I can’t believe it has already been 2 years since Drew ask me to marry him on a foggy day in San Francisco! As soon as we were engaged, I started planning our dream wedding right away. Being an event planner for a wedding venue, I knew the destination would set the tone and style for our wedding, impacting our decisions throughout the planning process. Drew and I grew up in Northern California and both love the majestic redwoods surrounding our hometowns. We were living in San Francisco and narrowed our search to venues in the greater Bay Area that featured redwoods. We agreed on a Fall wedding, so I wanted a space that would allow us to have an outdoor ceremony with cocktail reception and indoor dinner and dancing. Price was an important factor for us during our search, as well as corkage fee prices, vendor requirements, and inclusions. Here is a list of some of my favorite redwood venues we found.
*Please note that the prices and policies mentioned are based on information received for 2015 and may have changed since then.
1. The Outdoor Art Club - Mill Valley, CA
We had our wedding at the Outdoor Art Cub (OAC) in October 2015 and it was an amazing day. The OAC is not only beautiful but it checked most of the boxes on our list. Upon first visiting the space I fell in love with the enchanted garden courtyard, the historic Arts & Crafts style of architecture and of course the giant redwoods surrounding the ceremony space. The main building features a library which we used for our cake & photobooth area, a kitchen, bathrooms, and the main hall. The main hall is stunning with hardwood floors, original chandeliers and sconces, a large stone fireplace, and stage. Built in 1904, the Outdoor Art Club has been serving as a non-profit women’s club. The town of Mill Valley is absolutely adorable and is only 20 minutes outside of San Francisco. Though the OAC is in the middle of downtown Mill Valley, it is completely private. The space can hold up to 160 guests, however, that does not include an indoor dancefloor for guests. The Outdoor Art Club is ideal for events with guest counts between 100-120 people. The rental price is under $4K, which is a rare find in the bay area. The chairs (which are actually beautiful) and tables are included in the rental fee. You have access to the space from 10 AM – 11 pm (clean up and out by midnight). Since there wasn’t an event the day before we were able to arrange with the grounds keeper to set up the day before, which was so helpful! Another great thing about the OAC is you get to select all of your own vendors, except they do have a required list of caterers. This list includes at least 30 caterers to choose from at all price points. I highly recommend working with Terry with CaterMarin! A few things to consider are the noise ordinance and parking. They don’t allow for super loud or outdoor music after 9 pm, though this really wasn’t an issue for us. There is no dedicated parking, however there is plenty of metered parking that ends at 6pm. We just told our guests to arrive a ½ hour early to give plenty of time for parking. It was an incredible day that I will never forget and the Outdoor Art Club was the perfect setting for my dream wedding.
2. Piedmont Community Hall - Piedmont, CA
While scrolling through my Facebook feed one day, pictures of the Piedmont Community Hall caught my eye. I saved the space in my memory and when I got engaged, it was the first place I reached out to. I loved the character of this place within a pretty park setting. The Piedmont Community Center features a large brick courtyard, Mediterranean architecture, beautiful chandeliers and an adjacent Japanese tea house. Behind the hall is a small redwood grove that can be used for a ceremony, however the space can be a bit awkward. It seems like most couples had their ceremonies in front of a nearby fountain, however I didn’t like how open the space is to the public. The indoor hall can hold about 120 guest without a dance floor and the outside courtyard hosts up to 200. The circular courtyard is beautiful with a large tree in the center. Most of the photos I saw, showed events with dinner set up outside and the indoor space used for cocktail reception and dancing. Since the bay area weather can be unpredictable and temperatures drop quickly at night, I preferred to find a venue that offered dinner and dancing indoors, which is the main reason why we didn’t choose the Piedmont Community Hall as our wedding venue. The price is right though for at around $3,000 for 8 hours and it too included tables and chairs.
3. Sequoia Retreat Center - Ben Lomond, CA
Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Sequoia Retreat Center offers plenty of redwoods. After reaching out, I learned that this venue has a (3) day minimum and a price tag of almost $10K. Outside of my budget, I quickly nixed this one but it’s worth mentioning. They can host up to 150 guests for outdoor events and offer 12 cabins and onsite camping (at an additional fee). They do include tables, chairs, glassware, silverware, and plates if you select their caterer, which is a plus. Their award winning caterer is actually fairly reasonably priced. It seems like a very special place but it just didn’t fit out needs.
