Where to Have a Wedding
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Outdoor setting near Berkeley
Our daughter is getting married here next year, but lives in
London. So, that means that we have to do a lot of the
planning, and I'm wondering if anyone out there has
recommendations for places and bands. She is thinking wine
country or somewhere closer to home (Berkeley). She would
really like somewhere with an outdoor component, as for many
of her guests, this will be the first visit to California.
Also, any recommendations for a live band would be much
appreciated. Thank you! About to be broke
Congratulations on your daughter's upcoming nuptials! You
must be 1) very excited, and 2) overwhelmed with all the
planning logistics. The good news is that there are so many
wonderful options to for wedding/special event venues and
vendors in the greater Bay Area. The bad news? There are SO
MANY wonderful options - where to start? First, find a
venue. Your selection of most other vendors (band, caterer,
florist, photographer, cake etc) will be influenced by their
proximity to the location. Often venues have
guidelines/restrictions on what vendors you can use,
including music - who and how late you can go (many places
in the wine country must comply with noise ordinances and
have to end ~ 9pm I believe). To help narrow the fields of
options before starting your search for a venue, if you
haven't already, you should first determine: 1) What is your
budget? 2) Desired date - how flexible is this? 3)
Approximate # of guests 4) How many guests will require
lodging 5) General event concept: At least partially
outdoors - will the ceremony and the reception be outdoors
or will the ceremony need to be in a (nearby) house of
worship? Time of day? Do you want a 'destination wedding'
where all guests travel to the location and stay over, with
multiple events (welcome BBQ in lieu of a rehearsal dinner,
day after the wedding brunch?). If everything is to be
outdoors, do you want a separate area for ceremony,
cocktails & reception? Will there be dancing, if so, does
the dance party need to go late into the night? Will there
need to be a rain plan?
Armed with answers to those questions, the online version of
the tome 'Here Comes the Guide' is quite useful:
http://www.herecomestheguide.com/ (there are options to
search w/in a region, filtering for # guests, site type &
views, catering options). It's fairly comprehensive, unless you're
looking for something off the beaten path. For my
wedding in 2005, I scoured 'The Guide' and scouted sites in
the immediate bay area as well as the wine country, Lake
Tahoe, and Monterey/Carmel. I wanted someplace special where
our guests - many whom were from out of town and overseas -
could experience Northern California and even make a holiday
out of the trip. We ended up in Big Sur, at a VERY off the
chart, and somewhat unconventional location. It turned out
to be an amazing weekend about which our family and friends
still rave (and was featured in 'Brides' magazine).
i got married at the brazil building in tilden park. it's a
very popular local wedding destination. we had the
ceremony outside - very beautiful - and the reception
inside. overall great experience - it is really popular so
may not fit your timing needs (books up a year in advance
but they do get cancellations). there are also other
venues in local parks - lake temescal has one (the beach
house i think it's called). good luck! brenda
I would highly recommend Nicol Turner from Little Blue Box
Weddings. She is based in Napa and knows the wine country
very well. Her phone number is 415.358.4861 and her website
is www.littleblueboxweddings.com. She is a planner so she
can help with any aspects of the wedding you need help with.
How broke do you plan on getting? :-D Band: LaVay Smith and
her Red Hot Skillet Lickers (I think they still do weddings!
Venue: Brazilian Room in Tilden Park; Trocadero at Stern
Grove in San Francisco; Sonoma Mission Inn in Sonoma; Mill
Valley Womens Club
September: Best time of year to have a wedding in bay area
...paid it all off
Not sure what your budget is. One of the most memorable
weddings I have attended was one near russian river. I loved
the outdoor setting and friends and family also stayed
either 1-2 nights in the rooms, tent 'cabins', and or
hammocks. We also had use of the kitchen.
I would also check out wedding blogs for budget friendly
ideas and recommendations like the following just to name a
I did mine on a really really low budget with a lot of DIY
(hair/veil piece, budget dress, the menu/including cooking!,
the cake, the flowers, - with some help from my best friend
and friends!) and used our house and for the reception we
went out to a show. If you have more questions for me or
want any other ideas ask moderator for my contact info.
I highly recommend the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park. It's
outdoors and gorgeous and it's much less expensive than most
venues around town, as it's part of the EB Regional Park
District. The only downside is that it books up far in
I officiated weddings for years and have been to the most
interesting and beautiful places all over the bay area. Your
best bet is to check out Here Comes the Guide. You can find
the book or look at their website. There's information on
places all over the area that includes prices and a host of
other details. You'll also find other vendors such as
caterers, florists, photographers, and such. I'm happy to
recommend Anything She Wants as a wedding band and Ken
Medoza of Duende Photo to start you off. Sydney
When I got married 4 years ago, I briefly looked into the
whole vineyard wedding thing. It is way more expensive than
you could ever imagine. We ended up having an outdoor
ceremony and reception at the Piedmont Community Hall. The
area was beautiful, the staff fantastic, and the price was
reasonable (by wedding standards). We also used Glass Onion
catering as our caterer. They, again, were great and came
in at the price point we could afford. I hope that this
My daughter is getting married at Wedgewood Crystal Springs
in Burlingame. It is a mostly all inclusive package, which
means you use all their vendors making it much simpler and
many fewer decisions.There is a beautiful outdoor gazebo and
a nice indoor area down the street for the reception. It was
more reasonable than many of the other places she checked
I got married two years ago at the Brazil Room in Tilden
Park and it's a lovely, albeit popular, wedding venue. We
had a live gypsy jazz band and they were amazing (here's the
can also see videos of the band playing on youtube
(http://www.youtube.com/user/Gypsyjiver). During my wedding
planning days, I found many other reasonably-priced
beautiful outdoors-y venues in the east bay (just google
their names for details): Tilden Park's private picnic sites
Padre and Laurel (they are very affordable, scenic and often
used for casual weddings), the UC Botanical Garden at
Berkeley, the Faculty Club in UC Berkeley, the Berkeley City
Club, the Piedmont Community Hall, and Hacienda de las
Flores in Moraga. There are also many great venues across
the bay, like the Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley (my
favorite along with the Brazil Room), Stern Grove in SF, Old
St. Hilary's Church in Tiburon, Sausalito's Women's Club,
Pedro Point Firehouse in Pacifica, Mountain Terrace in
Woodside, and Presidio event spaces in SF. Most venues in
wine country are ridiculously expensive, but if you can
afford it, try these: Kenwood Farms in Kenwood, B.R. Cohn
Winery in Glen Ellen, Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen, Beltane
Ranch in Glen Ellen, Calistoga Ranch, Hans Fahden in
Calistoga, Healdsburg Country Gardens, Kunde Estate in
Kenwood, Auberge de Soleil in Rutherford, Thomas Fogarty in
Woodside and Nestldown in Los Gatos (not a winery but it's
beautiful and expensive). If you're willing to consider
venues farther away, try Taber Ranch in Capay, Highland
Ranch in Philo, Ocean Song in Occidental, Henry Miller
Library in Big Sur, and Oz Farm in Point Arena. Good luck!
The UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon above the
campus is a lovely place for a wedding with an outdoor
component. The amphitheater in the redwood grove is really
very special. Great place for the ceremony. For a smaller
group, the rose garden is also wonderful. Then people
usually have the reception in the conference center. Highly
recommended. And Margie, the planner there, is great!
Venue for casual wedding reception
We are looking for a potential space or restaurant to use as
a late morning or early afternoon lunch/cocktail/hanging-out
space. Do you know of any good spaces in the east bay that
can accommodate about 50 -70 people for some light
refreshments, finger foods, beverages? Maybe a slideshow?
We're hoping to have a casual gathering before an evening
wedding banquet. anon
A lovely place for a wedding reception in the East Bay is
the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Their Mirov room (and
terrace) can accommodate up to 71 people (103 people for the
whole conference center). The Garden is a gem of the East
Bay with views of SF and the Golden Gate bridge. Website:
Weekend wedding venue
We're getting married early next year and would love to have a weekend
wedding where our family and friends could join us for a few days of
celebration. We're looking for something affordable where we can rent
out the entire place and that can sleep at least 50 people. We also
need a large indoor space (since we'll maybe have rain) for the
reception & ceremony (ideally two different spaces). The large space
would need to fit 125. We're looking for something not more than 2hrs
from the bay area. We'd welcome any suggestions!
You should check out the Forest House Lodge
http://www.foresthouse.com/ We looked at it when we were getting
married and loved it, although we ultimately chose another venue. The
next year our friends were married there and it was absolutely lovely.
It is in Auburn, so it might be a bit past your ideal geographic
circle, but it is worth looking into. Happy planning!
We got married last summer at Saratoga Springs retreat center.
http://saratogasprings.com/ We were looking for similar things. We
rented the place for the weekend and used their recommended caterer.
We had about 100 guests. They have cabins, bunk rooms, and camping.
The prices were very reasonable and they were super easy to work with.
Many people have told me that it is one of their favorite wedding
locations. It may be a little further than you want, but was well
worth the drive for us and our guests.
Garden-type daytime wedding in summer
The daughter's getting married and we're sort of overwhelmed
at the number and variety of venue choices! We know about
'Here Comes the Guide' but I wonder whether anyone has had
personal experience with places in the East Bay/Napa/Sonoma
areas? We're looking for a garden-type daytime wedding
sometime in late spring/early summer 2011. 150-200 guests,
including a good number from the East Coast (so it should be
near enough to lodging.) It would be helpful if we didn't
have to rent tables & chairs. Thanks for your suggestions!
Friends married happily at an Inn in Jenner. Piedmont has a
lovely site. Other friends had a weekend-long wedding at a
hot springs site in Calistoga that was fun and lovely (can't
find site on internet). We were so inspired, we also opted
for a weekend wedding and ended up in Carmel Valley at The
Holly Farm and it was gorgeous. http://www.hollyfarm.com/
Our second choice, for an afternoon wedding, was Deer Park
Villa in Fairfax (redwoods). I don't know about details but
the Roof Garden at the Kaiser Center is beautiful, if you
don't mind the skyscrapers in the background landscape. Ask
photographers & caterers where they recommend. Happy Bride
We loved our wedding at the Brazil Room in Tilden Park. We
used Culinary Excellence as our caterers (from the preferred
list) and they were excellent--fabulous food and took care
of all of the details (plus very organized, responded well
to communications and were a good deal!) They took care of
the chairs/tables/etc. Out of town guests stayed at the
Claremont Hotel and/or the Embassy Suites in Emeryville
(although there are other options). Happy planning! 5
years later we still get complimented on our wedding. :)
Congratulations on your daughter's engagement! I just got
married last week and couldn't resist sharing our venue spot
because it is a hidden little gem of Oakland that hasn't yet
gotten written up in the big wedding guides, although I bet
by next year it will be starting to. On top of the parking
garage of the Oakland Kaiser Center by Lake Merritt is an
absolutely gorgeous garden that is now being rented out for
private events. It is really beautiful, with lots of grass,
trees, flowers, a little pond, and a bridge, perfect for
coming down the aisle. Seriously picturesque...our guests
loved it. It's got an urban feel to it, too, though,
because the backdrop is the buildings of downtown
Oakland--and it's close to hotels in downtown Oakland/Jack
London Square. You will have to rent tables/chairs, etc.,
however--they have you use all their preferred vendors. The
contact person is Andrew Jones with Oakland Venue
Management--his email is email@example.com. Happy New
I had my wedding at Wildwood in Lafayette. It is not easily
accessible but it was well worth it. We had out of town
guests stay in SF and asked friends to give them a ride and
somehow it all worked out.
