We’re diving into 30 of the best San Francisco wedding venues here on the Zoe Larkin Photography blog. Oh Lord, there are just SO many amazing wedding venues! In a city known for being dynamic, fun and innovative, is it any wonder that the places to get married in San Francisco are so varied and charming? 

In this article, you’ll learn about some well-known San Francisco wedding venues to host your wedding in 2023. You’ll get a sense of what San Francisco has to offer at every budget and for every wedding style, be it nature vibes, regal splendor, down-to-earth or industrial chic.

When I was researching for this article, I had to admit that many of these venues were new ones for me. I may be a San Francisco wedding photographer, but that does not mean I’ve been to every San Francisco wedding venue! 

Far from it! But that doesn’t mean I can’t showcase some of the best the city has to offer when it comes to places to tie the knot, and would love to shoot at!

All of my spots on this list are within San Francisco itself. Sure, I could have made this Bay Area-wide – but that’s a much bigger list for another day maybe. I wanted to shine a light on the venues that operate within the City of San Francisco itself. 

As this is me, Zoe, writing this, I couldn’t help prioritizing venues that are either super practical & down-to-earth, quirky or unique, and venues that specialize in smaller groups – because intimate weddings have my heart. That’s what we do best around here! 

If your favorite wedding venue is missing from this list, lesave me a comment 👇🏾 and I’ll try my best to add it. Or if you think any of the ‘drawbacks’ unfair, I’d love to hear it. I wanted to make this resource as helpful as possible, being upfront about any possible issues as well as singing every venue’s praises ;). This way San Francisco marriers can make an 👏🏾 informed 👏🏾 choice!

So, with all the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get intimately acquainted with San Francisco’s finest places to get married, shall we? 

PS if you want to see where the spots are at by location, check out the map below:


Aracely Cafe & Event Center

Aracely cafe - best wedding locations in san francisco
Photo credit: Aracely

About: Casual cafe vibes tucked away on Treasure Island! This is a relaxed little place, tucked away on Treasure Island (still a San Francisco zipcode technically!) is great for admiring the San Francisco skyline while chilling on the roomy, verdant patio. This scores highly for being one of the more affordable SF wedding venues, favoring all-inclusive packages.

Drawbacks: Some reviewers have reported not being able to see the skyline from the venue itself. Reports of event staff being difficult to get a hold of. Possible construction around the venue recently. 

Max seated capacity for reception300
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Argonaut Hotel 

Argonaut hotel - best wedding locations in san francisco
Photo credit: Argonaut Hotel 

About: 

The venue boasts sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay and historic urban charm on the waterfront. Catering is provided by Blue Mermaid Restaurant, so one less thing to worry about. 

It’s a beautifully situated property, steps away from the Cable Car Turnabout, Aquatic Park and Ghirardelli’s Square. 

The ceremony and cocktail hour are held in the Del Monte Courtyard followed by dinner and dancing in the Golden Gate Ballroom or Maritime Room.

Drawbacks: 

Some reviewers have reported the patio off the Maritime room to be a public thoroughfare. Parking is very limited in this area, so it would be a good idea to bus folks in if budget allows, or have them rideshare. 

Max seated capacity for reception280
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Asian Art Museum

About: 

An incredibly dreamy, beautiful and iconic space! The Asian Art Museum holds nearly 15,000 treasures spanning 6,000 years of history, representing cultures throughout Asia.

Like City Hall, there’s a Grand Staircase where you can make a grand entrance, and that fabulous beaux-arts architecture of the Loggia and Samsung Hall (think: Travertine marble walls, a high ceiling, a gorgeous chandelier, and period details). 

You can choose indoor/outdoor options (such as having an outdoor ceremony in the Court) and have your event flow through the various areas of the building. There’s a beautiful space for every ceremony. There’s even the North or South Court for your afterparty! 

As a photographer, I’m most drawn to the light-filled, high-key spaces within the building, but really every space is stunning. An epically grand wedding venue, with a price tag to match.

Drawbacks: 

High price tag. There are a lot of rules vendors will need to deal with, being that the venue is home to priceless artworks. An experienced wedding planner (preferably with venue-specific experience) is a must to deal with some of the red tape.

Max seated capacity for reception250
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San Francisco Botanical Gardens 

outdoor  san francisco wedding venue the Botanical Gardens
Photo credit: SFBG.org

About: 

If you’re ready to take on the elements, the San Francisco Botanical Garden may be perfect for your wedding. The Garden offers five unique outdoor venues, each with different moods and capacities. 

