Getting Married in San Francisco? Have Your Ceremony At City Hall
It’s easy, stress free, and let’s you spend money on other things like travel
Your wedding day is about you and your significant other — and sharing it with those who are most special to you. Traditional weddings with a huge guest list can get expensive though and put you in a tight spot financially right at the start of your marriage. When you’re planning a big traditional wedding, everyone seems to have an opinion on how you should do things.
A great, simple, and stress free option to the traditional wedding is something my wife and I recently did — getting married at City Hall. Not only does it make wedding planning easy and stress free, but it’s affordable.
We decided to get married in City Hall because we wanted something small and intimate, something that was affordable, and something that didn’t require us to spend out evenings planning out. We’re trying to start a family, and we both love to travel — we decided we’d rather put money towards those things than have a huge wedding.
San Francisco City Hall makes it really easy to hold a ceremony, and you have a couple different options to choose from. There’s a third option for an evening wedding on the weekend, but it’s quite a bit more expensive, so I’ll just highlight the two easiest options here.
1-Hour Wedding (This is the option my wife and I chose)
- You can reserve the Mayor’s Balcony or a Fourth Floor Gallery for an hour Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 3 pm (When my wife and I were planning, we learned that Tuesday mornings are the least busy).
- Cost is $1,000 for a 1-hour wedding, and you can have up to 100 guests (renting chairs is extra, it’s $3-$5 per chair depending on the type you get).
- You can have acoustic music, but it has to be from City Hall’s qualified list. My wife and I found an amazing violin and cello duo called Corelli Strings.
City Hall is open to the public, by reserving the Mayor’s Balcony or a Fourth Floor Gallery, you can get a private area that’s closed off to the public.
- Allows you to have your ceremony on the Grand Staircase of the Rotunda.
- Cost is $5,000 and is offered on Saturdays from 9 am to Noon.
- For this optiion, you can have up to 200 guests, and the cost includes chairs.
- You can have outside vendors, but you have to coordainte with City Hall ahead of time for this.
Some tips based on the experience my wife and I had planning our SF City Hall wedding:
- Have music! There are some great options provided by City Hall, and many of the musicians play modern songs. It definitely adds a nice touch to your wedding.
- Have a family member officiate the ceremony — it’s more personal and one less thing to stress about.
- Try and book your wedding for a 9 or 10 am start time. Getting married at City Hall is a popular option these days, especially in the afternoons and on Fridays. By going early, you beat the crowds, and you’ll be able to get photos taken without the crowds or other couples getting in the way. Additionally, the lighting is much better in the mid-morning and your photos will look amazing.
- If you need a photographer, I highly recommend PhotoFlood Studio. Courtney was amazing to work with and our photos were stunning.
At the end of the day, remember, it’s about you and your partner. Do what feels best for you. People are going to have opinions no matter what you decide to do. So stick with what feels right :) Happy planning!