City hall

san francisco, CA

February 29, 2016

Before I got married, I briefly toyed around with the idea of trying the knot at the Justice of the Peace. I'd done some online searching of wedding photos-- because it's all about the photos, right?— and "discovered" San Francisco City Hall.

My God!

San Francisco's current City Hall is actually its second, and despite its massive size-- two full city blocks, 500k square feet, and a dome taller than the US Capitol-- it's actually smaller than the original building, which was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Re-built during the American Renaissance of the 1880s to 1917, architect Arthur Brown, Jr., of Bakewell & Brown, was fanatical about the details, even overseeing the doorknobs and the typeface to be used in the signage. God bless him, because this? This is a masterpiece.

There were tons of just-married couples doing full blown photoshoots (with lights and professional photographers) throughout the building. The money they saved on the ceremony, they clearly put in the photo budget. And I'm not mad. If NYC's City Hall looked like this, my folks might have saved tens of thousands on the wedding, but not on the photographer. 

Get into the glorious-ness below!

You can kind of guess from the outside that there's some magic waiting in store. Rarely is an exterior this detailed and the interior just meh! 

This is the first view when you walk into the Main Hall. My mouth dropped.

I moved up to the second floor balcony and to capture better details. See that main light in the center of the image? Lots of couples get married right under it. Also see the bride on the stairs? That's her groom in the foreground. They were in there for HOURS taking pics. They're going to be glorious.


A view of the side of the Main Hall. I love the Corinthian columns and that gilded iron work. 

Even the hallways are ornate.

Everything in here is extra, from the windows to the ceilings. You just can't get a bad shot anywhere in the building. I wonder how much it cost to construct.

Also, on the right of the image, you can begin to see the interior of the marvelous dome. (Don't worry. I have close ups.)

About those ceilings...  And this is the first glimpse of the back wall. You know how sometimes you see a dress, and the front is all awesome, and the back is just plain? I hate it when that happens. And that's clearly not what happened here. The back wall of the Main Hall is as equally divine as the front.

I think we've done a 360. We're back to the front of the Main Hall... Just beautiful. I can't get enough of it!

And finally, the Hall's pièce de résistance: the dome. Have you ever see anything so awesome? I had to capture it by its layers.

And we're done. Down the steps and to the exit! Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Images provided by Demetria Lucas D'Oyley. All rights reserved.