Did you know you can host your entire wedding here from ceremony through reception? You can opt for a simple 1-hour micro ceremony (perfect to hold in the tiny Moon Viewing Garden), or a full 10-hour blowout in the enormous, recently renovated and conveniently-located Celebration Garden. 

This is also the only location within the park that allows amplified sound, and we’re totally sold after having recently photographed an intimate wedding here! 

Drawbacks:

An in-person meeting is required to move forward. Lots of rules and requirements. No chairs or tables are provided. All outdoors, so at certain times of year can be extremely cold. It’s worth checking what will be in bloom at the time of year you’re thinking of getting married.

Areas excluding Celebration Garden are not completely private so random passers-by might be present.

Max seated capacity for reception400
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The Box SF

The box sf San francisco indoor wedding venue
Photo credit: The Box SF

About: 

This is a hugely underrated event space in San Francisco’s South of Market convention district, designed for small wedding groups! It’s just a stone’s throw from City Hall. The vibe of the space is warm wood and original 1920’s windows, balanced by a modern industrial loft feel.

The 3rd Floor is where it’s at for weddings as it features the Main Room and The Gate Room (complete with 335-year old Chinese gate table). The rest of the space is more suited for corporate events. 

The history of the space is also pretty interesting, as it was once the William Randolph Hearst newspaper printing plant, built in 1926. It has a letterpress printing shop on the first floor, though isn’t part of the wedding space exhibit. 

The place offers full-service options for weddings, with catering, bar, AV, linens and other rentals provided. There are two rental slots to choose from each day, each lasting 8 hours. 

Drawbacks:  

There may be zoning rules around no loud music/dancing. It’s not a space with a ton of natural light, so photos wouldn’t have such a light and airy feel.

The Civic Center area in which The Box is located can be difficult for those that aren’t used to it. Some older or nervous family members might not feel as safe here. It’s one of the smaller spaces on the list, but that can also be a plus for those planning an intimate wedding. 

Max seated capacity for reception60
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California Academy of Sciences 

About:

A totally unique experience – you are able to marry in front of a coral reef, dine with penguins, and stroll through a rainforest. 

The biggest plus of this venue: you can say you got married in one of the most environmentally conscious structures in the world. It’s also incredibly fun! 

It boasts a living roof, countless exhibits (one inhabited by an albino alligator), 21 meticulously crafted dioramas, a “touch tidepool”, and even a 25-foot-high backdrop of turquoise water filled with neon fish as a ceremony backdrop. 

Drawbacks:

Events only begin after the academy is closed to the public so set-up time is limited. Indoor events are not as photogenic especially as it may already be dark outside at certain times of the year by the time they get underway (6.30pm).

Only approved caterers and certain other vendors may be used.

Max seated capacity for reception350
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City Club of San Francisco 

indoor wedding venue - san francisco's city club
Photo credit: 1985 Luke Photography

About: 

It’s located in the lobby of the former Stock Exchange Tower, in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District. You’ll head up to the 10th floor to find the City Club, meaning views galore. Events usually take place on the 10th and 11th floors, depending on the size of your group. 

You’ll find a ton of original Art Deco stylings here, from the polished marble floors, gold ceilings, bronze & brass appliqué details, and a 30-foot-high Diego Rivera fresco. 

It’s a very classic and historic San Francisco venue, perfect for formal, black-tie events.

Drawbacks:  

The venue is all indoors, so it lacks a great deal of natural light for photos (though there are large windows). 

Some reviewers in the past have reported difficulty dealing with on-site coordinators at the venue, though that may have changed.

Max seated capacity for reception460
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City View at Metreon

City View at Metreon one of the top san Francisco wedding venues
Photo credit: City View at Metreon

About:  

The panoramic views of the City are the big pull of this spot (hence the name!). Its location also cannot be beaten – it’s in the heart of Union Square, close to public transit routes, shopping areas, hotels and the bustling tourist center of the city. Extremely convenient for out-of-towners. 

The fourth-floor terrace is where you get views of the city landscape plus the Yerba Buena gardens below. The decor has a contemporary, urban-chic aesthetic – super spacious and luxurious, plus it was recently remodeled to be even more upscale

Think: luxurious wall fabrics, a trellised entryway, a 31,000-square foot blank canvas for you to host your own red carpet event. 

Drawbacks:  

Very high price tag, even when priced for up to 50 guests. It’s more of a ‘blank canvas’ in some ways, so will require a lot of decor and a skilled and experienced planner to maximize how the various spaces are utilized. Could be challenging for guests to find the space from the entrance. 

