I think that picking our wedding venue was a fascinating process. Sites like Here Comes The Guide and blogs like this one provided us with invaluable information about cost, gay friendliness, photos of other weddings and food options. After reading a lot of blogs I determined that the following things were important for our venue selection:
- Gay owned/operated (keeping our money within the community is super important to us)
- Options for catering (we found that some venues had exclusive catering contracts with one vendor and my partner is not a fancy food person – it stressed us out thinking about how to get someone who loves to make foofy fig infused pork chops to making Southern style comfort food)
- Within the city limits of San Francisco (I once found a wedding calculator that estimated the average cost of a SF wedding is $38,000-40,000 – um, whoa)
- Reception & Ceremony at the same location (we’re not doing a religious ceremony, so no need to find a house of worship)
- Lots of options for decorations (Being a DIY kinda girl – I want to make sure that I can add my own personal touches to the ceremony/reception site)
We went with this list up to Guerneville and looked at a few venues. Our guest list at the time was about 100+ and after we did some calculations with food, hotel and booze – we’d be spending almost $200/pp – that’s crazy! I was disheartened on the way home from our visit up to Guerneville we cut our guest list in half and swore that we could find something in the city limits of SF that would work. I thought about all of the gay owned/operated venues in the city that I knew and we started doing some research. One night I had a flash of genius and thought about a local gay owned bar in the Mission District called, El Rio. I contacted the owner and we set up a meeting. I was excited about El Rio because I’ve been there numerous times for various parties and fundraisers and the owner is great to work with. She is very generous and easy to work with.
Nat and I went over there 45 minutes before our appointment to grab a drink and talk about our big day. I snapped a few shots of the venue -
We put down 1/2 of our money a few weeks ago and it feels great to finally have a venue. I have so many ideas about how to decorate! We have a venue that is perfect for what we want! Getting married in San Francisco never seemed so easy.
All photos by me!