2 - Hire a professional photographer and cinematographer
This might sound a little biased given that we offer both services, but hear me out. Photos and video are going to be the ONLY two things that you can look back to and reflect on the memories of the wedding. Sure, you might snap a few selfies or ask one of the guests to take a few pictures, but lets face it, they won't look nearly as good as a professional artistic photo. And speaking of video, i've seen folks recording the ceremony on a mobile phone. Well i have a few things to say about that.
First, do you want your guests to enjoy the wedding or to film it?
Second, assuming you're okay with the image quality of your friends phone, how good do you think the audio will be? Here is an example of a professional audio recording vs on-camera audio.
As you can hear, the acoustics is pretty good (or bad?), which makes it nearly impossible to capture good audio without good microphones. Not only that, but it's a public building and it hosts public events quite often. That means you will often hear people working, setting up lights and equipment for upcoming events. You will also hear people clapping and shouting, since there are multiple weddings happening at the same time on multiple levels of the building. So good audio is important!
3 - Make some plans for after the ceremony
Many of your guests will be coming from out of town or perhaps even from out of country. This would be a great opportunity to show them around and take them to a nice dinner. San Francisco offer a huge variety of reception places, and ways to get there. The most popular is the trolley bus tour, which will drive you and your guests around the city, before bringing you to your final destination of your choice.
Some of the most popular reception venues
Epic Steak House
4 - Choose your transportation
Getting to City Hall is pretty easy, but it becomes a little bit complicated when you have a lot of guests. Let's break it down:
If it's just the two of you and perhaps one or two guests, don't overthink it. Get an Uber and don't worry about parking.
Alternatively, get an old school Rolls Roys to arrive to City Hall in style.
If you already have a car, you can park it in the Civi Center Garage.
Finally, if you have a large group of guests, staying in the same hotel, we recommend getting a shuttle. Logistically it's the easiest solution and you'll have a piece of mind knowing all of your guests will be on time.
5 - Pick a nice hotel or Airbnb
What is a good place to stay in SF is one of the most common questions we get asked. And for several reason. For once, couples want a great view of San Francisco and they want to be within 10 minutes from City Hall. Luckily, there are plenty options in the city.
But what we found over the years, that's probably even more important, is the actual space. Granted, the views are important, but what if your room is tiny? And what if you have 5 bridesmaids and they all need makeup and hair done?
And what if you wanted to do a first look at the hotel? Is the lobby a nice enough backdrop?
What if you wanted to write your vows or exchange gifts? The list goes on...
As photographers and cinematographers we realized that having a large room or a suite can have a positive effect on your photos and film and can also reduce your stress levels significantly. The last part hasn't been scientifically proved though.