Posts tagged sf
Xinwei & Minmeng - Valentine's day

Valentine’s day is a special kind of day at the San Francisco City Hall. It’s also one of the busiest day a year when it comes to weddings. On days like that we are always prepared to take advantage of the open areas as soon as we see them.

Now Xinwei & Minmeng got very lucky on that day in so many ways. They got one of my favorite City Hall officiant, their ceremony was moved up to the 4th floor. In addition to that we timed it right so they could get a clean shot of the Grand Stairwell. For those who have come to the City Hall on regular days, they would know that people are constantly going up and down the stairwell and standing on the 2nd floor. So the grand stairwell shots .. clean grand stairwell shots.. are not always possible. However it all was doable on February 14th for this awesome couple.

This is just a small sample of variety of photos the couple received . Both natural and flash light used.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding Information

SF City Hall Wedding Walkthrough


Fourth Floor, SF City Hall, Rosey Bouquet

SF City Hall Photo began in 2015 as an affordable and high-quality photography service for couples getting married inside the iconic downtown building. After spending so much time in and around the structure, we thought we should share some tips and suggestions for making your San Francisco City Hall wedding even more enjoyable, and perhaps alleviate any confusion you may have about how the entire process works.

IMG_6852.jpg

Civil ceremonies take place Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 3:30pm. You must first make a reservation online to schedule an appointment for your marriage license and your marriage ceremony.  Payment for both services is due upon making the reservation, and is $107, and $86 respectively.  

Whenever possible, we recommend getting your marriage license on a day other than your ceremony dateHowever, if your license and ceremony appointments are on the same day, make sure to schedule them at least one hour apart.


      Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio got married at SF City Hall in 1954!

The County Clerks Office in room 168 is where you will check in and handle your paperwork.  You'll receive a ticket before being asked to wait in the hallway until your number is called. Getting through the office is generally a breeze, however, it's always wise to arrive early in case their are delays.  

Once your number is called we go back inside the clerk's office and meet the person who will be marrying you that day. Interestingly enough there are more than a dozen volunteer officiants who rotate during the week. We have had the pleasure of working with almost all of them and, very similar to us, they love what they do.

After greeting and handling paperwork, you will be asked if you are exchanging rings and given the choice of where you would like the ceremony to take place: private room or the Rotunda. The idea of a private room may sound appealing but in reality is a rather drab, windowless box which doesn't allow for stunning images. The Rotunda is the place to be.

You too can be a deputy marriage officiant for a day!

Another thing to keep in mind is the length of the ceremony itself. If you elected to use a city-appointed officiant the ceremony itself lasts no more than 5 minutes. You will also not be allowed to exchange your own vows. A private officiant is something to consider if you would like to share your own written vows with your partner. We enthusiastically recommend the services of San Francisco-based officiant Mark Hespeth

After choosing your location you both will be asked to show your identification and sign the marriage license. One witness (Two Max) needs to be present to sign the license as well as the decorative certificate City Hall provides for newlyweds. If your wedding is a low-key affair with just the two of you we can happily act as an official witness and sign the corresponding documents, just let us know.


Finally, the paperwork is settled and you are asked to head upstairs to the Rotunda to wait for the beginning of your ceremony. Typically there are at least 2-3 other couples getting married by the same officiant, so while you may be the first or last, it is best to go straight to the Rotunda forthwith to avoid any delays and potentially lose your place. We can help usher the rest of your party upstairs so everyone can watch this magical moment.

Helpful Links

ONLINE RESERVATION SYSTEM

Fee Schedule

County Clerk Office: General Info, Marriage

County Clerk Office: FAQ

Andrea & Kevin

Andrea and Kevin are getting married in Aruba in 2019, but wanted to do a session at the City Hall as they were getting their license.  They came in on Friday afternoon and although City Hall got filled up with occasional tour groups, it was relatively quiet as the last ceremonies were finished at 3.30.  That allowed us room to maneuver around the City Hall and actually achieve a "clean", crowd-less shot of the Grand Stairwell.  I have to admit it's quite a rare occasion and even then i had to polite ask a few people to move for just a split second.  

It was a gorgeous day and i wanted to take advantage of the outdoors and the sun creating glares and fun shadows.   The end result is quite a good collection of photos done within a very short period of time. 

Aislinn & Philip

Ailsinn and Philip came all the way from Chicago to get married in the City Hall. No guests, no large parties... just the 2 of them. I served as their witness, photographer and guide around the City Hall for about an hour.  Aislinn mentioned to me earlier that her parents got married in the City Hall, so it was a special location for her. She even showed me a photo of her parents on the steps of the City Hall and asked if we could do a similar photo. We did, minus the pigeons that seemed to have made their habitat on the steps years back. Nowdays you don't get to see that. All though it would make for some good photos.  

Anh & Paul 1 year later

Anh and Paul married in June 2017 and one of the first weddings i did when i took over SF City Hall Photo.  The was lots of natural chemistry and they were a fun and easy couple to work with for a few hours we had together.   I approached them a few weeks ago and offered to go for a walk in San Antonio Rancho around the sunset and take some photos.   They agreed and let me tell them what to do once again.  As a result we got a nice collection of photos ourdoors.  

