Frequently Asked Questions about San Francisco City Hall Weddings

How much does it cost to get married at San Francisco City Hall?

The marriage license itself is $110, and the civil ceremony is $90. There are also options to rent spaces for more private weddings on either the fourth floor or the Mayor’s Balcony, starting at $1,000; visit or call the Events Office at City Hall for more info (room 495, 415-554-6086).

When to reserve our date and appointment at City Hall?

For civil ceremonies in the Rotunda, appointments may be made up to 90 days in advance. Weddings taking place in a reserved location may be reserved up to a year in advance.

When should we reserve you guys for our ceremony?

 Most of our couples book us months before their ceremony. Although they don’t have their date officially reserved with City Hall yet, we have never had a client not get the date they were trying for.

Where do we go for the marriage license?

The couple should arrive at Room 168’s Information Desk ready to check-in 5 minutes before your appointment time with your witnesses close by. Your other guests can wait for you in the waiting area ( a long corridor with seating) near room 168.

Do we need to bring witnesses?

With regular wedding license, you can have up to two witnesses. Your photographers can serve as your witnesses the day of your ceremony! We are always honored to be asked. Confidential wedding licenses are also an option and you would not need witnesses.

How long is the ceremony?

Ceremonies taking place in the Rotunda usually last around 5-10 minutes. So, be sure to savor it as it will be going by very quickly!

Where will the ceremony take place?

Most civil ceremonies will be in the Rotunda, on the second floor at the top of the grand staircase.  In rare cases, on slow days, you may be asked by your officiant if you would like to have your ceremony at one of the other locations around city hall like the Mayor’s Balcony or 4th floor.
You can also reserve the North and South 4th floor galleries and the Mayor’s Balcony for a fee, which are are a great option for couples with larger number of guests or couples looking for a more private ceremony. If you are reserving the 4th floor we highly recomend the North side as the lighting is so much for flattering!

Do we get the marriage license the same time that we get married?

You will need to make 2 separate appointments to get married at City Hall.  The first one is to get your marriage license and the 2nd is for your ceremony.  You can get your license anytime 90 days before your wedding but, we typically recommend to get it on the same day as your Ceremony or the day before.  If you want to get your marriage license the same day as your ceremony, we recommend making the appointment 1 hour before your ceremony appointment.  This gives you plenty of time to get you license without having to arrive at City Hall too early before your Ceremony.

 Do I need to hire an officiant for my ceremony?

If you are booking a general ceremony at the Rotunda then City Hall will provide you with a judge for your ceremony. If you reserve one of the other locations at CIty Hall, The 4th floor galleries or the Mayor’s Balcony, you will need to find and book your own officiant for your ceremony.

Can we write our own vows?

Ask your officiant! Officiants all have their own distinct style and some are more flexible than others in allowing personalization of vows.

We are interested in going to another location after City Hall. What are some good locations for photographs?

Some of our favorite locations in San Francisco include Legion of Honor, Land’s End, Crissy Field, Baker Beach, and The Presidio. We can help you decide on the location for you depending on what type of setting and feel you would like for your images.

What is the best day and time to get married at City Hall?

The least busy days are mid-week. Fridays are typically much more crowded than the rest of the week with other couples and tourists. The least crowded times in City Hall are in the early morning and the late afternoon. We prefer and recommend later in the day as it provides the most even and flattering natural lighting. If you are adding another location after City Hall, we would strongly recommend making your ceremony appointment around 3:00pm.

Sample 1.5 Hour Timeline for City Hall Ceremony Starting at 2:00pm

1:55pm Coverage Starts documenting you both in the waiting room. 
2:00pm Clients check in with City Hall for their Ceremony appointment and receive their number
2:15pm Client's number is called and you meet with your officiant and have witness sign marriage license 
2:20pm-2:30pm Walk up stairs and wait for ceremony to start. Officiants marry 3 couples back to back to back, so depending on your place in the order, it could mean a longer wait time.
2:30pm-2:40pm Ceremony
2:45pm-3:25pm Couple photos at all the iconic areas around City Hall leading up to the front steps in the entrance. If time permits, we would finish up at the plaza that is located right across the street, with really great views of the exterior of City Hall building. It also has a nice row of trees that photograph really beautifully.

We love your photos and are ready to book! What is the next step?

Head over to our City Hall contact page to send us a quick inquiry about your big day! We are so excited to hear from you.

For any more information about City Hall please check out San Francisco City Hall’s website.