Enjoy the wedding!
Hello. I couldn't resist replying to your question about
wedding venues in Napa/Sonoma and beyond. One of my
favorite places is The Kendwood Inn, Sonoma. Beautiful,
Italian, rustic, vines, romantic feel.
When I read your posting, I immediately thought of where my
husband and I wed two years ago. It's called Cornerstone
and is located in Sonoma. They have changing landscape
architechure exhibits. We married in front of a pond with
the vines in the background, with cocktail hour on the lawn,
dinner under a large tent, and dancing in the barn. People
really felt it was a very unique spot to get married. We
also liked that we didn't have to use their caterer.
Happily Married @ Cornerstone
A friend of ours got married at the Stella winery which is
located in the Napa/Sonoma area. It was fabulous. The winery
is just the right size, not too big, VERY cute and romantic.
The atmosphere and food were fantastic. Both ceremony and
reception (and dancing) were outside in a candlelit
courtyard. The event was quite unforgettable. I don't have
contact info but I'm sure you can google them.
Unique outdoor wedding site
Does anyone know of a unique wedding site?? We would like a casual
outdoor wedding (ceremony outdoors and reception either out or indoors)
with a very natural feel. We are thinking of spring 2009 for our
wedding date (sometime in late April/early May) on a Saturday and are
having a hard time finding something. Ideally, the site could house the
ceremony, reception, and accommodations for some of the guests. There
will be approximately 150 people invited, and we would like to have a
live band. We were thinking of the reception in a barn, or a rustic
building with interesting architecture or charm in the bay area (Carmel
to Mendocino). It would be great if the site fee is around $5,000.
We were married at the Wildwood Retreat Center and it was magical! We had
many friends comment that it was the best place they had ever been to for a
wedding. The majority of the guests stayed with us at the retreat center, and
the rest lodged in Guerneville. It is unbelievably serene and beatiful on the
grounds of the retreat center. We were married on the hill with an incredible
view of the valley below with oak trees, etc. A perfect NorCal location. And
because it is somewhat out of the way, you can have live music play late, and
pretty much do your wedding however you want to. The staff was great, food
was super, grounds were hypnotizing -- we couldn't have been happier.
Perfect wedding day up on the hill!
You MUST check out the Deer Park Inn in Fairfax. You can have all the things
you mentioned http://www.deerparkvilla.com/weddings.php
accept for the accommodations though there are plenty nearby. Their rates are
reasonable as well (especially for Marin County). It's set amongst gorgeous
redwoods off the beaten path and do small as well as large gatherings. I
almost got married there myself when we were having a wedding with 100+
guests. We ended up eloping...another story!
Good luck in your search.
I spend a lot of time in Carmel and have two places that you should look into.
I have attended weddings at both. I am not sure about prices, you would need
to call or email. They both have websites with photos.
1. Mission Ranch - Great atmosphere, wonderful rooms in little houses for
guests to stay in, view of the ocean. The wedding that I attended the
ceremony was at the Carmel Mission and the reception was at mission ranch.
They are next to each other. I know they do ceremonies at the ranch as well.
2. Holman Ranch - This is in Carmel Valley. Really beautiful surroundings!
The ranch house is a historical hacienda. The ceremony and reception can be
done here. I think that you can rent a couple of rooms for overnight, but not
sure. You'd have to check on that.
Anywhere you have your wedding will be beautiful and unique! Good luck!
There's a great website called herecomestheguide.com that has a vast amount of
information about all sorts of event locations throughout California. It's
tailored to helping couples, companies, etc. find the perfect event location,
free of charge.
One option is Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA. It's owned by CA State Parks and
all of the building were designed by Julia Morgan. It's on the rustic side and
also very charming. It's a short walk to the beach which is nice as well.
You could also check out Clint Eastwood's resort called Mission Ranch in
Carmel. They have a ''party barn'' that sounds a lot like what you're looking
for overall. Definitely pricier than Asilomar, but it's more ''upscale
rustic'' and the service would probably be better overall.
I'm sure there are also some great options in wine country where weather might
be less of a factor for you - check out the website above and you can search
by all sorts of items (# of guests, site type, catering options, etc.).
Go look at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond. The Cathedral Grove (redwood
trees) is very beautiful. The lodge is ''rustic'' but the setting is gorgeous.
We were married over 20 years ago at the Brasil Room in Tilden Park. It was a
spectacular day! We had the service outdoors and the reception indoors. We'd
do it there again!
The Beach House at Lake Temescal in Oakland is lovely, if it is big enough.
Congratulations on your engagement!
We got married at Wildwood Acres in Lafayette, CA. This place specializes in
weddings. They have a lovely little garden, perfect for photos. They have a
gazebo for a band and a cement dance floor. There are many trees of different
varieties around the property. And the wedding site is next to the mountain
studded with redwoods. On one site visit I stood at the ''alter'' and heard
nothing but the wind & a hawk. You'd never know that you were in Lafayette.
This place does not allow off-site catering. In fact, they have a lot of
rules that were odd to me. (Like you can't get into the property more than
1.5 hours before the ceremony for set-up. The baker isn't allowed to store
the cake in their walk-in. You have to pay $10/head extra if you opt out of
their set menu.) I also can't say that they were the most organized group.
On the up-side, they provided the linens & there was no extra charge for
parking. And because the site itself is so beautiful, you can save a!
lot on flowers & decorations. Our wedding was beautiful. The guests had a
great time. And we got multiple compliments on both the food & the venue. It
IS a special place. They have a website that doesn't do the place justice.
Here's a link to our photos. I think that they show the place off in a much
better light. I'd suggest just going out there for a look.
You should check out Pema Osel Ling near Santa Cruz.
It's stunningly beautiful, and is a Tibetan Buddhist center, so inherently
spiritual. There's multiple different accomodation sites, the food is great
and it has both indoor and outdoor ceremony options.