Max seated capacity for reception1,325
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San Francisco City Hall

san francisco city hall tops the list of best san francisco wedding ceremony venues
Photo credit: Zoe Larkin Photography

About:  

San Francisco City Hall is the jewel in San Francisco’s crown – widely regarded as the most beautiful building in the city, and one of the most beautiful in the United States. It’s practical, affordable, historic (particularly for those involved in LGBTQ+ rights), and overall a magical and timeless wedding location, welcoming to people from all over the world. 

SF City Hall can host many different events, from a simple Civil Ceremony with up to 6 guests (which is what 95% of marriers opt for), right up to 100-person private ceremonies, and even full buyouts on evenings and Saturday mornings. 

Of course, this is my favorite San Francisco wedding venue! My team and I have shot many hundreds of wedding ceremonies here over the years. I lovingly refer to the building as my home. 

Drawbacks:   

The venue works as a ceremony-only spot. Technically you can host receptions here, but the cost soon gets sky-high, and those types of events are rare and fraught with red tape, being a City-run institution. This is not a super popular option but it might be worth checking their dedicated events website if interested.

As it’s something of a conveyor belt, you lack any meaningful personalization. Also, there’ll be other people getting married all around you, which isn’t for those who prefer a truly private experience. 

Max seated capacity for receptionN/A
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Conservatory of Flowers

About:   

There are various rentals available at this magnificent and historic greenhouse, nestled in the heart of the Golden Gate Park! 

The Conservatory of Flowers has different exhibit spaces for your wedding including the outdoor Palm Terrace, the Terrace Lawns, five Conservatory Galleries, West Gallery only, and the reception hall (known as the Orchid Pavilion).

Each of the galleries showcases unique plants and flowers, custom metal work and architectural beauty. Choose from indoor or outdoor spaces, or both with a full buyout. 

There are even options for microwedding packages, which is so lovely to see as microweddings are exactly what we LOVE!

Drawbacks:  

We’ve seen multiple reviews saying that it was hard to get a hold of event staff (even pre-booking), though some of these reports are from years ago. However, communication issues have come up more than once. 

Max seated capacity for reception300
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San Francisco Design Center Galleria

About:   

In the heart of San Franciso’s Design District lies a large hidden gem. 

From the outside, all you see is a gleaming four-story façade made up of 700 glass panes. Step inside and you’ll see amazing design – a soaring atrium with a retractable skylight, oozing contemporary aesthetics. 

There’s an Italian tile floor, exposed brick walls and that dramatic 60-foot ceiling! 

While it sounds like an enormous space more suited to large, lavish gatherings, it’s possible to rent out just the main floor if you’re having an intimate wedding. It’s a versatile space. 

Drawbacks:  

Event times span later in the day, due to being a multi-use space. The San Francisco Design Center Galleria comes into its own for large weddings. It’s perfect for putting on a show (big band, sangeet events, performance-themed weddings), but isn’t the most charming venue in the city. 

We strongly advise outdoor venues (or indoor/outdoor is ideal rather than all indoors, which is not as good lighting-wise). 

Max seated capacity for reception850
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Ferry Building

About:

A luxury, spacious complex spanning dynamic indoor and outdoor spaces right on the waterfront a stone’s throw from downtown San Francisco! The piece de resistance is the Grand Hall featuring an elevated ceiling 660 feet of skylights and 6,500 square feet of mosaic tile.

If you’re looking to impress and create a seemingly never-ending array of environments for your guests to experience, the Ferry Building is it! The space also has getting-ready areas, screens, draped fabric, props, and custom lighting on site. Not to mention the toot of the ferry horns in the background.

The elegance of the restored 1898 building is apparent in its stone stairway, steel beams, intricate latticework and prestigious location. It’s simply stunning and would suit a grand soiree.

Drawbacks:

Street parking is non-existent in this area, but there is valet service for your guests. Alternatively, you could bus in your guests or have them stay somewhere very nearby and potentially walkable such as the Hyatt Regency (7 minutes’ walk).

The entire venue is indoor which is not everyone’s cup of tea but may be a wise choice during some of that exceptional San Francisco weather! It’s possible to walk to Pier 7 for romantic photos (also a 7-minute walk) which would be highly recommended to build into your timeline to get natural light which looks most flattering in those super important photos.

There is an exclusive caterer at this venue and prices are a little eye-watering, which is why I’ve given it a 5 out of 5 for price. It’s truly a top-tier venue!