4. Nestldown - Los Gatos, CA
This place is a stunner! The ceremony location is in a beautiful redwood grove amphitheater and the reception and dinner are located on a grass area and well maintained barn. The grounds feature acers of ponds, meadows and gardens. Nestldown is truly is a special place however the price tag is a hard one to swallow, ranging between $10K-$17K for a 9-hour event on Saturdays (including set up and breakdown). They do offer discounts for Thursday, Friday & Sunday events and their pricing does include tables and chairs. They can host up to 200 guests and have some required vendors. A few unique features of the venue include use of a vintage London taxi for the bridal party and mini train that can take your guests on a ride around the grounds during cocktail hour. It’s definitely worth viewing if you are looking for a fairytale wedding and have deep pockets!
5. The Mountain Terrace - Woodside, CA
Located on the edge of Woodside, CA the ceremony at The Mountain Terrace takes place in a large meadow surrounded by redwoods overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Does it get any more perfect than that? The Mountain Terrace can accommodate up to 130 guests seated in either the indoor lodge or the outdoor two level deck. The lodge features a large antique bar, two stone fireplaces and an area for dancing. The rental fees for a Saturday are around $5,500 for 8 hours (including set up and breakdown). They do included tables, chairs, and an arbor for the ceremony. They are a full service facility, meaning they provide the food and beverage, however they do have the option to use another pre-approved caterer at an additional fee. Since my in-laws generously provided the wine and beer for our wedding, we were looking for a location that offered free corkage. The Mountain Terrace charges a $20 corkage fee, which is one of the main reasons we didn’t move forward with the venue.
6. Deer Park Villa – Fairfax, CA
Originally owned by the Ghirardelli family, Deer Park Villa is set amongst towering redwoods and can accommodate 150 indoors and 350 outdoors. A Saturday wedding cost around $6,000 for a 6-hour event plus 2 hours to set up and 1 ½ hours for break down. The price includes a bridal room, tables, chairs, bridal suite and complimentary parking. They are full service facility, meaning they provide all the food and beverages. Something unique about Deer Park is they offer full wedding planning services for an additional fee.
7. YMCA Camp Campbell - Boulder Creek, CA
Located in the Santa Cruz mountains, Camp Campbell will bring you back the simpler times of summer camp. They have a preferred 2-night minimum for events and overnight accommodations. The camp features bunk style cabins that can accommodate up to 225 guests. The rental for Friday night – Sunday morning events is $8,000 and includes tables, chairs, flatware, and silverware as well as access to activities like an archery range, basketball courts, and hiking trails. They also offer the use of a swimming pool, rock climbing and rope courses for an additional fee. They are a full service facility and the price for overnight accommodations includes breakfast & lunch on Saturday and a Sunday buffet. One thing to keep in mind with Camp Campbell is that they do not have a liquor license, so in order to offer beer and wine your event insurance must include an alcoholic beverage clause. The venue itself features an outdoor chapel which can accommodate up to 150 seated guests, and two log cabin style lodges seating between 150-250 guests. One thing to keep in mind for Camp Campbell is that they book multiple events a weekend, so you may be sharing meals with other campers, with the exception of the rehearsal and reception dinner. This place is loaded with rustic charm and nostalgia and is great for a full weekend event!
8. Sand Rock Farm - Aptos, CA
Sand Rock Farm is a bed and breakfast providing exclusive access to ten acres of trees, gardens, meadows and fountains. They offer several indoor and outdoor venue options including a multilevel deck looking over the Shade Garden, the Redwood Grove, Walnut Grove, the Historic Carriage Barn (indoors), the 1885 Barrel Aging Cellar, an expansive Winery Meadow with a Redwood Heart Pavilion, and a renovated Redwood Milling area called the Wine Pavilion. Sand Rock Farm can accommodate up to 200 guests outside and 100 guests inside. Their pricing is based on a per person price of around $125 for a 5-hour event and includes site fees for a ceremony and reception, buffet dinner, and rentals including, tables, chairs, linens, silver, china, and glassware. Beverage pricing is separate and they have a reasonable corkage fee of $12 per bottle. The bed and breakfast has 5 guests room and all 5 can be rented for $1,000 per night. Sand Rock Farms is a very beautiful venue that offers many different venue options that practically no two weddings are the same.
