Where to Have a Wedding
Outdoor setting near BerkeleyMarch 2011
Our daughter is getting married here next year, but lives in London. So, that means that we have to do a lot of the planning, and I'm wondering if anyone out there has recommendations for places and bands. She is thinking wine country or somewhere closer to home (Berkeley). She would really like somewhere with an outdoor component, as for many of her guests, this will be the first visit to California. Also, any recommendations for a live band would be much appreciated. Thank you! About to be broke
Congratulations on your daughter's upcoming nuptials! You must be 1) very excited, and 2) overwhelmed with all the planning logistics. The good news is that there are so many wonderful options to for wedding/special event venues and vendors in the greater Bay Area. The bad news? There are SO MANY wonderful options - where to start? First, find a venue. Your selection of most other vendors (band, caterer, florist, photographer, cake etc) will be influenced by their proximity to the location. Often venues have guidelines/restrictions on what vendors you can use, including music - who and how late you can go (many places in the wine country must comply with noise ordinances and have to end ~ 9pm I believe). To help narrow the fields of options before starting your search for a venue, if you haven't already, you should first determine: 1) What is your budget? 2) Desired date - how flexible is this? 3) Approximate # of guests 4) How many guests will require lodging 5) General event concept: At least partially outdoors - will the ceremony and the reception be outdoors or will the ceremony need to be in a (nearby) house of worship? Time of day? Do you want a 'destination wedding' where all guests travel to the location and stay over, with multiple events (welcome BBQ in lieu of a rehearsal dinner, day after the wedding brunch?). If everything is to be outdoors, do you want a separate area for ceremony, cocktails & reception? Will there be dancing, if so, does the dance party need to go late into the night? Will there need to be a rain plan?
Armed with answers to those questions, the online version of the tome 'Here Comes the Guide' is quite useful: http://www.herecomestheguide.com/ (there are options to search w/in a region, filtering for # guests, site type & views, catering options). It's fairly comprehensive, unless you're looking for something off the beaten path. For my wedding in 2005, I scoured 'The Guide' and scouted sites in the immediate bay area as well as the wine country, Lake Tahoe, and Monterey/Carmel. I wanted someplace special where our guests - many whom were from out of town and overseas - could experience Northern California and even make a holiday out of the trip. We ended up in Big Sur, at a VERY off the chart, and somewhat unconventional location. It turned out to be an amazing weekend about which our family and friends still rave (and was featured in 'Brides' magazine).
i got married at the brazil building in tilden park. it's a very popular local wedding destination. we had the ceremony outside - very beautiful - and the reception inside. overall great experience - it is really popular so may not fit your timing needs (books up a year in advance but they do get cancellations). there are also other venues in local parks - lake temescal has one (the beach house i think it's called). good luck! brenda
Hi, I would highly recommend Nicol Turner from Little Blue Box Weddings. She is based in Napa and knows the wine country very well. Her phone number is 415.358.4861 and her website is www.littleblueboxweddings.com. She is a planner so she can help with any aspects of the wedding you need help with. Good Luck! Jennifer
How broke do you plan on getting? :-D Band: LaVay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers (I think they still do weddings! ) Venue: Brazilian Room in Tilden Park; Trocadero at Stern Grove in San Francisco; Sonoma Mission Inn in Sonoma; Mill Valley Womens Club September: Best time of year to have a wedding in bay area * ...paid it all off
Not sure what your budget is. One of the most memorable weddings I have attended was one near russian river. I loved the outdoor setting and friends and family also stayed either 1-2 nights in the rooms, tent 'cabins', and or hammocks. We also had use of the kitchen. http://wildwoodretreat.com/zjoomla/index.php? option=com_content=article=88=142 I would also check out wedding blogs for budget friendly ideas and recommendations like the following just to name a few: http://www.stylemepretty.com/ http://www.100layercake.com/blog/ http://www.oncewed.com/ I did mine on a really really low budget with a lot of DIY (hair/veil piece, budget dress, the menu/including cooking!, the cake, the flowers, - with some help from my best friend and friends!) and used our house and for the reception we went out to a show. If you have more questions for me or want any other ideas ask moderator for my contact info. Good luck! anon
I highly recommend the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park. It's outdoors and gorgeous and it's much less expensive than most venues around town, as it's part of the EB Regional Park District. The only downside is that it books up far in advance. http://www.ebparks.org/activities/corpfamily/br/br Heather
Hi, I officiated weddings for years and have been to the most interesting and beautiful places all over the bay area. Your best bet is to check out Here Comes the Guide. You can find the book or look at their website. There's information on places all over the area that includes prices and a host of other details. You'll also find other vendors such as caterers, florists, photographers, and such. I'm happy to recommend Anything She Wants as a wedding band and Ken Medoza of Duende Photo to start you off. Sydney
When I got married 4 years ago, I briefly looked into the whole vineyard wedding thing. It is way more expensive than you could ever imagine. We ended up having an outdoor ceremony and reception at the Piedmont Community Hall. The area was beautiful, the staff fantastic, and the price was reasonable (by wedding standards). We also used Glass Onion catering as our caterer. They, again, were great and came in at the price point we could afford. I hope that this helps! Kate
My daughter is getting married at Wedgewood Crystal Springs in Burlingame. It is a mostly all inclusive package, which means you use all their vendors making it much simpler and many fewer decisions.There is a beautiful outdoor gazebo and a nice indoor area down the street for the reception. It was more reasonable than many of the other places she checked out. Ellen
I got married two years ago at the Brazil Room in Tilden Park and it's a lovely, albeit popular, wedding venue. We had a live gypsy jazz band and they were amazing (here's the band's site: http://www.reverbnation.com/loulouandthegypsyjivers). You can also see videos of the band playing on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/Gypsyjiver). During my wedding planning days, I found many other reasonably-priced beautiful outdoors-y venues in the east bay (just google their names for details): Tilden Park's private picnic sites Padre and Laurel (they are very affordable, scenic and often used for casual weddings), the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, the Faculty Club in UC Berkeley, the Berkeley City Club, the Piedmont Community Hall, and Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga. There are also many great venues across the bay, like the Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley (my favorite along with the Brazil Room), Stern Grove in SF, Old St. Hilary's Church in Tiburon, Sausalito's Women's Club, Pedro Point Firehouse in Pacifica, Mountain Terrace in Woodside, and Presidio event spaces in SF. Most venues in wine country are ridiculously expensive, but if you can afford it, try these: Kenwood Farms in Kenwood, B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen, Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen, Calistoga Ranch, Hans Fahden in Calistoga, Healdsburg Country Gardens, Kunde Estate in Kenwood, Auberge de Soleil in Rutherford, Thomas Fogarty in Woodside and Nestldown in Los Gatos (not a winery but it's beautiful and expensive). If you're willing to consider venues farther away, try Taber Ranch in Capay, Highland Ranch in Philo, Ocean Song in Occidental, Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, and Oz Farm in Point Arena. Good luck! Anon
The UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon above the campus is a lovely place for a wedding with an outdoor component. The amphitheater in the redwood grove is really very special. Great place for the ceremony. For a smaller group, the rose garden is also wonderful. Then people usually have the reception in the conference center. Highly recommended. And Margie, the planner there, is great! http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/rentals/facilitiesrates.shtml Anon
Venue for casual wedding receptionFeb 2011
We are looking for a potential space or restaurant to use as a late morning or early afternoon lunch/cocktail/hanging-out space. Do you know of any good spaces in the east bay that can accommodate about 50 -70 people for some light refreshments, finger foods, beverages? Maybe a slideshow? We're hoping to have a casual gathering before an evening wedding banquet. anon
A lovely place for a wedding reception in the East Bay is the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Their Mirov room (and terrace) can accommodate up to 71 people (103 people for the whole conference center). The Garden is a gem of the East Bay with views of SF and the Golden Gate bridge. Website: http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu
Weekend wedding venueSept 2010
We're getting married early next year and would love to have a weekend wedding where our family and friends could join us for a few days of celebration. We're looking for something affordable where we can rent out the entire place and that can sleep at least 50 people. We also need a large indoor space (since we'll maybe have rain) for the reception & ceremony (ideally two different spaces). The large space would need to fit 125. We're looking for something not more than 2hrs from the bay area. We'd welcome any suggestions! Chris
You should check out the Forest House Lodge http://www.foresthouse.com/ We looked at it when we were getting married and loved it, although we ultimately chose another venue. The next year our friends were married there and it was absolutely lovely. It is in Auburn, so it might be a bit past your ideal geographic circle, but it is worth looking into. Happy planning!
We got married last summer at Saratoga Springs retreat center. http://saratogasprings.com/ We were looking for similar things. We rented the place for the weekend and used their recommended caterer. We had about 100 guests. They have cabins, bunk rooms, and camping. The prices were very reasonable and they were super easy to work with. Many people have told me that it is one of their favorite wedding locations. It may be a little further than you want, but was well worth the drive for us and our guests. happy bride
Garden-type daytime wedding in summerAugust 2010
The daughter's getting married and we're sort of overwhelmed at the number and variety of venue choices! We know about 'Here Comes the Guide' but I wonder whether anyone has had personal experience with places in the East Bay/Napa/Sonoma areas? We're looking for a garden-type daytime wedding sometime in late spring/early summer 2011. 150-200 guests, including a good number from the East Coast (so it should be near enough to lodging.) It would be helpful if we didn't have to rent tables & chairs. Thanks for your suggestions! Anon
Friends married happily at an Inn in Jenner. Piedmont has a lovely site. Other friends had a weekend-long wedding at a hot springs site in Calistoga that was fun and lovely (can't find site on internet). We were so inspired, we also opted for a weekend wedding and ended up in Carmel Valley at The Holly Farm and it was gorgeous. http://www.hollyfarm.com/ Our second choice, for an afternoon wedding, was Deer Park Villa in Fairfax (redwoods). I don't know about details but the Roof Garden at the Kaiser Center is beautiful, if you don't mind the skyscrapers in the background landscape. Ask photographers & caterers where they recommend. Happy Bride 2005
We loved our wedding at the Brazil Room in Tilden Park. We used Culinary Excellence as our caterers (from the preferred list) and they were excellent--fabulous food and took care of all of the details (plus very organized, responded well to communications and were a good deal!) They took care of the chairs/tables/etc. Out of town guests stayed at the Claremont Hotel and/or the Embassy Suites in Emeryville (although there are other options). Happy planning! 5 years later we still get complimented on our wedding. :)
Congratulations on your daughter's engagement! I just got married last week and couldn't resist sharing our venue spot because it is a hidden little gem of Oakland that hasn't yet gotten written up in the big wedding guides, although I bet by next year it will be starting to. On top of the parking garage of the Oakland Kaiser Center by Lake Merritt is an absolutely gorgeous garden that is now being rented out for private events. It is really beautiful, with lots of grass, trees, flowers, a little pond, and a bridge, perfect for coming down the aisle. Seriously picturesque...our guests loved it. It's got an urban feel to it, too, though, because the backdrop is the buildings of downtown Oakland--and it's close to hotels in downtown Oakland/Jack London Square. You will have to rent tables/chairs, etc., however--they have you use all their preferred vendors. The contact person is Andrew Jones with Oakland Venue Management--his email is andrew [at] oaklandvm.com. Happy New Garden Bride
I had my wedding at Wildwood in Lafayette. It is not easily accessible but it was well worth it. We had out of town guests stay in SF and asked friends to give them a ride and somehow it all worked out. Enjoy the wedding! Anon
Hello. I couldn't resist replying to your question about wedding venues in Napa/Sonoma and beyond. One of my favorite places is The Kendwood Inn, Sonoma. Beautiful, Italian, rustic, vines, romantic feel. Kevallyn
When I read your posting, I immediately thought of where my husband and I wed two years ago. It's called Cornerstone and is located in Sonoma. They have changing landscape architechure exhibits. We married in front of a pond with the vines in the background, with cocktail hour on the lawn, dinner under a large tent, and dancing in the barn. People really felt it was a very unique spot to get married. We also liked that we didn't have to use their caterer. www.cornerstonegardens.com Happily Married @ Cornerstone
A friend of ours got married at the Stella winery which is located in the Napa/Sonoma area. It was fabulous. The winery is just the right size, not too big, VERY cute and romantic. The atmosphere and food were fantastic. Both ceremony and reception (and dancing) were outside in a candlelit courtyard. The event was quite unforgettable. I don't have contact info but I'm sure you can google them. Congratulations!