Max seated capacity for reception400
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Firehouse at Fort Mason

firehouse at fort mason wedding - sf wedding venue
Photo credit: Fort Mason

About:   

The Firehouse is a one-of-a-kind, indoor/outdoor space with views of Angel Island and Alcatraz. 

The venue is part of the sprawling 13-acre Fort Mason campus with about 15 venues to choose from. The Firehouse may not be the most popular (with that honor going to the General’s Residence), but it’s certainly charming and perfect for intimate weddings of 80 people or less. 

Rentals include banquet tables, chairs, and the setup/breakdown of the space. It’s possible to do both ceremony and reception at this venue, or alternatively, do the ceremony elsewhere and just the reception here.  

Drawbacks:  

Photo locations with good lighting may be a little thin on the ground, depending on the time of day. The industrial/’derelicte’ feel isn’t for everyone, with large red shuttered doors and marked concrete walls. 

Some might say it doesn’t have that ‘cute wedding venue charm’ of some of the other spots on our list. Harsh sunlight streams into the indoor space in some of the photos I’ve seen, which makes scenes extremely high-contrast at certain times of the day. 

Max seated capacity for reception80
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Flood Mansion

elegant san francisco wedding venue - flood mansion
Photo credit: GG Catering

About:   

This stately and elegant venue in Pacific Heights combines a variety of historical styles, from the Italian Renaissance to Rococo, Tudor and Georgian. The mansion is a non-profit and was donated by the widow of James Flood in the 1930s. 

The Beaux Arts building is actually used as a school, so is available for weddings during the evenings and weekends. 

Some highlights of the 6,000 square-foot venue are the Grand Hall, measuring 140 feet with marble floors and bay views; the Reception Room with coffered ceiling, murals, fireplace and parquet floor; and the enclosed courtyard off the Grand Hall. 

Drawbacks:   

Some gripes include the high price tag but the fact it’s a truly all-in-one venue somewhat makes up for that. We’ve heard multiple reports of an early forced end time of 10pm, no doubt due to the venue’s residential location. 

The reception space is narrow and extremely loud due to the acoustics. The space can feel cramped, so it’s a good idea not to go right up to the guest limit. Your photographer will thank you too if they have some space to actually move around!

Parking is a huge problem in Pacific Heights. You might consider shuttling guests or paying the hefty extra fee for valet parking with the venue. 

Max seated capacity for reception165
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Foreign Cinema 

restaurant wedding venue in san francisco, foreign cinema
Photo credit: Zoe Larkin Photography

About:   

With globally-inspired cuisine and a sustainable, seasonal and personalized menu, private dining at Foreign Cinema is a charming and distinctive experience. 

There are private and semi-private dining spaces that can seat anything up to 350 guests in total for a full-buyout. 

There are spaces of various sizes available including the new, outdoor Amate Terrace and indoor spaces Mezzanine, Modernism West Gallery, Director’s Table and Laszlo. 

What makes the venue unique is the movie aspect of the venue, which attracts cinephiles as well as foodies. In the courtyard, movies are projected onto an exterior wall, which would be yours with a full buyout! 

Restaurant buyouts make a lot of sense, as there are fewer venues to have to consider. Plus, you are assured that your reception experience is truly geared around the food, rather than it being an afterthought. 

Drawbacks:   

Aside from the Amate Terrace, the spaces are mostly artificially lit which means a yellowish color-cast in photos from indoors, after dark. Parking would be difficult in this area, so a shuttle or having guests Uber would be wise. 

Gatherings of 61 or more guests require a restaurant buyout, which increases costs significantly. 

Max seated capacity for reception350
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About:   

Gallery 308 is part of the Fort Mason complex. It’s a light, open and beautiful space with an industrial aesthetic. It has sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The building originally hosted maritime trade and repair shops, and retains some of that historic charm and open layout. Upgrades include modern lighting, polished concrete floors and vaulted ceilings. 

The windows are a photographer’s dream – natural light streams in during the day with stunning seascapes to behind. At night, the view transforms into twinkling lights of the city and bridge dancing off the water. 

It has something of a blank-canvas feel, perfect for the creative, wedding-forward couple.  I’ve read in reviews that the rental period is very long (8am until midnight) so you and your vendors can choose the best load in/out time without scrambling. Do check in the venue to confirm. 

Drawbacks:   

We’ve heard of some hidden costs with regard to Fort Mason weddings. Weather can be chilly as it’s so close to the water, so it’s just as well it’s an indoor-only venue. 

Max seated capacity for reception250
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General’s Residence

best view san francisco wedding venue with photos by zoe larkin photography
Photo credit: Zoe Larkin Photography

About:   

To me, this venue is the jewel in Fort Mason’s crown! Having photographed numerous weddings here, I can honestly say this is one of my favorite San Francisco wedding venues. 

