2 Men and a Baby

One of our favorite City Hall Weddings this year!  Today we photographed the wedding of Steve and John with only 1 guest……  Their 5 month old little girl.  We met the 3 of them in the hallway directly outside of the County Clerks office to assist them with their Ceremony check-in.  After a brief meeting with their officiant we all headed up to the Rotunda to celebrate their marriage.  One of the most fun things about the ceremony was that the Deputy Marriage commissioner volunteered to hold the baby while John and Steve exchanged wedding rings!  This great idea helped create this classic photo that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

John and Steve exchange rings as their baby looks on.
John and Steve pose for a 3rd floor photo at SF City Hall

Once the ceremony was completed and the marriage sealed with a kiss, we took the happy couple around the building to take some photos.  We incorporated their daughter into some of the early photos, but it wasn’t long until she had fallen asleep in her baby stroller.  We took advantage of this lucky break to get some really nice poses of the couple, taking them on a tour to many of our favorite picture spots.  We ended our shoot at the city hall sign out in front of the building.  Perfect timing as the baby woke up and joined the couple for a posed shot in front of San Francisco City Hall.




Australian Couple Weds at City Hall

Georgie and Keron traveled clear across the world to get married at San Francisco City Hall. They have no friends or relatives in town, nor have they ever been here before.  They just noticed online what a beautiful wedding venue city hall is and decided to elope.  They rented out the entire Mayor’s Balcony so they would have privacy and not have to worry about tourists wandering through their ceremony.  It is rare that couples do this, but we have seen it before and it can be a great idea.  Even at $1,000 (the cost to reserve the Mayor’s Balcony for 1 hour) having your wedding at City Hall is a bargain!  Where else can you have access to this beautiful old building; choose from some of the best wedding photographers in the San Francisco area; and also have your own intimate wedding ceremony?  Pretty tough to find, especially in the Bay Area.

Wedding ceremony at the Mayors Balcony

After the ceremony we took Georgie and Keron throughout the city hall building to make sure we made their trip from Australia a memorable one.  They booked our Golden Gate Package so we had plenty of time to tour around the building and take some great photos.  One of our first stops was the 3rd floor on the north side of the building.  The light there at mid day is amazing, it’s like having your own photo studio at city hall.   Artists understand that northern light is preferable due to its softness and mild intensity.  We took the photo below with minimal lighting, just mostly using window light.

Romantic wedding photography – 3rd floor

After spending more time in the building, they wanted to go to the Golden Gate Bridge (who doesn’t?).   We drove them there in our car and the weather was amazing.  We chose Crissy Field on this particular day since the air was relatively clear and the bridge was in plain site with no fog getting in the way.   We put them on top of one of the little mounds of grass and got this amazing shot below.

Wedding photography at the Golden Gate Bridge


Busy Week at San Francisco City Hall in the Heat

We had quite a crazy week at city hall!  Besides photographing 5 beautiful couples in only 4 days, we also had to deal with record temps!  On Friday San Francisco hit the 103 mark which was an all-time record.  We were lucky enough to have booked a wedding on that day and got to experience the incredible heat.  Fortunately, City Hall is slow to heat up and also slow to cool down.  Often the day of the heat wave, the building never gets up to unbearable temperatures, but watch out for the following day!  If the famous San Francisco fog doesn’t roll in, the building will heat up like an oven.  All of that concrete and marble tends to hold on to the heat, but the whole process takes a while.  Thus, we really had our hottest shooting day at City Hall the following days after the heat wave.

One of the hot days after the heat wave.

I have to say that our couples all handled the heat very well and were good sports.  Some of the guys with their tuxes were clearly suffering a bit, but they never let their bride see any extreme discomfort.   We purposely tried to keep our normal shooting pace slow, to keep everyone cool.  I have a tendency to walk fast through the building, but not this week!  It was a relief on Thursday to leave city hall and head out to the Palace of Fine Arts.  We had a feeling that once we got there, it would be cooler given its proximity to the Bay.  We were not disappointed when we were greeted by a nice cool breeze.

