Helpful Hints


We have learned quite a bit over the years while photographing San Francisco City Hall weddings. As time goes by, we find ourselves providing more and more advice to our couples to make the whole process easier, but most importantly, more enjoyable.  With this in mind, we decided it would be useful to share some of our expertise and provide some helpful hints.


  1. Allow plenty of time the day of your wedding to get to S.F. City Hall.  Instead of having breakfast or lunch at home, have at in the City Hall cafeteria!  The food is great and it gives you just a little more cushion in case things run late.  Unexpected city traffic, parking problems and special events are just a few of the things that can make you late to your own wedding.  If you arrive too early, you can check out some of the historical information about San Francisco City Hall while you wait for your ceremony time. Avoid stress on your wedding day!

  2. If you plan on bringing lots of guests, ask them to wait by the stairs instead of  following you to check-in at the County Clerk's office.  We definitely notice a rise in the stress level of our brides and grooms when they have to deal with everyone in that small space outside of the clerk's office. The noise level can be crazy and if things are running behind, it just makes the whole process more complicated.  Just bring your witness and your wedding photographer.  There will be plenty of time for your guests to join you and watch your ceremony.  Its also important to educate your guests in advance.  Let them know that they won't be missing anything by not following to your ceremony check-in.

  3. City Hall weddings often run late, especially in the afternoon.  Be sure to bring water bottles, protein bars or other favorite snacks.  Assuming you are going to hire a professional wedding photographer, it's also a good idea to bring some comfortable walking shoes.  This will help with all of the walking you will be doing to each photo location.  Most wedding photographers will give you plenty of time to change back into your dress shoes.  Other items to bring to any courthouse wedding include safety pins, tape, and a sewing kit.

  4. The best days to have your civil ceremony are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Fridays are by far the  busiest days followed closely by Thursday.  10:00 am ceremony times are usually not too crowded and we also like the later times.  After 4 pm, people start to slowly clear out of City Hall, but there is a slight risk of tour groups and events helping you celebrate your civil union.  Overall we still like the late times best!  If you book a 3:30 ceremony and it runs typically late, you wont be getting married until closer to 4pm.  By the time we are ready to take your photos, most of the people will have cleared out of City Hall!

  5. To really experience this famous city, consider booking one of our tour packages and seeing some of the sites. Our packages are affordable and we will provide the transportation! 



City Hall walk stairs

To return to our city hall home page click the link.