This place has it all – great views of the bay, Alcatraz and the far reaches of the Bay. It’s got an indoor/outdoor feel, with ceremonies taking place on the rear lawn overlooking the beautiful view. 

Indoors, you have several distinct areas for the rest of your event to unfold. These include the ballroom, dining room, and the stunning foyer area. The indoor areas have amazing floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bay, which means plenty of light for your photos!

On top of the material aspects, there is also a wonderfully romantic, down-to-earth yet grand feel to the General’s Residence. It’s even hosted two presidents! 

It feels secluded (in a good way), with stunning areas all around to shoot your sunset portraits. And 👏🏾 plenty 👏🏾 of 👏🏾 parking! 

Drawbacks:   

Out on the lawn can be cold and windy. We don’t love the carpet. 

Max seated capacity for reception130
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Golden Gate Club

golden gate club is one of san francisco's most popular wedding venues
Photo credit: Golden Gate Club

About:   

The Golden Gate Club at the Presidio’s Main Post offers floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and a historic Presidio location. 

It offers a selection of reception spaces, with cathedral ceilings and revival-style architecture dating back to 1949. 

There’s the Ventana Ballroom with bay views framed with mature forest. It has an oversize fireplace and a large hardwood dancefloor. 

Also check out the slightly smaller Cypress and Hawthorn ballrooms which open to a courtyard that’s perfect for indoor ceremonies. 

There’s also the option to hold your ceremony at the prestigious Presidio Chapel, if Spanish mission revival architecture is your jam!

As of 2021, Wedgwood Weddings took over management of the venue. 

Drawbacks:   

I’ve heard reviews that venue staff is difficult to get a hold of, but this dates back to before the changeover to Wedgewood Weddings. Communication issues have also come up in some reviews. Others report being tied to one approved caterer, but this may have changed. 

Max seated capacity for reception300
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Great American Music Hall

great american music hall wedding in san francisco
Photo credit: WeddingWire

About:   

Definitely a wedding venue with a difference! The Great American Music Hall has been many things since 1907- a French restaurant, San Francisco’s grandest nightclub, a Moose Lodge, and since 1972, the club we know today. 

What does the 5,000-square-foot concert hall offer for your wedding? Ornate marble columns, gilded balconies, a frescoed ceiling and rococo grandeur, to name a few. 

Ceremonies here take place on the grand stage, where music and comedy luminaries have performed over the years. 

For your reception, rows of tables adorn the auditorium and guests are free to wander up to the wraparound balcony. 

There’s a professional sound and lighting system, lounge furniture, two full bars, kitchen, spacious oak dancefloor an in-house chef. You can even see your name in lights on the marquee! 

It’s a great venue for formal, black-tie events. Pricing remains affordable for such a large-capacity venue!

Drawbacks:   

Being a concert venue, there’s no natural light at all, so this is something worth considering with regard to choosing a photographer (it’ll be almost exclusively flash photos). 

It’s such a grand scale, decor such as floral arrangements would have to be similarly oversized, which would easily add up. 

Max seated capacity for reception350
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Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪

Haas-Lilienthal House

historic wedding venues, san francisco
Photo credit: Haas Lilienthal House

About:   

If you love history and classic San Francisco architecture, you may have just found your wedding venue! This elegant venue in Pacific Heights was originally the home of three generations of the Haas family for other 100 years.

The Haas-Lilienthal House is the only Victorian-era house in San Francisco open to the public. It oozes stately elegance and old-world charm, and showcases Queen Anne-style architecture. 

There are multi-level indoor settings, or a courtyard suitable for ceremonies and daytime receptions. Each has its own capacity and the spaces can be used in concert (rental includes them all). Generally, intimate weddings will give you the most options and room for your guests to roam the floors freely. 

It’s a unique experience essentially getting married in a big old house!

Drawbacks:   

Parking in the area is likely to be tricky, so bussing guests in is recommended. 

Note that some areas and times of day may feel crowded within the house, with many small areas rather than one large hall as you’d find with traditional wedding venues. This can give the photos a different feel (up-close and wide-angle) which might be different from the typical wedding photos. 

Max seated capacity for reception100
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Hornblower Cruises 

bay cruise san francisco wedding
Photo credit: Zoe Larkin Photography

About:  

Getting married on a boat? I love a wedding on the water! Having photographed on the Hornblower brunch cruise, I can wholeheartedly recommend it!

