BRIDES Northern California: 5 Unexpected Places to Tie the Knot in the Bay Area

California, Local, Planning Tips
Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

Photo: Annie Mcelwain

Verdant vineyards, Instagram-worthy cityscapes, and ocean vistas make the Bay Area one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth — and an obvious choice for tying the knot — but here are some less obvious places to say "I do" in Northern California.

Academy of Science
The only thing wilder than committing your life to another person? Doing it all in front of a coral reef, crew of penguins, and exotic plant life at this eco-friendly natural history museum. Say hello to the albino alligator as you sip cocktails in the Swamp before advancing to dinner amongst the animals (lions, baboons, mountain gorillas) in the African Hall;

Great American Musical Hall
Take your love to the stage at this 5,000-square-foot concert hall. You're in good company: the iconic theater has showcased the talents of performers including Bonnie Raitt, Jay Leno, and Ray Charles. Top it all off by getting your name in lights via special message on their marquee;

City Hall
Skip the stress of invitations, party linens, and crazy relatives with a short and simple ceremony at this historic landmark. Ceremonies can be booked Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are held every half hour. For an additional fee, hold the ceremony on the 4th floor, or in the Mayor's Balcony for a more private feel;

See More: One Couple's Fresh Fall Wedding in San Francisco

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
A rustic yet relaxed setting (apple orchard, sensory gardens, restored Gothic Revival Logan-Ives House) and farm-to-table done right (local, organic ingredients and family-style portions) make this spot a California foodie's paradise;

Boon Hotel in Guerneville
For parties under 120 people, nothing tops the gay friendly, low-key vibe at this hotel. Modeled after a Balinese resort, its modest size (14 rooms, decorated in a chic gray and white palette) and chill amenities (central saline pool and hot tub backdropped to forested hills) won't disappoint;

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