Unique outdoor wedding siteApril 2008
Does anyone know of a unique wedding site?? We would like a casual outdoor wedding (ceremony outdoors and reception either out or indoors) with a very natural feel. We are thinking of spring 2009 for our wedding date (sometime in late April/early May) on a Saturday and are having a hard time finding something. Ideally, the site could house the ceremony, reception, and accommodations for some of the guests. There will be approximately 150 people invited, and we would like to have a live band. We were thinking of the reception in a barn, or a rustic building with interesting architecture or charm in the bay area (Carmel to Mendocino). It would be great if the site fee is around $5,000. sc
We were married at the Wildwood Retreat Center and it was magical! We had many friends comment that it was the best place they had ever been to for a wedding. The majority of the guests stayed with us at the retreat center, and the rest lodged in Guerneville. It is unbelievably serene and beatiful on the grounds of the retreat center. We were married on the hill with an incredible view of the valley below with oak trees, etc. A perfect NorCal location. And because it is somewhat out of the way, you can have live music play late, and pretty much do your wedding however you want to. The staff was great, food was super, grounds were hypnotizing -- we couldn't have been happier. http://www.wildwoodretreat.com/home.html Perfect wedding day up on the hill!
You MUST check out the Deer Park Inn in Fairfax. You can have all the things you mentioned http://www.deerparkvilla.com/weddings.php accept for the accommodations though there are plenty nearby. Their rates are reasonable as well (especially for Marin County). It's set amongst gorgeous redwoods off the beaten path and do small as well as large gatherings. I almost got married there myself when we were having a wedding with 100+ guests. We ended up eloping...another story! Good luck in your search. anon
I spend a lot of time in Carmel and have two places that you should look into. I have attended weddings at both. I am not sure about prices, you would need to call or email. They both have websites with photos.
1. Mission Ranch - Great atmosphere, wonderful rooms in little houses for guests to stay in, view of the ocean. The wedding that I attended the ceremony was at the Carmel Mission and the reception was at mission ranch. They are next to each other. I know they do ceremonies at the ranch as well.
2. Holman Ranch - This is in Carmel Valley. Really beautiful surroundings! The ranch house is a historical hacienda. The ceremony and reception can be done here. I think that you can rent a couple of rooms for overnight, but not sure. You'd have to check on that.
Anywhere you have your wedding will be beautiful and unique! Good luck! Stephanie
There's a great website called herecomestheguide.com that has a vast amount of information about all sorts of event locations throughout California. It's tailored to helping couples, companies, etc. find the perfect event location, free of charge.
One option is Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA. It's owned by CA State Parks and all of the building were designed by Julia Morgan. It's on the rustic side and also very charming. It's a short walk to the beach which is nice as well.
You could also check out Clint Eastwood's resort called Mission Ranch in Carmel. They have a ''party barn'' that sounds a lot like what you're looking for overall. Definitely pricier than Asilomar, but it's more ''upscale rustic'' and the service would probably be better overall.
I'm sure there are also some great options in wine country where weather might be less of a factor for you - check out the website above and you can search by all sorts of items (# of guests, site type, catering options, etc.). Good Luck! MB
Go look at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond. The Cathedral Grove (redwood trees) is very beautiful. The lodge is ''rustic'' but the setting is gorgeous. http://www.quakercenter.org/
We were married over 20 years ago at the Brasil Room in Tilden Park. It was a spectacular day! We had the service outdoors and the reception indoors. We'd do it there again! Blissfully married
The Beach House at Lake Temescal in Oakland is lovely, if it is big enough. Carrie
Congratulations on your engagement!
We got married at Wildwood Acres in Lafayette, CA. This place specializes in weddings. They have a lovely little garden, perfect for photos. They have a gazebo for a band and a cement dance floor. There are many trees of different varieties around the property. And the wedding site is next to the mountain studded with redwoods. On one site visit I stood at the ''alter'' and heard nothing but the wind & a hawk. You'd never know that you were in Lafayette. This place does not allow off-site catering. In fact, they have a lot of rules that were odd to me. (Like you can't get into the property more than 1.5 hours before the ceremony for set-up. The baker isn't allowed to store the cake in their walk-in. You have to pay $10/head extra if you opt out of their set menu.) I also can't say that they were the most organized group. On the up-side, they provided the linens & there was no extra charge for parking. And because the site itself is so beautiful, you can save a! lot on flowers & decorations. Our wedding was beautiful. The guests had a great time. And we got multiple compliments on both the food & the venue. It IS a special place. They have a website that doesn't do the place justice. Here's a link to our photos. I think that they show the place off in a much better light. I'd suggest just going out there for a look. http://dustindriver.com/M_Wedding/ Madelyn
You should check out Pema Osel Ling near Santa Cruz. http://www.polmountainretreat.com/ It's stunningly beautiful, and is a Tibetan Buddhist center, so inherently spiritual. There's multiple different accomodation sites, the food is great and it has both indoor and outdoor ceremony options. I did a retreat there and thought ''This would be a great place to get married!'' and recently looked at their website which has a nice slideshow of past weddings. jennifer
We attended a wedding recently at Nestldown (www.nestldown.com). It is located off Hwy 17 in Los Gatos. It is an absolutely stunning location with gardens, farmhouse style buildings, outdoor ceremony setting and you can either have the reception outdoors and indoors. There is no hotel right at the site, but there are a few options relatively close by (15-20 min. drive). G
Faculty Club on the UC Berkeley campus meets your criteria most closely, but you might also consider the UC Botanical Garden and the Berkeley City Club. anon
I know of a wonderful wedding site near Yosemite. It is where I got married! The property is a beautiful ranch that sits right on the Tuolumne river. There is a great lawn area where you can have the wedding ceremony (right by the river) and there is a pool area where the reception can be held. We had a live band that played on a stage right at the pool. There is also some lodging on the property and very close by. You have to see it to really appreciate it. It is a unique and beautiful wedding site. Contact Deb Bradway at dbradway at juno.com, or call 209-962-5432 to inquire about availability. jes
Angel Island is an amazing & unique location for a wedding. http://www.angelisland.org/faq2.htm Enjoy!