On your tour of the bay, you can see iconic landmarks such as Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and colorful townhomes, creating ever-changing photo-ops from every angle for your wedding day. 

There are so many packages to choose from, depending on your budget, vessel, guest count and desired time of day. You can have a massive event with thousands of guests, or just 30! The smallest vessel is the 75’ Commodore Hornblower, and the largest is the San Francisco Belle, at 292’. 

You can even do a full buyout of Pier 3 which includes 120,000 sq. ft of space and capacity for 5,000! But for me, intimate low-key and casual events are where this type of setting really shines. 

There are dedicated event staff that can even customize something for you. And yes, you can get married dockside by the captain! It’s every bit as amazing and fun as it sounds. 

Drawbacks:   

It could be difficult if important guests got seasick! Also, it’s super important everyone’s there on time, so may be tricky if folks arrive late, as they would miss the boat.

It’s quite the ‘all-in-one’ solution which isn’t for people that would like more customization with every aspect of their wedding decor and experience.

Max seated capacity for reception350+
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Legion of Honor Museum

About:   

Get married in a San Francisco monument! The Legion of Honor is historic, beautiful, and overlooks the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge and all of San Francisco, It’s far enough out of the hustle and bustle that it feels truly peaceful and surrounded by nature and beauty in all directions. 

This is just the spot for an elegant soiree, where your guests will be immersed in old-world grandeur, color, art and neoclassical architecture. I mean, those columns! 

Your intimate ceremony could be held in the Court of Honor, an open space flanked with columns and centered around a bronze cast of Rodin’s The Thinker. Another ceremony option is the Balustrade Lawn. 

Reception events are held inside the Legion, with free movement around the galleries to enjoy a private viewing of the museum’s collections of statues, paintings, prints and drawings. You could be sipping cocktails in the Hall of Antiquities! It’s just stunning – grown-up and formal. 

Drawbacks:   

The costs are numerous and will start to add up easily from the base price. Due to it being a public museum, the earliest start time is pretty late – likely 7pm by the time you have it all set up. 

Rentals only last 4 hours excluding load in/out time. 

As you can imagine, there are lots of rules in a venue like this, surrounded by priceless artwork. You’ll need an experienced planner to help navigate it all and stay within the rules. 

Max seated capacity for reception500
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The San Francisco Mint

san francisco wedding venues - the SF Mint
Photo credit: EventUp

About:   

The San Francisco Mint is nothing if not GRAND! Dating back to 1874 in the Greek Revival style, it once held one-third of the nation’s wealth. Now, it’s a National Landmark – but might be turned into a museum in the future!

The property is 92,000 square feet in total. It boasts a grand façade, classic columns, sweeping staircase entry, and antique gas street lamps. The Mint also has an intriguing mix of 19th-century architectural details and modern conveniences.

The ballroom interiors feature 30-foot high ceilings, gold-and-glass globe chandeliers, carved wood wainscoting, and an ornate, iron-railed wraparound mezzanine. 

Yet it’s the amazing courtyard for ceremonies that I love the most – it’s expansive, private, yet cozy. It’s the perfect blank canvas for creative, design-forward couples!  

A planner is a must, especially as the space is so unique. Instead of one or two spaces, there is a complex of ballrooms, all connected to either the Courtyard or the Grand Hallway.

Drawbacks:   

I’ve seen reviews reporting that staff is difficult to work with and hard to get a hold of – disappointing for such a high-priced venue. However, that information may be dated.

Some reports state that some parts of the venue are a little run down and poorly maintained. 

Max seated capacity for reception170
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Officer’s Club at the Presidio by Wedgewood Weddings

Wedgewood Weddings wedding venues in San Francisco - the officers' Club
Photo credit: Wedgewood Weddings

About:   

A versatile, diverse and historic range of spaces with stunning Spanish revival architecture, perfect for classic weddings of any size.

The building has a prestigious legacy dating back to its time as a military post, as it was formerly reserved exclusively for army brass. Long before there was the city of San Francisco, there was the Presidio of San Francisco. First established in 1776, the Officers’ Club stands as a testament to California’s beginnings.

The features include hand-worked iron fixtures, timber mantels, cathedral ceilings and beautifully landscaped and expansive grounds. 

Spaces include the Moraga Hall, the Ortega Ballroom & terrace (for larger affairs), and the Hardie Courtyard. Formal ceremonies often take place at the nearby Chapel of Our Lady which can hold 200 guests. 

Drawbacks:   

The limit for outdoor events is pretty low at just 50 guests, but due to its windy / cold / foggy location being indoors may actually be preferable! 

