The Ultimate Guide to Getting Married at San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall is a beautiful and iconic location for weddings. This guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to plan your perfect City Hall wedding.

1. Obtain a Marriage License

Before your wedding ceremony, you must obtain a marriage license. The current fee is $116, and the license expires in 90 days. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 3:30 pm. Schedule your marriage license appointment on the County Clerk website and visit Room 168 at San Francisco City Hall with valid IDs for both parties. We recommend getting the license ahead of your wedding day to ensure a smooth check-in process.

2. Choose Your Ceremony Type

There are two types of ceremonies at San Francisco City Hall: public civil ceremonies and private ceremonies.

- Public Civil Ceremony: Performed at the Rotunda, the public civil ceremony costs $116 and allows up to six guests. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3:30 pm. Schedule your ceremony reservation on the County Clerk website, and arrive 15 minutes before your reservation at the Information Desk in Room 168.

- Private Ceremony: For more privacy, a larger guest count, and longer ceremony duration, consider a private ceremony. There are several options:

- One-Hour Wedding Package: Costing $1,000, this package offers private use of either the Mayor's Balcony or the Fourth Floor Galleries for one hour, accommodating up to 100 guests. Ceremonies take place Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm.

3. Arrange Transportation and Parking

Parking can be challenging around San Francisco City Hall. The Civic Center Parking Garage, located across the street, is a convenient option. Alternatively, consider using Lyft, Uber, or public transportation like BART.

4. Additional Considerations

- Best Day and Time: Consider your preferred day and time for your wedding, keeping in mind that City Hall is a bustling tourist destination. Fridays are typically the busiest, while Mondays are the slowest.

- Witnesses: California state law requires one witness to be present during the ceremony. You may bring a second witness if desired. Your photographer can also serve as a witness.

- Officiant: City Hall provides an officiant for civil ceremonies, but you'll need to provide your own officiant for private ceremonies. Alternatively, a friend or family member can apply to be a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day.

In summary, getting married at San Francisco City Hall involves obtaining a marriage license, choosing the type of ceremony, planning your reception, arranging transportation and parking, hiring a photographer, and considering additional factors such as witnesses and officiants.

When is a best time to get married at SF City Hall?

According to our research and experience, the best time to get married at San Francisco City Hall would be early morning before 10AM or late afternoon after 3PM.

How many guests can we bring?

The current limit is 6 guests for any San Francisco City Hall wedding. However, if you are renting a space via event department, you can have up to 100 on the 4th floor and up to 40 on the Mayor's Balcony.

How long do SF City Hall weddings last?

Between 20-30 minutes. The actual Civil Ceremony in the Rotunda last about 5 minutes. Registration prices can be as quick as 5 minutes and as long as 45 minutes depending on the County Clerk's office schedule.

Can our friend officiate our wedding at City Hall?

Yes, your friend can get a "minister for the day" license from the County Clerk and officiate your wedding instead of a City Hall provided officiant. However, you may not be able to get married in the Rotunda. Since City Hall has many beautiful private areas, it usually not an issue.

Do we need an appointment to get married at SF City Hall?

While it is possible to obtain a marriage and get married at City Hall without an appointment, it is unlikely that County Clerk office will agree to that although we've witnessed just that more than once. We highly recommend making an advance reservation.

Will we be able to exchange rings at City Hall during the Ceremony?

Yes, you can choose either to exchange rings or omit this part from your Ceremony. The deputy marriage commissioner will ask you if you are going to exchange rings.

Will we be able to exchange our vows at City Hall during the Ceremony?

No. This is not permitted during the Civil Ceremony. Some officiants are okay with that but the general answer is no since there are other couples waiting in line to get married.

Can we take photos anywhere at San Francisco City Hall?

Yes, your photographer will be able to photograph you at any available public location inside the City Hall.

Can we get married at San Francisco City Hall on Saturday?

Yes, City Hall offers number of options for Saturday events but they start at $5000.

Do I need to be a US Citizen or Green Card holder to get married at San Francisco City Hall?

No. Any person over 18 years old who understands English (Ceremonies can be arranged in Spanish as well) and has a valid passport can obtain a marriage certificate and get married at San Francisco City Hall.

What should we wear for a SF City Hall wedding?

There is no concrete rule. We see clients dress "casual smart" or have a full wedding attire including tuxedo and full length gown. More often though its a shorter white dress and a suit.

Can our certified marriage license mailed overseas?

Yes, you can obtain a copy of your marriage certificate online, 2-3 weeks after the wedding and can order it to be mailed anywhere including international destinations. US military personnel can expedite this process.

How to choose a SF City Hall Photographer?

Practically any SF based studio offer City Hall packages. You should only focus your attention on the quality of presented images, and a customer feedback. Remember that wedding photography is a lifetime investment.

Check out our cinematic love stories


Being so close to our clients on the wedding day allow us to capture many intimate moments on film. The end result can be put together in a form of a cinematic story.

Our team has experience in taking and producing full wedding videos. But since intimate weddings do not require a large scale production team, these short stories are relatively easy to capture.

Check out what clients say


We are a team of professional San Francisco based wedding photographers who specialize in complex weekend celebrations but have additional weekday availability. We love the intimacy of small San Francisco City Hall weddings and consider it as one of the most unique and special places to get married at. Established in 2011, SFCHWP has covered over 500 weddings at San Francisco City Hall. We treat each celebration in a unique way trying to avoid cookie cutter approach. Our goal is to create an artistic reportage of your wedding day.