OUR COMPLETE SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL WEDDING GUIDE
For those who dream being married at the classical, dreamy and beautiful City Hall of San Francisco, here are some of the frequently asked questions and useful tips that will help you in planning the wedding you’ve always dreamed of.
1. Where is the City Hall located?
The City Hall is strategically located at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, California 94102, and sandwiched between Grove and McAllister. It is wheelchair accessible so no need to worry about elderly guests or persons with disabilities (PWD’s).
2. How can I make reservations for our big day?
The process is simple. You can either make reservations online or by going to the City Hall personally.
For those who would want to book their reservations in the comforts of their home, you can do so by visiting Online Civil Ceremony Reservations. Payments may be settled via Visa or MasterCard only. Expect to pay an additional $5.00 convenience fee.
Reservations may also be made directly and personally at the City Hall either by one of the parties or a third person. San Francisco City Hall maintains the policy of “pay as you reserve system” so it’s best to bring some hard cash, but they also accept money order and debit card. Remember that these 3 are the only modes of payment accepted. Take note also that credit cards are not accepted.
3. What do I need to pay for in order to get married at the City Hall?
There are various fees that couples need to pay before celebrating their marriage in this grand location. Couples need to pay for the marriage license and a fee for the marriage ceremony.
a. Marriage license fee- $100
b. Couples may prefer any of the following places where they can hold their wedding ceremonies:
i. Rotunda onsite ceremony or a private ceremony room fee- $77
ii. County Clerk office in the City Hall grounds- $220
iii. Mayor’s Balcony or on the 4th floor- $1,002
For more information in holding a ceremony at the Office of the County Clerk, Room 168, you may contact them personally at their phone number: (415) 554-4950 or by visiting www.sfgov.org/countyclerk or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Others who are willing to shell out $1,002 for reserving the Mayor’s Balcony, you may directly contact the City Hall Events Department at (415) 554-6068.
4. Where should we process the marriage license?
Proceed directly to Room 168, located on the first floor. You must arrive at the Information Desk together with at least 2 witnesses for check-in 10 minutes before your appointment. If you have more than 2 witnesses, they will be asked to remain in the waiting area.
5. What time and day of the week should I make my reservations?
The City Hall is open for reservations Mondays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The City Hall accepts reservations for three weddings at a time; each wedding ceremony will be alloted 30 minutes max.
6. Can I make reservations on the wedding day itself?
Yes. However, it best advisable that you obtain a marriage license and book your wedding ceremony with at least 1 hour interval.
7. Can I cancel or change our wedding date?
Once reservations and payments are made, the time and date are no longer subject to change. So it’s best to finalize your wedding date so as not to put your money to waste should you decide to hold the ceremony on a different date.
8. How many days would the marriage license be valid?
It is valid for 90 days reckoned from the date of its issuance.
9. Can we hold our wedding ceremony on the weekend?
Definitely yes. For couples who opt to hold their weddings in the evening or on a weekend, kindly contact the Office of Specail Events, Room 495, at (415) 554-6079 or by checking them online.
10. How many days in advance should we consider in making reservations?
For those who wish to hold their wedding at the Rotunda, reservations may be made up to 90 days before your preferred date. Weddings to be held on the private Mayor’s Balcony may be reserved up to a year in advance.
Friendly reminder: Avoid booking your weddings on popular dates such as Valentine’s Day because these dates may no longer be available as they book up immediately.
11. What are the essentials that we need to bring on the wedding day itself?
It’s your big day! Relax, breathe and just smile but never ever forget to bring any legal photo identification (ID’s), your marriage license, cash or money order to pay all necessary fees (for those who will book on the same day), 1 witness and maximum guests of 6.
12. Is a witness necessary?
It depends. If you obtained a Private Marriage License, no witness is necessary. For those who secured a Public Marriage License, the presence of a witness is mandatory. Unfortunately if you do not have any witness, the City Hall cannot and will not take part in your ceremony as a witness.
13. Can I rely on my photographer to act as our witness?
Definitely, certainly, absolutely and positively YES. We have done the same favor for our past clients, and we will willingly do it again if we are asked to. It’s an honor and privilege at the same time.
14. How Many Guests Can We Invite?
The maximum is up to 6 guests for wedding ceremonies to be held in the Rotunda or a private ceremony room.
For reservations made in the Mayor’s Balcony, the place can hold up to 100 guests. It is recommended that you provide chairs and tables for your guests. Coordinate with the Office of Special Events for a smooth-flowing ceremony.
15. Where is the ceremony held?
Commissioners determine the place where ceremonies are to be conducted. The usual places are the ceremony room or the rotunda, if available. Unfortunately, specific requests for the famous rotunda or any other area in the City Hall cannot be acted upon favorably as they cannot assure availability.
For those who paid a whopping $1,002 fee, ceremonies are held either in the Mayor’s Balcony or on the 4th floor. Privacy is guaranteed on these areas as they are cordoned and roped off from the public during your wedding celebration. Both spaces can hold up to 100 guests and it is available for one hour.
16. What’s the best location to hold the wedding?
There are 4 locations in the City Hall to host your wedding event:
a. The Iconic Rotunda (depends upon availability)
Most couples prefer this location, and you couldn’t blame them because this is a magically exquisite and beautiful spot inside the City Hall. However, specific requests to hold your wedding here cannot be availed of as the commissioner has the final say about this. The only downside to this elegant spot is the fact that it is next-door to the elevators and administrative offices, thus expect it to be crowded most of the time. Couples are allowed a maximum of 10 minutes for the ceremony and photo-taking.
b. The typical Private Ceremony Room
The Commissioner, instead of choosing the rotunda, may conduct your wedding at this room. The advantage of this location is that privacy and intimacy of the wedding ceremony is guaranteed as the room is occupied only by you and your 6 guests.
c. The Mayor’s Balcony
This is a charming place to hold your wedding ceremony, but it comes at a price. This is available during weekdays, and the spot is yours and your guests to enjoy for two hours. Although it comes at a steep price, the advantage of it though is the fact that it promises you exclusivity and privacy.
Weekday ceremonies should be conducted before 4:00 p.m.
d. The Fourth floor Monumental Archway
This is one of the best places to hold your wedding as it is one of the private wedding spots where you can hold your ceremonies. The area is roped off to guarantee private and intimate celebrations.
A word of advice: Book the Northern Side of this location to avoid the blinding sun. For weekday celebrations, make sure to start the same prior 4:00 p.m.
17. Can I book the place on weekends or weekday after hours?
Yes. The entire City Hall can be yours, but it may cost you a lot. The best thing about it though is that you get what you pay for as you’ll get a chance to keep the place at your disposal. The whole City Hall is secured and guarded with a number of metal detectors.
This wedding option is available only during Saturdays. Your big event should begin before 3:00 p.m.. It is inclusive of two hours time in the Rotunda, and you can invite as many as 200 guests.
P.S.: For more questions and inquiries, please feel free to contact us and we’ll provide the best possible answers.