SF City Hall Wedding Guide 2023

Everything You Need To Know About Eloping At SF City Hall!

San Francisco City Hall Elopement

If you’re considering a San Francisco elopement, City Hall should be at the very top of your list of potential wedding venues. Not only are there a few locations as iconic as a San Francisco City Hall elopement, but the venue itself is an architectural marvel, with a range of options for couples looking for the just-right location for an intimate ceremony. Options vary from free spaces (such as the rotunda, provided you meet certain requirements) to locations that can be rented (such as the Mayor’s Balcony).

Let’s take a closer look at what you might need to know about planning a San Francisco City Hall elopement!

San Francisco City Hall Elopement

San Francisco City Hall Elopement Package

Are you planning a San Francisco City Hall elopement and want to learn more about San Francisco City Hall elopement package options? Then please use the contact form below to tell me about all your wanderlust destination wedding and I can send over a personalized quote for you! I am an LGBTQ-friendly elopement photographer that wants to capture kick-ass people having an amazing time in SF. So let’s hear more about your destination wedding and capture your adventure and energy in all its glory!

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    Can You Get Married at San Francisco City Hall?

    Certainly! You may, however, need to do some planning, especially depending on where you want to get married in City Hall, how many guests you hope to have, and other conditions.

    First, there are two types of ceremonies, public and private. Public civil ceremonies are available Monday through Friday (9:00 am – 3:30 pm), with appointments available up to 90 days in advance. Private ceremonies vary in cost and reservation availability. Public civil ceremonies are booked in half-hour slots, are limited to six guests (including your witness), and take place in the rotunda. You’ll need to book your appointment online up to 90 days in advance and bring your witness, marriage license, and valid IDs for both of you. (If you’re getting your marriage license the same day, give yourself at least an hour between your license appointment and ceremony appointment to ensure you have enough time.)

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    San Francisco City Hall Weddings – Elopement Packages 

    How Much Does it Cost to Get Married at City Hall in San Francisco?

    Public civil ceremonies cost $90 (in addition to the $110 for a marriage license). Private ceremonies vary a little, depending on what you want:

    • A one-hour package. For $1,000, you can reserve one of three private locations (either the North Gallery or South Gallery on the fourth floor or the Mayor’s Balcony). Private one-hour slots are available Monday through Friday, with the earliest ceremony beginning at 9 am and the latest beginning at 3 pm and a capacity of up to 100 guests (though if you need equipment, those are available from City Hall for an extra rental fee). You’ll also need to provide your own officiant, unlike the public civil ceremonies where the volunteer officiant is provided.
    • Two-hour package. For $5,000, you can have up to 200 guests (though more are allowed for an additional charge), insurance and equipment rental included, and can have your San Francisco City Hall elopement all to yourselves; availability is limited to Saturdays between 9 am and noon, however.
    • Evening and weekend options are also available, though pricing can vary widely depending on location and what is needed.

    Fun Fact: Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe got married at San Francisco City Hall!

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    How Long Does it Take to Get a Marriage License in San Francisco?

    For most people, the processing time may be as little as 20 minutes or less—provided they have all the necessary materials and don’t need to wait. Because there may be other couples getting marriage licenses at the same time, however, we recommend you make sure you have plenty of time scheduled, especially if your ceremony is on the same day.

    Keep in mind that if you are getting your marriage license from a San Francisco county clerk, you’ll need an appointment. At the appointment, you’ll need to prove that both of you are unmarried adults of at least 18 years of age, will need to show full legal ID for both parties, and if either party was previously married or previously in a state-registered domestic partnership (SRDP), you’ll need to know the exact date it legally ended. (If 90 days or less previous to the marriage ceremony’s date, you’ll need a certified copy of your divorce, annulment, termination, or death record when applying for your marriage license.)

