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How to find the perfect wedding location in the San Francisco Bay Area

After you have settled for a date or at least a rough timeframe for the wedding day, consider the top three assets of the region when considering a wedding location for your ceremony and reception:

  1. The incredible World Class City of San Francisco
  2. The amazing raw beauty of the Northern California Coast and breathtaking views of the Bay
  3. The romance, charm, and quaintness of Wine Country
Deciding which locale/setting appeals more to you will help you tremendously in narrowing your choices of a venue.

Some wedding locations/ venue choices in the San Francisco Bay

Securing the perfect location/venue for your wedding is one of the many services that All That Glam Weddings provides. There are many great venues in the area, and this is just a partial listing. These are sites we recommend and are familiar with.
  1. San Francisco City
    1. The Cliff House
    2. Carnelian Room
    3. Argonaut Hotel
    4. The Ritz-Carlton
    5. McCormick and Kuleto’s
    6. Omni San Francisco Hotel
    7. The Westin St. Francis Hotel
    8. Hornblower Cruises and Events
    9. Presidio Interfaith Chapel
    10. Ferry Building
  2. Peninsula
    1. Wedgewood Banquet Center, Burlingame
    2. Sofitel San Francisco Bay, Redwood City
    3. Marriott San Mateo, San Mateo
    4. Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel, Palo Alto
    5. The Rengstorff House, Mountain View
    6. Half Moon Bay Golf Links, Half Moon Bay
    7. Valley Presbyterian Church, Portola Valley
    8. Dinah’s Garden Hotel and Trader Vic’s Restaurant, Palo Alto
    9. Oceano Hotel and Spa Half Moon Bay
    10. Allied Arts Guild, Menlo Park
  3. South Bay
    1. Hyatt San Jose, San Jose
    2. The Mountain Winery, Saratoga
    3. Los Gatos Opera House, Los Gatos
    4. Testarossa Winery, Los Gatos
    5. Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara
    6. San Jose Museum of Art
    7. Hotel Valencia Santana Row, San Jose
    8. The Freedom Hall and Gardens, Santa Clara
    9. Montalvo Arts Cente, Sarratoga
    10. The Historic Del Monte Building, Sunnyvale
  4. Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, and neighbouring areas
    1. Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel Valley
    2. Hyatt Regency Monterey, Monterey
    3. Seascape Resort, Aptos
    4. Hyatt Regency Monterey
    5. Ventana Inn and Spa, Big Sur
    6. The Highlands Inn Hyatt, Carmel
    7. InterContinental The Clement Monterey
    8. Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa
    9. Beach Resort Monterey
    10. Hollins House at Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz
    11. Monarch Cove Inn, Capitola
  5. North Bay Wine Country: Napa, Sonoma, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, Calistoga
    1. Marin Art and Garden Center
    2. Vintner’s Inn, Santa Rosa
    3. Chateau Felice Winery, Healdsburg
    4. Calistoga Ranch, Calistoga
    5. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
    6. Stryker Sonoma Winery and Vineyard, Geyserville
    7. B.R. Cohn Winery, Glen Ellen
    8. Meritage Resort and Spa, Napa
    9. Christian Brothers Retreat and Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa
    10. Viansa Winery and Italian Marketplace, Sonoma
    11. Nicholson Ranch Winery, Sonoma
    12. Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Sonoma
    13. V. Sattui Winery, St. Helena
  6. East Bay
    1. Garre Winery & Martinelli Event Center, Livermore
    2. East Bay Regional Park District, Berkley
    3. Dunsmuir, Historic Estate, Oakland
    4. Claremeont Resort and Spa, Berkley
    5. Wedgewood Banquet Center at San Ramon Golf Club
    6. California Ballroom, Oakland
    7. Elliston Vineyards, Sunol
    8. Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa, Lafayette
    9. Ardenwood Historic Preserve, Fremont
    10. UC Botanical Garden, Berkley

How to decide on the perfect wedding reception site

Once you have settled on a rough geographic area, you can now start looking for a suitable reception site. Together with selecting a wedding planner, securing a reception site is one of the most important steps to planning a wedding. Many planning aspects are tied to this decision.

Here are the main factors to consider when deciding on reception venue:
  1. Your reception budget
  2. Number of guests
  3. The proximity of the reception site to the ceremony site. If you plan on having both the reception and ceremony at the same site, verify that the venue provides a ceremony space
  4. The wedding style:
    • Formal or informal
    • Indoors or Outdoors: a particular scenic view such as ocean, mountains etc…
    • Does the location or décor lend itself to a particular theme you are trying to create
    • Is there a dance floor? Can loud music be played?
It is recommended that you book the reception site 9 to 12 month ahead of the wedding day especially if you plan for a high season wedding. Very popular sites are sometimes booked 2 years in advance.

The three categories of reception sites

Reception sites can typically be broken down in three categories:
  1. Banquet Facilities
  2. The most popular choice, these locations include hotels, restaurants, country clubs, etc… The catering is done in-house and is usually charge per head. Note that there is typically a minimum catering amount to be met regardless of the number of guests.
  3. Rental Facilities
  4. You can rent a location such as a hall and have an outside vendor cater for you. Sometimes these locations will have the basics such and tables and chairs but you will need to provide your own tablecloths, flatware, decorations, etc… Typically these locations will rent out the room for a flat fee.
  5. Outdoor Reception
  6. You can rent an outdoor location or arrange with a city for a permit. You are then responsible for providing the setting and catering. Much logistics are involved in this scenario from setting up a tent, renting tables, chairs, heat lamps, flatware, decorations, hiring a caterer, bartender, etc…
    This type of reception is very dependent on weather and you might run into some major logistical challenges such as providing toilets, lighting and electricity for the DJ, etc… However this set up might enable you to afford a nicer wedding on a tighter budget.