How to Plan a Golden Gate Park Wedding
Curious on how to plan a Golden Gate Park Wedding? Many couples choose Golden Gate Park because it offers so many different outdoor settings in the heart of San Francisco. If you are wanting a compromise between beauty and location within San Francisco, read below for the steps on how to have a Golden Gate Park wedding.
A Wedding in Golden Gate Park Overview
The park itself is bordered by Fulton Avenue and Lincoln Way on the north and south and the Great Highway and Stanyan on the east and west. Within these confines, you will find virtually anything you can imagine. Situated on the grounds lies a number of popular destinations including the California Academy of Sciences, De Young Museum, Conservatory of Flowers, Strybing Arboretum, and many more areas to explore.
Golden Gate Park Wedding Venues
For couples looking to tie the knot in their very own Golden Gate Park wedding, there are many different places within the park to have your ceremony. The park itself recommends seven different locations. Let’s take a look at each.
Chain of Lakes. Located near Middle Lake, one of three small bodies of water that form the Chain of Lakes, this setting is loved for its greenery and solitude.
Chinese Pavilion. In the middle of Stow Lake, you will find an area that was a gift from San Francisco’s sister city, Taipei. The pavilion itself is adorned with intricate carvings and creates a peaceful setting for an intimate wedding.
Fuchsia Garden. Next to the Conservatory of Flowers, this is the perfect location for a late spring or summer wedding as the area is covered in purple-red blooms from May into November. This is one of the best locations for beautiful wedding photos.
Portals of the Past. Another aquatic venue, this location is framed by marble columns and an archway that creates a regal setting. You’ll also find Rainbow Falls nearby, making this an ideal fairytale setting.
Queen Wilhelmina Garden. This garden can be found beneath the grand Dutch windmill and is named after the longest reigning Dutch monarch. Tulips bloom from mid-March to mid-April, making that the optimal time for a stunning wedding in this area; however, it is beautiful year-round.
Rose Garden. Golden Gate Park’s Rose Garden is one of its most famed areas. A plethora of colors of roses are in bloom from mid-May to July with another wave of beauty blossoming in September.
Shakespeare Garden. This site has rows of trees lining a potential aisle, a brick wall, sundial, and many other accoutrements that produce a love story backdrop that will rival the tales of Shakespeare himself. It will be a Golden Gate Park wedding to remember for the ages.
If you’d like to read more, check out my Shakespeare Garden Wedding walkthrough.
Visiting the website or looking at online galleries is an effective way to begin to narrow down your options. Additionally, if you are looking for a larger wedding, some of the venues are only suitable to smaller crowds. For example, the Chinese Pavilion can only hold 50 guests while Chain of Lakes and Lloyd’s Lake are limited to 100 each.
Additionally, it is important to consider whether or not you would like a reception at the park or offsite. Several locations allow receptions including Fuschia Dell, Queen Wilhelmina Garden, and the Rose Garden; however, the other locations do not.
Wedding reservations at Golden Gate Park can be made up to a year in advance. We recommend booking as early as possible to ensure availability. Reservations can be made by calling the Parks Department by phone or e-mailing them. Payments can be made by check or card. If making a reservation less than two months form the wedding date, couples must pay in full immediately by card.
The fees vary by location. Basic reservation fees range $289 to $506 depending upon the venue. Meanwhile, the hourly rate for a reservation ranges from $72 to $144. There is a two-hour minimum for a wedding. Specific information on costs can be found on the official pricing document from San Francisco Parks.
What Is Included?
When you reserve your Golden Gate Park wedding, you are only reserving for use of the specific venue within the park. However, you will likely save a bit on décor as many of the sites serve as perfect backdrops for a ceremony. This is particularly true for the Chinese Pavilion and Queen Wilhelmina garden.
It is also important to note that there are some policies in place that may affect your planning. For example, guests are not allowed to throw rice, birdseed, flowers, or confetti as these things may negatively impact the soil. Animals may also not be released during the ceremony. Finally, amplified sound and alcohol are not allowed. However, many of the settings are perfect for a harp or small string ensemble.
It is also worth noting that bathrooms are only available at the Chinese Pavilion. Guests at other locations will have to find alternatives for facilities.
San Francisco is a city with a wealth of treasured locations for a beautiful wedding day. However, there are few spots with as varied and ornate locations as Golden Gate Park. Planning your Golden Gate Park wedding will be a fun task for any couple as there are so many ways to customize the occasion to fit your personality.
Couples getting married at one of these locations will also greatly benefit from a breadth of options for the perfect wedding photos to commemorate their day. One of the greatest features of Golden Gate Park is its size and versatility of environments, making it one of the preeminent urban parks in the United States. Celebrate your love by creating a picture-perfect Golden Gate Park wedding.
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