Who knew finding a venue would be so frustrating?! Having worked in catering, I shutter at the sight of white linens, napkins folded like fans, bamboo chairs and big barren halls with stark white walls. Yuck!
So, in looking for a venue, I have specific guidelines:
1. It must have rustic-meets-elegant charm. (I'm talkin' trees and bricks and chandeliers, people!)
2. It must have a flexible schedule (none of this "5-hour time frame including setup and breakdown" business). I want to savor the experience without feeling rushed.
3. Must have after-party locations nearby.
4. It must allow for personalization. (If I want the ceremony to face an old tree instead of a cheezy Home Depot structure, I should be able to!)
5. It must be affordable.
So, given that criteria, I'm left with less than a handful of possibilities (big surprise!):
1. Trocadero Clubhouse/Stern Grove Park (San Francisco) -
PROS: $2200 for the day, vintage/natural style, after-party locations everywhere!
CONS: Because it's a Parks and Recs building, the maintenance is slightly lacking
2. Sand Rock Farm (Aptos) -
PROS: $100-125/person (includes food, linens, china, glassware), very rustic and natural, great Yelp reviews
CONS: In Aptos, charges corkage fee ($12/bottle)
3. The Hideout (Kirkwood) -
PROS: Have sole access for 5 days, 4 nights, VERY rustic, has a saloon, sleeps 16-20
CONS: in Kirkwood, pricey ($8,500), the accommodations for guests may be sparse
4. Vignette Vintage Ranch (Los Gatos) -
PROS: $86/person (includes food, flowers, linens, glassware, china), no corkage fees, rustic
CONS: in Los Gatos, after-party locations nearby
5. Log Cabin at the Presidio (San Francisco) -
PROS: inexpensive, close to after-party locations, rustic(ish), sole access for 10 hours
CONS: Not as rustic as I'd LOVE (but that's not really a CON)... so, none.
... Looking for other suggestions (that meet my snobby requirements, of course!)....
Potentials that (ultimately) didn't make the cut:
Oak Farm Vineyards (Lodi)
Holly Farms (Carmel Valley)
Dunsmuir House (Oakland)
Ambiance Antiques (San Francisco)
Brazillian Room (Berkeley)