San Francisco Elopement Guide - Packages & Venues

With its iconic cable cars climbing up steep streets, gorgeous architecture and vibrant cultural life, San Francisco is one of the most-wanted elopement locations in the world. At least it was before the COVID-19 crisis. Most of the elopement venues are currently closed due to corona virus, but there are still ways to celebrate in style.


This being said, whether San Francisco is your home or a place you’ve always wanted to visit, it is a place where you can dream up any romantic elopement scenario imaginable. You can get hitched at the ornate City Hall (when it reopens), hold a private ceremony (aka Minimony or microwedding) in one of many parks or say “I do” on the beach with Golden Gate Bridge in the background. And after the formalities are over, you can celebrate over brunch, dance barefoot at the beach or enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner. This guide is here to help you organize every detail of your big day. Happy planning!


September update: we've reached out to over a hundred Bay Area wedding venues and have a good idea of availability, elopement packages and prices as well as local regulations and acceptable & safe wedding sizes. Here is an updated list. Currently 27 venues verified.


Sunset Ceremony at Muir Beach Overpass


ENVISIONING YOUR BIG DAY

The first step is to decide on the concept of your celebration. Every couple has a different vision, so feel free to think outside the box and tailor a unique experience. But if you need inspiration, here are a few ideas you can use:

  • A short & sweet courthouse wedding. It begins with preparations at a hotel room and continues with an elegant civil ceremony followed by a photo session at the venue. After that, you can continue celebrating at a nearby restaurant, bar or café.
  • An epic weekend-long escapade. Gather your family and friends for two days of fun that includes a grand ceremony, family dinner and some sightseeing on the following day.
  • A romantic barefoot celebration. Start the day with a delicious breakfast in your suite on the coast. Host a beach ceremony for a handful of guests and then enjoy an intimate lunch by the ocean and dance the night away.
  • A woodland adventure. A ceremony among the towering trees guarantees amazing wedding photos, and it doesn’t take long to get to majestic woodlands just outside the city centre. Instead of fine dining at the restaurant, you can opt for an effortlessly romantic picnic on the blanket.



WHAT WE OFFER (ELOPEMENT PACKAGES)


Just as with our City Hall options, we offer four simple elopement packages. These packages can be customized for weddings all around Bay Area, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, Marin County and in others parts of California with reasonable travel fees. Starting at $495 for simple Ceremony coverage prices average between $1000-$2500 depending on the duration of coverage.


If you are looking for an all inclusive service, getting an officiant, florist and make-up artist for you won't take more than an hour of our time as we have developed great relationships with reliable vendors.


YOUR ELOPEMENT PLANNING CHECKLIST

If you want to avoid an endless planning checklist which is a norm for traditional weddings, elopement is ideal for you. Your to-do list will be considerably shorter, and it will be a pleasure to tick off all the items as you go! Here is how to plan your special day in 12 simple steps!

  1. Pick a date. Pro tip: choose a weekday to avoid the crowds.
  2. Find a venue that is available on your date. Pro tip: save on ceremony venue so that you can splurge on food, drinks, a wonderful hotel room and other things the two of you will enjoy.
  3. Apply for a marriage licence and check if you need to obtain any permits. Pro tip: don’t leave this for the very last minute and cause unnecessary stress.
  4. Book your vendors. Pro tip: focus on the bare essentials including celebrant, photography, flowers and hair & makeup
  5. Book a table. Pro tip: choose a restaurant, café or bar that is close to your ceremony location and hotel. You don’t want to waste time on transport!
  6. Find accommodation. Pro tip: spoil yourself with a luxury hotel or dig out a really nice Airbnb because nice accommodation can make your day more memorable.
  7. Buy wedding attire. Pro tip: choose something photographable but appropriate for the venue.
  8. Write your vows. Pro tip: add a personal element to them and print them in a nice booklet.
  9. Create your wedding photography checklist. Pro tip: speak with your photographer and make a list together with them.
  10. Make a wedding playlist. Pro tip: choose a special first dance song even if it will be just the two of you. It will always make you remember your big day!
  11. Purchase wedding rings. Pro tip: assign a person responsible for bringing your rings to the ceremony.
  12. Confirm the details with your florist. Pro tip: arrange a drop off of your wedding bouquet.


