"And now Sir You can take Off your mask and kiss Your bride"

I bet you never heard that phrase before. But, yes, this is a real sentence we just heard from a deputy marriage commissioner during the actual wedding ceremony. This happened at City Hall after California fully reopened on June 15th and most mask mandates were dropped. But that's not all.

Would you rather spend an hour in line with other couples in the downstairs office and have a fully masked ceremony?


meet your officiant and get married within 10 minutes at a beautiful spot of your choice with no mask?

First things first: Before COVID, couples already had to spend a long time registering, completing the paperwork and waiting for the available officiant and for the other couples. Things were behind the schedule quite often. Today things are still very slow even though City Hall is practically empty. For some reason, Rotunda now is barricaded which makes photography harder and gives an overall "caged" feel.

A lot of our couples reserved the ceremony through the County Clerk's office. And while there are some wonderful and awesome people , other officiants will still require couples to wear masks during the ceremony which gives photos Chernobyl style apocalyptical taste. Even those who okay with couples not wearing masks often use N95 masks themselves. And if you are familiar with it's shape, you'd probably agree that this is not the most photogenic background for your wedding ceremony.

Below you can see the Rotunda before it was barricaded. Click on 4th Floor Ceremony Icon in the 3D tour to see a couple having a Ceremony without a County Clerk's office.

So what can you do instead of Going with the County Clerk's office?

It's actually quite simple: City Hall is a public building anyone can enter from 8AM till 5PM (City Hall now closes at 5PM). We encourage couples to bring a small group in accordance with rules. Once you enter, your officiant will take you to the available spot (there are many on all 4 levels and in 90% of the chances you will even be able to choose) and have an intimate Ceremony without the hassle of registering through the County Clerk's office.

What will you need

You will need a marriage license obtained anywhere in California and a wedding officiant. There a number of highly professional, reliable and charming officiants who will turn your marriage ceremony to an unforgettable experience. Tim Mills, Cynthia Gregory and Nilou Weddings are one of them.

Note: None of the officiants we worked with required any reservations with City Hall. All they need is an available spot to marry you.

A: Yes. It is 100% permitted by the county Clerk's Office as long as your ceremony does not disrupt official government business. . You can enter the building during the business hours. In order for officiant to perform your Ceremony, he/she will require a valid marriage license and one witness. We can act as your witness if needed.
A: No. All you need is a marriage license appointment. It can be done in SF City Hall (within 90 days of your scheduled Ceremony), online or at any other County Clerk's Office in California. The California marriage license is accepted by any California marriage officiant. Marriage license is valid for 90 days.
A: Maybe. Rotunda is used by County Clerk's Office till 1:30PM. If you come after 2PM, there is a high chance of it being empty. However, City Hall has many other (and better) locations and as long as these locations are not reserved or blocked, there is no issue having a small ceremony. The only reason Rotunda is used by County Clerk's Office is due to its proximity to room 168.
A: If you to reserve a Ceremony via County Clerk's office, the official number is 6. If you to reserve a rental space at City Hall it can be as many as 100 guests. However, if you are looking for a free available spot, I would suggest limiting the number of guests.
A: In 15+ years we covered City Hall weddings, it never happened. There more chances that County Clerk's Office will marry you in the small downstairs room than that you won't find a nice location on the 2nd, 3rd or the 4th floor with your own officiant. Yes, County Clerk's office does not guarantee Rotunda either.
A: Yes, early morning before County Clerk opens and before 4th floor or Mayor's balcony is getting reserved. Avoiding Fridays is a good idea too.
A: 1. No need to wait in line with other couples. The wait can be as short as 15 minutes to as long as an hour - your guests will be waiting all this time. 2. Ceremony will be performed by a professional and not by a volunteer (yes, wedding ceremonies by the county clerk's office are non-paid jobs. 3. The officiant will file your marriage license paperwork on your behalf with the County Clerk. 5. You will be able to exchange your vows!
A: The reason we mention this at all is that we want our couples to enjoy the experience at City Hall. Post Pandemic County Clerk's Office is not up to the task. You can also talk to any of the officiants to hear their thoughts about this.
A: We hear numbers ranging from $250-$400 which is more than what City Hall charges for the Ceremony but since you won't have to pay the County Clerk's office the price difference can be as low as $150.

Ceremonies performed by Tim Mills

Below is a wedding performed by a friend at an available location without County Clerk's Office involvement.

And occasionally a nice person from a County Clerk's office may be okay performing a Ceremony at an available spot.

The information above is provided to the best of our knowledge and over 15 years of experience. We cannot guarantee availability and encourage couples to verify things with City Hall.