How to Get Married at San Francisco City Hall

Everything you need to know for your
San Francisco City Hall wedding

This is the most up-to-date, regularly updated San Francisco City Hall wedding resource you’ll find anywhere!

*Updated September 2017*

Photo outside San Francisco City Hall entrance - Red Eye Collection wedding photographer

Iconic San Francisco City Hall entrance photo

City Hall Weddings – Our Specialty

San Francisco City Hall is a popular place to get married for a reason!  It’s breathtakingly beautiful, intimate and a less expensive alternative to more traditional ceremonies.  Plus the natural light that flows into the building alongside the intricate architecture allows for some absolutely perfect photos.  It’s hands down one of our most favorite wedding ceremony locations.

While getting married at San Francisco City Hall is a simple process, particularly in comparison to large traditional ceremonies, there are plenty of details that only those familiar with this gorgeous location can provide.  As we have photographed over 200 San Francisco City Hall weddings and currently shoot over ten every month, we are well versed in every detail and are happy to guide our clients through every step of the process.

We are proud to be recommended by San Francisco City Hall Event Staff! You can find our information and flyer in their office on the fourth floor.

Find out if we’re available on your City Hall wedding date:

Jump to a Topic:

Marriage License
Civil Ceremony (Public Wedding/Rotunda)
One-Hour Wedding (Private Wedding – Monday-Friday only)
Two-Hour Wedding (Private Wedding – Saturdays only)
Evening or Weekend Wedding (Private Wedding – any day)
Best Time for Ceremony
Where to Park
Public Transportation
Ceremony locations
Photography locations
Photographer Recommended by San Francisco City Hall


marriage license

~At a glance~

Cost: $104
How: Make appointment online
Where: San Francisco City Hall, Room 168
Bring: Valid IDs for both of you
You can either purchase your marriage license ahead of time or the day of the wedding, before the ceremony. We recommend getting the license ahead of time; it’ll make the process of checking in for your ceremony much smoother.  Just make sure that you schedule your ceremony within 90 days of receiving your license as it does expire!  Currently the cost is $104 for a marriage license at San Francisco City Hall.  This cost does change periodically; you’ll be able to view the current rate when you make your appointment.  Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 3:30 pm and are held in Room 168 on the first floor of City Hall. Don’t forget your IDs!
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Make an appointment for your marriage license

Joanna and Ryan's San Francisco City Hall wedding photos by Red Eye Collection - photo 5

Civil Ceremony at SF City Hall

civil ceremony (Public)

~At a glance~

Cost: $83
How: Make reservation online
Time: Every half hour, Monday through Friday between 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Check In: Information Desk in Room 168 ten minutes before your ceremony reservation
Ceremony Location: Rotunda
Guests: Six permitted, including witness
Bring: Witness, marriage license, valid IDs for both of you

Felicia and Martin San Francisco City Hall wedding photography by Red Eye Collection photo 1

Checking in and meeting their officiant just before their San Francisco City Hall wedding ceremony.

There are two types of ceremonies at San Francisco City Hall – civil ceremonies, which are public and by far the most popular, and private ceremonies.  Civil ceremony appointments are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Appointments can be made up to 90 days in advance.  These ceremonies are held on the beautiful Rotunda, at the top of the grand staircase.  Only six guests are permitted to attend civil ceremonies due to space and the number that are booked at the same time (three couples can be scheduled for every half hour slot). It’s common to see excited couples and their guests waiting their turn along the edges of the Rotunda’s second floor.

Civil ceremonies are short, just six minutes long, and are officiated by an assigned judge.  The reservation cost for a civil ceremony is $83.  You must present your wedding license at the time of the ceremony.  If you’re getting your license the same day as the ceremony, make sure to schedule your license appointment at least 30 minutes before your ceremony appointment.

When you arrive the day of your ceremony, you must check in to the Information Desk in Room 168 in San Francisco City Hall. Make sure to arrive at least ten minutes before your appointment. We recommend getting there much earlier. Traffic and parking can cause delays, so give yourselves lots of time. You couldn’t ask for a better location to spend extra time in anyway!

Make your civil ceremony appointment online.
More information about civil ceremonies at San Francisco City Hall
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Let’s help you with your City Hall wedding!

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San Francisco City Hall wedding photography - Channing and Eric, photo 6

Private Ceremony at San Francisco City Hall

private ceremonies

If you’d like more than six guests, a longer ceremony and more privacy, then consider a private ceremony at San Francisco City Hall.

