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Marriage: Civil Ceremony


Frequently Asked Questions

In Our Office

Instructions on Getting Married at City Hall:

1. Ceremonies are available Monday-Friday at 9:30 a.m through 3:30 p.m. every half hour. There are three reservation slots available during each time period.

2. Reservations require a payment of $78 at the time of booking. Appointments may be made:

  • Online - Reservations can be made with credit card only (Visa or MasterCard): Online Civil Ceremony Reservations.
  • In person - Reservations may be made by one of the parties to the marriage or a third party. The person making the reservation must be able to pay at the time of making the appointment. Cash, money order, and debit card will be the ONLY method of payment accepted when making the reservation in person.

3. Absolutely no changes can be made, and no refunds or credits will be given for any reason(s) including but not limited to cancellation, error, failure to show up, or any unforeseen circumstances.

4. For Ceremonies....

  • The ceremony will NOT be performed unless you present a VALID marriage license to the commissioner at the time of your ceremony. If you are unable to do so, you will be required to make another ceremony reservation and pay the ceremony fee again.
  • If the marriage license was not purchased in San Francisco, it must be a PUBLIC marriage license for it to be valid in San Francisco.

5. Marriage licenses are issued by prepaid confirmed marriage license reservation only.

  • If a marriage license has already been purchased, check the expiration date of your marriage license prior to making the ceremony reservation. The marriage license is valid for 90 days from the marriage license issuance.
  • If you plan to purchase your marriage license on the same day as your ceremony reservation, you must make and pay for a marriage license reservation for the same day at least 30 minutes PRIOR to your ceremony reservation time. For example, if your ceremony reservation is 10:00 a.m., your marriage license reservation should be scheduled no later than 9:30 a.m.

6. Both parties to the marriage must be able to speak and understand English. If the commissioner feels that either party does not speak English, he/she may refuse to perform the ceremony unless you provide your own third-party interpreter. Couples requiring a ceremony performed in sign language or any other language, do NOT book the appointment online and you MUST call the County Clerk's Office, come to the office directly to make such arrangements or email a request to county.clerk@sfgov.org. Please allow a minimum of two week advance notice for all sign language bookings.

7. The couple and no more than 2 witnesses should arrive at the INFORMATION DESK at City Hall, Room 168 for CHECK-IN 10 minutes before your appointment time (other witnesses shall wait in outside area.)

8. Each couple must bring:

  • Valid marriage license
  • Legal photo identification
  • At least 1 witness (NOT provided to you. Applies only to couples with a PUBLIC marriage license)
  • No more than 6 guests total (includes witnesses, children, photographer...).  Couples bringing more than 6 guests, or guests who are creating a nuisance, impeding official government business, or impeding the enjoyment of the building by others may be removed by the Sheriff’s Department.

9. Ceremonies are performed in a location determined by the commissioner (usually our private ceremony room or the rotunda, if available.) Specific requests for the rotunda or any other area will NOT be accepted as we cannot guarantee availability.

10. A certified copy of your marriage record will NOT be available for purchase until at least 10 days after your ceremony AFTER the license is received from the person solemnizing the marriage.  Same day and expedited services for certified copies are NOT available.  Please plan accordingly.  For further information, see webpage: http://www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=19 

11. No form of litter is permitted to be thrown anywhere inside or outside the building (includes outside steps). Helium balloons, alcohol, and knives are not allowed into the building.

12. Camcorders and cameras are permitted.


Off Site Weekend Ceremonies:

Arrangements for off-site weekend ceremonies can be made for marriage licenses purchased through our office. A Deputy Marriage Commissioner can be scheduled to perform a civil ceremony at a San Francisco location of your choice and time (you are responsible for arranging and paying for venue, permits, etc.). Marriage license must be issued by San Francisco County prior to requesting for arrangements.

Note: (Ceremonies can only be scheduled on Saturdays, Sundays, and Legal Holidays.)

Off-site civil ceremonies can be arranged with provided we are given 7-60 days notice. We will not accept requests more than sixty (60) days prior to the ceremony date.

To make arrangements, complete and submit an "Off-Site Ceremony Request Form" and $130.00 non-refundable fee to the SF County Clerk. Arrangements will not be made without receipt of payment. Upon receiving the request form and payment, you will be provided with your assigned Deputy Marriage Commissioner's name, phone number, and email address (if available).

On the day of the ceremony, $100.00 CASH must be paid to the Deputy Marriage Commissioner. Deputy Marriage Commissioners are volunteers and not City and County of San Francisco employees.

Note: The ceremony must take place in San Francisco. Re-scheduling or rehearsal time is at the discretion of the Deputy Marriage Commissioner


Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day:

Any person age 18+ years may be granted authorization to perform ONE civil marriage as a Deputy Marriage Commissioner. For further information, see webpage Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day.


1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., City Hall #168 SF CA 94102-4678 - Map Directions
Last updated: 6/30/2015 1:01:53 PM