I did a retreat there and thought ''This would be a great place to get
married!'' and recently looked at their website which has a nice slideshow of
We attended a wedding recently at Nestldown (www.nestldown.com). It is located
off Hwy 17 in Los Gatos. It is an absolutely stunning location with gardens,
farmhouse style buildings, outdoor ceremony setting and you can either have
the reception outdoors and indoors.
There is no hotel right at the site, but there are a few options relatively
close by (15-20 min. drive).
Faculty Club on the UC Berkeley campus meets your criteria most closely, but
you might also consider the UC Botanical Garden and the Berkeley City Club.
I know of a wonderful wedding site near Yosemite. It is where I got married!
The property is a beautiful ranch that sits right on the Tuolumne river. There
is a great lawn area where you can have the wedding ceremony (right by the
river) and there is a pool area where the reception can be held. We had a live
band that played on a stage right at the pool. There is also some lodging on
the property and very close by.
You have to see it to really appreciate it. It is a unique and beautiful
wedding site. Contact Deb Bradway at dbradway at juno.com, or call 209-962-5432
to inquire about availability.
Angel Island is an amazing & unique location for a wedding.
In 2003, we got married here: http://www.relaisdusoleil.com/index.html in
Glen Ellen, Sonoma County. It cost then $6000 for the weekend, and slept 12
people (with a wonderful breakfast included each morning). There is a dance
floor by the creek, a hot tub, and old barn, a fire pit, fields with horses,
etc. The guy who owns the place is nice but a little eccentric. Make sure to
get EVERYTHING in writing before hand, and everything will be fine. We went
with one of the caterers he knows and the food was great. Everyone loved our
wedding and we had a blast. No restrictions there on hours, music levels,
etc. It was great.
In the South bay, here's links to two really nice spaces:
Thomas Fogary Winery, Woodside
Those are two that I can think of off hand.
Also, Napa and Sonoma wineries are gorgeous that time of year with the mustard
blooming between the vineyards.
The Berkeley Rose Garden and Tilden Park/Brazilian room are great sites, too.
First Unitarian Church of Berkeley in Kensington. Don't know what their fees
are or if you need to be a member. It's a beautiful church and lovely site.
Westerbeck Ranch in Sonoma meets all your requirements... although we only had
100 at our wedding in 2003 so I am not certain if they can hold 150. Housing
for 40. Their food was excellent and lovely. It's a unique, special place
that only does about 6-8 weddings a year. -Rich
My friends are getting married in April and are looking for a light indoor
space in Santa Cruz county that would hold approximately 100 people. They
are most interested in a place that has a lot of light and windows, and
that they can use their own caterer or be offered a list of caterers to
chose from. Thanks!
You might look into Santa Cruz Yacht Club, or other yacht clubs in the
area. Yacht clubs are often overlooked as event venues, but they are
generally located on the water, have great views, and have commercial
kitchens. I've only been to SCYC once many years ago and can't remember
specifics, but it might be worth a look.
Hey, I got married in Santa Cruz County in April, too! It was April 2000,
mind you, so it was a while back.
We spent one whole day driving by about 25 venues in the county that met
our size and price requirements. Many of them we rejected without even
stepping out of the car. We got the names of the venues through the
vertical file on ''weddings'' at the downtown Santa Cruz Public Library as
well as the phone book.
We ended up getting married at the Corralitos Grange Hall in Watsonville,
and we loved it. It's a rural community center in the middle of apple
orchards (they were all in bloom at the time), with a high ceiling, wood
floors, a small stage, and lots of windows. It was inexpensive, let us
choose any caterer we wished, and for no extra charge let us come in the
day before the wedding to decorate (we did our own flowers).
A higher-end option we rejected due to the cost is the gorgeous First
Congregational Church on High Street in Santa Cruz. Their fellowship hall
has walls of windows with views of the Monterey Bay. Their Web site is
Somewhere I have my notes from our driving tour of the 25 venues, so if
your friend needs more ideas, she could email me. I can recommend a good
caterer, too: Michael's Catering. Their Web site is
Try the coconut grove- has a roof that opens up to the sky- went to a
wedding there a few years ago, and despite the location (above the
boardwalk) it was really nice. Otherwise try the Chaminade.
We just got engaged and are thinking of having an Indian Summer
wedding over the hill (i.e., Lafayette, Orinda, Walnut Creek,
etc.). We would like to have an outdoors ceremony and reception
for 150-200 people. Any thoughts on an enchanting place?
Check out wildwood acres in Lafayette.
Check out the Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga. It's a really
gorgeous spanish style estate owned by the city with nice
outdoor space. The only problem we had was that they are
restrictive re: amplification of sound because of the neighbors,
which may or may not be an issue for you. You can get more info
Check out the Hacienda des Flores ( think that is the name)
which is owned by the City of Moraga. Old mansion with gardens
and plenty of parking. Might be very pretty in the fall.
Probably there are links to it on the city website.
check out the Gardens at Heather Farms in WC
(NOT Heather Farms Park, but adjacent)
Go ''over the hill'' for a wedding? You could, but perhaps you'd like to check
out the beautiful outdoor area at the U.C. Botanical Gardens. It is a fantastic,
reasonably priced georgeous place for a wedding and reception. The staff there
are excellent. The views breathtaking! God Luk and best regards! ---Ellen
I am looking for a good wedding site along the carquinez strait (crockett, port costa,
antioch) or in the sac. delta area. Any ideas? Open to anything!
I had my wedding reception at the Crockett Commty Center. I
liked the rustic beamed ceilings and french doors...although it
is definitely a no frills place. I used round tables candles,
white lights and tulle to create a more romantic feel. The
facility management liked it so much they bought the lights and
tulle from me. It really transformed the ''feel'' in there. It
was reasonably priced and you can get married outside.
