Weddings under the dome
Best Of The Gays
by Cynthia Laird
Maybe it's because San Francisco's fight for marriage equality got started here 10 years ago when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, or maybe it's a classic building, but the beautiful Beaux Arts City Hall tops our readers' list as the best wedding venue. On any given day, you're bound to see couples – gay and straight alike – tie the knot under the dome of the rotunda or perhaps up the grand staircase near the bust of Harvey Milk.
Weddings have also taken place upstairs on the mayor's balcony and in the Board of Supervisors chambers. No matter where you are in the building, its historic magnificence is sure to add something unforgettable to your special day. And, thanks to last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Proposition 8 on a technicality, same-sex marriage is here to stay in California, meaning that City Hall will continue to be a go-to destination for gay and lesbian nuptials.
Couples come from all over to be married at City Hall and spots fill up fast, so reservations are a must. According to the county clerk's website, civil wedding ceremonies are available Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every half hour. There are three reservation slots available during each time period and a deputized marriage commissioner will perform the ceremony.
Reservations require a payment of $77 at the time of booking and appointments can be made online or in person.
There is a separate fee of $101 for a marriage license.
The clerk's office accepts cash, money order, and debit cards.
If you want someone specific to perform your marriage, a friend or family member can become a deputized marriage commissioner for a day. Full details are available online.
San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, 94102. http://www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=13.
Golden Gate Park
Ocean Beach, Stern Grove (tie)