Looking for a reasonably priced yet creative San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer? We understand that couples looking for fresh, fun wedding photography and yet interested in professional and guided coverage. We have a number of packages to offer.
Looking for a San Francisco City hall wedding photographer?
Welcome to SFCHWP. We are a family owned Studio who hires TOP San Francisco Wedding Photographers who specialize in complex weekend celebrations but willing to cover intimate weddings in San Francisco City Hall at a reasonable rate.
SFCHWP is a family owned studio that works with TOP San Francisco Wedding Photographers who specialize in complex high-end weekend weddings but willing to cover intimate weddings in San Francisco City Hall at a reasonable rate. Basic photography packages begin at $325 including full ceremony coverage. Our portfolio samples can be found here. Sample videos are here.
2019 is a complex year at San Francisco City Hall. County Clerk office is constantly behind the schedule. Deputy Marriage commissioners are overworked and tired. Couples are late and unprepared. A wedding party of 50+ is a new reality. There is also constant foot traffic on the Grand Staircase making it nearly impossible to get a beautiful wide angle shot.
On top of that, we see more special events preparations that require audio/visual/floral setup teams to work starting in the early afternoon. City Hall does not disclose it's special event schedule and clueless couples expect charming and empty City Hall as they see in countless online portfolios. What they discover looks similar to movie production set with busy technicians running around, many areas closed-off and cops everywhere.
We have a number of pieces of advice and solutions below.
Getting a quality San Francisco City Hall wedding photography considering the current situation, requires a photographer with lots of experience, intuition, communication skills, and even connections. Being a talented photographer with an expensive camera is not enough as working with increasingly behind the schedule county clerk office and busy event setup teams can be challenging especially on Fridays.
Summary of potential issues:
1. Couples who brought very large groups may delay your own ceremony. They will also be very close to your group during the ceremony.
2. Older officiants: Yes, some of them really old and are very slow. Even if everyone is on time, officiants can easily cause delays that can be very long.
3. Tourists: they are unstoppable and can rush right through your ceremony talking loudly.
4. Blocked out areas for private events setup. If this happens all couples will be forced to be around a few available areas for both family and bridal photos.
Our team knows how to get the best out of City Hall no matter how complex the circumstances are, but careful planning will improve your overall experience and outcome of your City Hall wedding photography session. Below is the first advice.
Yes, if you invest in your own private area at San Francisco City Hall (namely 4th floor or Mayor's Balcony), you will enjoy a much calmer experience. Most importantly, your guests will know where to be, will not to have to deal with crowds, and will enjoy a City Hall views from these areas.
If you cannot or don't want to rent a spot, you can bring your own officiant releasing the load off a county clerk office and having a much nicer experience by skipping a registration altogether. We can recommend a number of these officiants.
Here is a comparison. Let's see how your normal City Hall routine will look if you book the county clerk office assigned officiant:
1. Check-in to the County Clerk office front desk. Get a B-number. You may need to spend 5-10 minutes in line.
2. Wait until deputy marriage commissioner (officiant) calls you. It may take some time. Typically 5-20 minutes.
3. Check-in again. This time with the actual marriage commissioner who needs to see your witnesses. The marriage commissioner will provide you with instructions. Witnesses will sign the marriage license. 3-12 minutes depending on the officiant.
4. Wait for two (sometimes three or four) more couples to do the same thing (register) as they are with you in the same time slot. (if they are late - you are affected too as single officiant performs 3 weddings in a row). Typically 10-20 minutes.
5. Get to the Rotunda (you may need to find your guests who may have wondering around while you were waiting).
6. Have your wedding Ceremony performed in the available spot (Rotunda is not guaranteed).
And here is a routine with your own officiant:
1. Meet your officiant at a scheduled time.
2. Come up to the 2nd or 4th floor and find an available spot.
3. Get married. That's it.
Okay, now you know what are the best solutions to improve your City Hall wedding experience. However, renting a private space and hiring your own private officiant may not work for everyone as it costs extra. Officiants would cost at least $100-$150 more than the one City hall provides. Private space will set you back $1000.
There are, however, ways to get the best out of your Sf City Hall photography session and picking the right days and time is the biggest factor.
Try to avoid Fridays - these are the busiest days at City Hall. Your ideal day is Wednesday. Tuesday should be your #2 option. Monday and Thursday are equally busy.
You can now book 9AM for your marriage ceremony. if you do that, your photography session can start as early as 8AM when City Hall opens it's doors to the public. The building is practically empty which allows your wedding photographer to transfer any photo idea into reality.
Yes, it's absolutely legal. Your friend can obtain a deputy marriage commissioner certificate for a single day. It costs $35 or so. This way you won't even have to pay for the county clerk office ceremony and will bypass the check-in process.
If you want to have an easy, fun and guided experience, you need to hire a photographer who knows San Francisco City Hall inside out, knows officiants by name, has great communication skills, can provide clear instructions to family and friends, knows how to help older/disabled guests. And of course, you need someone who can capture beautiful memories of your celebration. I believe SFCHWP Studio doing just that.
2019 San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer | 3365 Sacramento St #435, San Francisco, CA 94118