You might also want to try Benicia...Yacht Club, Camel Barn, or
Clock Tower. I also attended an amazing wedding at the Ryde
Hotel on the Delta. There is only a (strict) catholic church in
Port Costa, unless you can work something out with the Bull
Valley Inn owners.
The Grand Island Mansion off of Hwy 160 (near Ryde) is a great
place for a wedding if you aren't on a tight budget. It is an
italian-syle villa built in 1917, and is about 45 mins from
Walnut Creek. They have a champagne brunch on Sundays (yummy
italian toast) if you want to check it out.
Try the Crockett Community center (they let you bring in your
own food and drink, great place to have a wedding and reception
on a budget), the Old Homestead in Crockett, and the Ryde Hotel
in Walnut Grove (in the Delta), it looks very unique and art
deco with gorgeous landscapes. I have always wanted to go to a
wedding there. http://www.rydehotel.com/index.html
A friend of mine got married in that general area - I think it's called the Grand
Island Mansion and it's near Rio Vista maybe?? It was 15 years ago so I may
not have it exactly right but it was a beautiful place - I loved it! Definitely
check it out.
Good luck with your wedding plans!
Having grown up in the Sacramento River Valley, I have several
recommendations, in a wide range of styles: The Grand Island
Mansion (http://www.grandislandmansion.com/), Silver Bend
(http://www.kirtlanssilverbend.com/), Bogle Vineyards
(http://www.boglewinery.com), and Wilson Vineyards
Couple of places....Crockett has a nice Community Center that can be rented for
parties. It has wood floors, a large fireplace, a stage, a full kitchen, and a bar area.
There is also a park next to it, in front of the church, that is often used for
weddings, but right now it is torn up with construction and I don't know when it will
Over in Benicia, the Camel Barn Museum has a large space that they rent out. The
surrounding area is rather ugly, but the building itself is very pretty and, as the
business director told me when I rented it for our wedding ''We never get noise
complaints''. For us, that was key, and we had a wonderful wedding and reception
there, with nary a complain about the loud music and dancing.
We got married at the Crockett Community Center, January 2004.
We loved it. It was reasonably priced, prices are very low for
Crockett residents, and higher for non residents (we lived in
Richmond at the time). The Hall has a grand fire place (we were
married on the hearth), a large stage for a band, a full
catering kitchen (you bring the caterer), a bar area, room for
comfortabley 140 dining, 300 dancing/standing. There is a
smaller back room good as a place where children can have a
play area set up. There is a small rather grim back stage area
is pretty minimal as a dressing room (we came dressed and ready
to go.) Crockett provides tables and chairs, you or your
caterer provide linens etc. We did our own set up and clean up,
but they can arrange to do that for extra cost. The grounds are
nice, not spectacular. We had to dress the hall up with hanging
christmas lights, decorations, etc, as it is a bit plain. The
light was rather ''yellow'' looking as I recall. The hall is a
Craftsman style hall built ca 1912 by the C&H sugar company for
the sugar refinery workers. It has a northern california
friendly ''Lanai'' porch after the Hawaiian model, which is where
the bar is. I don't have their number anymore, but they were
GREAT and easy to work with. They are a public hall, so you can
find them on the Crockett City web site.
Looking for a great place for a wedding/reception for 100-130
people for April ,May, or June of 2007 ideally either in
Berkeley, Oakland, Carmel/Pebble Beach, or Napa/Alexander Valley.
Looking fora private home or estate with aestheitcally pleasing
views or outside space that could be rented for a weekend or day.
Not drastically expensive but reasonable. Any ideas would be
greatly apprecaited.- P
We got married at the City Club in San Francisco's financial
district. We knew a friend of a member -- perhaps you do, or
maybe that is no longer a requirement. The original Art Deco
furnishings, embossed tin ceiling, sweeping staircase with
amazing Diego Rivera mural as backdrop, and two floors of space
you can use for ceremony and party made it a unique and lovely
setting for an evening wedding. Go check it out!
City Club fan
Try ''Here Comes the Guide,'' a big directory of Northern California rental venues of
all sorts. They have it at bookstores and at the library. Also, if you can go there to
visit, most libraries have a file folder of their local wedding resources. Don't forget
the phone book, too!
We got married in Berkeley in Tilden Park at the Brazilian Room. It was gorgeous! They
have a long waiting list. Get on it! We got a date sooner rather than later when
someone had a cancellation (lucky us!). Check it out at http://www.brazilianroom.org/
I know a young couple who would love to have an outside wedding
in May 2005. Does anyone know of any beautiful settings? They
would prefer to have the wedding and reception at one location,
and would prefer to make their own food arrangements etc.
Have viewed past recommendations. Thank you.
My husband and I were married less than a year ago at Savannah-
Chanelle Vineyards in Saratoga. The location is truly beautiful
and peacful, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains on one
side and the valley on another. We had both our ceremony and
reception there. There are actually 3 places for the ceremony -
either on a patio which has the mountains as a backdrop, the
lawn, or in a Redwood grove on the property. The reception is
held in a 40'x80' tent, which has sides that can roll down if it
gets windy in the evening as it did for ours in June. They do
have exclusive caterers (in 2003, there were 6), and provide
a ''preferred'' list for other vendors like photographer, cake,
florist, etc. They have a website for more information
(www.savannahchanelle.com) but the pictures don't do the
location justice -- you need to go see it. Generally, we found
it to be cheaper and have more availability going south rather
than up north towards Napa/Sonoma. One other plus of Saratoga
is proximity to the San Jose airport if there are a number of
out of town guests (and a wider range of hotel options). Good
We had a beautiful wedding last August at a ranch in Glen Ellen,
Sonoma County. It's also a Bed and Breakfast with 10-12 beds
and you rent the whole place for a weekend. It's called Relais
du Soleil http://www.relaisdusoleil.com/index.html Our wedding
had 160 people and this ranch can hold up to 300 I believe. We
had everything there (rehearsal dinner the night before,
ceremony and reception). You have to hire an outside caterer
for the reception. We hired Broadway Catering and we loved
them! The food was AWESOME and they were the nicest people and
very professional. Our guests still tell us what a great place
this ranch was. There are three horses there and they liked to
gather near everyone during the reception (there was a fence
between us) and a flock of wild turkeys flew into their field
during the reception at one point. The dance floor is right by
a beautiful little creek.
