Posts tagged weddingguide
Indra & Derek

San Francisco City Hall is the place that attract couples from all over the world who want to get married. But of course some don’t have to travel too far to do their ceremony at the famous SF Courthouse.

Indra & Derek had a very intimate ceremony with just their family and few close friends attending. Since their wedding was on Tuesday afternoon, the City Hall wasn’t very crowded. So we had time to move around and take some nice shots in different areas of the City Hall. They also got lucky having their ceremony at the Mayor’s balcony.

Melanie & Andrew SF City Hall Wedding

Mel and Drew lived , went to school next to each other without actually knowing it. They bumped into each other and were introduced at a few parties, but nothing more happened. They continued living their lives. They kept bumping into each other at friend’s parties or events. They kept talking and texting over some period of time and then on July 4th Drew asked Mel on a date. They had dim sum, went to City Lights Books, then walked throughout Chinatown and North Beach and along Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. They went to Lou's Jazz Hall and listened to live music, then took a cab to the Mission District and enjoyed fireworks from the roof top of Lolinda El Techo (then known as Medjool's) and walked back together through a sea of illegal fireworks as police sirens echoed the Mission streets.

Then while on vacation in Paris Drew proposed to Mel.

Melanie and Andrew get hitched on the 71st wedding anniversary of Melanie's grandparents with friends and family.

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.

Phykun and Jonathan by SF City Hall Photo

Not everything goes according to plan. And no… everyone who comes to get married to the City Hall gets married. Phykun and Jonathan had some issues during the check in, but we worked out through them together. At the end we found our own officiant who was on fire and did the ceremony better than any officiant could. I laughed while taking photos.

We spent some time around the City Hall covering all 4 floors, happily coming outside for some fresh air and last few photos.

Carleigh & Adam by SF City Hall Photo

Who says you can’t have a small wedding ceremony in the City Hall without your bridesmaids and groomsmen? Carleigh and Adam definitely didn’t think so.

Yes, it was small.. yes it was intimate.. and it was perfect! We got great emotional ceremony photos, lots of group photo variations and of course a good variety of photos with just the couple. Couldn’t help it but take extra photos of just the lovely bride by herself.

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.

Xinwei & Minmeng - Valentine's day by SF City Hall Photo

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 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.

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 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.

Badhia & Zack by SF City Hall Photo

People meet in different places, under different circumstances.  They come from different countries, cities, cultures.  And then one day a few months later, few or even 10 years later they feel that getting married is the next logical or emotional step.  And if one lives in San Francisco why look for another place to get married.  People come from all over the world to tie the knot in beautiful San Francisco City Hall.  

Badhia and Zack like many of us get shy in front of the camera and were not sure how the whole experience will go.  But 15 minutes into our session they felt at ease and even started chatting about life while I was posing them.  We spent some time in the City Hall and then headed to Crissy Fields and Palace of Fine arts to complete our photo collection.  At the end we got a great fun, serious, silly series of images that they felt represent them.  

Andrea & Kevin by SF City Hall Photo

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 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.  

Kelsey & Sam
Katie & Martin
Elizabeth & Jon
Melissa & Alvin
Hannah and Martin
Jamee and Shaun with kids
A&S

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

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