FAVORITE LOCATIONS FOR SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA ELOPEMENTS


Out of all the cities in the world, San Francisco is special because of its proximity to the sea, mountains or woods and a colorful city center featuring steep streets, iconic buildings and lush parks. If you want a quick daytime ceremony, you can get hitched at a gorgeous public venue, throw a party at a private house, enjoy a picnic at the park or host an intimate celebration at one of the cozy restaurants, cafés or hotels. A short ride from the city center, you’ll discover incredible beaches, gardens, woods and mountain locations where you can host an outdoor ceremony or even spend a whole weekend.

If you are planning a wedding this year, look for venues with beautiful outdoor areas because restrictions regarding indoor spaces may stay in place due to coronavirus. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve done the research and called every venue in and around Northern California to find out what exactly they offer and where you can tie the knot during the COVID-19 crisis.

Public Venues

Public buildings, parks and beaches in and around San Francisco are ideal for intimate ceremonies. Pick one of these locations, and you’ll be able to get married on a budget or splurge on the best photographer or the most expensive wedding dress you can find!


An updated list of SF Bay Area wedding venues that offer small COVID wedding ceremonies and receptions available HERE.


Other Elopement Venues


San Francisco City Hall

(Currently Closed - contact us to get notified when it reopens)



San Francisco City Hall is the best venue for elegant elopements on a budget. After a 5-minute civil ceremony, you can do a photoshoot in the building which is filled with photogenic locations and then celebrate over a nice meal at a nearby restaurant.

Public ceremony: $90

Private ceremony: from $1,000

Reception: from $10,000

Seating: 1-435

Catering: preferred list

Alcohol: preferred list

Does it have an outdoor area? No.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes! You can host a private ceremony of up to 60 people seated at the Mayor’s Balcony or one of the 4th-floor galleries.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking: Underground Garage


Palace of Fine Arts

Partially open for small ceremonies.

Palace of Fine Arts


Palace of Fine Arts II



This building is a fine example of Beaux-Arts architecture and one of the most-wanted venues in the city. You can make gorgeous photos outside and host an intimate ceremony or a grand wedding.

Ceremony:

Reception:

Seating:

Catering: preferred list

Alcohol: preferred list

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes!

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes!

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.


Legion of Honor

Closed


A unique venue for art lovers offers five indoor and outdoor function spaces. It is perfect for elopements because you can personalize the venues and make them feel intimate.

Ceremony:

Reception:

Seating:

Catering: preferred list

Alcohol: preferred list

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes!

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes!

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking: Yes

Gardens


There are plenty of parks and gardens where you can host an intimate ceremony. Naturally, the GG Park comes to mind. The Botanical Gardens alone have 4 different ceremony locations and three types of event packages. I believe that the 2-hour package is the most suitable for elopements. If you find the Botanical Gardens overwhelming, there are other options within the iconic park. Perhaps, you like the classic columns of Portals of the Past or the charming Shakespeare Garden calls your name.

Golden Gate Park


With its picture-perfect lakes, meadows and groves, it is perfect for outdoor ceremonies, picnics and photoshoots. It is possible to host both ceremonies and receptions at some areas of the park including Queen Wilhelmina Garden, Fuchsia Dell and Rose Garden.


San Francisco Botanical Garden


Beautifully manicured gardens here are ideal for casual ceremonies, cocktail parties and picnics. You can rent one of them for 2, 4 or 10 hours, and available services include set-up and clean-up, tenting, catering and more.


Fey Park


Fey Park is a great choice for a small outdoor reception because it features three levels with pretty gazebos and it is possible to hire staff for your event. The top park can seat up to 30 people.


