Small Wedding Venues Rental Guide
Getting married doesn’t mean you need to spend your savings on an over-the-top wedding. There are also other ways to have a beautiful and memorable ceremony without breaking the bank. Some even say that an intimate wedding was the best day of their lives! San Francisco is filled with unique spots you can rent for small ceremonies, receptions, and even elopements. The location is incredibly important when it comes to planning a wedding, but that’s not all! We’ve jotted down a few tips to consider, so give our guide a read and get ready to throw the wedding that everyone will keep talking about for weeks.
Guide to planning small weddings
- Plan your guest list strategically. A small wedding is only so when the guest list is kept to a minimum. Think carefully about who you really want to be by your side on your wedding day - for example, you can look through your text messages and calls to see with whom you’ve been in regular contact over the last few weeks. After all, don’t waste the opportunity for great memories with every single guest and invite only those who matter the most.
- Set your budget. Shrinking the event down to something intimate and cozy can guarantee you’ll love where your money goes. Once you’ve calculated how much money you have for the whole enterprise, everything will become clear and you’ll be able to start planning the big day. Book the band you love, sort out your favorite drinks and put up unique decorations that match your style. You don’t have to go over the top - you can simply choose the things that you’ve always wanted.
- Consider a restaurant for your venue. Fewer people on the guest list means more places to choose from. This means that you’ll be able to pick a nontraditional venue, and we can’t think of a better option than a restaurant! They’re unique spaces that have everything you might need in one place: tasty food, great drinks, immaculate service, and some room for dancing. When booking a venue, make sure that both you and your partner love everything about it, from the style and the decor to the menu. But remember: some restaurants have restrictions when it comes to decorations, so make sure you find out all of the details before making the final decision.
- Find a small space in a large venue. Did you know that traditional venues are full of unexpected spaces that are perfect for smaller celebrations - such as your intimate wedding? There are certain places that get overlooked quite often but they actually boast hidden gems. Consider having a look around old libraries, large historic buildings, theaters, art galleries, or even courtyards.
- Get creative with seating arrangements. There will be fewer people attending your wedding, so you can get creative with both the ceremony and the reception seating arrangements - especially if you’re planning an intimate affair in a large venue. Making a big space feel cozy can be both fun and a challenge. But at the same time, you’ll have an opportunity to let your imagination go wild and experiment with table and seating layouts. Plenty of room also allows for extra things, such as adding a lounge, a food station, and, most importantly, having a dedicated dance floor.
- Go for unusual activities. As you’re determining the activities that will take place during your big day, decide what is important to you and your partner, and what you want to definitely skip. Forgo the traditional dancing or any other part that you resent (or that simply doesn’t suit you and your other half). We assume that you know your crowd quite well, so why not replace those activities you don’t like with the ones that everyone will enjoy? You can opt for a wine tasting, a painting masterclass, or host a karaoke night!
- Hire a live band. If you do love dancing, we recommend splurging on a live band! Can you imagine having your first dance to some live guitars and a piano?! There isn’t anything better than showing off your signature dance moves to the tunes played live. And what’s even better, you’ll have a chance to request your favorite songs! But remember that there shouldn’t be more players in the band than your guests, since it might feel very overpowering. Instead, hire a small group of musicians and share the dance floor with your nearest and dearest without a crowd on stage.
- Invest in a photographer for the day. A wedding day only happens once in your life, so we’re sure you want every moment to be captured forever. What’s more, a smaller guest list may mean a lot of opportunities to capture intimate moments. That’s why we recommend hiring a photographer who’ll make sure that there are pics of each special moment that occurred throughout the event. A professional photographer will make sure all of the tears, laughter, and clinking glasses are captured.
- Decorate the space. When throwing a smaller wedding, you can go all-out on details. Whatever setting you’ve dreamt of your whole life is now at your fingertips! Decorate the whole space, not just the tables. Remember about lights, floral arrangements, candles, table linens, and anything else that will help you create a unique ambiance in the place. We also suggest you prepare place cards that tie into your event’s theme. They offer a personalized touch, as well as are a special part of the decor.
FAQs about Small Wedding Venues in San Francisco, CA
How far in advance should I book a venue for my wedding?
Start your search as soon as possible! We suggest you book the place of your choice at least 9 months in advance! It will give you enough time to sort out all of the details and book the venue that steals your heart.
How much does it cost to rent a wedding venue in San Francisco?
Prices of small wedding venues in San Francisco vary greatly, depending on their location and offers. Most of the places charge minimum spend with rates varying from $1000 to $4000 minimum spend. It is also possible to find in San Francisco a venue that offers special packages. Prices for these packages will range between $50 and $65 per person. (Based on data from Tagvenue.)
Where in San Francisco can I find the best wedding venues?
San Francisco is home to many diverse neighborhoods that offer something for everyone, no matter their taste and preferences. The Bay Area is one of the most popular wedding destinations, without a doubt! Its spectacular views of the beach will amaze everyone! We also suggest you check out the Sunset District, a perfect area for a cozy, laid-back celebration, and the Richmond District in the heart of San Francisco, where you’ll find plenty of fantastic restaurants.
Do I need a permit to get married on the beach in San Francisco?
Yes, you do! State of California beaches require a permit, even if you’re having a 2-person wedding. Rules for the city and county-owned beaches vary but they’re generally flexible when it comes to requiring permits, so you shouldn’t worry too much about getting one as well.