Finding the perfect Wedding Venue is usually the first part of planning your wedding. I’ve put together a curated list of great spots in the Bay Area and throughout Northern California. These include some I’ve photographed and others I’ve heard about or noteworthy ones I’ve come across in my years in the city.
Why you should consider the Bay Area
San Francisco and the Bay Area offer some of the most scenic, historic and treasured spots in the whole state of California. Many venues offer ceremony and reception spaces all in one which helps keep things simple for your guests and you! The weather stays pretty mild most of the year and the fog is always rolling, especially in the city. San Francisco is a wonderful place for out of town guests and offers them plenty to do and see while in town for your wedding.
Wildfires in Wine Country and Northern California continue year after year during the late summer months. I have had couples with venues that were completely lost in past years. Always check to see what contingencies venues have for fires. City parks are usually packed on the weekends, parking can be tricky + peak tourist seasons are May-October. In San Francisco there has been increased crime in recent years but nothing in my experience from hindering a decision to get married in the city. Proper venues have security and are safe.
Many San Francisco landmarks and historical locations require a permit but I know a few that are available:
De Young Museum & Legion of Honor Court
Indoor Wedding Venues in San Francisco
Golden Gate Club of San Francisco
Spanish Colonial Revival exterior opened in 1949 as a first-class service club for enlisted men and women. Several historic treaty signings happened here during the early days of the Korean War. There are Golden Gate and bay views at every turn in this quiet corner of the Presidio. Walking distance to the Presidio Chapel, Main Post Lawn, and the Inn at the Presidio. Outdoor & Indoor spaces. Up to 300 guests.
Real world advice: it’s a quiet part of the city, feels special and secluded. Feels historic but also special. This is now under ownership of Wedgewood properties, known for cookie-cutter style venue management. Still worth it for this gem of a wedding venue.
More Information: https://www.presidio.gov/venues/golden-gate-club
The University Club of San Francisco
Private social club with breathtaking views of the city located in the Nob Hill District. Notable members President Hoover and conservationist John Muir. Weddings have two levels at the club, both with amazing views. Right on Powell Street, you are on a stop for the famous trolley cars. They offer hotel rooms too so family and bridal party can stay on property. Real scoop: this historic wedding venue is lavishly appointed and elegant. Feels quintessentially San Franciscan with lots of great nooks for photos.
Wedding Information: https://www.uclubsf.org/weddings
511 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Urban Chic Gallery Venue blocks away from the Bay Bridge. This space gives you a blank canvas to create your vision. Double leveled venue, 3,000 sq foot patio that can accommodate food trucks. Enough space for 300 seated guests and contemporary art always on display.
More information on weddings: https://terrasf.com/events-gallery/
The Green Room, San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building
Across the street from city hall, the Green Room is the hidden gem of the Memorial Veterans Opera House. The building has been home to the San Fransisco’s Opera + Ballet since 1932. Access to a bridal suite, the small gardens + the balcony. Seats 200 guests and is only available for Weddings in July and August. Starting at $10,000 but includes insurance, some rentals and onsite management help. Website info. This is a world class venue, one of the most unique you can find in the city. The green and gold crown molding speak for themselves and everything from this gallery felt regal.