Lafayette Park


Another excellent elopement venue. Located in the historic San Francisco neighborhood, Lafayette Park offers stunning views of the city.



Shakespeare Garden


This garden is a little gem hidden inside the GG Park. This secluded garden can fit 100 guests easily. Besides being a very private spot that will keep the tourists away, it is also windproof.

Beaches


Golden Gate National Recreational Area


You can wed at one of the beaches at the Recreational Area if you apply for a special event permit. After an intimate barefoot ceremony, you can enjoy a picnic on the beach or head off to one of the nearby coastal reception venues.


Point Reyes


To tie the knot at Point Reyes, you also need to obtain a permit and pay an administrative fee of $50. There are more than 10 beautiful beaches where weddings are allowed if you stick to rules and regulations and keep this pristine coastline clean & tidy.


Natural Parks


Muir Woods National Monument


Couple and Officiant at Muir WoodsMuir Wood Steps


Of course, your outdoor wedding can easily take place outside of San Francisco and the venue I highly recommend is Muir Woods. No doubt you have heard of this iconic National Monument, but you may not have realized that you can host a wedding at both Muir Woods and the nearby Muir Beach. Both sites are available March through October and both allow only a limited number of visitors. The views at both locations are absolutely spectacular and I have taken some amazing pictures at both locations. Muir Woods and Muir Beach are great for nature loving couples! Take a look at our Muir Woods weddings.


At Muir Woods, you won’t be seeing a lot of visitors around, which makes it a very private outdoor venue. Each of the individual parks requires a permit and has its own elopement guidelines you must respect.


Old Mill Park


Old Mill Park is a preferred choice for intimate weddings because of its cool features. You can wed at the Redwood Grove or the amphitheater and then host a barbecue at the designated picnic area.


Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park


If you want to escape the city center to find an incredibly photogenic ceremony location, then you can get hitched among the historic redwood trees of Redwood Regional Park. Each picnic site can accommodate up to 150 people, but you can find a solitary place for an intimate event.


Private Venues


From little chapels to quirky cafes and tucked away private dining venues, San Francisco has many locations that are ideal for smaller sized weddings and elopements who offer private dining room setups. You can even rent a private house for your wedding or celebrate at a boutique hotel where you’ll have accommodation and venue under one roof. We are talking about small, intimate spaces, larger venues with small private areas which can be rented separately or places where you can simply get a secluded table for two and enjoy a romantic lunch or dinner.


Cliff House


Built in the 19th century, this historic venue is made for grand celebrations and fantastic wedding photography. Its key advantage is the superb clifftop location and a terrace overlooking the ocean.


Seating: up to 120

Ceremony: $1,000

Reception: $52-$75 per person

Catering: in-house

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! The venue features a private balcony and an outdoor café.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes! Function room overlooking the ocean is ideal for intimate ceremonies and receptions.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking: Street


The Mint San Francisco


A mix of classic elegance and industrial chic, Mint is the perfect place for upscale events. You can rent it out for an intimate ceremony though, and the price depends on the time of the day, day of the week, season and number of guests.


Seating: up to 300

Ceremony: packages start at $16,000

Reception: packages start at $16,000

Catering: BYO, preferred list

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! Mint features an iconic courtyard enclosed by the building.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes, the venue can accommodate both large and small groups.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking: Street & Valet


Haas-Lilenthal House


A private mansion and a landmark building can be rented out for intimate gatherings. It is ideal for couples who love to be surrounded by period furnishings and antique pieces.


Seating: up to 100

Ceremony: packages start at $2,000

Reception: packages start at $3,060

Catering: Preferred list, BYO

Alcohol: BYO

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! Haas-Lilenthal House has a ceremony garden.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes! The venue is ideal for small groups.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No. But you can use the bridal dressing area.

Parking:


Cavallo Point Lodge


Located 30 minutes from San Francisco, this idyllic place is great for weekend escapes and intimate celebrations. Couples get a complimentary night at a luxury suite and 60-minute spa treatments.