The man Tim who owns Relais du Soleil is very nice and
accomodating, but he is a little flaky and we had a minor
financial dispute with him. Make sure to get everything about
your wedding in writing (we didn't unfortunately) and you will
My husband and I got married at the Hillview Country Inn in Napa.
The inside of the Inn is a little cheesy, but the outside is just
gorgeous. It was very reasonable in terms of site fees (for Napa)
but the caveat is that you do have to reserve the whole inn for
the weekend of the wedding. We got married in May and it was a
beautiful (and hot) day. You can of course have the wedding at
any time since you have the whole place to yourselves for the
weekend. They don't require a certain caterer either which was
nice (at least they didn't then). I think it accomodates around
125 people outdoors (although our wedding had less than 20). Feel
free to email me if yo have any other questions....
Dunsmier House in Oakland down near the Oakland Zoo. I don't
know their catering arrangements however.
Have you looked at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek,
there are often weddings in their gazebo and rose garden,
and there's a room that seats many (at least 200) nearby.
They're now ''The Gardens at Heather Farm''.
I just recently went through the process of finding such a
wedding site. My fiancee and I (also young - 21) have chosen a
picnic spot in Tilden park called Padre. It's capacity is 150
people and it costs around $300, if I remember correctly. $100
less if they're residents of Contra Costa County. The
reservation is from 10am-6pm. It has ten picnic tables,
barbeques, bathrooms, running water, and a huge grassy area
(where we will have the ceremony). There are also several other
similar sites in Tilden. Anyway, it was one of the nicest places
I found and also one of the cheapest! Call (510) 562-2267 for
If Tahoe isn't too far away- look at the ''tree'' at the bottom of
but book it via ''Jennifer, J. Hannah Weddings''
firstname.lastname@example.org. Jennifer was much more helpful and
professional than the MountainLake folks. Jennifer was very
willing to make arangements ''A la carte.'' You might be able to
book directly too, it's called Tahoe Paradise Park and is a park
at the south west end of South Lake Tahoe in a subdivision.
The Brazillian Room in Tilden Park. I attended one of the nicest
weddings I've ever been to at that location last May. I think it
meets all of your friends' requirements: outdoor ceremony and
indoor reception in same location; must provide your own caterer.
Just my opinion, but it was lovely at that time of year.
I got married at the Palace of the Legion of Honor museum in May
of 2001. It was a spectacular setting. We got married on the
front lawn and the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands
was our backdrop. The reception was in the museum cafe which
has a nice outdoor patio which we used for cocktails. The
caterer they provided was outstanding, however, they do allow
you to bring your own caterer if desired. Friends and family
still comment to me how memorable the setting was!
My wedding was at the UC Faculty Club and I cannot recommend it
highly enough. (I have also attended many other weddings there,
several of them much more recent than mine, and have never heard
of anyone having a bad experience with it.) Although you cannot
bring in your own food (except for the cake), the Club's
catering is excellent, reasonably priced, and very flexible.
(One friend supplied them with family recipes for Indian food,
which they agreed to prepare for the bride's family to sample
before deciding whether to commit to having the reception there.)
It's typical to have the ceremony in the sunny, surrounded-by-
large-trees Glade just outside the Club with the reception in
the Great Hall indoors, but the party generally also takes place
partly on the wonderful wooden decks and lawn area. There is
also a lovely little courtyard garden accessible from the hall.
The place has a beautiful ''outdoorsy'' feel even when you're
inside. And if your friends' wedding will be small, they could
opt to use (instead of the Great Hall) the secluded rear patio,
in conjunction with one or more of the smaller indoor meeting
We got married at the Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross. Our
wedding was in October and the fall colors were gorgeous, but
I'm sure that in May the gardens would be in full bloom and
equally lovely. The wedding was outdoors under a large,
spreading oak tree, and we also dined al fresco on a patio-type
area. There is a good-sized hall available (with a professional
kitchen) which we used for dancing, and was also our rain back-
up (fortunately we had great weather!). I think they have
a ''preferred caterer'' list but I don't remember for sure. They
are on the web at www.maagc.org. I would definitely suggest to
your friends that they check it out. Another place we looked at
was Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga - much larger, lovely
grounds, but we went with MAGC in the end. Good luck to your
We got married and had our reception at the Outdoor Art
Club in Mill Valley. You can use any caterer and you get the
place all day.
When we were looking for a place to have our wedding, we were very tempted
by a little place in Healdsburg--I can't remember the exact name, but it might
have been Healdsburg Gardens or The Gardens at Healdsburg? They had a
beautiful spreading oak tree on top of a hill overlooking the vineyards, perfect
for the ceremony, and a wonderful old barn that could be just lovely for
dancing. Less expensive, and less formal (and with no bad-weather options)
would be the picnic area at Heart's Desire Beach in Point Reyes. You can
reserve part of it for a wedding. (We didn't do either of these, but they both
seemed like good options). Oh! also Tilden Park--the Brazilian Room, or I think
also the Botanical Gardens can be reserved for weddings.
I got married last summer and used a great website for my prelimary research:
I decided on the Mission Blue Center in Brisbane (just south of SF) because it's a
beautiful facility (only a few years old), and has a gorgeous dance floor, as well as a
generously sized social area. We also chose it because we could have the ceremony
and reception in one location, with the ceremony outside. (We decorated the
pergola and set up a tent and chairs for the guests.) The only downside to the
location is its semi-remoteness. It's at the top of this hill in a new development.