Kenzi and Chris
Kelsey & Sam
Katie & Martin
Hannah and Martin
Motorcycle diaries with Emily and Tim
A&S

Thanks for the great shoot! Another successful San Francisco City Hall Wedding!

A Wednesday Afternoon

Calm day inside city hall with another lovely local couple.  These afternoon shoots make you feel like you've got the building to yourself sometimes!

Must See's in SF City Hall

With such great natural light, San Francisco City Hall offers stunning backdrops for photographers and visitors alike.  This article highlights five great spots for taking pictures, and to helps provide people with a sense of familiarity with the building prior to their visit. 

 

* NOTE - NO PARTICULAR ORDER *

IMG_6851.jpg

1. FRONT OF CITY HALL

A true must-have for anyone getting married at city hall.   This sign is located above the middle door of the main entrance on the Polk Street side, and offers the perfect cover to any photo album.  This spot is relatively easy to access and usually doesn't require a wait (Except when protests or demonstrations are commandeering the front steps!)

IMG_3477-2.jpg

2. GRAND STAIRCASE

The grand staircase leading to the rotunda is one of the first things you'll see once you pass security and enter the main building of City Hall. 

This is arguably the most difficult location to photograph since there are often dozens of people trying to get the same shots.  However, with a little patience and luck, great shots await.

3. GOVERNOR'S BALCONY

Staring out at the rotunda  and the vast beauty of City Hall, the Governor's balcony is a perfect location for couples and group shots alike.  While sometimes difficult to secure unattended, it highlights the architectural beauty of City Hall.

4. THIRD FLOOR WINDOWS

These windows are an absolute must for couples visiting city hall.  Not only does everyone have a blast here, the photos turn out incredible.  Further, since most people avoid exploring the upper levels of city hall, these hallways are usually empty.

5. FOURTH FLOOR

In order to truly appreciate the magnificence and grandeur of San Francisco's City Hall, one must venture up to the fourth floor balcony.  Here you'll fine beautiful light for group and couples shots alike.  

* TREE GARDEN *

Technically not inside of City Hall, the trees lined up outside the front entrance make for even more great photo opportunities.  Living above a massive underground parking lot, these trees offer a great spot for people to capture SF City Hall in a different light. 

E+J

Highlights from a lovely photoshoot at City Hall.  Wishing you both the best!

A Perfect San Francisco City Hall Wedding

SF City Hall Wedding Walkthrough


Fourth Floor, SF City Hall, Rosey Bouquet

SF City Hall Photo began in 2015 as an affordable and high-quality photography service for couples getting married inside the iconic downtown building. After spending so much time in and around the structure, we thought we should share some tips and suggestions for making your San Francisco City Hall wedding even more enjoyable, and perhaps alleviate any confusion you may have about how the entire process works.

IMG_6852.jpg

Civil ceremonies take place Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 3:30pm. You must first make a reservation online to schedule an appointment for your marriage license and your marriage ceremony.  Payment for both services is due upon making the reservation, and is $107, and $86 respectively.  

Whenever possible, we recommend getting your marriage license on a day other than your ceremony dateHowever, if your license and ceremony appointments are on the same day, make sure to schedule them at least one hour apart.


      Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio got married at SF City Hall in 1954!

The County Clerks Office in room 168 is where you will check in and handle your paperwork.  You'll receive a ticket before being asked to wait in the hallway until your number is called. Getting through the office is generally a breeze, however, it's always wise to arrive early in case their are delays.  

Once your number is called we go back inside the clerk's office and meet the person who will be marrying you that day. Interestingly enough there are more than a dozen volunteer officiants who rotate during the week. We have had the pleasure of working with almost all of them and, very similar to us, they love what they do.

After greeting and handling paperwork, you will be asked if you are exchanging rings and given the choice of where you would like the ceremony to take place: private room or the Rotunda. The idea of a private room may sound appealing but in reality is a rather drab, windowless box which doesn't allow for stunning images. The Rotunda is the place to be.

You too can be a deputy marriage officiant for a day!

Another thing to keep in mind is the length of the ceremony itself. If you elected to use a city-appointed officiant the ceremony itself lasts no more than 5 minutes. You will also not be allowed to exchange your own vows. A private officiant is something to consider if you would like to share your own written vows with your partner. We enthusiastically recommend the services of San Francisco-based officiant Mark Hespeth

After choosing your location you both will be asked to show your identification and sign the marriage license. One witness (Two Max) needs to be present to sign the license as well as the decorative certificate City Hall provides for newlyweds. If your wedding is a low-key affair with just the two of you we can happily act as an official witness and sign the corresponding documents, just let us know.


Finally, the paperwork is settled and you are asked to head upstairs to the Rotunda to wait for the beginning of your ceremony. Typically there are at least 2-3 other couples getting married by the same officiant, so while you may be the first or last, it is best to go straight to the Rotunda forthwith to avoid any delays and potentially lose your place. We can help usher the rest of your party upstairs so everyone can watch this magical moment.

Helpful Links

ONLINE RESERVATION SYSTEM

Fee Schedule

County Clerk Office: General Info, Marriage

County Clerk Office: FAQ

D+D

All the best wishes to the newlyweds! 

Susie

Best wishes to SF's newest couple!

Ashley & Matt

Best wishes to A&M from everyone at SF City Hall Photo!

Matt & Shayri

Wishing you both a great future together, thanks for the terrific shoot!