Megs and Chad eloped to San Francisco City Hall from Calgary, Canada where they live. This was an absolutely spontaneous plan to get married, because why the hell not! Megs reached out very excitedly by email just 12 days before the wedding.
The couple was spending a few days in San Francisco for Megs’ birthday in October and in honor of her fav true crime Podcast live show, My Favorite Murder.
Megs wrote in her initial email, “we are wildly in love, love traveling, love spontaneous adventures, and making incredible one of a lifetime memories”.
That pretty much sums up the thought behind the decision to elope, ahead of the bigger wedding reception celebrations which were planned for January 2019 in Calgary.
The order of the day was very low-key, relaxed, and a chill time. This was a chance to take some pictures and enjoy a special vacation away together, just the two of them (+ me and my camera!).
Megs + Chad wanted the number 13 in both their wedding dates (the bigger reception in Canada was booked for January 13). When Megs went online to make their City Hall appointment, the only date available during their vacation was October 30 (10/30 so still a 13) – their prefered date!
Their check-in number B103, so another 13 🙂 Meant to be!
After a sweet, emotional ceremony in the beautiful rotunda, we took some photos on my favorite spots around City Hall including the grand staircase and the 4th Floor gallery.
One of my favorite moments of the whole morning was when they exchanged personal cards in lieu of being able to make personal vows during their ceremony.
The meaningful exchange took place in the stunning Palace of Fine Arts, our second portrait location after Crissy Field with its Golden Gate Bridge views.
There were nerves, and laughs and tears and hugs and it was the stuff that wedding photography is made of!
It’s such a lovely idea to write out some words of affirmation & love in a card, and deliver them later during the wedding day. You might exchange cards or read them out in your own private vow exchange ceremony.
While City Hall does not permit personal vows for the 5-minute public ceremonies, you make the rest of the day whatever you want it to be. I’d be happy to share with you some of my recommendations whether you’re looking for brunch restaurants, beaches, hikes, taco trucks or spas to continue your wedding day antics.
Megs wore a retro-inspired white dress with blue scallop design. White but not too wedding-y, and something she can wear again in the future! Plus, it had pockets. Chad was in black pants, white shirt and vest with his trademark tweed cap.
They had with them a cute San Francisco tote bag which made for a fun memento of their trip and their wedding day.
We used Lyft for maximum efficiency between City Hall, Crissy Field and ending at the Palace of Fine Arts. We saved a lot of time vs driving & finding parking, so we managed to hit all the spots and stay within the 3 hours the couple had booked. Awesome.
The couple ordered a beautiful coffee table book a few months after the City Hall wedding – scroll to the end to see!
If you’re looking for a San Francisco City Hall wedding photographer that’s experienced photographing elopements (even last minute ones!) and can help you piece together all the little elements that will go into your day, get in touch!
Also check out my many resources at the bottom of this blog post for even more inspo + info, whomever you choose as your wedding photographer!
I offer planning help of whatever level you need for all my couples. I also have a guide to all my favorite San Francisco photo locations – particularly useful for eloping couples that may not know where to start with the attractions, sites, neighborhoods and areas that San Francisco has to offer.
We will find something that’s just right for you, like we did for Megs & Chad. Congratulations, you two!
Want more information?
Zoe Larkin is a San Francisco-based wedding photographer & fine art graduate originally from London. She specializes in photographing intimate weddings for joyful, free-thinking couples. Zoe creates raw, personal images that evoke a range of emotions, combining documentary photography with a stylized edge. Her work has been published on Offbeat Bride, Equally Wed, Catalyst Wed Co, Love Inc Mag among others. She adores simplicity, kindness & Earl Grey. Zoe is an equality-minded vendor that celebrates diversity in all its forms. She is passionate about SF City Hall weddings, having had one herself! Read more about Zoe here.