One of the more important steps at any San Francisco city hall wedding is checking in at the County Clerks office prior to the ceremony. We like to assist the bride and groom at this point and take some candid images of the process. We also play the role of making it easier for the couple by walking them through these steps and hopefully lowering stress levels. In the picture above we got this fun picture of the couple displaying their "ceremony number". The next step..... Go in and meet your marriage commissioner!
We are still able to assist brides and grooms with the check-in process despite the new covid-19 restrictions. However, it's a little different than it used to be because we can no longer go to the back of the county clerk's office with you. Under the new process, we now meet you outside of the county clerk's office and provide you with instructions on what needs to be done next and where to go. Once you take your witness back with you to sign your marriage license we wait outside in the area where you will be exiting. Then we all go up to the Rotunda which is where the ceremony actually takes place. It is at this point where you discover that your ceremony doesn't actually occur on the time you reserved. In actuality, the reserved time really represents when you meet with the officiant to receive your instructions and the marriage license. In most cases your actual ceremony will take place approximately 15 minutes after the scheduled ceremony time. We recommend you let your guests know in advance about this possibility. At the same time, it's still important to let the guests know that they need to be ready in case the ceremony happens earlier than these estimates. This is because most City Hall Marriage Commissioners will not wait to do your ceremony for your guests to arrive because they have other ceremonies to perform right after yours. This is just one of the typical things that we have to deal with when it comes to civil ceremonies. Most of the officiants are very friendly and will do whatever they can to accommodate you. Please also keep in mind that these City Hall Marriage Commissioners are all volunteers and they will do what they can to help you. Here is a quick summary of what you need to remember for your city hall ceremony check-in: