Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 4, 2011 02:23 PM

Wedding help for grad student in Bay Area

Hello friends.

I am a graduate student and so is my soon-to-be Husband. We are looking for an outdoor wedding venue and restaurant for our ceremony and reception. Both of us are transplants from the south and still need help knowing all the beautiful places around the bay area. But we are on a budget, and this is tough. Does anyone know of a location outdoors for late July that would be a little warmer than usual SF summer weather? and what do you recommend for cheap but awesome food/ reception sites? Now, when I say budget, I mean budget!! But I'm a do-it-yourself kind of girl so things will be cute, trendy, and perfect no matter what! Let me know what you guys think. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Please, before we get started, tell us what your grad student budget is. The last one's was $50,000.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe

      LOL. I was reminded of that thread, too.

      If you want warmer weather you have to balance distance vs. convenience, since the farther from SF proper you get the warmer is it likely to be. Where are you based? Where are your guests going to be based? How close do you need the wedding venue and the restaurant to be?

      BTW, if you really want a budget and are a do-it-yourself girl, then maybe consider one of the East Bay Regional parks for a picnic. Alternatively the Oakland Parks and Rec has some really nice venues that are reasonably priced and where you could save money by doing the decorating/clean-up yourself (or your friends), hiring a caterer and maybe supplying your own alcohol.

    2. Pier 23.

      Pier 23 Cafe
      The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      2 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        "A little warmer than the usual SF summer weather."?

        1. re: wally

          It's on the water (absolutely stunning views out back), there's protection from the elements (I was there for a mighty storm that resulted in a double rainbow) and heat lamps are available.

          It's interesting. For a humble place, they sure do a lot of receptions at a very reasonable price point. Warm in June, in the Bay Area, requires assistance. Pier 23 does a good job. Who knows, they might even have some insight into a band?

          Pier 23 Cafe
          The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      2. If you are on a budget, want something outdoors, look into having your wedding at a park or a non-profit's garden.

        I attended a wedding this past October in a city park (but in Toronto), the building was a vine covered (gorgeous for the autumn wedding) tudor style house in a deep ravine (it's usuall a summer camp ground). The advantage of the wedding at the city park, no restrictions on the caterers/vendors. My friend's family did all the food, setup, planning.

        not sure where in the bay area you are, but here are some ideas:

        Fort Mason chapel

        Berkeley's Botanical Gardens

        South Bay
        Hakone Gardens

        SJ parks

        1. You need to be very clear about what regions are reasonable, how big the party is expected to be, and what your actual budget is.

          The east bay south of Emeryville is usually fog-free and clear, as is dogpatch and points south along the inland area.

          1. I attended a beautiful wedding in one of the Tilden Park picnic areas (in the hills above Berkeley), but July makes things tricky. Often the fog burns off, but this past July we barely saw the sun all month. Picnic areas in parks in the hills further south (Joachim Miller, Redwood) are probably a better bet. The landscape up there is idyllic, with tall redwoods and cedars and grassy green picnic clearings.

            The wedding was wonderfully catered by the folks at Rick and Ann's in Berkeley, with imaginitive finger-foods. A full meal might be more challenging for a picnic area.