Hands down, one of the best things about being a Bay Area wedding photographer is being able to shoot at the stunning outdoor wedding venues that decorate the region. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking wedding photos anywhere and everywhere—but the constant beautiful weather and gorgeous natural backdrops of the Bay Area definitely don’t hurt!
The number of amazing Bay Area wedding venues to choose from is pretty much infinite, which can be a pretty overwhelming task (which is why we’ve written a post on venues in SF and in wine country, too)! So I’ve narrowed down a list of some seriously jaw-dropping places to consider if you’re on the hunt for an outdoor wedding venue in the Bay Area.
Filoli is a breathtaking and historic venue with a variety of both indoor and outdoor event spaces, making it the perfect place to accommodate any size wedding. The beautiful property is conveniently located in Woodside, California, between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Now considered a California State Historic Landmark, Filoli was built in 1917 by Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn II, a prominent couple from San Francisco. They enlisted a talented architect and an artist, Willis Polk and Bruce Porter, to design the eclectic home and impressive gardens. The name “Filoli” actually comes from Mr. Bourn’s life philosophy—fight for a just case, love your fellow man, live a good life. Seems like a pretty good motto to me!
The house and garden was made public in 1976 and is now enjoyed by visitors and locals alike, including those looking for a gorgeous outdoor wedding venue.
With over 16 acres of breathtaking gardens and nine different event spaces (seven of which are outdoors), Filoli has an option for outdoor weddings of every size. Whether you need to accommodate 600 guests or 30 (intimate weddings are SO in!), this outdoor Bay Area wedding venue has you covered!
Filoli is currently offering a Micro Wedding Package for intimate ceremonies, and is giving priority to couples whose wedding was impacted by the pandemic.
2. Mountain Terrace
Natural beauty, rustic elegance, cozy vibes, romantic ambiance—The Mountain Terrace at Woodside has it all! This Northern California gem is a go-to when it comes to outdoor wedding venues in the Bay Area, and it’s no wonder why.
The Mountain Terrace has both indoor and outdoor venue options, including a grassy meadow with beautiful views, a large deck surrounded by a Redwood forest, and a comfortable lodge perfect for intimate receptions.
For dining, the venue can seat up to 120 guests indoors, and up to 300 outdoors. They also have a ceremony-only option, where they can seat up to 400 guests.
This Bay Area wedding venue provides quality catering, full bar service and all-around great customer service!
3. Sand Rock Farm
This Bay Area wedding venue is—you guessed it—one of my faves!
Located in Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz, sits Sand Rock Farm. This historic and straight-up adorable outdoor wedding venue features a craftsman-style farmhouse surrounded by nature on a private 10-acre property.
Sand Rock Farm was actually the site of the very first winery in Santa Cruz County. It was built by August and Eva Lilliencrantz in 1887, and the winery shipped 130,000 gallons of wine to Europe at the peak of its operations in 1907. That is some impressive stuff.
Sand Rock Farm was converted to a B&B in 1999, and is now enjoyed by visitors and those looking for a personal wedding experience in the midst of nature, but not far from all the excitement that California has to offer.
This outdoor wedding venue can accommodate up to 120 guests. One of my favorite things about it is that it has accommodations on site, and couples can book the whole thing for a day or even a full weekend.
Spend the weekend sitting around the fire, roaming the gardens, exploring the forests, or taking advantage of the nearby activities between festivities!
4. Calistoga Ranch
Just one look at this Bay Area outdoor wedding venue and you’re guaranteed to look like this 😍.
Located in Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch has pretty much everything a lover of wine and romance could ask for. A private 157-acre canyon property complete with on-site accommodations, dining, vineyards, and the beautiful Lake Lommel, this place is the definition of “rustic luxury”.
Calistoga Ranch is surrounded by nature and has a 150 person reception capacity, perfect for lavish yet intimate weddings. With on-site wedding specialists and staff, the ranch is fully equipped to host weddings without a hitch.
One of the best parts, though, is all the extras—relax in the heated mineral pools, taste wine, or book one of their fun experiences in advance. And how CUTE is this? Couples who get married at Calistoga Ranch get to choose a dedicated grapevine, where the staff will add a personalized tag. Whenever you return, you’ll be treated to a picnic at your special spot. Awww.
5. Wente Vineyards
Is it just me, or do wineries make some of the BEST outdoor wedding venues?
How about the longest-running family-owned winery in the country? That’s right, the COUNTRY, people!
Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyard is still run by the Wente family and is on its fifth generation of winegrowers. This family has certainly instilled in it a love for wine and hospitality, and now it’s recognized as one of California’s premier wine destinations.
Located in the Livermore Valley Wine Country, this long-standing vineyard has become a very popular outdoor wedding venue option in the Bay Area.
Wente Vineyard offers fine catering services, on-site coordination, a breathtaking location, and a dang good chardonnay. The Vineyard Lawn seats up to 500 guests and is perfect for ceremonies, and the Terrace Lawn seats up to 400 guests and features the Cresta Blanca Room with space for an additional 150 guests indoors.
6. MacArthur Place
MacArthur Place is a Sonoma Valley gem right in the heart of wine country. Featuring a hotel, spa, restaurant and garden, MacArthur Place is a lovely option for weddings of 150 guests or less.
Something I love about MacArthur Place (besides the fact that you can easily book a relaxing spa treatment to prepare for your special day!) is that they have packages for elopements, intimate weddings or bigger parties.
They also have dedicated event staff, on-site catering, as well as indoor and outdoor venue options—The West Lawn and Coach House.
Outdoor weddings in the Bay Area
From historic estates, to quaint ranches, to picturesque wineries; there’s no shortage of amazing outdoor wedding venues in the Bay Area, and I can’t wait for the wedding season to get back up and running.
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in the Bay Area—whether it’s for an elopement, a micro-wedding, or you’re waiting until you can have a big celebration—I would love to help! Let’s chat to get to know each other better, and make sure your wedding photo dreams come true!