Help me plan a San Francisco elopement
September 25, 2013 7:55 PM   Subscribe

My partner's brother and fiancée are coming to San Francisco this weekend to get married. The very tiny ceremony is taking place at Point Reyes National Seashore, and I'm looking for recommendations for a restaurant for dinner afterward and a romantic hotel for them, either along the coast between Point Reyes and San Francisco, or in Sonoma. Priorities are good food and a scenic location, in that order.

The happy couple are a pair of quiet Midwesterners who like simple but exquisitely prepared food, and natural beauty, so someplace not too pretentious is ideal.

Bonus questions...does anyone know a Sam Francisco florist that could do a last-minute bridal bouquet, or have tips for a nervous, first-time officiant?
posted by psycheslamp to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (8 answers total)
Maybe this for dinner: Too fancy?
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:02 PM on September 25, 2013

There's a decently nice lodge (warning, music auto-play that doesn't stay off) with restaurant right outside the park. The newlyweds could then adjourn to, ahem, one of the detached cottages, $300/nt.

Also, keep in mind that after 7 or so it is dark, so the setting might not matter that much for the restaurant.
posted by wnissen at 8:04 PM on September 25, 2013

I'll second the Point Reyes lodge mentioned above - I went to a wedding there in June and it was incredibly lovely. The grounds are stunning - if you stay there you should see if you can use the outdoor areas for pictures before or after the wedding.

Tips for the officiant:
-Practice enough times that the words start to flow easily, but not so many times that you have it memorized
-If possible, get to the location early and practice standing/speaking/moving around the area you'll be speaking from - you'll feel more comfortable if you feel comfortable in the physical space
-Embrace silences - they can be the most beautiful parts of a wedding - don't feel you need to rush through the speaking
-If you find that your speaking voice feels tight in your chest or shaky, breathe deeply
-Smile a lot. It's going to be incredible.
posted by leitmotif at 8:28 PM on September 25, 2013

A little more research shows that there isn't a 4-star hotel between Point Reyes and San Francisco. Also, there are surprisingly few hotels right on the water in San Francisco. They might prefer something tall with views, though the Mark Hopkins is booked. The tallest hotel in San Francisco (according to Wikipedia) is the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, which does have view rooms available for $440. Note that there are two towers, Tower I is much taller than the other. Even taller is the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, which is the top 11 floors of the third-tallest building in San Francisco, this Saturday goes for $1200.

Sonoma is a bit of schlep, but there are plenty of places there, and if Sonoma does anything well, it's natural beauty combined with a lack of pretense. It's a shame that the cottages just off Sonoma's square and Four Sisters' Inn at Sonoma are booked. In fact, there's not a lot of hotels at all available in that area.

It's quite casual (the flatware is deliberately mismatched), but I really like the food and atmosphere at The Girl and the Fig, also in downtown Sonoma (the city).

P.S. Our (full-time, professional) officiant concluded our ceremony with, "I now present, Mr. and Mrs. Nissel," which left my bride and I cracking up as we strode up the aisle together. So if you can just pronounce the names of the bride and groom correctly, you're ahead of that guy! Talk slow, practice, you'll be fine.
posted by wnissen at 8:54 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I'm out by Mt. Tamalpais or Muir Woods I like to go to The Pelican Inn for lunch. I imagine dinner is excellent as well, but I have no idea what the rooms are like. It's explicitly English-style, which is literally pretentious, but it never felt pretentious to me — just comfortable.

It's about 40 minutes south of Point Reyes Station.
posted by Renegade Duck at 9:28 PM on September 25, 2013

Nick's Cove is near there and good. I was there with my girlfriend recently and we both really enjoyed it. We stayed in this Airbnb place near there which was pretty cool.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:21 PM on September 26, 2013

Osteria Stellina Restaurant in Point Reyes Station has been getting rave reviews from the SF Chronicle for the food.

No idea if reservations are available, but there are several very nice hotels with beautiful bay views in Sausalito that aren't stupid expensive.

Edit - some are stupid expensive, at least at this point.
posted by cnc at 4:12 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Pelican Inn. Our friends rented the whole place for their wedding. The food was good, ambiance is nice nd cozy.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:41 PM on September 26, 2013

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