In 2003, we got married here: http://www.relaisdusoleil.com/index.html in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County. It cost then $6000 for the weekend, and slept 12 people (with a wonderful breakfast included each morning). There is a dance floor by the creek, a hot tub, and old barn, a fire pit, fields with horses, etc. The guy who owns the place is nice but a little eccentric. Make sure to get EVERYTHING in writing before hand, and everything will be fine. We went with one of the caterers he knows and the food was great. Everyone loved our wedding and we had a blast. No restrictions there on hours, music levels, etc. It was great. Andi
In the South bay, here's links to two really nice spaces: Nestldown http://www.nestldown.com/index.html
Thomas Fogary Winery, Woodside http://www.fogartywinery.com/events.weddings.html
Those are two that I can think of off hand.
Also, Napa and Sonoma wineries are gorgeous that time of year with the mustard blooming between the vineyards.
The Berkeley Rose Garden and Tilden Park/Brazilian room are great sites, too.
First Unitarian Church of Berkeley in Kensington. Don't know what their fees are or if you need to be a member. It's a beautiful church and lovely site. good luck
Westerbeck Ranch in Sonoma meets all your requirements... although we only had 100 at our wedding in 2003 so I am not certain if they can hold 150. Housing for 40. Their food was excellent and lovely. It's a unique, special place that only does about 6-8 weddings a year. -Rich
My friends are getting married in April and are looking for a light indoor space in Santa Cruz county that would hold approximately 100 people. They are most interested in a place that has a lot of light and windows, and that they can use their own caterer or be offered a list of caterers to chose from. Thanks!
You might look into Santa Cruz Yacht Club, or other yacht clubs in the area. Yacht clubs are often overlooked as event venues, but they are generally located on the water, have great views, and have commercial kitchens. I've only been to SCYC once many years ago and can't remember specifics, but it might be worth a look. Carrie
Hey, I got married in Santa Cruz County in April, too! It was April 2000, mind you, so it was a while back.
We spent one whole day driving by about 25 venues in the county that met our size and price requirements. Many of them we rejected without even stepping out of the car. We got the names of the venues through the vertical file on ''weddings'' at the downtown Santa Cruz Public Library as well as the phone book.
We ended up getting married at the Corralitos Grange Hall in Watsonville, and we loved it. It's a rural community center in the middle of apple orchards (they were all in bloom at the time), with a high ceiling, wood floors, a small stage, and lots of windows. It was inexpensive, let us choose any caterer we wished, and for no extra charge let us come in the day before the wedding to decorate (we did our own flowers).
A higher-end option we rejected due to the cost is the gorgeous First Congregational Church on High Street in Santa Cruz. Their fellowship hall has walls of windows with views of the Monterey Bay. Their Web site is www.fccsantacruz.org/.
Somewhere I have my notes from our driving tour of the 25 venues, so if your friend needs more ideas, she could email me. I can recommend a good caterer, too: Michael's Catering. Their Web site is http://www.michaels-catering.com/. Nicole
Try the coconut grove- has a roof that opens up to the sky- went to a wedding there a few years ago, and despite the location (above the boardwalk) it was really nice. Otherwise try the Chaminade. anon
We just got engaged and are thinking of having an Indian Summer wedding over the hill (i.e., Lafayette, Orinda, Walnut Creek, etc.). We would like to have an outdoors ceremony and reception for 150-200 people. Any thoughts on an enchanting place? Thanks! FK
Check out wildwood acres in Lafayette. JM
Check out the Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga. It's a really gorgeous spanish style estate owned by the city with nice outdoor space. The only problem we had was that they are restrictive re: amplification of sound because of the neighbors, which may or may not be an issue for you. You can get more info here: http://www.ci.moraga.ca.us/moraga_parks_recreation.php Tamarah
Check out the Hacienda des Flores ( think that is the name) which is owned by the City of Moraga. Old mansion with gardens and plenty of parking. Might be very pretty in the fall. Probably there are links to it on the city website. Moragan
check out the Gardens at Heather Farms in WC (NOT Heather Farms Park, but adjacent) Deborah
Go ''over the hill'' for a wedding? You could, but perhaps you'd like to check out the beautiful outdoor area at the U.C. Botanical Gardens. It is a fantastic, reasonably priced georgeous place for a wedding and reception. The staff there are excellent. The views breathtaking! God Luk and best regards! ---Ellen Ellen
I am looking for a good wedding site along the carquinez strait (crockett, port costa, antioch) or in the sac. delta area. Any ideas? Open to anything! alexandra
I had my wedding reception at the Crockett Commty Center. I liked the rustic beamed ceilings and french doors...although it is definitely a no frills place. I used round tables candles, white lights and tulle to create a more romantic feel. The facility management liked it so much they bought the lights and tulle from me. It really transformed the ''feel'' in there. It was reasonably priced and you can get married outside.
You might also want to try Benicia...Yacht Club, Camel Barn, or Clock Tower. I also attended an amazing wedding at the Ryde Hotel on the Delta. There is only a (strict) catholic church in Port Costa, unless you can work something out with the Bull Valley Inn owners. Good luck!!!!
The Grand Island Mansion off of Hwy 160 (near Ryde) is a great place for a wedding if you aren't on a tight budget. It is an italian-syle villa built in 1917, and is about 45 mins from Walnut Creek. They have a champagne brunch on Sundays (yummy italian toast) if you want to check it out. www.grandislandmansion.com Emily
Try the Crockett Community center (they let you bring in your own food and drink, great place to have a wedding and reception on a budget), the Old Homestead in Crockett, and the Ryde Hotel in Walnut Grove (in the Delta), it looks very unique and art deco with gorgeous landscapes. I have always wanted to go to a wedding there. http://www.rydehotel.com/index.html
Hi, A friend of mine got married in that general area - I think it's called the Grand Island Mansion and it's near Rio Vista maybe?? It was 15 years ago so I may not have it exactly right but it was a beautiful place - I loved it! Definitely check it out. Good luck with your wedding plans! Kristie
Having grown up in the Sacramento River Valley, I have several recommendations, in a wide range of styles: The Grand Island Mansion (http://www.grandislandmansion.com/), Silver Bend (http://www.kirtlanssilverbend.com/), Bogle Vineyards (http://www.boglewinery.com), and Wilson Vineyards (http://www.wilsonvineyards.com). Christy
Couple of places....Crockett has a nice Community Center that can be rented for parties. It has wood floors, a large fireplace, a stage, a full kitchen, and a bar area. There is also a park next to it, in front of the church, that is often used for weddings, but right now it is torn up with construction and I don't know when it will reopen.
