Two days after our sun, sand, and sleeveface shenanigans with Sarah and Ryan, we returned to San Francisco to capture their nuptials at city hall. We met them at their stylish Airbnb apartment, where Sarah had sequestered herself in the sun-filled bedroom so she and Ryan could have a first look later on. Once her friend Lauren helped her zip up her stunning lace dress and Ryan jumped into his dapper suit, they separately made their way outside.
The next two hours flew by. Rick, the horn player Ryan hired on a whim a few nights before, provided a soundtrack of old-timey jazz standards for the occasion, starting from the moment Ryan and Sarah saw each other for the first time that day. He speedwalked to city hall with us, serenading crowded bus stops and inquisitive eyes. Cars honked and passersby offered their congratulations along the way.
San Francisco’s City Hall is a dazzler—a Beaux-Arts beauty, in fact—topped with a gold-leaf dome. (Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married here, can you imagine?) There’s typically no shortage of tourists and soon-to-be-wed couples and their entourage here, but somehow we felt like we were the only ones in the entire building during the brief but moving ceremony in the ceremonial rotunda. Afterward, we were left to our own devices before we had to make room for the next ceremony. By request, Rick performed “Stella by Starlight” for Sarah and Ryan’s first dance. The lush, expressive notes reverberated throughout the building as the newlyweds twirled and dipped and beamed at each other—pure magic.
We explored the building a little while longer before taking to the streets (Market Street, to be exact) for a few more snaps, feeling exceptionally lucky to be privy to such a beautiful, one-of-a-kind civil ceremony. Here are some of our favorite moments.