San Francisco City Hall 4th Floor Gallery weddings

The 4th Floor Ceremony (North)

Providing a beautiful setting, privacy and seating for up to 60 guests, City Hall’s 4th Floor Galleries are ideal for intimate wedding ceremonies.

Why 4th-floor wedding? – Photographer’s view.

As a photographer, my main goal is always to get the best possible photos for my clients. And while its often achievable without renting a space at city hall, under certain circumstances it is indeed recommended. But before dipping into photography aspects of this article, let’s start with a general idea.

So, first of all, the 4th floor feels peaceful and secluded compared to other areas. Your guests will certainly appreciate the fact that you’ve invested in their comfort. Your timeline will not lag behind because the county clerk is behind the schedule and your family photo session will take less time.

Benefits of the City Hall’s 4th Floor wedding

  • 1. Bride and Groom’s comfort

    No waiting in line for the county clerk office. Did you know that sometimes check-in process can take 45 minutes?

  • 2. Specific location with clear directions & instructions

    You will be provided with very specific information for you and for your guests. This prevents confusion as your family and friends will not be wandering around trying to find you.

  • 3. Work with your own officiant

    Since you are already investing in a private ceremony, a logical step would be hiring your own ceremony officiant. This will prevent you from waiting in line in the County Clerk’s office and relying on their volunteer deputy marriage commissioners who often run behind the schedule.

  • 4. Customize your wedding ceremony

    When hiring your own officiant which majority of the couples will do, you will be able to have a customized ceremony that can include vows and family speeches. You will be in full control what will be said during the ceremony.

  • 5. Your guests can be seated

    Your reservation will include up to 60 chairs that will be arranged and ready for you before the scheduled time.

  • 6. Amazing soft light

    The 4th floor offers the best overall lighting due to its proximity to a large window. This means that your bridal and family portraits will look great without any use of lighting equipment.

  • 7. Photography sessions run faster

    When photographers don’t have to deal with lighting, they can focus instead on capturing candid moments or running the group photo session more efficiently.

  • 8. No tourists or other couples

    This may be obvious, but yes, the area will be private and tourists and couples who are looking for photo opportunities will not interfere with your wedding.

How does the 4th floor compare to other areas?

On lower levels, it is harder to find clear backdrops without the crowds. While on the top floor, you can get a set of gorgeous wedding photos easier. It’s truly a private environment where you will feel relaxed instead of rushing around and being confused about where to go and what do do next. You don’t have to think about other weddings and you don’t have to go anywhere to make top-notch wedding photography. The 4th floor is where you’ll get those awesome shots of the bride and groom. Plus it is much easier to plan beautiful group shots with ample space in front of you.

The 4th Floor Galleries are visually intriguing! The color palette is comprised of soft, natural shades of ivory, white, and grey. To make it even more picture-perfect, you can add some vibrant colors! Vivid bouquets, floral arrangements and bridesmaid dresses will create wonderful contrasts. Here, you can easily seat 60 guests and the chairs are forming a natural aisle for your big entrance. Additionally, there is also ample space for live musicians, a small table for cupcakes, champagne, weddings gifts, etc..

4th-Floor Galleries offer views of the entire building. This means you can easily see which areas are available and plan shoots in other locations. For example, you can go to the 3rd floor and pose in front of the iconic Art Deco window or make a couple of shots at the Mayor’s Balcony. Having your ceremony at one of the 4th-Floor Galleries, therefore, saves a lot of time.

Photo Opportunities

Located directly underneath the dome, 4th Floor Galleries look truly spectacular. There is plenty of natural light flooding in from the gigantic semi-circular window. Depending on the weather, season and time of day, this space always looks different. It is both challenging and inspirational for a wedding photographer because the interplay of light and shadows is constantly changing. The most recognizable features are elaborately adorned urns which create perfect symmetry at both south and north galleries. These features make a wonderful backdrop for your ceremony, bride & groom portraits and group shots.

North vs South

The south portion of the 4th floor gets more sunlight. This is an extraordinary photo shoot location which offers endless opportunities. We love photographing the window from different angles because it offers such versatile backdrops and lighting effects. But being on the south side also means experiencing higher temperatures and direct sunlight. This is why the north side is a more popular choice to book for your ceremony. This space equally stunning but slightly darker and cooler.