Elopement or Intimate Wedding Venues
Log Cabin at the Presidio
Haas-Lilienthal House on Franklin Street
Firehouse in the Marina
Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park [rates start at $1000, can fit 50 people indoors]
San Francisco Botanical Gardens [Micro Wedding Package available]
Many hidden backyard + unique properties on Airbnb + VRBO
Historic San Francisco Wedding Venues
James Leary Flood Mansion
Legion of Honor Museum
Asian Art Museum
Conservatory of Flowers
Old Sugar Mill
Great American Music Hall
Wedding Venues with Incredible Views
Bay Lights Charters
Ventana, Big Sur
Sens, San Francisco
Cavallo Point Lodge
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay
Restaurant Wedding Venues
E&O Kitchen and Bar
Affordable or Free San Francisco Wedding Venues
San Francisco Italian Athletic Club
Swedish American Hall
Fort Mason Center
Marines’ Memorial Club + Hotel
Stern Grove Clubhouse
The Clubhouse at the Presidio Golf Course
Dog Friendly Bay Area Wedding Venues
Swedenborgian Church of San Francisco
Bluxome Street Winery
Magnolia Brewing Company
San Francisco Design Center Galleria [must be leashed]
Round up of San Francisco & Bay Area Wedding Venues
- The San Francisco Mint
One of the great venues the city has to offer and rightfully at the top of my list. This Greek Revival stunner opened in 1874 and is one of the few city landmarks to withstand the 1906 Earthquake. It was once a bank, if you didn’t catch it from the name, and once stored a third of the nation’s wealth before closing in 1937. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1961 and there have been talks about it becoming a museum in the future. In the meantime it’s 92,000 sq feet of staircases, ballrooms and hallways can be rented out for weddings. The courtyard is an absolute dream in the evening.
Website Information [rates, maps, logistics] https://thesanfranciscomint.com/info/
- Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin County
Internationally recognized artist in residence campus in old military barracks. This venue sits in the quiet Marin Headlands and has multi-level spaces for indoor ceremonies, dinner in the mess hall & receptions. A historical spot with lots and lots of charm and one of the most unique bathrooms in the United States! Available on Saturdays for a building buyout that costs $10,500. A Friday rehearsal is included and a location coordinator. Guests must be out at 10pm and you must use their exclusive caterer. http://www.headlands.org/weddings-celebrations/. My Green Wedding Shoes Feature from the Center.
3. San Francisco City Hall
City Hall weddings are truly golden here. I’ve photographed couples who come from all over the states and sometimes the world to get married here. A civil ceremony is free or you can reserve the mayor’s balcony or a full venue buyout. Photos around the building are free for all and draw in crowds, especially on Fridays. One of the most treasured city halls in the nation. Pairs well with a cool hotel or Presidio location for portraits. My Mini-Guide on Civil Ceremonies. Phone: 415.554.6079 http://sfcityhallevents.org/weddings
3. Deer Park Villa, Fairfax
A place to be married among the redwoods! This four acre venue has a bridal suite, an indoor bar spot for the guys, a dramatic place for the ceremony + dinner and an indoor dance area. Can party until midnight. Wonderful views for portraits about 15 minutes drive from the venue. 367 Bolinas Road, Fairfax, Ca. http://www.deerparkvilla.com/
4. The Barns at Cooper Molera, Monterey
It’s a barn wedding but with a more historical, California approach. This rustic venue holds up to 250 guests and has indoor and outdoor spaces for all parts of your wedding day. The Barns are close enough to the historic downtown Monterey but far enough to be away from daytime tourists. In walking distance to many great hotels in the area too. Liz & Jeff’s wedding with lots of colorful details.
5. Outdoor Art Club, Mill Valley
Designed in 1904 by architect Bernard Maybeck, the Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club was a women’s organization committed to the environmental conservation and beautification of public places in the area. A lovely mix of outdoor spaces and a dramatic wood dinner and reception hall. email email@example.com website https://outdoorartclub.org/
6. Fort Mason, San Francisco
Fort Mason Center is on some of the most prime real estate in the city and embodies most everything people love about San Francisco. There’s a sense of history here and a closeness to nature with trees lining the hill and being right on the bay. The recently renovated Gallery 308 has polished concrete floors, vaulted ceilings and a ‘clean slate’ to accommodate any vision for a wedding ceremony & reception. I would be remissed in my duties here if I didn’t mention that this venue has maybe the best Golden Gate Bridge views of any other venue in town. This is a non-profit venue dedicated to arts and culture for the community. It accommodates up to 400 guests with indoor and outdoor spaces.
