San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer

Featured Wedding - Reserved Ceremony at SF City Hall

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Reserved Weddings on the 4th Floor of SF City Hall

One of the options brides and grooms are faced with when they make the decision to marry at San Francisco city hall is whether or not they want a reserved wedding. Reserved weddings differ from civil ceremonies int that they allow the couple to have a large number of guests. Not only are many guests allowed, but they even get to sit down in comfortable chairs to watch their friend or relative get married. Civil Ceremonies limit the guest count to only 6 and the couple is usually not allowed to say their own vows. Some Marriage Commissioners allow vows, but they have to be super short. The other big difference is that Reserved weddings allow the couple to have privacy during their ceremony. The 4th floor or Mayor's Balcony is roped off which prevents tourists and strangers from wandering through your ceremony. This should not happen during a civil ceremony either, but there is that chance and I have seen it happen. Of course, you do pay a premium for all of these benefits and that price is $1,000. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you compare it to other San Francisco venues it's a relative steal!

4th Floor or Mayor's Balcony? Which Should you Choose?

This is a tough decision for the bride and groom. In fact, if you polled the leading San Francisco city hall wedding photographers I know they would have hard time deciding. There are good things about both locations and few minor drawbacks for each one.

Mayor's Balcony

  • Central Location with Amazing Views of the Staircase and Rotunda
  • Balcony gives the bride and groom a special regal feeling
  • Relatively easy to secure from strangers wandering through
  • Has it's own mini staircase which allows the bride and groom to walk in
  • It's a little dark with not much supplemental lighting - Can cause photography issues
  • Background of ceremony shows lots of strangers and tourists. Hard to not show.

4th Floor

  • Amazing natural light from the huge bay windows
  • Slightly quieter due to higher floor location - away from the sounds
  • Very easy to rope off and secure - no wandering strangers can sneak in
  • A bit better for live music due to it's relative contained area
  • Bay window on other side can cause problems for inexperienced wedding photographers
  • People on the other side often try to watch ceremony and this can be distracting