Looking for that special wedding venue? If you don’t have the cash to rent the Ritz, how about a grand romance on the green? The San Francisco Bay Area is rich with garden parks, and many towns and cities are more than happy to provide stunning settings to enrich your romance.
Fall weather in the Bay Area is nearly guaranteed to be perfect. The fog has lifted, days are sunny and nights are mild and clear. Unlike other areas of the country, flying insects are as rare as rainfall. In fact, September, October and early November are the three most desirable months for outdoor weddings. Romance is literally in the air.
Check city websites to find the perfect venue for your affair. San Francisco’s website, for example, features a page exclusively for weddings in many of the City’s beautiful parks. Here, reservation fees range from $200-$350, and hourly rates start at $50. Available parks in San Francisco can accommodate from 50 to 250 seated guests. Some parks restrict use to the ceremony only; others allow the wedding reception as well.
You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Go barefoot and bring your own cake and Champagne, or hire a wedding planner to do it up royally. There are many wedding services available throughout the Bay Area—everything from party rentals and flowers for your ceremony, to caterers and entertainment for your wedding reception.
Depending on the size of your guest list, parking can be a challenge. Unless you opt for a hiking theme, you don’t want your guests walking blocks in their wedding attire. If need be, hire a valet service, or perhaps a shuttle to and from a low-cost parking area. Some vendors may offer a discount for weddings.
No matter where you choose to tie the knot, you’ll need to plan. Here’s a simple checklist to get you started:
1. Select the date.
2. Determine your budget.
3. Choose your officiator and wedding party.
4. Choose your guest list.
5. Reserve the venue(s) for your ceremony and wedding reception.
6. Get the marriage license.
7. Create a website to inform guests (map, transportation, gift registration, dress code if it’s unusual…), and later, to add photos.
8. Hire the “supporting cast” (photographer, florist, caterer…)
9. Send the invitations.
10. Buy, borrow, make or rent your outfits.
11. Submit a news announcement to your local paper.
12. Finalize your personal readings/vows.
13. Confirm details with your selected vendors.
14. Purchase gifts for your wedding party.
15. Delegate wedding-day tasks.
16. Get final spa treatments.
17. Enjoy your day in the park!