Yay for this wonderful wedding venue, The General’s Residence! It was a pleasure photographing the wedding of Dieter and Eduardo at this favorite San Francisco wedding spot.

You may know of the General’s Residence being located in Fort Mason. But did you know that the whole Fort Mason complex is located within a National Park?! The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, to be precise.

That’s right! If you get married here, you get bragging rights that you had a National Park wedding. Fancy!

This couple opted for a full buyout of San Francisco City Hall to start off their Saturday wedding in September. You can check out the ceremony on this separate post, linked below!

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After they transported their 130 guests to the General’s Residence, the party began!

They booked out the whole of the venue so that guests could really enjoy themselves and take in the gorgeous scenery. Read on to find out what special treats they had in store for their guests!

About the wedding couple

Eduardo and Dieter have become very dear to me. Over the course of our working relationship, we’ve become friends.

They first reached out to me via email at the start of 2018. We chatted by phone and soon after I persuaded them to get engagement photos done.

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It was the time that we really bonded! I got to meet them at their Castro District home and we had a blast, shooting in a few San Francisco locations. They couldn’t have been more thrilled with the experience and the outcome.

In the post above, I delved into their lovely proposal story. Read the post to find out who proposed to whom, and the memorable way they chose to do it!

same sex LGBTQ couple having fun on their San Francisco engagement shoot | Zoe Larkin Photography

The couple’s colorful engagement shoot in the Castro District & Corona Heights Park | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Planning their wedding

The very first time we spoke, Dieter and Eduardo emphasized how they wanted their wedding to feel. In their words, “personal” and “emotionally rich”.

The most important thing that they kept in mind while planning the wedding was the guest experience. They wanted everyone to feel like they would be participating rather than spectating.

Friends and family were centerstage at this wedding, that much was certain. A third of the guest list traveled from Brazil, a third from Austria and a third from around the US.

The culmination of the guest experience, it was hoped, was for everyone to see that the couple have a safe and beautiful life, and they’re happy.

Dieter’s workplace actually has its annual holiday party at the General’s Residence. That was how they first heard of it. Together they’ve seen it filled with people. They loved the atmosphere and intimate spaces.

The couple prioritized venues that worked well with San Francisco City Hall. They hired Google buses to transport guests from A to B. Eduardo worked at Google so managed to swing it!

Close up on the Google sign on Google bus used for a wedding

A couple of Google buses transported the guests from ceremony to reception | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

It helped with the flow of the wedding day to keep it super close by. Another bonus that swung it for the couple was that the venue is happy to let couples bring in their own caterer.

Dieter and Eduardo started the initial planning steps about 18 months before the wedding. The reason for the long lead time was the level of demand for San Francisco City Hall for buyouts on certain peak dates.

Luckily, the General’s Residence was available on the date the couple had pinned down. They currently take bookings no more than 15 months out.

Order of events at General’s Residence wedding

Dieter and Eduardo hired me and my second photographer to shoot them getting ready at their beautiful home. They had all the wedding details thoughtfully laid out, ready for us. Much appreciated!

Shortly after we drove to City Hall for the ceremony. It was an emotional one! After a quick champagne reception in the grand building, the Google buses ferried us to the General’s Residence.

One super important aspect to Dieter and Eduardo was food. (More so for Dieter, who is by his own admission “always hungry”!)

First they had tacos by the incredible Tacolicious served as soon as guests arrived at the Fort Mason site.

The couple specifically wanted everyone to be well-fed, and rested rather than rushed from one activity to the next. They enjoyed a lovely, long cocktail hour! Guests ate tacos, drank hand-mixed cocktails (more on those later) and admired the bay view.

Soon, it was time for one of the scheduled activities – a game of ‘how well do you know the couple?’, which three friends hosted.

collage of wedding photos from the General's Residence at Fort Mason, San Francisco

Everyone got involved during this fun game hosted by three of the couple’s guests | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

It was a wonderful idea to give guests a fun activity to lose themselves in. When their guard is down, it gives us photographers a chance to capture some great candid moments.

