Weddings at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco (Review)

bently reserve weddings

Weddings at the Bently Reserve – San Francisco’s iconic venue

One of our favorite wedding venues in San Francisco is the Bently Reserve.  It’s truly a gem in it’s own, and while it’s quite different than other wedding venues in San Francisco, navigating these can lead to big rewards for you and your guests.

bently reserve wedding photography

The Bently Reserve offers amazing wedding photography

The Bently Reserve is located in the heart of San Francisco on the corner of Battery and Sansome.  It’s right in the financial district, as it used to be the US Federal Reserve building.  It’s got a unique setup as you can enter in from the front or the back, both areas have a nice vestibule.  Most couples have their cocktail hour in the front, while the room is being flipped, as there is a nice two tier space with both indoor and outdoor areas if the weather in San Francisco happens to be sunny on your wedding day.

bently reserve wedding photos

Weddings at the Bently Reserve offer amazing local spots for great photos

The convenience of being downtown is quite obvious- guests for your wedding can stay on the same block or across the street, with many top rated hotels (such as the Mandarin Oriental, Loews Regency, Intercontinental or Ritz-Carlton) within a block or two.  Your guests can simply walk to the venue or you can rent trolleys to get them from one spot to the next.  It serves your guests well and can help them see a bit more of San Francisco than a venue with a hotel/ballroom all in one, where they wouldn’t have to leave to get to the wedding or reception.

bently reserve wedding ceremony

Wedding ceremony setup at the Bently Reserve.

If you choose to have your wedding at the Bently Reserve, there are some really sweet San Francisco photo locations very close by.  As you can see here, they’re easy to get to and provide some big time payoff, especially when trying to showcase the beauty and elegance that is San Francisco.  Logistically, be sure to allot for extra time when you’re going to places that are on the other side of town to shoot, such as Chrissy Field or Alamo Square.

weddings at the bently reserve

Weddings at the Bently Reserve

Weddings at the Bently Reserve offer a great location, because like so many other amazing San Francisco wedding venues (but not all San Francisco wedding venues) the Bently Reserve is beautiful and works perfectly for both ceremony and reception.  Guests will have the option to head to the front foyer or (for smaller weddings) back foyer, where cocktail hour can be held while the main room is being flipped for the wedding reception.  The front vestibule is great as there are multiple entries to the street and multiple staircases to the upper level.  Bars for serving drinks to your guests can be set up on the top and bottom, to ensure everyone is enjoying the cocktails and social hour.

weddings at the bently reserve in san francisco

Bently Reserve offers amazing wedding photography from San Francisco

The catering and rentals can be brought in from one of the Bently’s preferred vendors, they are pretty strict about this as they don’t want a catering team using their kitchen that’s unfamiliar with the space.  They do allow outside photographers and videographers that aren’t on their preferred vendor list, but do highly recommend them.


The Bently Reserve is unique as it’s one of the only wedding venues in San Francisco where you can control everything.  This is a bonus or a drawback, depending on your expectations.  There’s no natural light, which I LOVE about the venue because you can control everything, allowing you to get exactly the photos you want without any chance of sunspots or over accidental under or over exposure due to the camera not metering correctly.  It’s a beautiful blank space, where you can dress up or dress down according to the desires of your heart.  The beauty of weddings at the Bently Reserve is that they are beautiful either way.  You can purchase additional lighting packages from the DJ or emcee that give a brilliance to the pillars that’s sure to be a conversation starter for you and your guests. They also allow open flames for a beautiful candlelight reception with a few minor exceptions.


Weddings at the Bently Reserve can be almost any capacity.  We’ve shot weddings there with less than 100 and others that have 300.  If you’re having a big wedding, it’s likely you’ll have to seat guests outside the pillars to fit them all, but you can make them feel just as welcome by walking around to each table and getting a photo with them.


If you’re from out of town, I’d definitely recommend seeing the Bently Reserve when planning for tables, seating chart, and ceremony and décor locations.  If you’re in love with the space (as it’s hard not to be) you can book it sight unseen, but planning the best experience for your guests should be done in person or at least with the assistance of a preferred vendor wedding planner (on the Bently Reserve’s list).  This will help ensure all guests have a cohesive experience from start to finish and no one will feel left out.


We’re happy to offer a quick review and some insight into weddings at the Bently Reserve.  Of course, we are on the preferred vendor list for couples having their wedding at the Bently Reserve, but we offer these reviews as a free service to help educate our couples about the benefits of this beautiful space.  The Bently Reserve sales staff is always professional and accommodating, but they do book out far far far in advance, they’re already booking two years out.


Getting married or know someone who is?  We’d love to be a part of it!  Drop us a line here to start your wedding experience.

Article by Clane Gessel Photography

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