If you’re getting married at San Francisco City Hall, you have my sincerest congratulations. If you’re not, though, then you have my sincerest apologies (joking!). San Francisco City Hall is an architecturally gorgeous beaux-arts building set in the heart of San Francisco, California. San Francisco is actually a beautiful city in itself, and with it comes a city hall like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
The most in-demand location for weddings within the city hall is the grand marble staircase, in spite of its lack in privacy. It is just adjacent the hall elevators. You will also be limited to a 10-minute ceremony and a maximum of 6 attendees. However, these are minor drawbacks that pale in comparison to the beautiful natural light available that allows for breath-taking wedding photos.
If you’re a big fan of privacy, though, the 4th floor and the Mayor’s balcony are the ideal choices for you. These locations are both more private than the rotunda staircase, can conciliate up to as much as 100 guests, and allows for ceremonies lasting up to 1 hour. An additional rental fee of 1,002 dollars is necessary to reserve a ceremony in these locations.
Aside from its aesthetic qualities, the San Francisco City Hall is also rich with history. Some important events that happened there are General Fredrick Funston’s state funeral in 1917, Joe di Maggio’ and Marilyn Monroe’s wedding in 1954, and the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.
If you have decided on having San Francisco City Hall as your wedding location, there are a lot of things you still have to consider. First, you need to set two advanced appointments: one for your marriage license and one for the booking of the ceremony. You can schedule for your license right before the wedding ceremony day, which is highly recommended if you plan on a private ceremony, but not necessary if you’re planning on a civil ceremony. If you plan on getting your marriage license on the same day as your wedding ceremony, it is recommended that you set that appointment at least an hour before the actual ceremony time. Reservations can be booked as soon as ninety days in advance, so if you plan on getting married on a high-demand date or time, make sure to reserve your appointments as soon as you can.
To get a marriage license in California, both husband and wife must be present in applying. Both must be 18 years of age or older, but being based in California is not a requirement. One can even reserve an appointment online, for an additional fee of 5 dollars. It would take you approximately half an hour to incur the marriage license.
The San Francisco City Hall recommends that you bring your own minister even though there are a number of justices and judges who rotate in performing weddings and civil ceremonies. The reason for this is the possibility of them incurring double bookings with other civil duties.
Reservations for such civil ceremonies are available from Monday to Friday between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. The best time to hold your wedding depends on your personality and what kind of aura you want. Monday and Wednesday mornings create a very serene vibe perfect for lovers of silence and calm. Friday afternoons can be pretty busy, but it is indeed perfect for those extroverts who enjoy the company of other people. It is also nice to see other couples waiting to get married after you do.
Now, here is some general information about marriage in the State of California, as stated in the city’s official website:
• California residency or US citizenship are not necessary for marriage in California
• Only two unwed persons over 18 years old may get a marriage license in California. Anybody under 18 who wishes to get married must obtain a legitimate court order via the Juvenile Court system.
• Marriage by proxy is not countenanced in California
Here are the requirements for a California Legal Marriage:
• An unwed couple applying for and purchasing a valid California license for marriage, and
• Marriage ceremony to be staged within the State of California (or County where the private marriage license is issued) within 90 days from when said marriage license is to be issued, and
• Wedding ceremony performed by an authorized person as defined by CA Family Code Section 400.
Now, the cost for getting married in the San Francisco City Hall is 99 dollars as a fee for the marriage license, and additional fees for the various in-hall venues. The fee to hold a wedding ceremony in the Rotunda or a confidential ceremony room in the County Clerk would be 75 dollars. The fee to hold a wedding ceremony with a County Clerk outside the City Hall grounds is 220 dollars. Finally, the fee to hold a wedding ceremony over at the 4th Floor or Mayor’s Balcony, is 1,002 dollars.
Prices can be pretty hefty, but I assure you, they’re worth it.