Getting married in San Francisco? Here’s what you need to know
Famous for its Golden Gate Bridge, steep streets and eclectic architecture, San Francisco is a fantastic place for a destination wedding. Whether you choose to get married in the stately San Francisco City Hall or elsewhere in the golden city, you can be sure of a memorable celebration with a beautiful backdrop full of color and culture.
So if you're planning a destination wedding in San Francisco, what do you need to know? Follow these tips from San Francisco wedding photographer and Fine Art Curation member Alice Ahn, who has captured countless gorgeous weddings throughout the SF Bay Area.
Apply for a California marriage license
Before getting married in San Francisco, you'll need to obtain a marriage license, which you can do so on the Office of the County Clerk website. A California marriage license currently costs $116 and is valid for 90 days.
Book your civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall
If you choose to get married at San Francisco City Hall, you will need to book an appointment for the ceremony. You are allowed up to six guests total, which includes photographers, videographers, children and witnesses. The ceremony cost is $98 and you'll need to take along your marriage license and photo ID.
If you want more than six guests, a longer ceremony, and more privacy, then consider a private ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. There are a few different packages, offering different durations, guest counts and locations throughout the venue. Costs range from $1,000 to $30,000 and you can find more details on the SF City Hall Events website.
Book your civil ceremony elsewhere
Of course, you don't have to get married at City Hall. If you prefer to tie the knot elsewhere, there's no shortage of great venues around San Francisco and the Bay Area. If you go this route, you will still need a valid marriage license and you'll also need to arrange your own officiant or you can request a County Hall commissioner to perform weddings outside of City Hall.
Choose some city sights for your portraits
There's so much to explore in San Francisco, I advise setting aside some time with your photographer to check out some of the most picturesque and iconic sights. The benefit of working with a San Francisco-based photographer is that they'll know the best spots and quieter times to visit when there's less chance of crowds. Some great locations include:
- Japanese Tea Gardens
- Pier 14
- Botanical Gardens
- Mount Tam
- Lover's Lane
- Battery Spencer Overlook
- Ina Coolbrith Park
- Stow Lake
- Cypress Tree Lane
- Sausalito Shore
- Muir Woods