Cooling off at the Palace of Fine Arts in SF

With so many weddings this week to talk about, I will end this post here, but promise to pick it up again tomorrow and talk about some of our other couples for the week.  Thanks for listening!

Up in the City Hall Dome!

Toni and I were offered the unique opportunity to go up in the dome at San Francisco City Hall.  We were photographing a wedding at city hall and we were up on the 4th floor.  We were talking to one of the event staff while he was putting away chairs and he asked us if we wanted to go up into the dome area.  We of course said yes and proceeded to climb the spiral staircase that takes you up near the top of City Hall.  It was an amazing experience!  The view from up there was incredible, like nothing we have ever seen before.  Our couple enjoyed it as well.  We took just a few photos since we didn’t have much time.  This particular day also happened to be one of the hottest days in the history of San Francisco, so it was pretty hot up there, but totally worth the climb.

It just goes to show you how just being friendly to people that you work around can pay dividends.

San Francisco City Hall Upper Dome
Columns in the Dome
Bride and Groom in the Upper Dome

Robyn and Jeff’s City Hall Wedding

Since the is a new blog, I thought it would be fun to go back in time and feature some of our more memorable weddings in addition to keeping up with new ones.  When Toni and I think about past city hall wedding experiences, Robyn and Jeff always come to mind.  We probably overuse the term “fun couple”, but with them it totally fit!  Neither the bride or groom seemed at all nervous, but they were definitely excited to get married.

They had a large gathering of family and friends who watched their nuptials in the Great Rotunda at San Francisco City Hall.  After photographing them with with their guests we took them around the building for a fun-filled tour.  Robyn knew how to pose for the camera and seemed to be having fun doing it.  In many cases, they improvised on our suggested positioning, adding their own personal twist.  We have included a photo of them standing in the city hall window, a practice that is no longer allowed on the 3rd floor.

This window shot is banned now, but it was OK then!
SF Cable Car on California Street.
Bride and Groom with Tesla

Next it was off to Nob Hill to get some Cable Car shots on California street.  We got an unexpected treat when the newly married couple informed us that THEY would be supplying the transportation and we would be riding with them in a brand new Tesla Model S!  Yes, that’s the one with a temporary performance setting that electronically puts out around 700 Horsepower.  The car goes from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds in that mode and we pretty much experienced it on California Street.  A fun filled ride ending with some fantastic Cable Car shots.  Then we took them closer to Market Street and did some “street photography” with them just walking around.  Great stuff and a fun way to end the trip.

Colette and Stephen’s Wedding

We really enjoyed our day with Colette and Stephen.  Colette wore a spectacular red wedding dress which had heads turning throughout city hall.  The happy couple got married in front of family and friends in the beautiful Rotunda on a typically busy Thursday afternoon at San Francisco City Hall.   Fortunately, they choose a very late 3:30 ceremony time and so by the time their wedding was over and the family pictures were complete, things were starting to slow down around the building.  We highly recommend late ceremonies to take advantage of the fact that people start to vacate the building as it gets closer to 5:00 pm.  This is especially important on busy days at city hall like Thursdays and Fridays.

With a fair amount of free rein as we completed our building tour, we were able to get some amazing photos with not too many people around.  The couple had opted for our very popular Golden Gate package which provides them with 2.5 hours of coverage and 1 location after city hall.  They chose one of our favorite spots for their location, Woodline in the Presidio.  Woodline is a deep forest area in the Presidio that has a fairly wide cut-through opening where many trees were taken down.  The name Woodline comes from the fact that many of these trees were lined up in a zigzag pattern all the way down the cut-through. We thought that Colette’s dress would work perfectly with the background because of the beautiful red color and as you can see it did!  We provided the happy couple with convenient transportation to the Presidio location and then took them to their celebration dinner party.

Our New City Hall Wedding Blog

Introducing our new City Hall Wedding Photography blog.  It occurred to us that with all of the great times we have had with our couples, it was time to share our experiences. We really try to make our service different by focusing not only on producing great photos, but also making the wedding a great experience.  In the coming months we will share some of our wedding fun and focus more on unique things that happen at our City Hall Weddings.