Over in Benicia, the Camel Barn Museum has a large space that they rent out. The surrounding area is rather ugly, but the building itself is very pretty and, as the business director told me when I rented it for our wedding ''We never get noise complaints''. For us, that was key, and we had a wonderful wedding and reception there, with nary a complain about the loud music and dancing. Happy wedding! Emma
We got married at the Crockett Community Center, January 2004. We loved it. It was reasonably priced, prices are very low for Crockett residents, and higher for non residents (we lived in Richmond at the time). The Hall has a grand fire place (we were married on the hearth), a large stage for a band, a full catering kitchen (you bring the caterer), a bar area, room for comfortabley 140 dining, 300 dancing/standing. There is a smaller back room good as a place where children can have a play area set up. There is a small rather grim back stage area is pretty minimal as a dressing room (we came dressed and ready to go.) Crockett provides tables and chairs, you or your caterer provide linens etc. We did our own set up and clean up, but they can arrange to do that for extra cost. The grounds are nice, not spectacular. We had to dress the hall up with hanging christmas lights, decorations, etc, as it is a bit plain. The light was rather ''yellow'' looking as I recall. The hall is a Craftsman style hall built ca 1912 by the C sugar company for the sugar refinery workers. It has a northern california friendly ''Lanai'' porch after the Hawaiian model, which is where the bar is. I don't have their number anymore, but they were GREAT and easy to work with. They are a public hall, so you can find them on the Crockett City web site. sara
Looking for a great place for a wedding/reception for 100-130 people for April ,May, or June of 2007 ideally either in Berkeley, Oakland, Carmel/Pebble Beach, or Napa/Alexander Valley. Looking fora private home or estate with aestheitcally pleasing views or outside space that could be rented for a weekend or day. Not drastically expensive but reasonable. Any ideas would be greatly apprecaited.- P
We got married at the City Club in San Francisco's financial district. We knew a friend of a member -- perhaps you do, or maybe that is no longer a requirement. The original Art Deco furnishings, embossed tin ceiling, sweeping staircase with amazing Diego Rivera mural as backdrop, and two floors of space you can use for ceremony and party made it a unique and lovely setting for an evening wedding. Go check it out! City Club fan
Try ''Here Comes the Guide,'' a big directory of Northern California rental venues of all sorts. They have it at bookstores and at the library. Also, if you can go there to visit, most libraries have a file folder of their local wedding resources. Don't forget the phone book, too! N.
We got married in Berkeley in Tilden Park at the Brazilian Room. It was gorgeous! They have a long waiting list. Get on it! We got a date sooner rather than later when someone had a cancellation (lucky us!). Check it out at http://www.brazilianroom.org/ Congratulations! Lori
I know a young couple who would love to have an outside wedding in May 2005. Does anyone know of any beautiful settings? They would prefer to have the wedding and reception at one location, and would prefer to make their own food arrangements etc. Have viewed past recommendations. Thank you. Sarah
My husband and I were married less than a year ago at Savannah- Chanelle Vineyards in Saratoga. The location is truly beautiful and peacful, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains on one side and the valley on another. We had both our ceremony and reception there. There are actually 3 places for the ceremony - either on a patio which has the mountains as a backdrop, the lawn, or in a Redwood grove on the property. The reception is held in a 40'x80' tent, which has sides that can roll down if it gets windy in the evening as it did for ours in June. They do have exclusive caterers (in 2003, there were 6), and provide a ''preferred'' list for other vendors like photographer, cake, florist, etc. They have a website for more information (www.savannahchanelle.com) but the pictures don't do the location justice -- you need to go see it. Generally, we found it to be cheaper and have more availability going south rather than up north towards Napa/Sonoma. One other plus of Saratoga is proximity to the San Jose airport if there are a number of out of town guests (and a wider range of hotel options). Good luck! Amy
We had a beautiful wedding last August at a ranch in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County. It's also a Bed and Breakfast with 10-12 beds and you rent the whole place for a weekend. It's called Relais du Soleil http://www.relaisdusoleil.com/index.html Our wedding had 160 people and this ranch can hold up to 300 I believe. We had everything there (rehearsal dinner the night before, ceremony and reception). You have to hire an outside caterer for the reception. We hired Broadway Catering and we loved them! The food was AWESOME and they were the nicest people and very professional. Our guests still tell us what a great place this ranch was. There are three horses there and they liked to gather near everyone during the reception (there was a fence between us) and a flock of wild turkeys flew into their field during the reception at one point. The dance floor is right by a beautiful little creek.
The man Tim who owns Relais du Soleil is very nice and accomodating, but he is a little flaky and we had a minor financial dispute with him. Make sure to get everything about your wedding in writing (we didn't unfortunately) and you will be fine. Andi
My husband and I got married at the Hillview Country Inn in Napa. The inside of the Inn is a little cheesy, but the outside is just gorgeous. It was very reasonable in terms of site fees (for Napa) but the caveat is that you do have to reserve the whole inn for the weekend of the wedding. We got married in May and it was a beautiful (and hot) day. You can of course have the wedding at any time since you have the whole place to yourselves for the weekend. They don't require a certain caterer either which was nice (at least they didn't then). I think it accomodates around 125 people outdoors (although our wedding had less than 20). Feel free to email me if yo have any other questions.... am
Dunsmier House in Oakland down near the Oakland Zoo. I don't know their catering arrangements however.