    San Francisco City Hall Elopement

    5 Best Wedding Reception Spots After Your San Francisco Elopement

    So where do you have your reception after your wedding in San Francisco City Hall? After your San Francisco City Hall elopement ceremony, you may want to plan a great reception to celebrate your big day with family and friends. Fortunately, there are lots of fantastic options! Check out the top 5 places where to have your reception after San Francisco City Hall elopement!


    One of San Francisco’s eponymous waterfront restaurants, the oyster bar might be one of the best on the entire west coast and the lovely upstairs room is reserved just for private events. The view of the Bay Bridge is epic, and the sunset and the accompanying twinkle lights should set the mood perfectly should you time your reception right.


    The Wayfare Tavern

    With two separate event rooms, you can ensure your reception has a private bar, gorgeous decor, and vibe, and given that it’s only a 10-minute drive from City Hall, the Wayfare Tavern is close, too. The Tyler Florence eatery is somehow both casual and upscale—perfect for a celebration with family and friends.


    The Stable Cafe

    The garden reception area is brilliantly green—which makes for fantastic photos—and their food is great, too. As with the Wayfare Tavern, it’s less than 10 minutes from City Hall.


    San Francisco Botanical Garden

     If you want to go with a low-key picnic, there are few spots better than the botanical garden—and picnic permits aren’t required for small parties. If you want a small, intimate gathering and are planning your San Francisco City Hall elopement for when the weather is nice, this is a fantastic option.


    China Live

    The private room is perfect for up to 35-40 guests, and the food is perfect for enjoying with friends and family. Again only 10 minutes or so from City Hall, this can be a great spot for a post-ceremony private party.


    SF City Hall elopement photos always come out beautiful, but I always encourage couples to take a little time to explore some of the other unique locations in San Francisco that are perfect for photos. One of those most instagrammable places in San Francisco is Sutro Baths. Below are some SF elopement photos captured at Sutro Baths after a San Francisco City Hall elopement.

    Learn more about San Francisco elopements by CLICKING HERE!

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    SF City Hall Elopement Frequently Asked Questions 

    What Is The Process For Eloping At San Francisco City Hall?

    To elope in San Francisco City Hall, you must first make a ceremony reservation and obtain your marriage license appointment with the Office of the County Clerk. On the day of your wedding, you’ll need to check in at the County Clerk’s office and then proceed to your ceremony location. A marriage commissioner will perform your ceremony and you can hire a San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer for photography coverage.

    Where Can I Have My Wedding Ceremony At SF City Hall?

    You can have your SF city hall wedding ceremony in several locations, including the North Light Courts, South Light Court, the Mayor’s Balcony, the 4th Floor North Gallery, and the Grand Staircases. You can also rent a one-hour private ceremony in the Floor Gallery or the 4th Floor North Gallery.

    Do I Need To Hire A Wedding Photographer For My San Francisco City Hall Elopement?

    No, hiring a wedding photographer is not required for your San Francisco City Hall elopement. However, it is recommended as the architecture and lighting of the building make for stunning wedding photos. You can find many professional San Francisco City Hall wedding photographers who are experienced in capturing beautiful shots in this iconic location. For example, me. 

    What Is A Sample Timeline For A One-Hour Ceremonies At San Francisco City Hall?

    A sample timeline for a San Francisco City Hall elopement would include arriving early to obtain your marriage license appointment, checking in at the County Clerk’s office, and proceeding to your ceremony location. One-hour ceremonies typically include about 30 minutes for the ceremony itself and 30 minutes for photos.

    Two-hour weddings allow more time for photography and exploring the building. 

    What Are Some Tips For Getting Married At San Francisco City Hall?

    Start planning early and book your ceremony reservation and marriage license appointment in advance. Consider hiring a San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer to capture the beauty of the building and your special day. Remember that you can have a private wedding with just the two of you or invite guests for a larger celebration. Weekday weddings tend to be less crowded and rental rates may be lower.

    Photos courtesy of Sage Justice