lilia, and I am a San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer since 2007. I have put together this guide on how to get married at San Francisco City Hall and have the wedding of your dreams.

HOW TO GET MARRIED AT SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL

Bride and groom holding hands and standing on the Grand Staircase at their San Francisco City Hall wedding elopement

San Francisco City Hall is an iconic landmark and world-renown venue for weddings of all sizes. If you have dreamed of saying “I Do” in a setting that exudes sophistication and features stunning architecture, San Francisco City Hall is the perfect choice for your wedding.

TYPES OF SF CITY HALL WEDDINGS

SF City Hall offers both civil and private ceremonies.

Most civil ceremonies take place in the Rotunda. This is the area at the top of the Grand Staircase in the center of City Hall under the dome.

If you are planning to have a large group of guests at your ceremony, you must reserve either the SF City Hall Fourth Floor or the Mayor’s Balcony.


PUBLIC CIVIL CEREMONY

The public civil ceremony lasts about 5 minutes long. The ceremony is well-worded and meaningful! You will exchange rings, say your vows, and have your first kiss as a married couple!

Bride and groom holding hands during their San Francisco City Hall wedding ceremony in the Rotunda

Photo: SF City Hall Civil Ceremony in the Rotunda


PRIVATE CEREMONIES

Ring exchange between bride and groom Check out more information about private SF City Hall Fourth Floor weddings.

Tips for getting married at SF City Hall

STEP ONE: MARRIAGE LICENSE

You must have a marriage license issued in order to get married in California. You may acquire your marriage license from any county in California. Both partners must be present when applying for the marriage license. The license is valid for 90 days. You must have an appointment for your marriage license at walk-ins are not accepted at the San Francisco County Clerk’s Office.

Make an appointment for your marriage license in San Francisco.

Cost: $120 for public marriage license.


STEP TWO: RESERVE YOUR PUBLIC CIVIL CEREMONY

Reserve your civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall.

Hours: Public civil ceremonies are available every half hour between 9:00am and 3:30pm, Monday through Friday. City Hall is closed on Saturday, Sundays, and holidays.

Cost: $103 for public marriage ceremony.


CIVIL CEREMONY LOCATION

Most public civil ceremonies take place in the Rotunda at the top of the Grand Staircase located on the second floor of City Hall. There are rare occasions when the Rotunda is not available and the civil ceremony must take place elsewhere inside City Hall. One alternate location if the Rotunda is unavailable is the Third Floor Gallery.


CEREMONY OFFICIANT

If are having a public marriage ceremony in the Rotunda, City Hall will provide a marriage commissioners to perform your ceremony.

If you are having a private ceremony on the Fourth Floor or the Mayor’s Balcony, you must hire your own officiant, or have a friend or family member perform your ceremony.

Recommended Officiants:
Cynthia Gregory, Reverend Anita Joe, Virginia Van Zandt, Irene Kane, and Lissin Lev Chaya, and Rev. Tim Mills.


THE BEST PHOTO LOCATIONS AT SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL

There are many wonderful locations for San Francisco City Hall wedding photos. The following are highlights of the main areas. Keep in mind that there are many different vantage points and areas inside that make amazing backgrounds for your wedding day memories.

Front Doors of SF City Hall

Bride and groom kiss while their guests blow bubbles Family members cheer and clap for the newly wedded couple as they exit their San Francisco City Hall wedding Couple embrace at front door

Grand Staircase

Bride and groom kiss on the Grand Staircase at City Hall Bride and groom walk up the Grand Staircase

4th Floor of SF City Hall

Bride and groom on the Fourth Floor. How to Get Married at San Francisco City Hall

Photo: Newly married couple on the 4th Floor

Bride and groom smiling at their San Francisco City Hall wedding on the Fourth Floor North Gallery

Photo: SF City Hall Fourth Floor Wedding


3rd Floor of SF City Hall

Bride and groom exchange private vows on the Third Floor of SF City Hall Groom kisses his bride on the forehead at their SF City Hall wedding

2nd Floor of SF City Hall / Mayor’s Balcony

Bride and groom stand together on the Mayors Balcony of SF City Hall Bride and groom are joined by their closest family to witness their San Francisco City Hall wedding on the Mayors Balcony Couple walking on the second floor of City Hall in San Francisco

Civic Center Plaza

Civic Center Plaza features beautiful sycamore trees and a stunning view of City Hall. The best time for photos at Civic Center Plaza is in the afternoon.

Bride and groom at their wedding holding their dog with trees in the background Bride and groom standing in Civic Center Plaza with a view of SF City Hall in the background Bride and groom walk in front of SF City Hall at Civic Center Plaza Groom looks at bride

Memorial Court Park

Memorial Court Park is located across the street from City Hall on Van Ness Ave. (this location is best in the morning!)