Sarah, Have you looked at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek, there are often weddings in their gazebo and rose garden, and there's a room that seats many (at least 200) nearby. They're now ''The Gardens at Heather Farm''. --Bob
I just recently went through the process of finding such a wedding site. My fiancee and I (also young - 21) have chosen a picnic spot in Tilden park called Padre. It's capacity is 150 people and it costs around $300, if I remember correctly. $100 less if they're residents of Contra Costa County. The reservation is from 10am-6pm. It has ten picnic tables, barbeques, bathrooms, running water, and a huge grassy area (where we will have the ceremony). There are also several other similar sites in Tilden. Anyway, it was one of the nicest places I found and also one of the cheapest! Call (510) 562-2267 for information. brynnarose
If Tahoe isn't too far away- look at the ''tree'' at the bottom of this page: www.mountainlakeweddings.com/locations-sites-chapels.html but book it via ''Jennifer, J. Hannah Weddings'' jennifer [at] jhannah.com. Jennifer was much more helpful and professional than the MountainLake folks. Jennifer was very willing to make arangements ''A la carte.'' You might be able to book directly too, it's called Tahoe Paradise Park and is a park at the south west end of South Lake Tahoe in a subdivision. tahoe bride
The Brazillian Room in Tilden Park. I attended one of the nicest weddings I've ever been to at that location last May. I think it meets all of your friends' requirements: outdoor ceremony and indoor reception in same location; must provide your own caterer. Just my opinion, but it was lovely at that time of year. devanie
I got married at the Palace of the Legion of Honor museum in May of 2001. It was a spectacular setting. We got married on the front lawn and the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands was our backdrop. The reception was in the museum cafe which has a nice outdoor patio which we used for cocktails. The caterer they provided was outstanding, however, they do allow you to bring your own caterer if desired. Friends and family still comment to me how memorable the setting was! Felicia
My wedding was at the UC Faculty Club and I cannot recommend it highly enough. (I have also attended many other weddings there, several of them much more recent than mine, and have never heard of anyone having a bad experience with it.) Although you cannot bring in your own food (except for the cake), the Club's catering is excellent, reasonably priced, and very flexible. (One friend supplied them with family recipes for Indian food, which they agreed to prepare for the bride's family to sample before deciding whether to commit to having the reception there.)
It's typical to have the ceremony in the sunny, surrounded-by- large-trees Glade just outside the Club with the reception in the Great Hall indoors, but the party generally also takes place partly on the wonderful wooden decks and lawn area. There is also a lovely little courtyard garden accessible from the hall. The place has a beautiful ''outdoorsy'' feel even when you're inside. And if your friends' wedding will be small, they could opt to use (instead of the Great Hall) the secluded rear patio, in conjunction with one or more of the smaller indoor meeting rooms. Holly
We got married at the Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross. Our wedding was in October and the fall colors were gorgeous, but I'm sure that in May the gardens would be in full bloom and equally lovely. The wedding was outdoors under a large, spreading oak tree, and we also dined al fresco on a patio-type area. There is a good-sized hall available (with a professional kitchen) which we used for dancing, and was also our rain back- up (fortunately we had great weather!). I think they have a ''preferred caterer'' list but I don't remember for sure. They are on the web at www.maagc.org. I would definitely suggest to your friends that they check it out. Another place we looked at was Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga - much larger, lovely grounds, but we went with MAGC in the end. Good luck to your friends! anon
We got married and had our reception at the Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley. You can use any caterer and you get the place all day.
When we were looking for a place to have our wedding, we were very tempted by a little place in Healdsburg--I can't remember the exact name, but it might have been Healdsburg Gardens or The Gardens at Healdsburg? They had a beautiful spreading oak tree on top of a hill overlooking the vineyards, perfect for the ceremony, and a wonderful old barn that could be just lovely for dancing. Less expensive, and less formal (and with no bad-weather options) would be the picnic area at Heart's Desire Beach in Point Reyes. You can reserve part of it for a wedding. (We didn't do either of these, but they both seemed like good options). Oh! also Tilden Park--the Brazilian Room, or I think also the Botanical Gardens can be reserved for weddings. anon
I got married last summer and used a great website for my prelimary research: http://www.herecomestheguide.com/ I decided on the Mission Blue Center in Brisbane (just south of SF) because it's a beautiful facility (only a few years old), and has a gorgeous dance floor, as well as a generously sized social area. We also chose it because we could have the ceremony and reception in one location, with the ceremony outside. (We decorated the pergola and set up a tent and chairs for the guests.) The only downside to the location is its semi-remoteness. It's at the top of this hill in a new development. Providing a map to the guests and having signs was definitely helpful. We chose a caterer from SF, an Indian restaurant who brought the food to the site, and we hired servers for the evening to set-up, serve, and breakdown. (Mission Blue only provides tables and chairs.) If you like, e-mail me and I can give you more details and/or pictures from my wedding so that you can get a better picture of what the facility has to offer. PJ
May is a wonderful time for outside weddings! My cousin was married outside at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek last October. The weather was beautiful and the roses were still in bloom in the gardens. There is an outdoor gazebo for the ceremony and they have a reception hall - you make the catering arrangements. Also, you can try the website: www.herecomestheguide.com you can input all the requirements you have for the wedding site (size, city, views, amenities, etc) and it will generate a list of potential places that match your criteria. This is what I used to find the perfect place for my wedding almost 2 years ago! Good Luck! Happily married & expecting
Try Heather Farm in Walnut Creek. It may be easier to reserve for a Sunday than for a Saturday. We were able to decorate the hall as we wanted and use the caterers we wanted and have a great May wedding under the rose strewn gazebo. The guests were able to relax on the large deck outside the hall adn in the garden. We were there 11 yrs ago. Mem'ries....sigh.
My husband & I were married at the Deer Park Villa, in Fairfax (Marin County). The wedding was in September, and we didn't have to worry about the fog. We rented the back half of the facility which included a lovely setting outside in a redwood grove, and an inside ''dance'' area. Many outdoor venues have restrictions on live music and/or DJ's. We had the band indoors. We were able to bring in some ethnic food, and our own wine & beer. They had a cork fee per bottle and a fee for the kegs, but the cost was reasonable. We had the main catering thru Deer Park Villa, but they had a wide range of food and dining choices. The cost $1200 (this was 8 yrs ago)included the tables, chairs, linens, silverware, and set up. Some places you have to pay to have those items brought in. ali
I seem to have missed your original post, but I would like to make a comment regarding outdoor weddings in May. Nearly four years ago, my now husband & I planned a beautiful wedding at Chappelet Vineyards in Napa. The ceremony was our dream - the top of a hill overlooking a body of water (Lake Hennessey).
Wouldn't you know it - it poured that day (first week of May)! Fortunately, we had a back up plan. We had put a very large clear tent in the field where dinner and dancing were to occur after the ceremony. Tables and chairs were pushed aside and our ceremony was in this giant clear tent. It was really lovely and we have no regrets.
If you plan an outdoor wedding, have a plan for rain, just in case. You never know!
