How to Plan and Capture a Stunning University Club of San Francisco Wedding: An Extended Guide
Planning a wedding at the University Club of San Francisco is an opportunity to create an event that’s as rich in history and culture as it is in beauty. This enhanced guide aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the University Club of San Francisco as a wedding venue, highlighting not just its beauty but also the practical steps to ensure your wedding day is as picturesque and memorable as possible.
Step 1: Dive into the Venue’s Rich History
The University Club’s Heritage: Originally a meeting place for alumni from prestigious universities, the University Club has become a celebrated spot for social and intellectual gatherings. The building’s Italianate architecture, designed by Walter Bliss & William Faville and completed in 1909, echoes the grandeur of the Gilded Age. Its location on Nob Hill offers sweeping views, making it a prized landmark in San Francisco.
Step 2: Plan Your Wedding Day
Starting the Day: Choose between getting ready at the Club itself or at nearby luxury hotels like the Fairmont, Stanford, or Mark Hopkins. Consider the ambiance and photo opportunities each location offers to start your day perfectly.
Step 3: Capture the First Look and Pre-Ceremony Moments
Iconic Photo Opportunities: Utilize the University Club’s staircase and balcony for breathtaking first look photos. Nearby hotels like the Mark Hopkins provide unique backdrops, such as the Top of the Mark’s panoramic views or the Fairmont’s pristine gardens.
Cityscape Portraits: Embrace the urban charm of San Francisco for your portraits. Capture moments on the street trolley, with the Bay Bridge or the Trans America building in the background, or near the majestic Grace Cathedral. Some of my favorite moments are simply the in-between moments when we are moving from spot A to B. Something about hearing a chorus of “Congratulations!” from strangers as you move throughout the city is really an exciting and energizing way to kick off the wedding day.
Step 4: The Library Session
A Literary Backdrop: The University Club’s library, with its rare books collection, offers a unique and intellectual setting for photography. The shelves of historic volumes and the quiet ambiance of the library add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your wedding photos.
Step 5: The Ceremony
A Fourth Floor Affair: The fourth-floor space, with its elegant chandeliers and floral decorations, provides a romantic setting for your vows.
Step 6: Enjoying the Cocktail Hour and Reception
Exploring the Club: Transition to the cocktail hour on the fourth floor’s balcony, followed by dinner on the third floor. Cocktail hour can flow into the pool room as well, where I’ve seen the pool table transformed into a dining table, complete with a champagne tower. These locations offer an intimate speakeasy vibe and stunning city views, perfect for memorable photos.
The Vibe: Picture high ceilings, big windows, walls hung salon style with taxidermy, old prints of San Francisco, and Audubon imagery. The interior is fairly dark with dark leather and dark green stained glass windows representing different universities, but the big picture windows bring the city life and light in both during the day and night.
Step 7: Mastering the Venue for Photography
Photography Challenges: Be prepared to work with the mixed lighting of the Club. Understanding how to use different lighting techniques is key to capturing the mood and ambiance of the venue. The interior light fixtures are often on during weddings and provide a warm ambience to the space.
Step 8: Evening Celebrations
Dinner and Dancing: The spacious layout of the University Club facilitates smooth transitions between different parts of the event, from dinner to dancing, allowing for a seamless photographic narrative. Throughout the night we capture numerous spaces as they come alive with different wedding-goers moving through them.
Step 9: Coordinating Your Day
The Role of the Coordinator: Rely on the expertise of Yvonne, the in-house coordinator, to streamline your wedding day flow, ensuring a stress-free experience.
Why Choose the University Club: With its blend of historical charm, architectural beauty, and modern urban energy, the University Club of San Francisco stands out as an ideal wedding venue. The variety of backdrops, from the rare books in the library to the panoramic city views, ensures a wedding day filled with unique and stunning photographs.