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How to Plan a Stern Grove Wedding

Are you interested in a Stern Grove wedding and wondering how to have your wedding there? Mostly visited by locals, Stern Grove is mostly known for their outdoor concerts during the summertime, but it can also serve as a small wedding venue year round. Let’s learn more about this location and how to plan your very own Stern Grove wedding.

What Does a Stern Grove Wedding Look Like?

Stern Grove provides indoor and outdoor options for a wedding. The centerpiece of the site of your Stern Grove wedding will be the Trocadero Clubhouse adjacent to the outdoor ceremony location. Surrounding the Trocadero Clubhouse, you will find groves of redwoods and eucalyptus trees and a small pond. Most couples opt to have the ceremony outdoors with a background of redwood trees while moving indoors for the reception.

The Trocadero House has a capacity of 140 for a stand-up setting and 120 for sit down. There is limited parking on site but plenty of street parking that requires a steep decline to get to.

How Do I Reserve a Wedding at Stern Grove?

Reservations take place through the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department’s online form. Stern Grove is one of the most affordable venues in the city, particularly when considering the beautiful setting you get for the price.

The reservation fee ranges from $50 to $150 depending on whether booking during the week or weekend. Additionally, the hourly rate ranges from $153 to $178 depending on time of week with a minimum of six hours to book. If an outdoor wedding is desired, use of the land surrounding the Trocadero Clubhouse can be reserved for an additional $200. There is also a staffing fee of $25 per hour. There is also a required performance bond of $750 that is refundable if the area is cleaned and undamaged after the event.

Availability at Stern Grove in the summer specifically varies because of the Stern Grove Music Festival. For all available dates, reservations can be made a year in advance. If multiple applications are received, a lottery determines who receives the use of the facility for their event.

Considerations for a Stern Grove Wedding

One of the biggest benefits of reserving the Trocadero Clubhouse is the use of a full caterer’s kitchen. This will provide a great deal of flexibility for your wedding planning. The kitchen includes a prep counter, warming ovens, and refrigerators. There is no stove or oven, however.

If you decide to have a Stern Grove wedding, I definitely recommend a coordinator, whether a professional one or a very helpful family member or friend. This is because you are responsible for cleaning, stocking toilet paper, taking out trash, and tearing down everything at the end of the event, which makes sense given that it is a public property and has a very low price point. Having a trusted coordinator will ensure you have nothing to worry about and can enjoy the festivities.

Another thing to consider is the possibility of hiring live music. Stringed instruments would fit well with the natural aesthetic of this location. This could be a nice touch for a couple that wants an extra bit of elegance for their day. Please CONTACT ME and I’d love to suggest musicians for you.

Final Thoughts

Stern Grove has been a part of San Francisco’s history for nearly a century. The Trocadero Clubhouse provides classic charm while the surroundings create a mood of natural wonder. Stern Grove is an excellent choice for a couple on a bit of a budget as well as for the couple that simply has a flair for the outdoors and wants to stay in San Francisco.

When planning your Stern Grove wedding, be sure to get your reservation in as soon as possible to ensure the best chances of securing the venue. There can be some competition for popular dates. It is the only wedding venue in San Francisco that offers this type of scenery. The next closest is Muir Woods, and if you are interested in a larger space that has exponentially more redwood trees, take a look at this post on “How to Plan a Wedding in Muir Woods.

stern grove wedding walkway amongst trees with water on the left
stern grove wedding trocadero clubhouse couple smiling at the camera

Wedding Planning Guide

Wedding Planning Guide CONGRATULATIONS! I made this wedding planning guide to help alleviate some stress over wedding planning and answer some questions you may have!

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