Without sounding immodest, we had a beautiful wedding at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park in Berkeley. It was spectacularly beautiful there. We held our ceremony outside and the reception inside. All catering was handled through the Brazilian Room (they have a list) and everything was lovely. I don't know how many people you are expecting, but we had 100 in attendance and that was perfect. Check out the following link from the online version of the great book ''Here Comes the Guide'': http://www.herecomestheguide.com/sites/detail.htm?site_id=642. By the way, we got on the waiting list (it's a year long), but don't dismay: we got in on a cancellation. Do let them know that would like to be called if there is a cancellation. We had just put down a non-refundable deposit at the Berkeley Faculty Club at UCB literally the day before we got a call from the Brazilian Room. We went with the Brazilian Room in a heartbeat and forfeited the deposit at Faculty Club because the former was our first choice. Here is another link to check out: http://www.brazilianroom.org/. Best of luck! Lori
We're looking for a spot to have wedding outdoors, ideally with a view. Our budget is small, so something inexpensive and low-key is best. We're looking into Slide Ranch in Marin and some spots in Tilden Park. I'm just wondering if anyone knows of any special secret spots. We're just in the beginning stages of planning, so we don't have any set number of guests yet. Feel free to email me directly if you want keep your spot more secret. Thanks so much! brookead
Try http://www.herecomestheguide.com/ It's pretty comprehensive and I've found it quite useful for planning corporate events as well. You refine your search by a number of criteria and get enough info to decide to do a site visit or not. Rue
i don't personally know of any special spots, but check out ''here comes the guide'' online, THE resource for event locations in the bay area (actually, i think all of california) http://www.herecomestheguide.com/ good luck! lisa
We got married in 1997 and had our reception at the Rockafeller Lodge in San Pablo. It is such a beautiful place. It has indoor and outdoor areas, lots of little rooms. We were concerned that the little rooms would break up the party, but instead it made it more cozy. It is really like getting married in a beautifully decorated house. It really isn't very expensive and can hold a lot of people (I think we had ~250). You have to purchase the food from them, but you can get your own drinks and they will serve them. We really LOVED the place and we did a lot of searching and took over 1 year to plan. There isn't a view, but I will always remember how beautiful the dance floor was when the sun set that evening... llee
In the spring of 2001 Cal Neighbors, a publication of the University's Office of Community Relations, ran an article on places to get married on the Cal campus. There are a number of lovely outdoor venues on campus that are available to the public. The article is called Tying the Knot. After publication the UC Botanical Gardens called up and pointed out we had forgotten them. You can find information about weddings at the garden in the Fall 2001 issue. To read Cal Neighbors go to http://communityrelations.berkeley.edu/CalNeighbors Janet
I am looking for a location for a small, intimate wedding (25 close friends and family members) in mid-July, 2003. I am hoping to rent a nice home in the San Francisco bay area for two days, maybe for the weekend. I have had no luck so far. Can you please help me? Any leads would be very much appreciated. Thank you Maya
Look at www.vrbo.com they have a number of SF homes for rent one of them might work for you. If you want to get married in an old historic home but don't want to stay overnight look at Here Comes The Guide as they have a couple of places that might work for you- there's one on Sutter street that's a nice setting, not too expensive- no parking though. Good luck and mazel tov! Juliette
Also recommended: Stinson Beach House
We are a little overwhelmed with our wedding planning and hope to get some help with this posting. We are looking for a place that will accommodate about 100-150 guests. Ideally the wedding package would include everything (ceremonie, reception,catering, flowers, music) I would be great if the place had both inside and outside areas. I have checked the UCParents website but did not find any information on places that offer wedding packages. Thanks a lot! Martina
Go to www.herecomestheguide.com, you can search Bay Area wedding locations by theme, number of guests, services offered, indoor/outdoor, etc. You can also search for Bay Area caterers, photographers, etc. separately. They used to publish a book that you could buy but now you can get all the information for free on their website. it should really help in your wedding planning. Congratulations on you engagement. Amy
Check out the ''Here Comes the Guide'' website, which is really helpful for finding a location for weddings and other events - you select the location (i.e. East Bay), and input the number of guests and whether you want catering (you can also narrow it down by what kind of a place it is and whether it has a view). http://www.herecomestheguide.com/ Natasha B.
Congrats, and welcome to the parallel bridal universe. Obviously you will need to check out the palces and taste all the food, but the Mira Vista Golf and Country club has a beautiful place. More useful to you would be ''Here Comes the Guide'' -- a local listing of places, caterers etc... you can probably get it from the library or from someone who was recently married. Good luck! Shahana
I believe that you can get married in the chapel at Mills College, hold your reception on the campus, and even have in-house catering. The campus is pretty and tranquil. For more information, try contacting Mills staff through: http://www.mills.edu/CONF/conf.home.html Siobhan
Have you checked www.herecomestheguide.com. It is quite helpful. We found our site through it (Healdsburg Country Garderns in Healdsburg, Sonoma County). You have to arrange for your own caterer, but the caterer can often take care of everything else for you, including a ''day of'' wedding coordinator. We used Alex's Catering based in Vallejo: 300 Virginia Street VAllejo, CA T: 707-643-1711 F: 707-643-5907. They are reasonable and fabulous. Good luck and congratulations! Christy
I don't know what your price range is but I would like to suggest Hornblower yachts. We got married on the Empress yacht (out of the Berkeley Marina/Raddisson dock). It was a fabulous wedding. The best thing about it was I only had to make a call to one person, the Hornblower wedding coordinater and she took care of everything from flowers, music, cake, photographer,etc. You choose the package and pick the menu from a range of options (buffet or sit down, brunch, lunch or dinner, appetizers, beer, wine or cocktails?)and the price includes 3 hours of sailing on the bay. We had about 130 guests at our wedding, some who have never even been on the bay on a boat. Every one says it was great. I was very impressed with the overall service of Hornblower. They accomadated all of requests, including classy handling of my 2 mother-in-laws in wheelchairs. We were married dockside at the Radisson back garden by our personal priest, but the Captain can perform the wedding on the boat. Our price (4.5 years ago)averaged $72.00 per guest for everything (cruise + an extra hour, elegant and delicous 3 course sit-down lunch, wine, beer and champgne, cake, photographer, DJ and favors plus ceremony dockside, which was extra charged by the hotel). I was so thankful for how easy they made the planning that I truly feel it was the greastest day of my life and I enjoyed it entirely and had literally no stress! Give them a call to just check out their options. Kerri
We were married on Faculty Glade and had our reception at the Fauculty Club four years ago.We were pleased with everything. We had 150 guests and the food was good. We hired a DJ and did our own flowers. A wedding coordinator is available and we found her to be very helpful. The rates (then) were very reasonable. Chris
Good luck on finding a great place for your wedding. I just wanted to weigh in with a place that I don't recommend choosing. My husband and I were married in the Mather Redwood Grove of the UC Botanical Garden. While the setting is spectacularly lovely, the staff of the Garden were more problematic. They lost our reservation, were slow to respond to inquiries, and were generally unhelpful. Alas that it should be so. anonymous
We got married at the Nimitz Mansion on Yerba Buena Island. It was quite a deal 4 years ago ($500). There is also a chapel on Treasure Island, but we performed the ceremony at the Mansion.
