A clapboard "boat shack" at the end of dock. A windswept bluff overlooking the Pacific. A sun-dappled forest grove ringed by towering redwoods. A country farm surrounded by lavender fields. The Bay Area's diversity and easy access to open spaces outside of San Francisco mean that it's easy to find a venue for a rustic-style wedding. From beach to farm, vineyard to forest, the following venues are perfect for the rustic-chic wedding of your dreams.
Bear Flag Farm (Above)
Closer to Sacramento than San Francisco, Bear Flag Farm is a about one hour from the city, but surrounded by orchards, farmland lavender fields, and grapevines, it's a stunning venue that's worth the drive. Venues include the cottage — complete with French doors — and adjoining terrace or lawn; a 3,000-square-foot lawn in the lavender field; or out in the vineyards. Dinner and dancing can take place on the grand terrace, in a sycamore-ringed amphitheater, or under a tent on the vineyard lawn. Only one day-long event is allowed per weekend, which means couples have the staff's undivided attention, and vendors have plenty of time for set-up and tear-down.
Photo: Courtesy of Timber Cove Inn
Two hours north of San Francisco, in Jenner on the Sonoma Coast, the Timber Cove Inn hosts rustic-chic oceanfront weddings for up to 120 people. The standard wedding package includes use of the Sequoia Lounge and Alexander's Restaurant (the latter with beautiful views of the coast), the Ansel Adams Banquet Room with Redwood Deck, and event lawn, and all 45 ocean-front guest rooms. On site, guests can hike around the property, play bocce on a court overlooking the ocean, or watch the sunset and toast s'mores at a fire pit with a view of the Pacific.
Photo: Courtesy of Nick's Cove
Set along the waters of peaceful Tomales Bay, 12 miles north of Point Reyes Station, Nick's Cove is an idyllic spot for a rustic waterfront wedding. Venues can accommodate up to 120 people, with several spaces to choose from, including the Croft garden, or for smaller groups, the charming Boat Shack (a wooden structure at the end of the dock), or the waterfront patio. Weddings of more than 50 people require a buy-out of the property, including the restaurant, Boat Shack, and all cottages — which themselves are something special. There are 12 guest cottages (five of which are waterfront), which have king beds, wood-burning stoves, bathrooms with heated floors and claw foot tubs, and private decks.
Photo: Courtesy of Nestldown
Nestldown is a 180-acre property set in the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With more than seven acres of landscaped lawns and gardens, plus 35 acres of orchards, there's plenty of space for up to 200 guests who are free to wander the extensive grounds. The ceremony space is set in a redwood grove that's often described as "magical" or "like a fairytale" because of its beauty and grandeur. There's an expansive meadow for cocktail hour or games, and a garden and barn for dinner and dancing. While the remote outdoor setting does mean guests have to walk a bit (golf cart shuttles are also available), it also ensures total privacy.
Photo: Courtesy of Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
Part restaurant, part winery, part working farm, Long Meadow Ranch is also the site of some of Napa's most beautiful rustic weddings. Ceremonies here can take place on the lawn surrounded by vineyards or in the Sensory Garden, where a small ivy-covered pergola is flanked by herbs and vegetables used in the restaurant's dishes. Dinner and dancing takes place in the barn or on the lawn, under strands of romantic lights; there's also a covered patio for wet weather and a fire pit to warm up guests on cooler nights.
Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Fogarty Winery
Set in the South Bay's Santa Cruz Mountains Thomas Fogarty Winery offers panoramic views of the Bay Area for up to 216 guests. Multiple event spaces include the 4,000 square foot open-walled Pavilion that overlooks grapevines, and the Hill House, which spills out onto an adjoining terrace with glass doors so that even on cooler days you can still appreciate the view. The property also offers special packages for smaller weddings — up to 40 guests, Monday through Friday in off-season — which includes beer and wine, and use of the Redwood Room for dining and dancing, and a lawn area for an intimate ceremony with a view.
Photo: Courtesy of Beltane Ranch
Located in Glenn Ellen in the heart of Sonoma County, Beltane Ranch is a working cattle ranch, winery, and farm dotted with vineyards, fig trees, and herb gardens. There are five guest rooms on site, plus a separate cottage, so it's a great space for those who want a rustic wedding and a tranquil place to stay. There are two lawns to choose from for an outdoor ceremony, and a small barn is the perfect setting for a rehearsal dinner or a reception for 60 people or less.
Photo: Getty Images
Just 12 miles over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pelican is a bit of old England in the Bay Area. With space for up to 100 people, it's also a great option for an intimate, rustic wedding close to the city. While some guests opt to have their ceremony at the Muir Beach overlook, on site options include the inn's lawn and — for more intimate events — the Snug Room, a cozy space for up to 16 guests. For dinner and dancing, there's the lawn or the conservatory, a glassed-in space lit by candles, which can seat up to 50 guests. The property also has a pub, restaurant, and seven cozy bedrooms with private bathrooms.