This large California city on the bay has a thriving gay community, but is a hot destination for tourists of all orientations, and a great place to tie the knot. Located in the northern half of coastal California, San Francisco has mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers -- nothing too extreme or uncomfortable for any season that you want to get married.
Aside from allowing same-sex weddings, legal requirements for marriage in California are pretty standard: you must apply in person for your license, but no blood tests are required.
Getting to San Francisco is a piece of cake. The San Francisco International Airport is served by most major airlines, including several discount carriers, so finding cheap airfare from far away should be no problem, but parking in town can be a bear -- at $20/day and up in most parking lots, we don't recommend driving here if you can avoid it.
The city has a large selection of glamorous, historic hotels that could be perfect for your wedding:
- The newly renovated Sir Francis Drake Hotel is a luxury hotel in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Harry Denton's Starlight Room on the 21st floor boasts 180° views of the city -- perfect for an elegant cocktail reception.
- Another super-luxurious venue choice is the Fairmont Hotel, nicely secluded from a lot of the city's hustle and bustle, but situated conveniently on a major cable car line. The Fairmont's historic ballrooms have hosted distinguished visitors from all over the world for nearly a century. Read more about their wedding packages here.
If you prefer an outdoor wedding that takes advantage of some of San Francisco's most stunning views, Angel Island State Park could be the venue of your dreams, or perhaps you'd enjoy chartering a boat for your wedding party and saying "I do" under the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
While you're staying in San Francisco, you're not far from Napa Valley. We suggest that you rent a limo for your wedding party to take a day trip to wine country for a romantic pre-wedding getaway. It's always good to have events planned for people traveling to your destination wedding. All kinds of special tours are available in this area -- we especially like the idea of a hot air balloon ride over the valley, or a bike tour for an athletic group.
Wine country is also a great place to host your rehearsal dinner, with tons of restaurants featuring all the area's finest wine selections. But if you prefer to stay in the city, there's plenty to choose from there, as well:
- The Cliff House is a San Francisco landmark, recently voted "Best restaurant with a view." The menu features fresh seafood and fine wine, and the restaurant also has a spectacular Sunday brunch.
- Castagnola's in Fisherman's Wharf is great for larger parties. An innovative menu boasts the best in seafood, especially the house lobster, but patrons are reminded to save room for dessert. It is said that you haven't lived until you've had Castagnola's cheesecake.