How to get married in San Francisco

Getting married in San Francisco can be a serious dream with its ocean views, moderate temps, super fun neighborhoods, and iconic photo spots. It's high tech meets lo-fi and beach vibes meet urban chic. To get married in San Francisco (or planning your wedding in the surrounding areas of Oakland, South Bay, North Bay, or Napa and Sonoma), you'll need to know how to navigate all the legal requirements for making it official in San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

We've got everything from the nitty-gritty of how to get legally married in San Francisco, to a few of our favorite San Francisco weddings, to special tips for how to save money in San Francisco.

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Tips for planning a wedding in San Francisco

Budget
Budgeting efficiently in San Francisco can be a huge challenge since it's the second-most expensive city in the country to get married (just behind New York City). But you can make a dent in that potential budget by limiting your guest list, choosing off-season dates, and avoiding heavily trafficked weekends like the Chinese New Year Parade in February, Bay to Breakers race in May, San Francisco Pride in June, and the Ghirardelli Square tree lighting in November. Check with your venue AND local hotels to see if there any big events that could cause you issues with pricing, parking, and hotel block rates.

Ways to save in your San Francisco wedding budget:

  • Look into non-traditional venues like restaurants for hosting smaller gatherings.
  • Choose in-season flowers for your decor OR opt for no flowers and decorate with items that mean something to you instead (board games? Funko Pop?)
  • Prioritize what's important to you and minimize the rest: if great food and a good photographer are important, see if you can skip things like a limo, a huge cake, and expensive favors.

Weather
San Francisco has my personal favorite weather with cool nights and pleasantly warm days all year round. The temperatures stay pretty moderate, ranging from highs in the 60s to the 70s on average. Rainfall is heaviest from November to March and the well-known fog can crop up at any time. But hey, moody wedding photos are always in style.

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How to get legally married in San Francisco

All couples who want to get married in San Francisco must obtain a marriage license. There’s no required wait time once you have your license, but it does expire after 90 days. You'll want to see all of the documents and requirements you'll need to fulfill at the San Francisco County Clerk's Office.

If you're having a friend officiate your wedding (yep, you totally can in San Francisco!), check here for information on how to get ordained in San Francisco.

Changing your name in San Francisco
If you're planning to change your name after the wedding, get a few copies of your marriage license to have on hand when obtaining your new documents. Hit up your local Social Security office, update your passport, head to the DMV, and update your voter registration.

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San Francisco wedding officiant requirements

San Francisco does not require minister registration before performing a marriage. If you're getting married outside of the city, you should always check with the local city or town clerk to check that your officiant can perform the wedding in that jurisdiction.

Here's more on how to become an officiant in San Francisco.

Source and more info: American Marriage Ministries

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Offbeat San Francisco wedding vendors

You may think finding skilled wedding vendors in San Francisco is easy — it's a major city with an abundance of amazing venues! But you may be overwhelmed with options and might have to do some research to find vendors who work with all budgets and all styles. You can find offbeat-friendly San Francisco wedding vendors and Napa & Sonoma wedding vendors in our Vendor Guide including:

Don't miss our online vendors, too, for honeymoon registries, stationery, gifts, ketubahs, rings, guests books, wedding websites, and more.

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Some of our favorite San Francisco weddings

Take a peek at some of the most fun offbeat weddings in San Francisco. Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of each to find out who they chose for their San Francisco wedding vendors!

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What did we miss about getting married in San Francisco?

Email us your wedding planning tips and favorite San Francisco vendors!

Ready to start planning a San Francisco wedding? Head to our Tools page for wedding planning resources, our big planning checklist, editable planning spreadsheets, and TONS of wedding planning help and info.

Wedding Planning Tools

 


Photo credits: Ben Krantz; Zoe Larkin Photography; Cari Courtright Photography; Dustin Cantrell; f27 Photography; Vivian Chen Photography; Gaby Esensten Photography

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