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Activities continued with the absolutely incredible and unique Poetry Store. Silvi writes poems on her typewriter based on whatever inspiration you care to suggest.

Indoors, Hedge Coffee setting up their wonderful coffee bar. I can personally vouch for both their stellar hot chocolate and lattes.

vendor set ups at General's Residence wedding in San Francisco offering cocktails and coffee

Tonic Beverage Catering and their inviting bar set-up, and Hedge Coffee – because who doesn’t need good coffee at a wedding?! | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

The couple chose not to have an extensive couples’ portrait session, and instead we kept it to 10-15 mins in the grounds of the property. They always wanted the focus to remain firmly on the guests.

However, for couples getting married at the General’s Residence, I’d recommend Crissy Field East Beach, the Palace of Fine Arts or the St Francis Yacht Club as great locations less than 10 mins drive away. I haven’t checked out the Wave Organ, but I know that’s close by, too.

I managed to sneak in a few photos from my Holga 120 with expired black and white film. Always happy to incorporate a couple of film shots! Check them out below.

For the main sit-down meal, they plumped for pizza from Mozzeria, and prepared in their awesome truck.

Mozzeria food truck catering a full wedding at San Francisco wedding venue the General's Residence

Mozzeria catering the formal meal at General’s Residence wedding | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

I loved the combination of the formal dinner seating with the choice of pizza as their meal. It goes to show, even for weddings of 100+, you have so many options. Couples today no longer need to stick to traditional catering options.

A few toasts and speeches later and it was on to the dance floor! Dieter and Eduardo changed into their sequin jackets. The same ones that made an appearance on the engagement shoot.

They had a first dance, then danced with their mothers.

The final bite was served about the same time the dancing kicked off: sushi from Ebisu. Yum!

It was a super relaxed wedding because the couple didn’t try to cram their day. Sure, they did a lot. But with 2 photographers shooting for 10 hours, we certainly captured a LOT of memories for this awesome couple.

Wedding details

Throughout the day they had various food trucks and vendors come in! That was a pretty unique touch – I really hope they start a trend.

One thing you’ll notice is the ever-present bears.

These guys accompany Dieter and Eduardo on their travels all over the world. They were part of the ceremony, too as ringbearers – meet Grumpybear and Burning Man Bear – the OG bears!

Later during the reception, Cony Bear and Grumpybear were officially married by Eduardo’s sister and officiant =)

Cute wedding details including stuffed bears at this same sex San Francisco wedding

The bears made several appearances throughout the day, including at the City Hall wedding ceremony | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Of course, the bears couldn’t all be part of the wedding. Those who were left at home were part of the ‘getting ready’ set of images!

Activities for the guests was a super smart move. Not everyone will have a poet at their wedding, sure, but even a few lawn games and quizzes can help to keep everyone engaged.

The cocktails that the grooms served were Mango Mezcal Margarita, Honey Vodka Collins, Black Manhattan and Cucumber G&T.

Florals were low on the priority list at this wedding. In fact, the couple had fallen in love with this image from a wedding album that I showed them at a meeting.

Collage showing table set up in the dining room of General's Residence for a formal wedding

From inspiration (left – a previous wedding) to reality (right – created by Shannon of J Jasper Events*) | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

They wanted something as simple and DIY as this set-up. Rather than employ a full-service floral designer, Shannon, their wedding planner of J Jasper Events* took care of tabletops and centerpieces.

Probably their biggest statement as far as wedding details go was their wedding cakes.

They were a very special commission for the Castro Fountain, an ice cream place the boys visit regularly. They even incorporated the location into their engagement session, it’s such a fixture in their lives!

Though they don’t usually offer wedding cakes, the owner was happy to create a large custom order just for them! As well as the rainbow colors, they also commissioned two cakes for cutting – in Dieter and Edu’s trademark red and blue colors.

