26 March 2009

whirlwind venue search breakdown

We saw a ton of places in S.F. on Tuesday, in our attempt to see if there's another venue we love that fits our budget. First stop: Golden Gate Park, which Mr. UB's sister & her husband were kind enough to live near. (Thanks, guys!) Candidate #1: The Shakespeare Garden:
Okay, that's pretty darn sweet. It even has an aisle. The sundial's a little inconveniently placed, but hopeful my Dad would be able to prevent my walking directly into it. (I'm a rare level of clumsy.) Here's the reverse view of the arbor:
(He's so cute.)
The rest of the space looks like this:
It's not very big, but neither is our wedding. And I have a deep affinity for all things Bard. Still, in the late summer/fall, those trees will no longer be blossoming. (I asked. They said no. The nerve.) So it's a "Strong Maybe," but there's lots left to see.

Candidate 2: The Chinese Pavillion:
It's in the middle of a big lake in the park, and it looks really pretty, nestled among all that greenery. Close-up, it's very colorful:

It even has a cute little bridge that we could make into a pseudo-aisle:
But there's a stone (read: immovable) table surrounded by stone stools dead-center in the middle of it. And it has a rail inside that would make seats very hard to arrange, even in the round. Plus, I think Mr. UB put it best: "It makes a very strong cultural statement, which is neither of our cultures." Fair enough. No-go.

There was actually another place next to the Pavillion that we both really liked, but it's way too much work:
Us & our officiant up there on the bridge?

Our guests on chairs down there? Vice-versa? I know, I know ... totally impractical. But maybe some other non-satin shoe wearing bride can make it work. Moving on.

Candidate #4: The Fuschia Garden:
I hope it's more spectacular when things are blooming, because at the moment it looks like a nice little corner, but that's it. We both want something a little more ... special for our wedding. I'm sure that lady on the bench was wondering why the hell I took her picture, though.

Not-really-a-Candidate: The Conservatory of Flowers:
It's not on our list because it's too expensive. But we walked right past it & I liked the building so I took a picture. Another reason why it's out of the question: it's basically a giant hothouse. My hair would frizz.

Lest we lose our minds, a brief time-out: Random stuff in the park that made me happy:
I don't know what kind of flowers these are, but the sun was illuminating them beautifully. I felt like I was pretending to be Peonies. And speaking of Scottish people:

A free-roaming bagpiper, fully kilted-out. I love the sound of the bagpipes, but when they're played badly it sounds like cats being walked on. This guy rocked.

A cellist on the run.

The architecture junkie in me loves the deYoung Museum. You can go to the viewing platform on the top floor for free. (Hooray, free!)

You can see the whole city from up there. This is the street His Sister lives on.

The Golden Gate, peeking over a hill.

Okay -- enough screwing around. We're on a freakin' mission here, people. Back to work!

Candidate #5: The Music Concourse:
His Mom suggested it, and it is pretty. But it's exposed to one of the busiest areas of the park (between 2 museums). Oh, and it's being earthquake retrofitted, too, just like our original venue. We're not doing that again.

Leaving GGP ... Candidate #6: Levi Strauss Park:
Another place suggested by His Mom. (And by the way, our people have been amazing at rallying to help us solve this.) It's a tiny little park down by the Embarcadero. And again, it's very pretty, but the only area where you could possibly have a ceremony is tiny:
(Stoopid people walking into my frame.)
It's also privately owned, which might complicate renting it. Oh, and the only parking around it is meters, which cost 10¢ for every 2.5 minutes!!! What. The. Fuck? Never mind.

And finally ... because I made him go take a look ... Candidate The Winner: The Palace of Fine Arts:
I mean seriously, people. Look at that. And it costs the same as the other places we looked at -- $650 for three hours. It's available from May 15 until August 15. August 15th could happen.

I've obviously been thinking a lot about this whole location drama, and wondering if the urge to dig in my heels is perhaps the slightest bit 'Zilla-ish. Lucky for me, my friend Tolley called:

Her: I don't know if anyone's had this conversation with you, so if I'm over-stepping my bounds, let me know.

Me: Okay?

: I read about your date/location dilemma in your blog, and you're being very practical.

Me: I'm trying!

: I just wanted to point out that it seems like having your wedding at the Palace of Fine Arts has become your dream. Maybe it didn't exist before you acquired the ring, but it exists now.

Me: Kind of, yeah. I'd agree with that.

: Then will you please stop being so damn practical, and be a fucking bride for a moment? If you want that to happen and the date has to change, the people who love you will be there.

Me: Thank god you called ...

I have good friends.

This post has gotten very long, but I'm going to write more soon about this part. The "It's not the absolute cheapest way to make it happen, but it fits our budget and we love it" part. Consider yourselves warned.


samantha said...

Don't forget if you have the wedding in fall the leaves will have all changed colors, which is also very beautiful, but prolly not the color scheme look you are going for in the gardens.

but they are all lovely spots.

I'm still racking my brain for a location. The winery has a new terrace that's completely re-done just for weddings, but I have no idea what the rate is, even if I did get the 'family' discount.

Marie said...

The Palace of Fine Arts is gorgeous. And so is the weather. Very very jealous of all your outdoor choices!

very married said...

The Palace of Fine Arts looks so amazing. I think you just have to go where you feel amazing and full of love and happiness (and the guests will too). plus... it's so pretty.

elizabeth said...

Love the cellist on the run! POFA is so beautiful - and being done with wedding madness two months earlier would be an added bonus :)
If not that, have you thought about the Presidio or Fort Mason at all? There are some pretty spots along the water...

un-bride said...

@elizabeth I started to look at those. Thanks for the reminder!

CheapAndEasy said...

I'm with your friend - you love the place, right? It's beautiful & budget friendly & you want to get married there. Just suck it up & change the date. You haven't sent out invitations yet so really, it's not a big deal. Hell, even if you did, who cares? The people that love you will be there. You CAN do this.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm getting married in August & just booked the venue. Actually, just emailed the venue to tell them I want to book it. I haven't even put down any money yet! I freak out every now & then cuz it's sneaking up on me but for the most part, I feel like I got this thing handled.......sometimes.

Peonies and Polaroids said...

I've been boycotting wedding blogs since well, The Wedding. You have brought me back though!

They are all gorgeous gorgeous spots but seeing as The Palace of Fine Arts is the only one I've actually been to and it's so bloody exciting to consider one of my foreign lady bloggers getting married somewhere I've not only heard of but BEEN is so bloody exciting, it gets my vote.

Miss Rye Bread said...

haha I love this post! :)
the PoFA is so awesome, BTW! love those crepuscular rays in the photo, too ;)

un-bride said...

@Peonies ... I will absolutely enter your vote in the final tally. We have to put down $$ this week, so a decision must be made!

un-bride said...

@Cheap&Easy ... i SO relate to your sentiment. "... sometimes" indeed!

Meg said...

Do it, do it! I wish I'd known it was an option. I think you are totally set, but just in case, if you want a all in one reception and ceremony beutiful outdoors picnic site it east bay, email me. What we are using for our welcome picnic is so pretty I wish we'd known and were using it for the wedding.