California-Bay Area

San Francisco venues on a budget

My fiance and I are just jumping in to the wedding planning but we know we want to hold our wedding in the city.  We have a lot of out of town guests coming in and want to make it as fun and memorable for everyone as possible.  The problem is, we're on a budget that is only slightly flexible (we would like to try and only spend about $8,000 on the reception).   We live in the East Bay and don't know San Fran that well.  Any advice on places to start would be wonderful.

Re: San Francisco venues on a budget

  • jackelbridejackelbride member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I'm no help with locations... but I would recommend a day time wedding to keep costs down. The city is terribly expensive.

    The only SF venue we checked out was the Cliff House. I loved it but the ceremony site couldn't hold 135 (worse case scenerio guest list) and they wouldn't let us start at 5pm.
  • edited December 2011
    I would look on YELP to see if anyone has posted a wedding venue list for SF.  I know I used several YELP lists to help me find budget venues, caterers etc. 
  • BubbalubBubbalub member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I live in SF and have done tons of research for wedding venues here. It really depends on what type of wedding you are hoping for (indoors? Outdoors? Hotel? Museum?) and the size of your guest list. We want an outdoor ceremony, at least, and are flexible on the reception and the date, with a guest list of 100-125 people. We couldn't find anything in SF that worked for us in our price range. Everything seems to be $4k just for the rental, not including catering.

    Definitely check Yelp. I also looked at herecomestheguide.com because it includes pictures and such. Have you looked at The Knot's list of venues for Northern California yet? What time of year are you hoping for? That can make a big difference as well.

    Good luck!
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  • edited December 2011
    Hey, you should check out Hillside Community Church in El Cerrito (close enough to San Francisco), not only is it reasonably priced, but they have a lot to offer in terms of inclusive items, such as chairs, stage, tables, and like others already suggested, herecomestheguide.com is VERY helpful so that you don't waste your time asking for prices to all the different potential venues.  Also check out AXIS Cafe IN San Francisco, that would be so cute.....
  • lorifullinglorifulling member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    I would suggest a daytime wedding to keep costs down. I live in San Francisco, but am getting married in the East Bay because we found that the places we could afford were not available on any date we would like. We are inviting 100-115 people and visited Stern Grove in SF. There is some street noise and it is damp in the grove area where the ceremony most likely woudl take place. The Trocadero building at the site is cute, but again small inside. I can't picture 100 people eating AND dancing inside. Plus, most Saturdays were booked. Contact Parks and Rec for Stern Grove as well as for one of the gardens in the Strybling Arboretum/Botanical Garden. Site fees might range around $3000. Another option that we considered was a meadow in Golden Gate Park. But that would only work for a ceremony. A reception would have to be elsewhere I think. And time of the year would definitely be an issue. There are a few festivals in the City and if you get married in the Park you might have to deal with little parking, joggers in a race, concert goers or all of the above.

  • katmstrangekatmstrange member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I'm having mine at Stern Grove. It's beautiful and only about $150/hr. (6 hour minimum)
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  • edited December 2011
    We spent this last weekend in the city looking for a reception venue, and one thing we found is that restaurants, lounges, and bars are more likely to bargain with you if you want to do an afternoon reception and you find one that doesn't open until 5:30 or so. Our ceremony is at 1, reception from 2-6, so the reception location can open at the normal time and just has to have staff on hand for the reception time. Their minimums are usually around 10-15k for Saturday nights, but went down to about 4-7k when you did it in the afternoon. We're just doing heavy appetizers and drinks so it won't work for everyone, but it worked for us.

    Just a thought.
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