Posts tagged sfchwedding
SF City Hall throughout the years

Taking photographs isn’t a new business. Getting married isn’t new either. Getting married in San Francisco, having a small SF City Hall wedding isn’t new. But it doesn’t make it less special when you are the ones getting married.

It’s a great privilege to not just be part of one of the biggest event in a people’s lives, but to be trusted as a photographer during their San Francisco courthouse wedding. I never take it for granted and every single wedding try to be the best i possibly can as a photographer. Through the years I met people from all over the world. Couples come from the UK, Canada, New Zealand and other US tates specifically to get married in beautiful San Francisco City Hall. Other people come from all over the world and meet in the US, then decide to get married in San Francisco Courthouse. Every story is unique and I have to admit I enjoy these stories. Maybe it’s the History major (and Bachelors degree) or maybe I’m very interested in people.. how they met, what they thought of each other, how they get along. And of course not everyone is a extrovert and will tell me their whole life story. That’s totally ok. It’s really none of my business you can say. At the same time it doesn’t only satisfy my interest, but it brings more in couples when we take photos. It brings fun memories of how they met, fun or maybe serious moments. And as we talk, we walk around the City Hall and take photos. Sometimes there’s more time, sometimes there’s less.

My path to being San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer was in some ways accidental, but then i don’t really believe in accidents. Neither do i believe in preordained destiny. I think it’s somewhere in between where we decide how our life goes. But I’m grateful that over the few years as an owner and photographer of SF City Hall Photo i met such amazing people, became part of their life (even if for a moment) and was able to leave them with some of the greatest memories they will have.

Pufan & Jessica by SF City Hall Photo

I am very grateful to my clients that have complete trust in me and go along with whatever ideas I have. In this case i really wanted to play around with more contrast and color as it seemed to be very fitting to Pufan & Jessica. Of course I always, always want to make sure I get more classic, traditional photos. Then I get different canvas and try something new. Pufan & Jessica simply went along with whatever i suggested and within an hour or so we had a great variety of photos.

Irem & Berti by SF City Hall Photo

When your family is not in the same country when you decide to get married, you bring your close friends and Skype.

I have photographed large wedding, very large weddings. I do enjoy that, but a smaller wedding is more relaxing for bride and groom as well as their guests. Everyone gets time to talk to them, joke around, take photos and it ends up being more personal and emotional to capture.

That’s how it turned out when Irem & Berti got married. Once we shot the ceremony, group photos and most of Irem & Berti photos that i wanted to do, I did a few portrait solo photos. As you talk to your couple while shooting and behind the scenes, you learn a lot more. Like the fact that Berti was studying to be a photographer and does some great aerial photos - i checked out his instagram later on.

The best part about my job is that I get to meet people i normally wouldn’t meet. I get to hear stories, learn about their lives, what they like, what they do and at the same time be part of one of their most memorable day.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding Information by SF City Hall Photo

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.

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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 date. However, 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.

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.

Aislinn & Philip by SF City Hall Photo

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.  

Tati & Brian

Couples come from all over the world to get married in San Francisco City Hall.  Over the years I've met people who flew from different states and different countries to tie the knot in beautiful City Hall.  

In this case the groom is local Californian, while his bride came all the way from Brazil.  Only Brian's family attended, but we made sure to capture the ceremony and plenty of family and portrait photos for the family in Brazil.  As a side bonus we recorded a video of the ceremony just because we could.  They were a real pleasure to work with.  These are the moments i wish we had the whole day to photograph the couple.  But oh well.. after about an hour we had to let them go to enjoy the rest of their lovely day. 

Kenzi and Chris
Kelsey & Sam
Melissa & Alvin
Hannah and Martin
Sharvari and Abhiram
Monday morning with Anh-Thu and Paul
The Dollar's

Another lovely couple who made the trip to San Francisco from Oklahoma. Congratulations!

J+M

Great time with the local couple, congrats to the newlyweds!

H+A

Photos at City Hall and on location in SF.  Great time with the lovely out of state couple, congrats from SFCH Photo!

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 *

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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!)

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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