Congratulations! You’ve decided to tie the knot – and tying the knot via a City Hall wedding in San Francisco is one of the most romantic and visually rich experiences a couple can have for their special day.
San Francisco’s City Hall was built in the late 19th century during a period of time referred to as the American Renaissance. As such, the building itself is considered a “Beaux-Arts” monument and is one of the most beautiful and photo-worthy building in the city of San Francisco.
San Francisco’s City Hall Makes a Wonderful Location For a Civil Wedding Ceremony
The following information can help you plan a stress-free City Hall wedding in San Francisco.
Obtain Your Marriage License Ahead of Time
Whether you were born and raised in California or you are French citizens planning to elope while on a stateside vacation, any adult (18-years or older) can enjoy a civil wedding ceremony in San Francisco on one condition: you have a valid marriage license issued by the city of San Francisco.
San Francisco City Hall does offer same-day marriage licenses (that must be prepared at least 30-minutes prior to the ceremony), but we recommend obtaining your marriage license ahead of time in order to avoid any potential snafus. In order to do so, you will need to:
Make a Reservation to Get Your Marriage License
Even for same-day marriage licenses, you have to make a reservation at least 90-days in advance. You can do this online using the City and County of San Francisco Online Reservation Form or by visiting the City Hall in person, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
If you plan to pick up your marriage license the same day of your ceremony, you will want to make your reservation for your marriage license at least 45-minutes prior to the reservation for your civil ceremony. Your ceremony will not take place without a legal marriage license issued at least 30-minutes beforehand.
Make Sure Both Parties Are There
The two of you must be physically present to file and obtain your official marriage license.
Have Valid Photo Identification
Each of you must also have a valid photo ID, like a driver’s license, passport, resident alien card, military I.D., etc., that includes a photograph, full legal name, date of birth, date of issue, and date of expiration.
Any foreign documents that are written in language other than English must be translated by a Court certified translator or an American Translators Association (ATA) certified translator who must be presented along with the translation.
The Marriage License Fee
Of course, you must also be ready to pay the $103 licensing fee. If you make the reservation in person, the fee is payable via cash, money order or debit card. If you make your reservation using the online form, you may use a Visa or MasterCard.
If you were legally married or part of a legal domestic partnership in the past, you will also need to know the exact date your marriage/partnership legally ended – as per your certified paperwork. Visit the S.F. City and County website for more detailed information.
Once you receive your wedding license, it is valid for 90-days.
Now You’re Ready to get married in San Francisco’s City Hall
Civil weddings take place Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., on the half-hour.
Reserve Your Time and Date
To make your reservation, you can do so in person, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. Either of the parties can make the reservation, as can a third-party if necessary. The civil marriage ceremony fee of $76 is payable at the time you make your reservation and is non-refundable under any circumstances. If you make the reservation in person, it is payable via cash, money order or debit card.
You can also make your reservation online using the Online Reservation Form. When you make your reservation online, you can use a Visa or MasterCard in addition to a debit card.
Bring your marriage license with you.
You must have a valid marriage license, issued by the City and County of San Francisco present when you get married. As mentioned above, your license must be at least 30-minutes old or your civil wedding ceremony cannot take place.
Have a Witness on Hand
You are responsible for bringing your own witness. Only one witness, 18-years old or older, is necessary in order to be legally married – although you can have up to two if you like. Any fluent, English speaking adult (or non-English speaker with a legal translator) with a valid photo I.D. will suffice.
Register your marriage certificate
Once the ceremony is complete, your marriage certificate – signed you yourself, the officiant and the witness(es) must be returned to the City and County of San Francisco within 10 days in order to be legally recorded.
All couples are married in the private marriage ceremony room or the second-floor rotunda, depending on which is available at the time. There is no way to reserve one or the other ahead of time UNLESS:
Next Up, Order a San Francisco City Hall Wedding Package
That’s right. Due to popular demand, the City & County of San Francisco have put together a completely affordable wedding package by reservation only.
Couples are married on a Saturday – before 3:00 p.m. The package costs $5,000 and includes 2-hours for your wedding ceremony on the gorgeous Rotunda, folding chairs, a wedding manager, tables and more. There are also options for weekday wedding packages as well.
You can visit this page to learn more about the package.
You’re always welcome to hire your own wedding photographers and videographers too!