SF City Hall Wedding Tips
1. Allow plenty of extra time to get to SF City Hall
Weddings here are on a tight schedule. San Francisco is famous for delaying people trying to make it across town and there is always the possibility of a large event happening close by which can either back up traffic or close the parking garage. Even the security check-in point can be backed up on occasion. So allow extra time to enjoy the historical information located all around the building if you arrive too early. You can also take the opportunity to stroll around the building and watch other weddings and photography. Yes, you may waste some time, but it is a much better way to relax and get ready for your wedding then rushing in at the last second. You will be happy that you came early!
2. Bring current identification
The City Hall County Clerk's office will not allow you to get married if you present expired ID's. Whether you are using a Passport, Drivers License or other form of identification, the dates have to be current. If you have doubts about your documentation, obtain your City Hall marriage license the day before your ceremony. This way if there are any problems you will have time to fix them. We highly recommend this anyway to make your wedding day less stressful and just about getting married. Why deal with paperwork on your wedding day?
3. Bring a file folder or large size envelope
You will be provided with documents that you will want to protect, especially your souvenir marriage certificate. This is something you will want to keep nice! For extra protection, place a bit of cardboard in the envelope to keep it from bending. We will help you to keep it safe during your wedding photography session and can actually hold it for you in our photo bags. Just dont forget to ask for it back!
4. Don't forget snacks and water
On hot summer days, the building can become very warm. If your civil ceremony is delayed for some reason, it's important to keep hydrated and fed. Water fountains are present, but you may find yourself waiting for your Deputy Marriage Commissioner to show up in an area where there are none. We always keep a fresh water bottle with us for your use as well. Dehydration is one of the main reasons people faint during ceremonies. A protein or power bar is suggested to keep you going. If you forget these items there is a store very nearby to San Francisco city hall to obtain anything you might need. It is located on the corner of Hyde and McAllister street.
5. Walking shoes
Your San Francisco city hall wedding photographer will take you throughout the building for photos so why not be comfortable and carry some walking shoes. This advise is mostly directed at brides who often purchase new shoes for their wedding day. If we are doing your city hall photo tour, we will provide plenty of time to change shoes for photos! Most of the other wedding photographers would be happy to do the same. Comfy shoes will also come in handy if you decide to walk to your lunch celebration after your civil ceremony. There are a number of nice places to eat within walking distance of city hall in the Hayes Valley district in San Francisco.
6. Celebration after the Wedding
San Francisco city hall weddings can often run late. The clerk's office gets behind and events at the building can delay your ceremony and your wedding pictures. If you are planning an event after your wedding, it's best to allow plenty of cushion time. Many weddings end in the afternoon and this will put you in the middle of rush hour traffic, so be sure to account for this when planning your wedding day timeline. We can recall countless times where the newlyweds had to cut our wedding photography session short because they were going to be late for their reception or celebration.
Outdoor Wedding Photography in San Francisco
You may also want to consider allowing some time for outdoor wedding photography at one of San Francisco's iconic locations. We are happy to include photographic coverage outside of City Hall after your wedding is complete. As you can see from our website, there are plenty of amazing backgrounds and photo opportunities throughout the building, but it is also nice to include some outdoor pictures. We can take you to The Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Fields or the Legion of Honor, just to mention a few of our favorites. It will only add about 45 minutes onto your schedule for your wedding day. You can ask for more information or click this SF Photo Tour link. The photo seen below is an example of outdoor San Francisco wedding photography at the Palace of Fine Arts. One of the great things about this location is that it is close to many popular restaurants in the Marina, North Beach and even Downtown. This makes it a fairly convenient stop along with way to your possible wedding reception location. In case you are wondering, we can also photographically cover your reception or celebration dinner as well!