Since the venue started to be managed by Wedgewood weddings, one recent review reports having to deal with different Wedgewood employees for each interaction, and sometimes receiving conflicting information. The advice has been to get everything in writing which is good advice for dealing with any wedding vendor.

Max seated capacity for reception200
Price range💲💲💲
Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪

The Pearl

the pearl san francisco wedding venue
Photo credit: The Pearl SF

About:   

This is a modern multi-level event space in the heart of San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. If you’re picturing a rooftop ceremony, far from the hustle and bustle of the city below, you can’t go wrong with The Pearl.

There’s an array of spaces to choose from with 9,000 square feet in total. The multi-tier setup works well for providing space and options for your guests, whether they want to enjoy conversation in a little nook, take in the views in the loft, or step out onto the roof deck. 

It’s a super charming, dedicated event space with some delightful indoor-outdoor aspects. I particularly love the ceremony setup on the patio and this one is definitely on my bucket list to shoot at!

Drawbacks:   

Make sure you understand exactly what the costs are when making your booking. I’ve seen reviews on Yelp where folks have been surprised because they weren’t aware of ‘hidden’ costs.

Definitely do your homework and ask the right questions, or better yet, work with an experienced wedding planner who can help you make sense of the small print. 

Max seated capacity for reception220
Price range💲💲💲
Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪

Presidio Log Cabin

rustic wedding venues san francisco - the Presidio Log Cabin by wedgewood weddings
Photo credit: Wedgewood Weddings

About:   

The Log Cabin at the Presidio is located in the Presidio National Park and is set on 30 acres of land along the Presidio’s western shore. The venue includes not only the beam-lined cabin crafted from Monterey cypress but manicured lawns, on-site dressing rooms, and panoramic San Francisco skyline views.

If you’re looking for a rustic venue with cozy touches like a crackling fireplace and wagon-wheel chandeliers, the Log Cabin might be right up your alley. It’s a nature- and history lover’s dream too, with plenty of stories within its four walls. 

Drawbacks:   

If you’re having your ceremony on the lawn here in the middle part of the day during the summer months, the sun overhead is particularly harsh which can impact the photos dramatically. You’re also subject to the fickle weather conditions of the Presidio which can include intense wind, or fog obscuring your view. 

Inside, the dark wood will add a darker tone to your wedding photos as the venue lacks white walls which bounce light beautifully. 

Other reviewers have noted that the Presidio Trust has some constraints regarding vendors and decorations due to this being a historical building. Also, there is little space for wedding party preparations, so if this was something you wanted capturing it would necessitate having your photographer tag along at an external getting-ready location and building that plus travel time into your photography timeline.

It’s slightly on the smaller side to be comfortable, so ideal for more intimate celebrations of 110 guests or fewer. 

Max seated capacity for reception150
Price range💲💲
Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪

Shakespeare Garden

outdoor ceremony venue in san francisco, shakespeare garden
Photo credit: Bowerbird Photography

About:   

The Shakespeare Garden is the most popular wedding site within the Golden Gate Park. It’s super romantic, masked by foliage and accessible through a wrought iron gate. Fancy tying the knot in fairytale style in the middle of one of San Francisco’s most iconic locations? All without breaking the bank! 

The short crabapple tree-lined avenue will be your aisle. April is the most popular time for weddings here due to the trees flowering. No decoration is required in this stunning outdoor space with pretty landscaping and beautiful mature trees. 

Drawbacks:   

It’s important to note that the site is suitable for ceremonies only – receptions with any food and/or beverage are not allowed at this site.

You’re working with a City department, so there are a lot of rules in place in exchange for a very affordable price tag. No amplified sound is allowed, there’s limited parking, and access needs to be planned carefully. 

On Saturdays between April through September, and year-round on Sundays, no cars are allowed on JFK Drive; so access is only from MLK Drive. There are no restrooms on site but located a few minutes’ walk away behind the Music Concourse Amphitheater. Renters are responsible for bagging and removing all garbage off-site. 

Max seated capacity for receptionN/A – ceremony only (200)
Price range💲
Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪

Stable Cafe

quaint cafe wedding venue in san francisco, stable cafe
Photo credit: Zoe Larkin Photography

About:   

Stable Cafe is one of the most darling, casual little spaces in all of San Francisco. This place has so much heart – it’s quaint, cozy, down-to-earth and great for couples who are looking for urban chic and a patio atmosphere without pretense. 

