HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Help the Bride to be..:)


I am getting married this year, by September. I am looking for a very great venue for my wedding. I am targeting, San José, The bay Area and Oakland, Any suggestions?

Thank you,


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You might get betters answers if you outline the size of the group you are trying to accommodate, budgetary and dietary restrictions, and what you have looked at and discounted.

    Personally, I would suggest renting out the Opera House, hiring Wolfgang Puck as your caterer, and throwing a $1,000 a person shindig...

    3 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      I think the steps at City Hall are a better place for the marriage itself, and it's better to just stay in City Hall instead of moving over to the Opera House. And Puck's so tired - how about Patterson?

      City Hall Cafe
      400 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1. re: bbulkow

        Off The Grid often sets up near the garden outside City Hall! I think BBulkow has a great idea - get married on the steps of City Hall and then plan the wedding on a day when your guests can just wander out to a bunch of food trucks and dine a la carte!

        City Hall Cafe
        400 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          without descriptions of what you're looking for, expand to
          auberge du soleil, meadowood
          solage, carneros, bardessono

    2. Hi Guys,

      Thank you so much for your prompt replies. Actually I am looking for a garden venue. I always dream of a " garden wedding " with close friends and family....maybe at around 60-80 guests.

      @CarrieWas218: yes, I am considering the opera house as my mom suggested it....and as with the caterer, thank you for your suggestion, I will contact them for details.

      @bbulkow: Personally I like the City Hall too, but that place is really busy. I don't want to exhaust my guest.

      City Hall Cafe
      400 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103

      5 Replies
      1. re: NC_BRIDE

        So have you checked out the Kaiser Garden? I haven't been there in years but it is a lovely venue. Maybe too big for your size wedding? Another garden wedding venue (complete venue for both ceremony and reception) in Oakland is the Garden Center at Lake Merritt: http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/renta...

        As far as I know Oakland Parks facilities don't have any restrictions on caters, so you'd have lots of flexibility in choosing one.

        September is often the hottest time of year in the Bay Area, so take that into account. I have a friend who got married in the Oakland Rose garden in September and I've always taken the blame for the fact that it was the second hottest day of the year, the day before (rehearsal!) being one of the hottest in Oakland history (when she told me in January she was worried it might be too cold, I said "September 9 will probably be the hottest day of the year!")

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Oh my! Really...I haven'y noticed that at all...my I am all too anxious about my wedding. Actually my wedding date is still tentative, I want it august for our anniversary but my groom wanted it to be September like his and my parent's wedding date too....So I am kinda anxious about this. Yes I was thinking of the http://www.kaisergarden.com/venue-inf... and expand my guest to 150-200.

          Thank you Ruth for the info....:) I really appreciate it. (never thought getting married can drive me nuts..ahahha)

          1. re: NC_BRIDE

            If you're not committed to a specific date, I suggest that you make a list of venues you're interested in and call them to see what dates they have available -- six months is pretty short notice.

            And to keep this on topic (wedding venues aren't really on topic, if you haven't already, check out one of the Bay Area specific wedding planning sites), one thing you should consider when evaluating venues is whether you can choose your own caterer, whether they have a list of approved caterers, or whether you have to use their in-house catering services.

            Oh, and here's another nice venue in Oakland: http://www.dunsmuir-hellman.com/histo...

        2. re: NC_BRIDE

          I was only here once, and not at a wedding, but it's beautiful and they do rent out for weddings:
          Hakone Gardens in Saratoga I believe:

          1. re: pauliface

            Hi pauliface,

            Thank you for sharing this with me...My parent's 40th Wedding Anniversary was celebrated there. The place was really nice...it brings back a lot of memories....but the place is too small for a wedding of 80+ guest..

        3. I got married 20 years ago at The City Club.
          It's a beautiful two floors, and the food was great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wineguy7

            Hi wineguy,

            Thanks...I will check them for the details..:)

          2. Check out Nestldown - it's really gorgeous.

            2 Replies
            1. re: aching

              Friends of mine had a wedding at Nestledown last year....the only open date was 9/11, so they took it...otherwise the place is booked at least a year in advance.

              1. re: monku

                Well, maybe the OP can snag 9/11 this year! =) No, what you say makes sense - it's a beautiful and very popular venue. Actually, it's pretty late for the OP to be booking her venue anywhere (at least for a weekend wedding). A lot of venues in the Bay Area get booked a long time in advance.

            2. The Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Also, while not exactly a garden, Hayes Mansion in San Jose might work. Went to wedding there last year & thought it was lovely (couple was married under decorated tent & family used outside caterer). BTW, it was 80 degrees...hot but manageable.

              1. I got married 10 years ago at Preservation Park in Oakland (near downtown). I loved the architecture there. I didn't have my reception there so can't comment on the food, but it's a really gorgeous setting.


                1. Headlands center for the arts
                  Marin outdoor garden club
                  Sausalito women's club
                  Brazil Room

                  1. I recently visited this place and it was GORGEOUS
                    I know NOTHING about the food, but the setting was just lovely.
                    Best wishes!

                    1. Marin Art and Garden Center is really nice. I've catered (as an employee, I don't own a catering company) a lot of weddings there. I considered it for my own wedding.

                      The Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley is very pretty, too.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: manraysky

                        Also in Marin -- the Ralston White Retreat in Mill Valley, site of our son's very beautiful September wedding:

                        1. re: manraysky

                          Second the recommendation for The Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valle ... gorgeous space. friends of mine got married there and it was perfect. but yes, warm, especially in that area and at that time of year.

                          1. re: manraysky

                            Wow I think that I melded their names in the post above ooops ( - :

                          2. My friend had her ceremony and reception at UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. It was gorgeous and memorable and I would love to get married there.

                            1. In August-September, the San Jose area can be 98 degrees, while the East Bay can be overcast, breezy, and 65. For reliably fair weather, look for someplace around Kenwood. Chateau St. Jean has nice gardens surrounded by vineyards.


                              1. You might check out the Garden Pavilion in Sonoma. http://www.yelp.com/biz/garden-pavili.... It's a privately owned, beautiful place where my daughter's getting married this summer.

                                1. Thank you all for your prompt replies...I already found the perfect venue for my wedding v at http://www.kaisergarden.com/. They have suit-to-budget packages to chose from!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: NC_BRIDE

                                    Wow, I've been in that building a hundred times and never had any idea there was a park on top of the garage.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      yes, the garden is located on top of the parking garage. There are 2 elevators from the garage that will take you to the garden.

                                      I was stunned the first time I was there...:)


                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        That's what makes it great! It's almost a private garden (especially on the weekends), since very few people know it's there. I used to eat my lunch there sometimes when I worked across the street, but I've known it was there since I was a kid.

                                        I'm glad that worked out for you, NCBride! I hope you have the wedding of your dreams.