Finding a venue can be one of the more difficult tasks when it comes to planning your wedding. It’s usually the first really big item that you need to tackle and can be a challenge to find something within budget that still suits you and your partner and fits all of your guests. For those of you that might be lost in the sauce trying to figure out where to get married, here is a quick guide of some of my favorite venues that might fit your aesthetic.
If you dream of getting married among gorgeous grounds and florals galore, look no further than the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. This venue has a few different ceremony locations to choose from depending on your guest count, has a gorgeous fountain area among the flowers you can use for cocktail hour and a wide expansive patio for dinner. Plus, lots of indoor space for tearing it up on the dance floor.
Honorable Mention: Conservatory of Flowers a lovely mix of garden meets contemporary
Urban Industrial Wedding
These kinds of venues happen to be one of my favorites. There is something about your guests being all dressed up contrasted with the concrete and urbanized look that feels so romantic. Tank 18 is one of my favorites. It has everything you would want out of an industrial venue – concrete walls, open ceiling and metal bar plus the warmth and chicness of a winery with gorgeous wooden barrels. This venue works best for weddings under 150 people. Bonus: Because the space is already industrial, you don’t need to dress it up with lots of decor since the venue speaks for itself.
Honorable Mention: Dogpatch Wine Works
If you want a venue space that is fresh and looks good dressed up or dressed down, Foreign Cinema is a top contender. This venue is gorgeous on its own for a minimalist look- especially in the art gallery room, but also can handle a lot of design and decor elements like uplighting, disco balls (yes!), and large floral installations. This venue has a variety of spaces available for rental depending on your wedding size. It can handle up to 175 guests if you rent out the whole restaurant space. Keep in mind, this venue can get pricy. Bonus: The food here is some of the best around, even for large weddings the quality does not get diminished.
Honorable Mention: Stable Cafe
Rustic Country Wedding
For those of you craving cowboy boots, burlap, haybales and gorgeous barns – feast your eyes on Pie Ranch located in Pescadero. This venue has all of the rustic country goodness you could want – gorgeous grounds, animals, old weathered fences, crops, barns and of course – pie! Bonus: Pie Ranch is involved with helping educate kids about their food and reconnect the community back to their food through their educational programs.
Honorable Mention: Reinstein Ranch
Who says ballroom weddings are boring? Not me! Check out the Julia Morgan Ballroom for amazing architectural details, gorgeous spaces and high ceilings. This venue is anything but your typical ballroom wedding. This will most certainly have your guests feeling fancy and classy. Bonus: 27 foot mahogany bar, 20 foot fireplace, honeycombed mahogany ceilings… boom.
Honorable Mention: The Fairmont San Francisco
Nature Wedding with guest cabins onsite
If you’re looking for a venue where you can have your guests a short walk away – check out Stones and Flowers retreat. Nestled among the redwoods you can rent out cabins for your guests to stay in and enjoy your time in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This venue offers the best of being naturally breathtaking, mixed with a rustic twist with the gorgeous old barns. While being secluded in the mountains can be a bit challenging at times with logistics, the beauty of this venue sure makes up for it. Bonus: Your wedding will feel private, personal and very secluded being among the trees.
Honorable Mention: Dawn Ranch Lodge
Vintage Artsy Wedding
One of my favorite venues out there is the Headlands Center for the Arts. This venue has so much charm between the vintage benches upstairs for the ceremony, the bright yellow paint peeling walls and the mismatched dining chairs downstairs. With so many rooms and long creaky hallways, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to decorate with unique pieces and add your touch to the venue. Bonus: Katie Powers Catering is the exclusive caterer here, and is ahhh-mazing.
Honorable Mention: Stern Grove Trocadero Clubhouse
The Bay Area has an abundance of venues, these are just some of my favorites that fell into distinct categories of wedding “themes”. Keep in mind, decor does a lot to transform a venue, but if you don’t like nautical themes, then please don’t book a nautical yacht club. You can certainly do a lot of decor, but you can’t change what the core of the venue is. Once you determine the type of wedding you want, only look at venues that will lend themselves well to your aesthetic. Good luck!
What is the hardest part of booking a venue in your experience? Let me know in the comments below!