The Stable Cafe is a true hidden gem – it looks unassuming from the street. It was built in the 1800s as a carriage house and is now a working cafe serving up hip yet homestyle breakfast fare. Through the carriage doors, you’ll find a lush, green backdrop of wall-to-wall elegance, candles and cafe lights in the romantic courtyard. 

I have a dedicated blog post with everything you need to know about getting married at Stable Cafe, linked below:

READ MORE  Stable Café wedding photos (Mission District, San Francisco)

Drawbacks:   

Honestly, I love the Stable Cafe so I’m completely biased, ha. I will say that with a larger guest count, the narrow space can seem a little crowded, but that’s actually part of the intentional cozy atmosphere. 

Also it can be crazy chaotic while it’s being set up, and they are strict about load-in times and when the group being photographed can rock up, as it is a working cafe that you’ll be renting after hours. You’ll need to have your getting ready, first look, romantics and maybe even group photos off-site.

Max seated capacity for reception~80
Price range💲💲
Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚫⚫

Stern Grove Trocadero Clubhouse

stern grove trocadero clubhouse wedding photos
Photo credit: Zoe Larkin Photography

About:   

Stern Grove is the site of the long-running music festival and a woodsy, enchanted wedding venue run by San Francisco Parks and Rec. The biggest plus points of the venue are its natural beauty (redwoods, eucalyptus, winding paths and a pond), its DIY aspect, and its feeling of being set apart from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

The Trocadero Clubhouse is the focal point of the space and is perfect for decamping for dancing, or even for dinner if you have a smaller group. It’s a small Victorian building with a distinctive lemon-yellow exterior that also makes for perfect pictures. 

Drawbacks:   

That DIY nature of the space is why the venue has such a low price point – it doesn’t include much at all. Reviewers have reported not getting the 5-star treatment as you might with more expensive, private wedding venues. 

You have to be clear what you’ll need to bring in and what the responsibilities are at the end of your rental. A planner experienced in dealing with the venue, the intricacies of the process, and making the best use of the unique set of spaces, is an absolute must. 

At the end of the day, it’s worth jumping through a few hoops to have a beautiful, affordable wedding in San Francisco in a nature-filled and historic location. 

Max seated capacity for reception120
Price range💲
Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚫⚫

The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square

list of best wedding venues in San Francisco
Photo credit: Mariott

About:   

This is more than just a hotel wedding venue – it’s the Grand Dame of Union Square, a San Francisco landmark, with a mix of exquisite historic detailing and contemporary luxury! The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square is not one wedding venue, but a collection of 56,000 square feet of space, comprising 35 unique event spaces.

There are too many spaces to go into detail here, but the crown jewel is the Grand Ballroom which accommodates up to 800 guests. You can of course combine spaces for different parts of your wedding and hold your ceremony as well as reception here. 

The views are one of the main features, as some of the event spaces are as high as 32 feet up, giving you bay-wise panoramas and complete peace from the busy downtown area where the hotel is located. There are onsite event planning staff who, we’ve heard from reviews, are super accommodating, professional and friendly. 

Drawbacks:

It’s an all-indoor space, which isn’t quite as popular in the Bay Area due to (in my opinion) nothing beating outdoor, natural light for photos. However this option would work great, particularly for winter weddings – no emergency rain plan required! 

The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square is an all-in-one solution in that coordination and catering are provided, which can be a drawback or a huge benefit, depending on your wedding vision and customization preferences. 

Being in downtown San Francisco, parking would not be easy, but that’s easily remedied if have a block of rooms at the hotel for them, or if they’re bussed in from elsewhere.

Max seated capacity for reception800
Price range💲💲💲
Overall rating⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪

And there you have it! Thank you for checking out this super long blog post. Did I miss out your favorite San Francisco wedding venue? Let me know in the comments! 👇🏾

If you’re looking for a San Francisco wedding photographer to capture all your wedding moments, check out my services below!

Pin a graphic to your Pinterest board to bookmark this blog post! Follow @zoelarkinphoto on Pinterest!

Learn about which San Francisco wedding venue is right for your intimate wedding in the City of San Francisco with this exclusive list of 30 top venue picks fresh for 2023! ✨🎉
Our favorite wedding venues across all parts of San Francisco for a wide variety of tastes, budgets and wedding styles! Both outdoor and indoor weddings are included in our exclusive wedding venue guide for 2023.
Zoe Larkin
Zoe Larkin

I’m Zoe, a wedding photographer based in San Francisco! My style is candid, capturing authentic moments for my couples all over the Bay Area and Northern California. Creating content is my passion! Follow along the blog and Insta!

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30 Best San Francisco Wedding Venues 2023 (by a wedding photographer)

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