Providing a map to the guests and having signs was definitely helpful. We chose a
caterer from SF, an Indian restaurant who brought the food to the site, and we hired
servers for the evening to set-up, serve, and breakdown. (Mission Blue only
provides tables and chairs.) If you like, e-mail me and I can give you more details
and/or pictures from my wedding so that you can get a better picture of what the
facility has to offer.
May is a wonderful time for outside weddings!
My cousin was married outside at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek
last October. The weather was beautiful and the roses were
still in bloom in the gardens. There is an outdoor gazebo for
the ceremony and they have a reception hall - you make the
Also, you can try the website: www.herecomestheguide.com
you can input all the requirements you have for the wedding site
(size, city, views, amenities, etc) and it will generate a list
of potential places that match your criteria. This is what I
used to find the perfect place for my wedding almost 2 years ago!
Happily married & expecting
Try Heather Farm in Walnut Creek. It may be easier to reserve
for a Sunday than for a Saturday. We were able to decorate the
hall as we wanted and use the caterers we wanted and have a great
May wedding under the rose strewn gazebo. The guests were able
to relax on the large deck outside the hall adn in the garden.
We were there 11 yrs ago.
My husband & I were married at the Deer Park Villa, in Fairfax
(Marin County). The wedding was in September, and we didn't
have to worry about the fog. We rented the back half of the
facility which included a lovely setting outside in a redwood
grove, and an inside ''dance'' area. Many outdoor venues have
restrictions on live music and/or DJ's. We had the band
indoors. We were able to bring in some ethnic food, and our own
wine & beer. They had a cork fee per bottle and a fee for the
kegs, but the cost was reasonable. We had the main catering
thru Deer Park Villa, but they had a wide range of food and
dining choices. The cost $1200 (this was 8 yrs ago)included the
tables, chairs, linens, silverware, and set up. Some places you
have to pay to have those items brought in.
I seem to have missed your original post, but I would like to
make a comment regarding outdoor weddings in May. Nearly four
years ago, my now husband & I planned a beautiful wedding at
Chappelet Vineyards in Napa. The ceremony was our dream - the
top of a hill overlooking a body of water (Lake Hennessey).
Wouldn't you know it - it poured that day (first week of May)!
Fortunately, we had a back up plan. We had put a very large
clear tent in the field where dinner and dancing were to occur
after the ceremony. Tables and chairs were pushed aside and our
ceremony was in this giant clear tent. It was really lovely and
we have no regrets.
If you plan an outdoor wedding, have a plan for
rain, just in case. You never know!
Without sounding immodest, we had a beautiful wedding at the Brazilian Room in
Tilden Park in Berkeley. It was spectacularly beautiful there. We held our ceremony
outside and the reception inside. All catering was handled through the Brazilian
Room (they have a list) and everything was lovely. I don't know how many people
you are expecting, but we had 100 in attendance and that was perfect. Check out
the following link from the online version of the great book ''Here Comes the Guide'':
http://www.herecomestheguide.com/sites/detail.htm?site_id=642. By the way, we
got on the waiting list (it's a year long), but don't dismay: we got in on a
cancellation. Do let them know that would like to be called if there is a cancellation.
We had just put down a non-refundable deposit at the Berkeley Faculty Club at UCB
literally the day before we got a call from the Brazilian Room. We went with the
Brazilian Room in a heartbeat and forfeited the deposit at Faculty Club because the
former was our first choice. Here is another link to check out: http://www.brazilianroom.org/. Best of luck!
We're looking for a spot to have wedding
outdoors, ideally with a view. Our budget is small, so
something inexpensive and low-key is best. We're looking
into Slide Ranch in Marin and some spots in Tilden Park.
I'm just wondering if anyone knows of any special secret
spots. We're just in the beginning stages of planning, so
we don't have any set number of guests yet. Feel free to
email me directly if you want keep your spot more secret.
Thanks so much!
It's pretty comprehensive and I've found it quite useful for
planning corporate events as well. You refine your search by a
number of criteria and get enough info to decide to do a site
visit or not.
i don't personally know of any special spots, but check
out ''here comes the guide'' online, THE resource for event
locations in the bay area (actually, i think all of california)
We got married in 1997 and had our reception at the Rockafeller
Lodge in San Pablo. It is such a beautiful place. It has indoor
and outdoor areas, lots of little rooms. We were concerned
that the little rooms would break up the party, but instead it
made it more cozy. It is really like getting married in a
beautifully decorated house. It really isn't very expensive and
can hold a lot of people (I think we had ~250). You have to
purchase the food from them, but you can get your own drinks and
they will serve them. We really LOVED the place and we did a lot
of searching and took over 1 year to plan. There isn't a view,
but I will always remember how beautiful the dance floor was when
the sun set that evening...
In the spring of 2001 Cal Neighbors, a publication of the
University's Office of Community Relations, ran an article on
places to get married on the Cal campus. There are a number of
lovely outdoor venues on campus that are available to the
public. The article is called Tying the Knot. After publication
the UC Botanical Gardens called up and pointed out we had
forgotten them. You can find information about weddings at the
garden in the Fall 2001 issue. To read Cal Neighbors go to
I am looking for a location for a small, intimate wedding (25
close friends and family members) in mid-July, 2003. I am hoping
to rent a nice home in the San Francisco bay area for two days,
maybe for the weekend. I have had no luck so far. Can you please
Any leads would be very much appreciated.
Look at www.vrbo.com they have a number of SF homes for rent
one of them might work for you. If you want to get married in
an old historic home but don't want to stay overnight look at
Here Comes The Guide as they have a couple of places that might
work for you- there's one on Sutter street that's a nice
setting, not too expensive- no parking though. Good luck and
Also recommended: Stinson Beach House
We are a little overwhelmed with our wedding planning and hope
to get some help with this posting. We are looking for a place
that will accommodate about 100-150 guests. Ideally the wedding
package would include everything (ceremonie, reception,catering,
flowers, music) I would be great if the place had both inside
and outside areas. I have checked the UCParents website but did
not find any information on places that offer wedding packages.