One-Hour Wedding Package:

~At a glance~

Cost: $1,000
How: Call (415) 554-6079
Location: Three choices: Mayor’s Balcony, 4th Floor North Gallery, 4th Floor South Gallery
When: Monday – Friday 9am – 3pm
Guests: Up to 100
For $1,000, you get private use of one of three locations: The Mayor’s Balcony, 4th Floor North Gallery and 4th Floor South Gallery for one hour.  Both galleries are similar in appearance to one another, but are distinct from the Mayor’s Balcony. All locations are beautiful and it really is personal preference when choosing which site for your ceremony. These private wedding ceremonies are held Monday through Friday with the earliest ceremony beginning at 9am and the latest beginning at 3pm. Up to 100 guests are permitted to attend for this one hour ceremony. If you’d like to use any equipment such as tables and chairs, those are available from City Hall for an extra rental fee.  The Mayor’s Balcony seats up to 40 guests and the Fourth Floor Galleries seat up to 60.  Remaining guests stand for the ceremony.
Make sure to provide your own officiant as San Francisco City Hall does not provide an officiant for private ceremonies.
To make a reservation for a private ceremony, call (415) 554-6079 or go to the City Hall Events page for more contact info.
More information about San Francisco City Hall’s One-Hour Wedding Package

Two-Hour Wedding Package

~At a glance~

Cost: $5,000
How: Call (415) 554-6079
Location: Grand Staircase
When: Saturdays 9am – noon
Guests: Up to 200

For $5,000, you get SF City Hall all to yourselves! This package accommodates up to 200 guests and includes insurance and equipment rental. If you have more than 200 guests, there is an additional charge of $7 per guest ($100 minimum, which equates to 15 extra guests) that includes additional equipment and insurance.

Get more information about two-hour private weddings at City Hall

Evening & Weekend Wedding Package

~At a glance~

Cost: Varies depending on areas used and times
How: Call (415) 554-6079
Location: North Light Court, South Light Court, Grand Staircase and/or the Rotunda
When: For the North Light Court, set-up begins at 2pm and break-down must conclude by 2am; times vary for other locations
Guests: Depends on location. (Up to 3000 guests permitted if using both Lights Courts and the Rotunda.)

There are a lot of options if you’re looking at organizing a large private wedding with exclusive use of areas of City Hall. You can reserve a space during public hours (Monday through Friday, 8am – 8pm), book the North Light Court for the evening, or even reserve both the South and North Light Courts along with the Rotunda for an entire Saturday afternoon and evening. The cost for an evening or weekend wedding varies depending on where the wedding will be hosted, the number of guests, and the requested time period.

There is more flexibility with a private weekend or evening wedding, as outside vendors are permitted and you have the option of lighting up the outside of City Hall itself for an extra fee.

For more details, check out these pages on the SF City Hall Events website:
Evening Weddings
Wedding Rental Rates
Wedding Fees & Expenses

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best time for ceremony

When it comes down to choosing the best day of the week and time of day, it is completely a matter of personal preference. Every couple has a different idea of what will make their wedding day absolutely perfect, and this will affect your decision. All the logistics of your particular plans will come into play as well. When consulting with us over the phone, we can help guide you through this decision!
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Per California state law, one witness needs to be present during the ceremony. This witness must accompany you prior to the ceremony, when you check in to Room 168 before your ceremony time. (Remember to arrive at least ten minutes early, though we suggest giving yourselves more time!) If it’s just going to be the two of you, as your photographer we would be honored to act as your witness!
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San Francisco City Hall assigns a judge to officiate your wedding (for public, civil ceremonies only), whom you will meet on the day of your ceremony. These judges serve on a volunteer basis for City Hall weddings. If you’d prefer to have a friend or family member officiate for you (this is recommended for private wedding ceremonies), they can apply to be a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day.
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Civil ceremonies (public) permit up to six guests.
One-hour (private) weddings permit up to 100 guests.
Two-hour (private) weddings permit up to 200 guests with an extra fee for each guest.
Evening and Weekend wedding guest counts completely depend on upon the area used at City Hall.
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Cost for wedding license = $104
Cost for civil ceremony (public) = $83
Cost for one-hour wedding package (private) = $1,000
Cost for two-hour wedding package (private) = $5,000
Cost for evening or weekend weddings (private) = varies
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where to park

Map of Entrance to Parking Garage for San Francisco City Hall
Parking on the streets around San Francisco City Hall can be very difficult, even in the middle of the week. It’s a popular place! It’s much easier to park in the parking garage, the Civic Center Parking Garage across the street, but be aware – it’s hard to spot!

The parking garage is completely underground and has a single entrance on McAllister St., adjacent to Civil Center Plaza, near the corner of McAllister and Polk. It’s easy to miss – just look for the single Parking sign above the entrance.
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public transportation

Public Transportation BART to San Francisco City Hall
Alternatively, you can take public transit to get to San Francisco City Hall. Take BART into San Francisco and get off at the Civic Center station. From there it’s a short walk just three blocks west to City Hall.
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ceremony locations

On the day of your ceremony, check in to Room 168 inside San Francisco City Hall.
Civil Ceremonies (the popular public ceremonies) are held on the Rotunda at the top of the grand central staircase.
Private ceremonies have more flexibility. For weekday ceremonies, you can have your wedding on the Mayor’s Balcony, 4th Floor North Gallery or the 4th Floor South Gallery.
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photography locations

The 4th Floor North Gallery is a popular place for photographs since the light is always perfect! We have multiple locations throughout San Francisco City Hall where we typically photograph our couples, including the iconic photo at the entrance to City Hall.
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photographer recommended by san francisco city hall

Red Eye Collection is one of the very few wedding photographers recommended by San Francisco City Hall Event Staff! Our information and flyer are available in their office on the fourth floor of City Hall.

We hope this City Hall guide was valuable and answered all your questions!

We’d love to hear from you and learn more about your SF City Hall wedding

May we send a text to follow up?
How did you hear about us?