I am so thrilled to finally be sharing all the details from our perfect San Francisco City Hall Wedding Ceremony. I had no clue you guys would have so many questions about it! So today, I am breaking down everything you guys wanted to know, as well as some details about how the day went. This is going to be a long one — so grab a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine and settle in!
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San Francisco City Hall Wedding Ceremony
The first thing I want to address is why we chose City Hall. Well, first of all, I think it is the most gorgeous venue in San Francisco, and I just couldn’t imagine our photos anywhere else. Luckily, Joe didn’t mind and he was all for having a smaller ceremony. This may shock you, but I am actually really shy, and so is he. The thought of saying vows in front of everyone I know gives me the ultimate pit. In fact, we didn’t even say them in front of our families but chose to write them to each other in a card that morning instead. I love having something that was private and just for us that day because the whirlwind was just beginning.
We made an appointment to get our marriage license the week before our actual ceremony. Please keep in mind this is not your actual wedding appointment. You are not legally married until a judge or officiant turns in your license to the county clerk. More information on that here.
We did a one-hour wedding on the Mayor’s Balcony — I think the total for everything came out to less than $1,000. I highly recommend renting out a particular spot because it made it seem more official. Here are step by step booking instructions. Now onto your questions!
What is the best spot for photos?
Got this question quite a few times. The day we got our license, I had our photographer meet us so we could browse around and nail down the shot list. We pretty much went everywhere and shot wherever there was good light. I HIGHLY recommend taking all of your photos beforehand – especially the family ones! We didn’t take one picture after the ceremony was over. Our photos look like City Hall is empty, but it was in fact, packed. My sister basically barricaded the staircase with her body to get these shots. I was SO hungry and my feet were hurting so bad by the time we actually got married, so we were happy to just be done!
Is it true you can only book City Hall 90 days in advance?
Absolutely not, or I would not have done it. We booked WAY in advance. I don’t remember how far exactly but it was at least 6-9 months ahead of time!
What made you decide to have an intimate wedding?
It’s just the way I have always imagined it. Emily was in shock when she got here for the welcome party and reception I was just SO chill. The hard part was over, now it was just time to celebrate with family and friends. To us, it was a very private thing and it was so special that it was just our family who got to see the ceremony part. So much of my life is public, and that’s just how I am, but I loved that I got to keep something to ourselves for a little while. Right after, we headed to our favorite, Hillstone to have lunch and then we headed back to Hotel G for the 49ers draft. It truly was the best day ever.
Is that the norm in San Francisco, to get married at city hall and then have reception?
I don’t think so – but I do see it happening more and more often now. I think the older we all get the more appealing it sounds and honestly, I can’t recommend it enough! I had so many of you reach out about this after, and I did have a lot of people say to me that they wished they did it this way!
Your choice of city hall and then a party really speaks to me, I’d love to know how you decided.
These questions are all blending together a little bit, but I am so glad you guys like this idea! It was always what I wanted! So the decision was made very early on. I am not traditional by any means, and actually surprised myself by even wearing white! Our families were so cool with every decision we made and having them truly just support what we wanted really helped!
What made you decide to get married at City Hall?
It is the most gorgeous venue in San Francisco in my opinion, and because we had our reception at Levi’s Stadium, I really loved the contrast of the two venues. They could not be more different and I truly got the best of both worlds!
Did you have to schedule City Hall?
Yes! Whether you are doing a private wedding or just a 15 minute one downstairs, you do need an appointment.
Why didn’t you want to do it in front of all your friends and family? Was anyone upset they were excluded for the ceremony?
We really wanted our ceremony to be about us and no one else. I didn’t want to have to think about everyone else sitting there watching us, or have a hundred cell phones on us as we said our vows. I don’t think anyone was upset? Not sure why they would be! It was our choice and everyone seemed cool with it. The party was where the true celebration happened!
Does it cost money to get married at city hall?
Yes, but it’s minimal depending on which package you did. We did a private one-hour wedding, and with everything, it was under $1,000.
Did you get dressed at City Hall?
I got dressed at Hotel G – which was just a quick uber to the venue!
My next post will be all about my dress (including the on-demand alterations service I used), and more information about our vendors!
Our City Hall Ceremony Ceremony Vendors
Design & Planning: Amazae Events
Florals: Paul Robertson Florals
Invites: Minted Weddings (c/o)
Dress: BHLDN (c/0)
Alterations: Hemster (c/o)
Photography: Shannon Righetti Strom
Location: Hotel G San Francisco and San Francisco City Hall
Ring: Michael Sherman Jewelry
Love everything about this from the small ceremony to the gucci shoes, it’s all beautiful! Congrats!