Affordable, cute, unique wedding venue in SF Bay Area?
February 25, 2015 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Yay! I'm getting gay married! We're looking for a venue that is, as stated above, affordable, and ideally unique (not super generic). I've looked at some previous questions and been asking around but hoping to get more ideas. We live in Oakland but would probably have a range from Marin to Santa Cruz to, I don't know, Livermore?

We would like a place that is fairly accessible for folks with limited mobility. Ideally outside or outside-ish. We like cute, nature, quirky is acceptable and possibly preferable.

posted by latkes to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

How many people and what's your budget?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:19 AM on February 25, 2015

Pulgas Water Temple (Yelp reviews): I entertained the idea of having my wedding here, but it wasn't to be. From what I remember, you maybe get 2 hours? on a weekend date for a comparatively low price, no food allowed, you'd have to run your own electricity, bring your own chairs, etc. You do have a not-too-long of a flat walk from the parking lot to the temple & pool itself. Open to the public on weekdays so you might as well check it out first to see if it suits you. Call up the SFPUC to reserve a date if you're interested.
posted by Seboshin at 9:21 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Good questions. Less than 50 guests and we don't know for sure budget yet but ideally less than 5000 for whole shebang.
posted by latkes at 9:23 AM on February 25, 2015

I have it!

The Snow Building at the Oakland Zoo!

Get kitchen access and cater it yourself!

I have a friend who's an ordained pagan clergy-person if you need an officiant.

We did our wedding for $5000 out the door. It was perfect and my friends still tell me how much fun it was!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:32 AM on February 25, 2015

By "limited mobility" do you mean "people who need a ramp or elevator" or "older people and others who would prefer not to walk long distances but can do a few steps okay"?
posted by St. Hubbins at 9:41 AM on February 25, 2015

I went to a wedding at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland that was lovely. I don't know what they paid, but I'm guessing it wasn't extravagant. As I recall, the wedding was near the road and fairly flat. The location wasn't paved, however.

Ironically, it was a gay wedding, right down the street from the big Mormon temple, around the time of the whole Prop 8 fiasco.
posted by cnc at 10:01 AM on February 25, 2015

We got married in Tilden park at the Padre Picnic Area in the Berkeley Hills. It worked out great, there were real, accessible bathrooms right at the place, etc. Reserving the space only cost a couple hundred bucks- the number is under "Weddings and receptions" here
posted by rockindata at 10:10 AM on February 25, 2015

Some friends of mine got married at the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens -- I don't know all the details, but my sense from talking about it with the bride was that is was pretty affordable and a good experience all around.
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:18 AM on February 25, 2015

In looking for information about what Children's Fairyland charges for rentals, I found this list, which has some good ideas: The Morcom Rose Garden might be nice, although it's probably not that unique for a wedding.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2015

We got committed at the Brazil Room in Tilden Park. It was lovely.
posted by rtha at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2015

Congrats! Slightly north of Marin up here in Santa Rosa there are some fabulous city owned venues which are very affordable (also accessible!). My favorite two are the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens the Deturk Round Barn.
posted by nerdcore at 12:18 PM on February 25, 2015

We're getting married in Tiburon at Landmarks Arts and Garden Center. We have two older guests with mobility issues (they will use scooters) and while they can't go up to all of the tiers in the garden (which are really for observing the view), they'll be able to access the cottage, the terrace, and the lawn, where all of the action will be. Barbara, the site coordinator, is super awesome. It's also a non-profit, so costs are reasonable and you're helping out a wonderful historic site.
posted by vivzan at 12:37 PM on February 25, 2015

Another place that I really liked and thought would be wonderful was in SF and was super inexpensive and open to us doing anything we wanted. The Forest Hill Clubhouse. Also a historic house designed by Maybeck. It's lovely, has a wonderful spot outside for a ceremony and the inside would be great for a reception. ADA friendly. The only downside is it's right on the street.
posted by vivzan at 12:41 PM on February 25, 2015

Booking the Brazil Room needs an 18-month lead time (a friend of mine got married there, and it was lovely, but). The facility at Joaquin Miller Park is ADA-compliant with parking right outside, but surrounded by pretty redwoods.

Slightly farther afield: Canyon Meadow at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. You can drive right into the meadow, and there is plenty of parking (except at 2PM on nice Sundays). It would be very outdoorsy, but there are bathrooms and picnic tables. Plus it's lovely and there's a playground for kids.

Friends of mine got married at the Women's Club in Montclair, which was very nice and kinda funky, but not particularly outdoorsy.
posted by suelac at 2:05 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Little known secret is Oakland Morcom Rose Garden for the wedding ceremony. Get married among the roses!!

And then your favorite restaurant for reception in their private dining room.
posted by ellerhodes at 8:00 PM on February 25, 2015


A friend got married at the Faculty Club in Berkeley, and it was lovely (great historic Maybeck architecture). The ceremony itself took place in the really nice outdoor garden area (visible in some photos here).
posted by kristi at 10:08 AM on February 27, 2015

I'm biased because it's where we got married, but the Mills College chapel is lovely, and the Reinhardt Alumnae House is a nice space for a reception, with a back patio and large garden.

Here's an online "virtual tour" of the campus, which shows the chapel and Reinhardt House, among other things.
posted by Lexica at 10:32 AM on February 27, 2015

Response by poster: For others looking for venues in the future, we decided on the Falkirk Cultural Center. It is affordable and pretty and easily accessible. Make your reservation early: by the time we were ready to commit, they had zero Sundays left open in September or October.

Some other places we considered were the indoor and outdoor venues owned by the East Bay Regional Parks (Newt Hollow was extra cute) and the city of Marin parks including McNears Beach. Also, this working goat farm had a pretty amazing package that included food and flowers but was ultimately out of our price range.
posted by latkes at 7:58 AM on April 20, 2015

Response by poster: By the way, I was SUPER tempted by getting married at Fairyland. I hope some day to at least get invited to some else's awesome cosplay wedding there!
posted by latkes at 8:06 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

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