Bride and groom hug at Memorial Court across from SF City Hall Bride and groom at Memorial Court at SF City Hall wedding Bride embraces groom with view of San Francisco City Hall in the background Couple at Memorial Court Park with SF City Hall in the background

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SF CITY HALL WEDDINGS

1. What is the best time to get married at SF City Hall?

The best time to get married at SF City Hall is either the first or the last ceremony slots of the day. If you prefer a time when there are less people in the building, I would recommend that you schedule your ceremony for 9:00am or 9:30am. City Hall opens at 8:00am on weekdays, so that is the perfect time to arrive for pre-ceremony photos and to beat the crowds. If you are having a dinner reception, or want to take photos on location then I would recommend reserving the latest time slots (3:00pm or 3:30pm).

2. How many guests can I bring to my SF City Hall wedding?

You are allowed to have 6 guests. This includes your photographer, guests, witnesses, and children. Some City Hall marriage commissioners are more flexible and will allow you to have a few more guests.

For a civil ceremony, you must have at least 1 witness. If you are eloping (just the two of you), Lilia is happy to act as your witness!

You can also opt for a confidential marriage, therefore no witnesses are needed.

If you are planning to have a large number of guests, consider having a private SF City Hall Fourth Floor wedding.


3. What do I need to bring with me to SF City Hall?

You will need the following for your civil ceremony appointment:

  • official government-issued marriage license issued in the State of California
  • valid, authentic, legal government-issued photo identification for each person getting married
  • one witness for a public civil ceremony
  • no witness is needed for a confidential civil ceremony
  • folder to bring your marriage license with you. After your ceremony, City Hall will give you a souvenir marriage certificate< so having a folder will keep it neat and not wrinkly!
  • tote bag to carry your folder, makeup for touch-ups, any other wedding day essentials

4. Do we need to hire an officiant for our SF City Hall wedding?

If you are having a public civil ceremony, then an official City Hall Marriage Commissioner will be provided. If you are having a private ceremony, then you must hire your own officiant. You can also have a friend or family member officiate.

5. Do we need to write our own vows?

No, you do not need to write your own wedding vows. For a public civil ceremony, the Marriage Commissioner will read out the vows and you repeat the vows to one another. If you are having a private ceremony with your own officiant, then you can say your own vows.

6. Can I have a private SF City Hall wedding?

Yes, there are different options for private City Hall ceremonies.
  1. One Hour Ceremony on the 4th Floor
  2. One Hour Ceremony on the Mayor’s Balcony
  3. Two Hour Saturday Wedding
  4. Full Saturday/Evening Buyout

7. Can I get married at SF City Hall on a weekend?

Yes, private SF City Hall weddings are available on weekends for a two-hour time slot or an evening buyout. Contact the City Hall Special Events office for more information.

8. How do I get to SF City Hall?

SF City Hall is located at 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102.

The County Clerk’s Office (Room 168) is located on the First Floor.

Office Hours: Monday – Friday
Processing Hours: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Information Only: 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Phone Number: 1-415-554-4950

Private Transportation:
The best way to arrive at City Hall is by using private transportation so you do not need to find parking!
Uber, Lyft, taxis, or private car services such as limos are great options.

Public Transportation:
SF City Hall is located near the Civic Center BART station and Muni Station. MUNI Trip Planner or Google Maps.


9. Is SF City Hall wheelchair accessible?

ADA-accessible entrances are located on the Van Ness Avenue, Grove Street and Goodlett Place (Polk Street) sides of the building. There are elevators on each floor therefore it is easy for any of your guests with mobility issues to access every floor of the building.

10. Is there parking at SF City Hall?

There is limited metered street parking near SF City Hall. An underground parking garage is located across the street below City Hall Plaza. Enter at 355 McAllister Street.

11. When should I arrive at SF City Hall?

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your ceremony appointment. Give yourself extra time to get through security at the front door. If you or any of your guests are carrying large bags, you must use the Grove Street entrance located near the loading dock.


12. Are there any restaurants near SF City Hall?


13. When is SF City Hall closed?

SF City Hall is closed to the public on Saturdays, Sunday, and the following holidays:

  • New Years Day: January 1, 2024
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: January 15, 2024
  • President’s Day: February 19, 2024
  • Memorial Day: May 27, 2024
  • Independence Day: July 4, 2024
  • Labor Day: September 2, 2024
  • Indigenous Peoples Day / Italian American Heritage Day: October 14, 2024
  • Veterans Day: November 11, 2024
  • Thanksgiving Day and the Day After: – November 28, 2024 & November 29, 2024
  • Christmas Day: December 25, 2024

Author: Lilia | Updated on May 19, 2024

CITY HALL WEDDING GALLERIES

MEET LILIA

Hello! My name is Lilia Ahner, and I am a San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer with over 17 years of experience.

My mission is to tell your love story and capture the timeless moments, emotions, and details of your wedding day.

Many of my City Hall weddings have been featured in People Magazine, Style Me Pretty, and The Knot.

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