7. Brazilian Room, Tilden Park in Berkeley
The Brazilian Room was originally part of the Brazilian Pavilion at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition on Treasure Island. The building was moved to Tilden Park and dedicated in 1941 with extensive renovations in 1965. Includes an outdoor ceremony and indoor space for guests. Walking distance to the beautiful botanical gardens where a special photo permit can be obtained [fairly easily!] Top Secret Fact: the trees in the front are cherry blossoms and bloom for about 3 weeks in April. I’ve shot a number of weddings here and had no idea! https://www.ebparks.org/activities/corpfamily/br/
8. Blanco Urban Venue, San Jose
This is a fairly new event space in downtown San Jose. It features three levels of usable space including a top floor with a retractable roof to shade guests from the sun. Ideal for Indian weddings were the colors can really play a big role in the wedding day. Includes a day of coordinator from the venue and can accommodate over 200 guests. Elizabeth & Varun’s Hindu Wedding.
Full information: https://blancourbanvenue.com/
9. Oceano Resort & Spa, Half Moon Bay
Just 30 minutes from San Francisco, right on the Pillar Point Harbor with luxury suites. Indoor & Outdoor dedicated guest spaces. Free parking for guests.
280 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
10. The Olympic Club at Lakeside
The long history of athletics and a reputation that proceeds itself. They just redid the reception ballroom and it is worth putting on this list. Golf course venue with a special spot they take couples for sunset photos on the cliff. Must be a member of the club already, more information: https://www.olyclub.com/the-club/private-events/
11. Grand Corinthian Ballroom, Downtown San Jose
Built in 1924, the Corinthian was originally a Scottish Rite Temple. The building was converted into a movie theater and now is a luxury indoor wedding space for ceremonies + receptions. The main ballroom boasts a 50 foot ceiling with wood beams, a carved stone proscenium stage and velvet curtains. Has a dedicated bridal suite and groomsmen areas. The marble staircase is a dream and gardens are right across the street. This venue is dog friendly. https://corinthiangrandballroom.com/
12. Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur
A magnificent camp wedding. This spot has cabins available to get ready and a couple of options for ceremony spots. Receptions happen at the campground areas but can be decked out for a lush event. Driving distance to coastal views, this spot is a dream. Website Information
13. Historic Santa Clara Mission, Santa Clara
Gorgeous historical mission on the campus of Santa Clara. The sprawling gardens and grounds are beautifully maintained and pretty quiet on the weekends. You must be a student, faculty, staff or alumni to have your wedding here. More information https://www.scu.edu/missionchurch/wedding-information/
14. Saratoga Springs Camp Wedding, Saratoga
Charming wedding venue nestled in the mountains of Santa Cruz. This venue boasts natural creeks and soaring redwoods with a few different ceremony and reception spots. The bridge makes for dramatic wedding portraits + can be utilized early in the morning if you are having your ceremony in another part of the park. If you are not in the main cathedral grove the music can carry throughout the venue. http://saratoga-springs.com/wedding/
15. The Perry House, Monterey
A historic home in the heart of Monterey. This venue can accommodate 130 guests and has a beautiful bridal suite + outdoor ceremony space. I like that this venue is only 15 minutes from a breathtaking secluded sunset spot on the shoreline. https://perryhousemonterey.com/wedding/
16. Trentadue Winery + Vineyard, Geyserville
Traditional Upscale Vineyard wedding venue in Geyserville. The grounds are vast and include lots of beautiful spots for outdoor seating + gathering. A grand ballroom + lots + lots of vines for portraits. Aly + James Full Post. 19170 Geyserville Ave Geyserville, CA 95441-9603. Website.
17. Maverick’s House, Half Moon Bay
A wedding venue right on the harbor, Maverick’s House is a a newer venue in Half Moon Bay that accommodates mid-sized weddings of under 140 guests. They have a nice bridal suite upstairs and outdoor and indoor spaces. The outdoor spaces are what you want from this venue, particularly nice at dinner as the sky starts to change over the water. https://maverickshouse.com/
18. Beltane Ranch, Ellen Glen
Rounding out my list is a special one in wine country. Beltane Ranch is a six generation family owned estate beautifully situated just above Napa county. They boast wide open spaces here, vineyards, a host of animals, overnight accommodations and a variety of spaces for any wedding size. This is a perfect venue for weekend stays that can also host a welcome dinner onsite. The food and wine are just as amazing as the grounds. Website https://beltaneranch.com/