I’ve photographed a couple of civil ceremonies at San Francisco City Hall but Samantha and Jorge’s wedding was my first one hour ceremony. And I can whole heartedly say if you have the budget for a one or two hour ceremony, especially if you want to have more than 6 people in attendance DO IT!
SF City Hall Mayor’s Balcony is only available to book for one or two hour weddings. And if getting those iconic staircase shots is on your list then definitely look into booking because the angle of the shot is something that can only be capture in that space.
Samantha and Jorge met online like tons of people during the pandemic. However, unlike on like most people they met on Twitch. They stated out as friend across the US and Canadian border streaming together and slowing it all turned into something more and the rest is still history!
It meant so much to both Samantha and Jorge to have their families by their sides. So, while at first they contemplated a civil ceremony, ultimately they decided to rent SF City Hall Mayor’s Balcony.
They decided to have harpist play during there time on the Mayor’s balcony and it was absolutely beautiful. Their officiant shared more about Samantha and Jorge’s story with their families and it was truly touching.
One Hour Ceremony SF City Hall Mayor’s Balcony
1. Check the SF City Hall events calendar to check availability for your preferred date(s), then contact the office by phone at (415)554-6079 to make your reservation. You can choose the 4th Floor North, South Gallery, or the Mayor’s Balcony. Bookings can be made for at least 3 weeks and up to 24 months in advance. If your date is available, you can place a complimentary hold on that date. If another hold is on that date, you can challenge that hold. To officially book your ceremony, submit the contract and 75% of the full rental fee. Final payment is due at least 5 days prior to the ceremony date.
2. Make an appointment for your marriage license or you can check with your local county in you don’t live in San Francisco. If you are scheduling your marriage license for the same day as your ceremony, make sure to book your marriage license appointment at least 1 hour before the ceremony.
3. For one hour ceremonies an officiant is not provided so you can either check with the office of the county clerk, ask officiant that’s a friend or family member, or have a friend become a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day.
4. Due to time constraints, food and beverage service is not possible during a one hour ceremony. But, acoustic music may be played with advance approval, and musicians must be selected from City Hall’s qualified list.
Tips for SF City Hall Mayor’s Balcony
- Make sure you, your officiant, and your photographer arrive earlier. If you are choosing a first reaction as you walk down the aisle you’ll want to make sure everyone is on the right page to make that happen.
- The iconic stair shot is best take from the angle while on the Mayor’s Balcony so be sure to budget some time in before you time ends. And also be sure to have some patience, lots of couples are using getting married and it can be a little hectic but patience and persistence is key.
- The SF City Hall Mayor’s Balcony can seat up to 40 guests. So, if you’re having a hard time narrowing down that list definitely think about renting the space.
- Be sure to thoroughly vet your photographer. City Hall has some tough lighting situations and an inexperienced photographer could have some trouble.
- Make sure to budget 30-40 minutes for photos around City Hall. The architecture is amazing and I’m awe every time.
One of my personal favorite add-ons is to get a GIF of the couple walking out of City Hall. What do you think?
I also recommend my couple check to see if there are any event shutting down the area in front of city hall. But, as long as there’s not head across the street for photos in City Plaza Park.
I feel like these really capture though city vibes which is partly the point right?
San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer
Hi, I’m Torez! San Francisco weddings, elopements, and engagement sessions are my speciality. SF and the Bay Area are my home. I was born and raised here and I love being a San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer.
I photographed my first city hall civil ceremony in 2021 and never looked back. I know city hall like the back of my hand. And when it comes to knowing the best locations, most fun activities, and unique treat I’m your girl. I wear many hats besides being your photographer – planner, helper, hyper woman, scouter, and sometimes even florist.
Taking photos should be a fun and easy experience. I do my absolute best to create a seamless experience from beginning to end. From the first contact, I want you to feel like you know me. Together we can figure out location, outfits, accessories, and timing. All of the little details to help your San Francisco wedding vision come to life. These are your photos at the end of the day. And I want you to be absolutely in love with them. I’d love to photograph your wedding.
Other blog posts you might like
Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.