San Francisco Weddings

Best Wedding Park Locations

Whether you live in San Francisco and are planning a wedding, or are coming to San Francisco for a destination wedding, San Francisco has something for every wedding. From large capacity and glamorous ballrooms in the finest hotels, to atmosphere and historical elegance, to rooms with amazing views, onto chartering vessels to enjoy the bay, San Francisco has it all.

Some ideas for wedding locations in San Francisco:

Historic / Classic Hotel Locations

San Francisco has some of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in the country. Hotels can be a good option for a wedding location, as many of the bigger ones have multiple rooms to choose from depending on the size of your wedding and your needs. Many of the hotels offer views, ballrooms and historic sophistication.

Hotels can also be nice if you need to book rooms for out of town guests, as most will give you a better price if you are holding the event with them.Some of the nicer hotels include: The Fairmont, The Clift Hotel, The Grand Hyatt, The Huntington, The Mansions Hotel, The Pan Pacific Hotel, Park Hyatt Hotel, Sheraton Palace Hotel, The Sir Francis Drake, Westin St. Francis and The Marriott.

Sheraton Palace Hotel

Weddings With Sweeping Views:

Choosing a venue that has a view is a wonderful idea for people planning San Francisco destination weddings as well as locals who want to add that special scene to their reception. Some choices with great views include: Angel Island State Park, Aquatic Park Bayview Room, Carnelian Room, The Cliff House, McCormick & Kuletos in Ghirardelli Square and The Shadows.

Historic and Stylish Atmosphere

If you are looking to choose a location that speaks about the rich history and architecture of San Francisco there are many choices. Many buildings in this category were either built in the late 1800’s or the very early 1900’s, and serve as wonderful venues to add atmosphere and old world style to your reception.

Some great wedding locations (with contact information) include: 1409 Sutter (1881) – 415/561-0852, American Carousel Museum - 415/928-0550, Archbishops Mansion (1904) - 415/563-7872, Café Majestic (1902) - 415/776-6400, The City Club (in the Stock Exchange Tower) - 415/362-2480, The Conservatory (1879) - 800/707-1879, Emporio Armani Express Restaurant (1911) - 415/677-9010, Forest Hill Club House (1919) - 415/664-0542, Great American Music Hall (1907) - 415/202-9812, Haas-Lilienthal House (1886) - 415/441-3011, Hamlin Mansion - 415/331-0544, James Leary Flood Mansion (1915) - 415/563-2900, Julius’ Castle (1915) - 415/392-2222, Old Federal Reserve Bank Building - 415/392-1234, The Queen Anne (1890) - 415/441-2828, and The Sherman House (1876) - 415/563-3600.

Outside of San Francisco - In The Bay Area Weddings:

If you want to try locations outside of the city some ideas might be to try the North Bay for places like Sausalito or Tiburon for views of the city, or Stinson Beach or Marin for views of the Pacific. For true elegance and atmosphere wine country is a wonderful option. Areas such as Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino are rich with wineries, resorts and spas that are perfect for weddings. To the south of San Francisco you may want to look at areas such as Half Moon Bay, Monterey and Carmel. All three are quaint and full of charm for such an occasion.

Of course, all of these options can be a more expensive route, so if price is the main issue, looking for places in the East Bay is a great idea. While the facilities can be just as nice, the prices tend to be a bit lower the farther away from the coast you get.

To find out about reception facilities in any of these areas, it is best to contact the visitors bureaus in each city for information on places for your wedding. Most will be able to provide you with a complete list of wineries and various reception facilities to house your event. They should also be able to give you an idea of each places capacity limit and price range. For more information, there are also many visitor websites and links that can aid in your search.

On The Bay

To truly enjoy San Francisco’s skyline and bay, chartering a boat or sailing vessel is a unique way to celebrate your wedding. Most vessels will take you out on the bay for a duration, and can include the ceremony and reception, or just the reception.On a nice day this is a perfect choice. For both view and historic atmosphere you can choose from:Balclutha, a three masted sailing ship that sailed from Wales to San Francisco in 1887, The Eureka, a historic steamboat, the Ferryboat Santa Rosa, a steamboat built in 1927, and the Sailing Ship Dolph Rempp, a sailing vessel built in 1884. Other options for a bay wedding include: The Blue and Gold Fleet who charter private boats for events, or the luxurious Hornblower Dining Yachts and the Pacific Marine Yachts.