9. Amphitheatre of the Redwoods at Pema Osel Ling – Watsonville, CA
Pema Osel Ling is a retreat outside of Santa Cruz, featuring groves of colossal redwood trees and is surrounded by rolling lawns and beautiful views of Monterey Bay. They offer multiple locations for ceremonies and receptions including Amphitheatre of the Redwoods, Bay View Meadows, Gallery Meadows, and Celebration Hall and Lawn. The highlight of course is fairy ring Amphitheatre of the Redwoods, a circle of redwoods born from one “grandmother” tree. All the roots are intertwined, creating an incredibly strong bond. The perfect metaphor for the start of a marriage! Accommodating up to 110 guests indoors and 300 outdoors, Pema Osel Ling also has required onsite lodging for 52 and 24 camping spaces. Pricing is based on time of year and day of the week which is around $7,000 during the peak season. They offer organic onsite catering and allow hosts to provide their own alcohol at no additional fee. Meal prices include table, chairs, linens, glassware, china, and flatware. Pema Osel Ling also offers no curfew for events, which is great for late night bonfires!
10. The Union Hotel - Occidental, CA
Off the beaten path is the Union Hotel in Occidental California, a family owned Italian eatery, with amazing food! Ceremonies take place in a nearby redwood grove and the reception is in the Bocce Ballroom at their nearby downtown restaurant. The Bocce Room is eclectic and retro. Since weddings are not their main focus, they don’t feature their capacities or pricing online and didn’t include any of this information during our correspondence. From what I can recall, there was not a rental fee just food, beverage, and labor charges and their food pricing was incredibly reasonable. It also included tables, chairs, linens, glassware, flatware, and china. They could accommodate our guest count of 120, but the Bocce Ballroom seemed like a better fit for 75-100 people with a dancefloor. Another great feature the Union Hotel is their many properties they own throughout Occidental, which are required to rent for an additional fee nightly fee. Each property is unique, charming, and historical. The Union Hotel was actually our second choice for our wedding venue, but the ceremony and receptions locations are about ¼ a mile apart, which was for me the biggest downfall. I also really wanted to have the reception at the main property at the redwood grove, which unfortunately not an option since the food is prepared onsite at the Union Hotel. I highly recommend this location for anyone who is looking for a unique and inexpensive venue with excellent food!
11. Stones and Flowers - Ben Lomond, CA
This place is straight out of a fairytale! Stones and Flowers offers 48 hours of exclusive use of a stunning rustic barn for wedding reception and 21 cabins for your guest accommodations. The price tag for 48-hour use is around $13,000, however they do offer discounts for booking early and for booking all 21 cabins, which are an additional fee. The rental fee includes tables and chairs, bride/groom suites for getting ready, and 12-hours for set up and an 8-hour event. Ceremonies typically take place on the Ceremony Patio which features mossy curved rock wall with colorful flowers and towering redwoods. The cocktail reception take place under the redwood fairy ring and the gorgeous barn is the setting for dinner. The barn can accommodate up to 150 guests seated and features a small kitchen and a spiral staircase leading to a Juliet balcony, perfect for the bouquet toss!
12. Trocadero Clubhouse at Stern Grove – San Francisco, CA
Stern Grove is a fantastic venue for anyone looking to have a wedding in San Francisco and are on a budget. Located on the corner of 19th Avenue and Sloat, Stern Grove features a beautiful redwood grove perfect for a ceremony location, a large meadow, and the Trocadero House. The house includes grand room which can seat up to 120 guests with a working fireplace, a saloon room with a built in bar, an industrial kitchen, and an upstairs bridal suite. Built in 1892, the Victorian style has a large wrap-around porch, great for overflow space and cocktail receptions. The rental fee is around $2,500 for all day use and includes some tables and chairs, but you will have to rent additional chairs to accommodate a ceremony and reception. You select your own vendors including food and beverages. During our venue search, we visited Stern Grove and found the Trocadero to be a pretty run down and the restrooms smelled pretty bad. Since it is a public park there are a lot of rules and hidden costs, but it’s still a very affordable option for San Francisco.
Did you look for something specific in your wedding venue search? Do you have any recommendations for other redwood wedding venues?
Please share your comments below. We look forward to hearing from you!