Seating: up to 20 guests (smaller room)

Ceremony: Lawn

Reception: $200 per person +

Catering: in-house

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! The hotel features a private outdoor area.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes. There is a beautiful venue for smaller weddings and elopements + a guest room for the couple.

Is there accommodation for the couple? Yes! You’ll get a room for free if you book a wedding for 20-40 people.

Parking: Yes


Slide Ranch


Located on the coast, 30 minutes from SF, the Slide Ranch is the venue of choice for anyone who loves ocean views, unspoiled nature and glamping. Farm-to-table concept and a variety of outdoor ceremony and reception locations add to the value.


Seating: See site

Ceremony: See site

Reception: See site

Catering: See site

Alcohol: See site


Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! There is a garden under cypress trees, a clifftop ceremony area, yurt with a wooden floor, burning stove and canvas roof and sweeping lawns.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes. You can tailor it to your needs.

Is there accommodation for the couple? Yes! There is a campsite at the property.

Parking:


Pelican Inn


You’ll love this venue if you are into the English countryside and 16th-century architecture. This cottage is very close to Muir Beach and has a pretty garden as well as the cozy parlor room – perfect for intimate gatherings.


Seating: up to 100 people

Ceremony:

Reception:

Catering: in-house

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! The English-style garden is suitable for both ceremonies and receptions.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes. You can rent one of the smaller event spaces.

Is there accommodation for the couple? Yes! There are hotel rooms available.

Parking:


Conservatory of Flowers


You can host your elopement or an intimate wedding here if you want amazing wedding photos with lush plants everywhere around you. The adjoining lawn is the location of choice for ceremonies, while your reception can be held at one of many gorgeous indoor or outdoor spaces.


Seating: up to 200

Ceremony: packages start at $3,500

Reception: packages start at $3,500

Catering: preferred list

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! The Palm terrace and lawns are ideal for alfresco events.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes, the venue is versatile and can cater for large and small gatherings.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking:


Stable Café


Offering private dining areas and delicious menus, Stable Café has the historic charm and typical San Francisco vibes. It is a great place where you can just grab lunch, have an intimate dinner or party with a small group of friends.


Seating:

Ceremony:

Reception:

Catering: in-house

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! The venue features a rustic garden.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes! Both indoor and outdoor spaces can be used for small marriage ceremonies and receptions.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking:


Hotel Vitale


With a lovely alfresco space, this boutique hotel feels intimate and offers a prime location in Embarcadero. Its coolest perk? Views of the iconic Ferry Building and Bay Bridge.

Seating: the capacity is up to 300 people, but the venue offers elopement packages for up to 12 guests.


Ceremony: $1,000 +

Reception: $185 per person +

Catering: in-house

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! The hotel features a large private balcony.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes. There is a beautiful venue for small weddings and elopements + a guest room for the couple.

Is there accommodation for the couple? Yes!

Parking:


Film Centre


Located in Presidio, Film Centre has unique views of the GGB and a myriad of event spaces. It is a “casually stylish” yet sophisticated venue with plenty of natural light inside and a beautiful garden that surrounds the building.


Seating: up to 180 people

Ceremony: $7,000 +

Reception: $185 per person +

Catering: preferred list

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! The venue features a Spanish-tile verandah and a lawn.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes. There is a choice of function spaces suitable for small weddings and elopements.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking:


Foreign Cinema


A perfect venue for foodies and movie lovers! It is a lovely place to elope and celebrate over a wonderful meal. Couples planning intimate weddings will get complimentary welcome cocktails, a signature-layer cake, votive candles, sommelier assistance and a personalized chef-autographed cookbook.


Seating: up to 170 people

Ceremony: $2,750 +

Reception: $64-$255 per person

Catering: in-house

Alcohol: in-house

Does it have an outdoor area? Yes! An outdoor patio has been recently opened.

Is it suitable for intimate events? Yes. The venue has a special offer for small events of 20-40 guests.

Is there accommodation for the couple? No.

Parking:


https://www.iqphoto.com/muirwoods