The Stable Café in San Francisco’s Mission District is one of those venues that both couples and photographers love. It never goes out of style, has a relaxed, urban-chic-meets-manicured-garden aesthetic and an affordable price tag given the central location. It has a special place in the hearts of many!
I’m going to introduce to you one of my favorite couples, Barry and Ed as we dive into more about this venue. This couple got caught up in the world of 2020 rescheduling, having first booked me in May 2019 to photograph their September 2020 wedding.
They decided to postpone until they had an opportunity to celebrate the way they wanted, the way they’d always envisioned – with everyone they love. They’d already been together for 14 years, so what’s another year?
Barry and Ed’s vision was ‘urban garden party’, and this vendor team nailed it! It was so worth it to be able to have the wedding they wanted.
At the time, I lived just walking distance away from the Stable Café. It was brilliant to walk to their home and walk back at night! This venue holds a very special place in my heart because of my still-close connection to the Mission District.
Without further ado, let me share with you some helpful information about this magical San Francisco wedding venue! This venue made my list of the best wedding venues in San Francisco, linked below.
About Stable Café for weddings
The best word to describe Stable Café is ‘inviting’. ‘Cozy’ is another one. In fact, Barry and Ed chose this venue because it is, in their words, “natural, beautiful and unassuming”. It’s also hyper-local.
The bistro lights help achieve a warm space, along with the canopy overhead to shield from harsh sun.
This is a working café, so weddings are scheduled after the café closes for the day. Your rental time would be 4 – 11pm, with some noise restrictions for late evening. It’s possible to purchase early access to the space and kitchen for an additional rate which grants you up to 2 hours. Any longer than that, you’d be looking at a full-day buy-out.
There is often a tight schedule for load-in as the space has to be flipped quickly. Your event coordinator at the venue will guide you as there are many rules to follow but it’s worth it!
Stable Café has a rustic, casual feel. However, it can be dressed up for more formal events with the right rental pieces and floral installations. I personally feel that it suits more relaxed events, like Barry and Ed’s heart-filled celebration.
You can bring in outside caterers if you’d rather have something other than the in-house menu but note that there is an extra fee for this. Food trucks are allowed but permits are needed for street parking. There is no bar catering allowed and no hard liquor. You also can’t BYOB but there are great beer and wine packages for you to choose from.
Stable Café capacity for weddings
The chart below shows the current guidelines around the guest capacity at Stable Cafe, depending on what type of rental you have.
|Gallery & Covered Patio||Family-style seating||65|
|Gallery & Covered Patio||Standing reception||65|
|Courtyard, Gallery, & Covered Patio||Family-style seating (courtyard)||80|
|Courtyard, Gallery, & Covered Patio||Standing reception||100|
Spaces that make up Stable Café
You step in through unassuming carriage doors, a nod to the building’s history as a carriage house built in the 1800s. When you do, you’ll find a cute, spacious patio stretching back far from the street (making this space feel like an oasis from the vibrant neighborhood that surrounds it).
Elegant planting and lush, green plants and succulents fill the romantic patio area. It has café-style chairs and family-size tables. If you want to keep it simple without the addition of extra decoration, you can.
At the back, in the indoor/outdoor space resembling a stable, is a feature fireplace that everyone loves on those brisk San Francisco nights! There’s also a wood-fired pizza oven. Rentals are a must for this super Instagrammable area where everyone will be congregating for dancing at the end of the night.
The Stable Café also has indoor spaces which work well for smaller events and for serving dessert. I would love to photograph an intimate, indoor wedding here!
You can have your wedding ceremony here on the patio, though it was a bit of a tight squeeze (standing room only) for Barry & Ed’s 95-guest wedding. However, that added to the intimate feel of the wedding where ‘lean in’ was the feeling of the day.
Alternatively, you can hold your ceremony off-site such as at the beautiful San Francisco City Hall which is only a 6-minute drive away.
About the wedding couple
After some false starts online, Barry and Ed met while attending an event called The California Men’s Gathering in Santa Rosa, California. It was a three-day weekend of workshops, fun, and exploration.
They like to think of that Saturday night when they climbed on top of a water tower, laid down and stared up into the star-filled sky and told each other their stories as the beginning of their life together.
Initially the couple had remarked that they “want to mark this occasion but definitely do not want to be tied down to tradition.”
The wedding turned out to be an absolute triumph! It was a joy-filled event that stayed true to their values, and was amazingly fun!
Order of events
I began the day with Barry and Ed at their home on Guerrero. It’s a hop, skip and jump from the Stable Café. I captured the final stages of getting ready with Barry’s daughter present and Ed’s charming parents from Louisiana.
Everyone chilled in the backyard and finished wedding preparations while I got a combination of candid and posed family shots.
We’d already done an engagement session together, so Barry and Ed were able to hit the ground running. We didn’t have much time to devote to their romantics in the backyard and around their home.
Then Ed sprang a surprise on Barry!
A collection of china teacups from Barry’s late mother had been destroyed in an accident years prior. Ed had been searching for and purchasing replacement pieces for years. The wedding day was the best time to present the thoughtful gift.
The limo picked us all up and off we went to the Stable Café.
After formal family photos, the ceremony got underway after guests filtered in.
The Buddhist ceremony was beautiful and so poignant, it brings a tear to my eye 18 months later. It incorporated unique rituals such as each marrier passing through the crowd with a white cloth, absorbing the intentions of each of their guests.
They had an oyster bar and a delicious dinner. After tearful speeches and a first dance that kept everyone rapt, guests mingled, danced the night away. Then, they were treated to an extensive spread of desserts.
It couldn’t have happened without a stellar team – headed up by Lauren from Ryder Sloan. They’re a team of planners who have an intimate history with this storied venue. Weddings at Stable Café require a professional event planner (plus special events endorsement coverage from your insurance policy).
Photos from Stable Café wedding, San Francisco
Photo: Zoe Larkin Photography
Venue: Stable Cafe
Planning: Ryder Sloan Events
Floral Design: Wild Club
Attire: Suit Supply
Rings: Brilliant Earth
Catering: Foxtail Catering
Music: Paulo Guitar
DJ: Dart Collective
Lighting: Impact SF
Transportation: National Limo Service
Invitations: Paper Culture
About Zoe Larkin Photography
Looking for a San Francisco wedding photographer? You can learn more about my services at the links below:
Hoping I’ll be back at Stable Café soon, shooting your lovely wedding!