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Scroll down to see what was inside the red and blue cakes!

Their sequin jackets and wedding bands from Embr carried on the red and blue theme.

colorful rainbow wedding cakes at General's Residence wedding San Francisco

Amazing rainbow wedding cakes – and special red and blue ones that had a surprise center! | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Unique features of the General’s Residence

The one-time military post is now a romantic and versatile spot with inside and outdoor space. The General’s Residence at Fort Mason suits up weddings of up to 130 people with dance floor.

(Need something bigger? Check out Gallery 308, less than half a mile away!)

You’ll have pretty views of the Bay, Alcatraz and the aquatic park. The outdoor lawn area at the back is also a fab ceremony space, or you can use it for your cocktail hour or even dining.

The General Residence has been featured on this write up of San Francisco wedding venues with the most amazing views!

Be sure to check out all the areas this place has to offer! Even the foyer is picture-worthy, featuring beautiful vintage glass chandeliers.

There are quite a few distinct areas including the ballroom, dining area, lounge, and the Funston Room which could double be used as a getting ready room.

Interior and exterior shots of the General's Residence, Fort Mason, San Francisco set up for a wedding

The General’s Residence beautifully set up for a wedding | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

To wrap up!

This wedding was featured on A Practical Wedding’s ‘Fave Weddings of 2019‘! Check out the feature here:

General's Residence featured on A Practical Wedding by Zoe Larkin Photography

Click the photo to see the APW feature!

I’ve waxed lyrical about this wedding and this venue quite enough. I could go on because I loved it so much – but I’ll spare you.

However, if you are looking for an awesome San Francisco wedding venue, I’d love to chat some more!

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Oh and you can learn more about my services at the links below. Hoping I’ll be back at Fort Mason soon, shooting your lovely wedding!

Bay Area wedding photographer – Homepage | Bay Area Wedding photographer – Info, pricing, about & portfolio

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In the meantime, be sure to pin the graphic below to your Pinterest wedding planning board!

Spot the unicorn when you hover over any image on this page =)

Looking for a San Francisco wedding venue with character? The General's Residence in Fort Mason is set within a San Francisco National Park and also has beautiful features, manicured lawn and stunning views over the Bay. Natural light galore, which makes for great wedding photos! This General's Residence wedding has personality, soul and down-to-earth style. The San Francisco Bay Area has some absolute gems of a wedding venue! | #bayareawedding #sanfranciscowedding | Zoe Larkin Photography

General’s Residence at Fort Mason wedding – San Francisco wedding venue ideas | Zoe Larkin Photo

Vendor love

Planning & florals J Jasper Events*
Boutonnieres Kimberly-Anne Schultz*
Wedding rings Embr
Music + Entertainment Corelli Strings | Poetry Store
Photobooth Oh Snap Booth Co
Transportation Private rental of Google Bus
*Please note, these businesses are no longer operating. We would be happy to provide recommendations for other similar wedding professionals.

Photos from General’s Residence wedding

getting ready images of two grooms before wedding at the General’s Residence getting ready photos at groom's home before General’s Residence wedding wedding spaces available at General’s Residence at Fort Mason General’s Residence at Fort Mason wedding - candid photos General’s Residence at Fort Mason wedding by Zoe Larkin Photography guests playing a game at General’s Residence wedding couples' portrait session at their General’s Residence at Fort Mason wedding General’s Residence wedding with LGBT couple - wedding day portraits wedding set up in dining room of General’s Residence, San Francisco two grooms cutting cake at General’s Residence wedding at Fort Mason same sex couple first dance at their General’s Residence wedding General’s Residence at Fort Mason wedding photos - guests having fun General’s Residence at Fort Mason wedding photos by Zoe Larkin Photography
General’s Residence at Fort Mason wedding photo - Zoe Larkin Photography

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General’s Residence at Fort Mason Wedding

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