Are you in the middle of planning your San Francisco City Hall wedding? Congratulations! City Hall weddings are our specialty; we’ve photographed hundreds of weddings at City Hall since 2010. Every wedding needs an officiant, and that part of the planning process can be a little confusing. Whether you’re planning a civil ceremony or a private ceremony, here we answer all your questions about a San Francisco City Hall wedding officiant.
Civil Ceremony Officiant
Civil ceremonies, also known as public ceremonies, are held Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm every half hour. Up to three weddings are scheduled within each half hour slot. We’ve written an extensive guide to getting married at San Francisco City Hall, so more information about reserving your wedding can be found here.
When you arrive at City Hall at your scheduled time (tip: get there early as you cannot be late), you will check in to Room 168 located on the first floor. Bring your marriage license (another tip: get this on a prior day). At this time, you will meet your San Francisco City Hall wedding officiant. Technically, this is a Deputy Marriage Commissioner. If you’ve been doing some Googling and were getting confused by the term, we promise that this is your officiant. He or she will make sure that your marriage license and IDs are in order and will briefly review the ceremony process with you.
The Deputy Marriage Commissioner is a volunteer judge. Yes, a judge who is willingly volunteering their time to perform marriage ceremonies! These judges love what they do, which is palpable when you first meet them. They also ensure that everything moves along swiftly. Since they usually have three weddings every half hour, they work quite efficiently.
After you and the other couples have checked in, the Deputy Marriage Commissioner will walk everyone to the Rotunda to perform each ceremony.
Private Ceremony Officiant
There are three different types of private San Francisco City Hall weddings. The most modest ceremony is the one-hour wedding which offers private use of either the Mayor’s Balcony or a Fourth Floor Gallery. These weddings are held Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Secondly, there are two-hour weddings which are only on Saturdays, held on the incredible Grand Staircase. Lastly, City Hall offers evening weddings every day of the week which are more flexible with times.
No matter what private wedding you choose, City Hall does not provide officiants. As with most weddings at other venues, you are required to provide an officiant.
If you’d like a close friend or family member to perform the ceremony, they can apply to be a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a day. Detailed instructions are on the Office of the County Clerk’s website.
If you’d like an experienced officiant to perform your ceremony, there are plenty to choose from in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our current recommendations are on our preferred vendors page.
We know that wedding planning can be an exciting yet stressful time, but getting an officiant should be a painless process! We love that a San Francisco City Hall wedding officiant is provided to make civil ceremonies even simpler.
Any questions about officiants or Deputy Marriage Commissioners that we may have missed? Leave us a comment below!