Pros * historical setting, conveniently located * Provides perfect opportunity to use bridge metaphors * 2 cozy fireplaces * Upstairs available with showers and his and hers wings. Ideal place to get ready (hire a masseuse). * Dont have to use their caterers (actually, they dont have caterers) Cons * Not good for sit down dinners * you can hear the freeway when outside * Guests other than relatives had to stand during ceremony (I'd use the chapel if I had to do it over again)
Contact Treasure Island (City of SF) for more in Susannah
My husband and I are thinking of renewing our wedding vows this March on our tenth year anniversary. At first we thought about having a huge celebration and inviting all our friends and family for this special event. But since we're focusing on expanding our family and reducing our debt, we've decided to go with a more personal family and really close friends get together. Can anyone recommend a nice place that we can host a dinner and small celebration? We're still undecided as to whether or not we want to have a minister or a justice of the court perform the ceremony. Anyone's suggestion on either would help. We're just interested in having something nice and personal that we can share with our family, since it was just the two of us the day we got married. Any ideas? Happy Bride
There is a beautiful stone building at Temescal park on the lake that has a room you can rent for functions. Anon
I am looking for recommendations on places here in the bay area that handle small wedding party. We plan to marry April or May and would like to have about 60 guest. Basically we are looking for a place that will take care of everything from the ceremony to a sit down dinner or buffett.
I highly recommend the book, 'Here Comes the Guide (for Northern Cal).' It is a wedding planning guide that reviewed various wedding venues, caterers, musicians, florists, absolutely everything you need to plan a wedding! The publisher is very demanding and literally checks EVERY reference the businesses provide. So, you are guaranteed the vendor is reputable, honest, and the information is accurate. The venue listings provide addresses, phone numbers, contact names, capacity, cost, location, and caterer info (i.e., whether you must use the on site or prefered catering co.) . I used it to plan my wedding a few years ago. I would also use it for any party planning needs I'll have in the future. By the way, I donated my 1997 edition to the Oakland Public Library, so I know they have that year. They may have the 1998 or 1999 edition as well. The new editions come out in the spring. Also, as a plug for a caterer, I just used Rick and Ann's pantry for an office party and I think they are fabulous! The event planners, Kimberly and Andrea, were wonderful and extraordinarily helpful. They worked with my miniscule budget and strict dietary restrictions and helped me develope a wonderful menu! Hope this helps. By the way, I LOVE party planning, so if you want some tips, send me email (jgaray [at] library.berkeley.edu)
I have just the place for your small wedding party. We were married in Point Richmond (right next to Richmond) at a place called Linsley Hall. Take the Canal St. exit off 580--right before the San Rafael Bridge. It is an old chapel that is only used for weddings. The chapel is quaint--windows and wood etc... There is a full basement and full kitchen for a dinner. Or you could do what we did and use the garden/gazebo outside for an outdoor meal. Our wedding included 75 guests and this place was perfect.
We had our wedding at 1409 Sutter in San Francisco, It's an old Victorian ideally suited for small - medium sized weddings (we managed to squeeze in over 100 but some people were standing during the ceremony) The event planner that we worked with was absolutely wonderful -- unforunately her name is escaping me, but i can look it up if you like. The chef was great too, he helped us come up with a simple menu that would appeal to our very diverse group (little kids, vegetarians, meat and potatoes folk) and that was within our budget. The decor is lovely, period furniture, lots of stained glass so minimal decorating is required. I don't think there's anywhere else we could have put together a wedding in six weeks and still have people talking about how lovely it was two years later. Little bonuses that made it extra nice: The event was on the ground floor, but they had a room set up w/snacks for me and my bridesmaid upstairs to wait/dress/wait in until the ceremony and where my husband and I could escape to for a few moments alone together from time to time when the whole thing got to be overwhelming. You can make your entrance down the grand oak staircase, FACING your guests. There's an elevator, which makes it easy for the band/musicians/etc. to come and go without wading through the guests.I could go on and on, but you should probably just check out their website: http://www.1409suttermansion.com/
In 1997 we were married at the BR Cohn winery in the town of Glen Ellen, up in Sonoma. A beautiful spot--ceremony under a gigantic old live oak with the vineyards beyond, and dinner and dancing alfresco in the olive grove up by the old home following the ceremony.
Get the book Here Comes the Guide--there are a plethora of spaces like BR Cohn all over the Bay Area, and the book lists most of them, and gives all kinds of useful information that allows you to compare sites before choosing to visit.
Be warned, however, that many desirable places will already be booked for late spring and beyond. We started looking at sites in early January and found that the only date available at BR Cohn was September 13, a date some people may have considered unlucky! Best of luck to your sister.
Has anyone attended a wedding at the lake merritt hotel? I would be interested in hearing about your experience, the food, and the service. Any feedback much appreciated! Thanks Liz
I attended a wedding reception there last November. I thought that it was a beautiful place! The reception was about 7 so you looked out over the lake with the necklace of lights. Incredible. The food was really good. We had filet mignon for the meat and I think the stuffed portabella mushroom was the vegetarian. The meat was fantastic. Vegetables were well cooked and not overdone. The appetizers were really good as well. The service was good and they were really friendly. I highly recommend it. Oh the rooms are nice. They are not huge. Joelle
e were married at the Lake Merritt Hotel last April and I would highly recommend the experience. We had looked at many many places, and the LMH had everything we were looking for - beautiful views, great food, good selection of wines, very flexible in our wedding requests, and the rooms are great! We ended up customizing the reception (adding a sherry toast, having a British wedding cake that needed to be boxed, and being really specific with our food needs), and they were very accommodating. We have such great memories of our wedding, and have heard compliments from alot of the guests about the ''perfect'' setting. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me. sarbarnes