Oh my my my, this is one of the most stunningly beautiful and distinctive wedding venues in San Francisco. It’s truly top-tier in terms of service and beauty. The unique chandeliers and timeless ceiling patterns are noticeable and immediately identify this amazing San Francisco wedding venue. Julia Morgan Ballroom Weddings are some of the most well-run and organized in the city, thanks to the top-notch staff there. In this review, we delve into one of the most iconic places to get married and tell you all the things you need to know if you’re thinking about a Julia Morgan Ballroom wedding in San Francisco. If you’re thinking of getting married in San Francisco, also be sure to check out this blog post.
Julia Morgan Ballroom weddings provide a completely unique experience for your guests, and the venue alone stands as a huge conversation point for your guests to interact. It’s ideal for both destination and local couples, and is sure to provide a top-notch experience either way. The catering and sales team at the Julia Morgan Ballroom are top of the line, all catering and cakes can be done in-house, so there’s no need to book an outside caterer that might be unfamiliar with the venue.
If your wedding is at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, rest assured your guests will have plenty of options for hotels and accommodations nearby. Loews Regency, the Ritz-Carlton, the Fairmont San Francisco, Mark Hopkins Intercontinental and the Omni hotel are all very close by. Since the venue itself is right on the famed California Avenue, guests can walk or take a classic San Francisco trolley to the venue from any of these fine properties.
The Julia Morgan Ballroom has a distinct feel, and offers multiple spaces for the wedding and reception. Some couples opt to have their wedding downstairs in the lobby level, the same level as the entrance, where the bride can walk in from California Avenue to the spot she meets her groom. This is ideal for smaller weddings of 120 or less. The view is stunning, with the iconic clock above with backlight and natural ceiling light coming from behind and above. Pipe and drape the ceremony site for a more intimate feel. Cocktail hour can also be held in this space in the lobby level, but most couples who have their wedding at the Julia Morgan Ballroom opt to have the cocktail hour up top on the 15th floor, as there is already a large bar space built in, and intimate corners for entertainment for your guests. I’ve seen henna artists for Indian weddings, cartoon artists, magicians, guitarists, katuba stand for Jewish weddings, guest book tables, even hourvderves or another bar for those extra thirsty guests. No matter what you choose, you’ll have the option to put your own custom stamp on your wedding day for you and your guests. There are also two beautiful fireplaces in the cocktail hour area and one in the main ballroom that you can dress up with candles, florals or décor.
If you’re having a destination wedding at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, the sales staff is truly the best in San Francisco. Every single detail is accounted for, all of the team there are well versed in helping couples feel comfortable, even if booking from a distance. They’ll recommend wedding planners, photographers, and even help with transportation.
The Julia Morgan Ballroom is so elaborate. Like so so so elaborate. It’s every detail was thought out by the amazing architect (Julia Morgan), one of San Francisco’s first women architects. Keep this in mind when arranging for your centerpieces and floral decorations. You want something that will balance with the ceiling and keep your wedding guests talking.
Although the décor and logistics of Julia Morgan Ballroom weddings can vary wildly, they all have one thing in common – they’re all central to some of San Francisco’s best locations for wedding photos. Being right on California, it’s close to spots that garner amazing images for you that eternally reflect the beauty of the City. Fisherman’s Wharf, the Ferry Building, all the piers, and some of the iconic hills are very close by, and other spots like Alamo Square and Chrissy Fields where you can get amazing images with the Golden Gate Bridge are a quick car ride away.
From a photographer’s standpoint, weddings at the Julia Morgan Ballroom can be difficult to shoot if you’re unfamiliar with the space. This is why I’d highly recommend choosing someone off of the Julia Morgan Ballroom’s preferred vendor list. Natural light comes in from one side of the venue year round, making the unexperienced photographer’s camera have a difficult time metering. Measuring light that’s heavy on one side can make the image look unbalanced, as one side will be darker if you’re not experienced in how to shoot in this light. Getting the color balance correct (as natural light’s temperature is quite different from artificial light). Be sure to ask any photographer you’re considering (including us here at Clane Gessel Photography) for multiple examples of Julia Morgan Ballroom weddings, and be sure to pick a photographer on the Julia Morgan Ballroom’s preferred vendor partner list. If you are choosing a photographer that’s not on the preferred vendor list, be sure to ask them to walk through the venue beforehand and test the lighting in camera.
Outside of the technical aspects of photographing it, weddings at the Julia Morgan Ballroom are simply stunning. It’s huge, completely unique from any venue across the country, and one of the best places in California you could possibly choose to have a wedding or event. Julia Morgan was one of the first women architects of the 20th century, and just recently received the gold medal presented by the American Institute of Architects. This ballroom is not her only design, but truly one of her most beautiful. Truly no downsides to any aspect of a wedding here, and the helpful staff at the venue will navigate any problems that do arise.
Weddings at the Julia Morgan Ballroom can have almost any guest count, I’ve shot weddings with less than 100 and others with more than 400. I shot an Indian wedding (baraat and sangeet) there, it was a great experience as they had every item under control. The groom came down California Avenue on a horse, it was pretty awesome. Locals and destination couples alike will be delighted at the offerings of this unique San Francisco gem.
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Article by Clane Gessel Photography