Tips For Planning a San Francisco Wedding

Before you get started planning your San Francisco wedding, it’s a good idea to, first, figure out your budget, then second, start a checklist with all ideas and schedules you can think of. This can be changed and added to as you go, but it’s a good idea to start with an idea then go from there. If you are using a wedding planner, be sure to give them all of this information so they have some guidelines to start from. If you are planning the wedding yourself, have it so you can refer to it when you speak to different people so you know you are accomplishing the things you want to accomplish.

First I recommend searching for the place you want to have it, and what you want that place to offer. Have an idea of how many guests will attend so you are sure to choose a space that can accommodate that number. Some places will provide the complete event including the food and beverages at a certain cost per head. If you find that it is less expensive to provide your own bar and food, or if you have a specific caterer in mind, be sure that the facility you choose will allow other service providers to come onto their site. On the same note, some places offer only the room itself and you are responsible for everything else.Be sure to understand just what the facility offers, including things like tables, chairs, linens, etc. Get a full list and all prices including taxes, deposits and extra fees so you are armed with the exact costs before you book the facility.

Appointments are necessary when searching for a site as well. Even if you just want to look around, many rooms and facilities are closed to public access in the off hours. Speaking to a person directly is also beneficial because you will be able to obtain the most current prices and information at one time.

Another thing to think about is where you are having the actual ceremony. If you would like to have the ceremony at the same site as the reception, some places are limited in space, so be sure to find a facility that can accommodate the ceremony as well.

If you have a lot of guests coming from out of town, blocking off sets of rooms at either the hotel you are having the event at, or at surrounding hotels is also a good idea. Many places will hold rooms at a fixed price for your guests for an allotted amount of time. Whether the event is at a hotel or not, I would look into several hotels to find the best price and be sure to include those names and numbers on an insert in the invitation.

For things like flowers and invitations, if you are on a budget and can find the time, I would try doing them yourself. For flowers, you can find vases for centerpieces at many discount craft stores, or restaurant supply warehouses. For the flowers, it us much less expensive to buy them yourself at a wholesale flower provider. You can assemble the centerpieces yourself, as well as organize your bride and bridesmaids bouquet and boutonnières. Check online for various tips and ideas on how to do this. If you are set on having a professional do it for you, be sure to research what flowers you would like beforehand so you can avoid getting talked into expensive bouquets.

Invitations can also be done by you if you have the time. Buying invitations at party stores or paper supply stores will save you quite a bit of money. These days virtually all word processing programs that you find on your computer will have templates for all sizes of invitations and lots of different fonts to play with. Some even offer guidelines on how to word your invitation and will do most of the work for you once you input the information.On thing to make sure of is that your printer can print on thicker paper. If not, you can probably save the invitation on disk and take it to a printers and have them copy it onto the invitations. But most modern printers can take invitations, you might just have to feed them through by hand.

Another important thing to think about is transportation for the bride and groom, the wedding party, and possibly even the guests. For luxury and convenience, San Francisco limousines or town cars are a good choice. Arranging transportation can alleviate stress in that it will ensure that everyone gets to where they need to be, when they need to be there, without the worry or hassle of directions and parking. Generally people will rent two limousines, one for the bride and her party and one for the groom and his party. After the wedding, the bride and groom will take one and the wedding party will take the other to the reception. If you have many guests from out of town, or your reception is out of the city, chartering limo buses or excursion buses is also an option. This choice is also good for city weddings, as parking may be limited or some facilities have a valet charge which might be just as much as the rental vehicle. If you are taking this route, I would definitely shop around for the best prices. Most limousine companies will work with you on price, particularly if you are renting multiple vehicles for an occasion. If they don’t, then keep shopping around.

Remember to get educated on the wedding process. Shop around for the best deals and make people work with you on price and amenities. Online resources are a great tool, as well as printed guides.Try “Here Comes the Guide: Northern California Edition”, as a starting place. This is just one example of guides that are out there that list locations with brief histories and explanations about the facility, as well as addresses, contact numbers and details like price range and amenities offered. Guides like this also offer the same information about venues in all surrounding areas. As with most guides you will also find a guide to florists, photographers, printers etc. This can help you narrow down your search and give you a place to start from.

By: Colleen Kelly - Copyright SFTRAVEL LLC 2006