Thanks a lot!
Go to www.herecomestheguide.com, you can search Bay Area wedding
locations by theme, number of guests, services offered,
indoor/outdoor, etc. You can also search for Bay Area caterers,
photographers, etc. separately. They used to publish a book
that you could buy but now you can get all the information for
free on their website. it should really help in your wedding
Congratulations on you engagement.
Check out the ''Here Comes the Guide'' website, which is really
helpful for finding a location for weddings and other events - you
select the location (i.e. East Bay), and input the number of
guests and whether you want catering (you can also narrow it down
by what kind of a place it is and whether it has a view).
Congrats, and welcome to the parallel bridal universe. Obviously
you will need to check out the palces and taste all the food,
but the Mira Vista Golf and Country club has a beautiful place.
More useful to you would be ''Here Comes the Guide'' -- a local
listing of places, caterers etc... you can probably get it from
the library or from someone who was recently married.
I believe that you can get married in the chapel at Mills
College, hold your reception on the campus, and even have
in-house catering. The campus is pretty and tranquil. For more
information, try contacting Mills staff through:
Have you checked
www.herecomestheguide.com. It is quite helpful. We found our
site through it (Healdsburg Country Garderns in Healdsburg,
Sonoma County). You have to arrange for your own caterer, but
the caterer can often take care of everything else for you,
including a ''day of'' wedding coordinator. We used Alex's
Catering based in Vallejo: 300 Virginia Street VAllejo, CA T:
707-643-1711 F: 707-643-5907. They are reasonable and
Good luck and congratulations!
I don't know what your price range is but I would like to
suggest Hornblower yachts. We got married on the Empress yacht
(out of the Berkeley Marina/Raddisson dock). It was a fabulous
wedding. The best thing about it was I only had to make a call
to one person, the Hornblower wedding coordinater and she took
care of everything from flowers, music, cake, photographer,etc.
You choose the package and pick the menu from a range of options
(buffet or sit down, brunch, lunch or dinner, appetizers, beer,
wine or cocktails?)and the price includes 3 hours of sailing on
the bay. We had about 130 guests at our wedding, some who have
never even been on the bay on a boat. Every one says it was
great. I was very impressed with the overall service of
Hornblower. They accomadated all of requests, including classy
handling of my 2 mother-in-laws in wheelchairs. We were married
dockside at the Radisson back garden by our personal priest, but
the Captain can perform the wedding on the boat. Our price (4.5
years ago)averaged $72.00 per guest for everything (cruise + an
extra hour, elegant and delicous 3 course sit-down lunch, wine,
beer and champgne, cake, photographer, DJ and favors plus
ceremony dockside, which was extra charged by the hotel). I was
so thankful for how easy they made the planning that I truly
feel it was the greastest day of my life and I enjoyed it
entirely and had literally no stress! Give them a call to just
check out their options.
We were married on Faculty Glade and had our reception at the
Fauculty Club four years ago.We were pleased with
everything. We had 150 guests and the food was good. We hired a
DJ and did our own flowers. A wedding coordinator is available
and we found her to be very helpful. The rates (then) were very
Good luck on finding a great place for your wedding. I just
wanted to weigh in with a place that I don't recommend choosing.
My husband and I were married in the Mather Redwood Grove of the
UC Botanical Garden. While the setting is spectacularly lovely,
the staff of the Garden were more problematic. They lost our
reservation, were slow to respond to inquiries, and were
generally unhelpful. Alas that it should be so.
We got married at the Nimitz Mansion on Yerba Buena Island. It
was quite a deal 4 years ago ($500). There is also a chapel on
Treasure Island, but we performed the ceremony at the Mansion.
* historical setting, conveniently located
* Provides perfect opportunity to use bridge metaphors
* 2 cozy fireplaces
* Upstairs available with showers and his and hers wings. Ideal
place to get ready (hire a masseuse).
* Dont have to use their caterers (actually, they dont have
* Not good for sit down dinners
* you can hear the freeway when outside
* Guests other than relatives had to stand during ceremony (I'd
use the chapel if I had to do it over again)
Contact Treasure Island (City of SF) for more in
My husband and I are thinking of renewing our wedding vows this
March on our tenth year anniversary. At first we thought about
having a huge celebration and inviting all our friends and family
for this special event. But since we're focusing on expanding our
family and reducing our debt, we've decided to go with a more
personal family and really close friends get together.
Can anyone recommend a nice place that we can host a dinner and
small celebration? We're still undecided as to whether or not we
want to have a minister or a justice of the court perform the
ceremony. Anyone's suggestion on either would help.
We're just interested in having something nice and personal that
we can share with our family, since it was just the two of us the
day we got married.
There is a beautiful stone building at Temescal park on the
lake that has a room you can rent for functions.
I am looking for recommendations on places here in the bay area that handle
small wedding party.
We plan to marry April or May and would like to have about 60 guest.
Basically we are looking for
a place that will take care of everything from the ceremony to a sit down
dinner or buffett.
I highly recommend the book, 'Here Comes the Guide (for Northern
Cal).' It is a
wedding planning guide that reviewed various wedding venues, caterers,
musicians, florists, absolutely everything you need to plan a wedding!
The publisher is very demanding and literally checks EVERY reference the
businesses provide. So, you are guaranteed the vendor is reputable,
honest, and the information is accurate. The venue listings provide
addresses, phone numbers, contact names, capacity, cost, location, and
caterer info (i.e., whether you must use the on site or prefered catering
co.) . I used it to plan my wedding a few years ago. I would also use it
for any party planning needs I'll have in the future. By the way, I
donated my 1997 edition to the Oakland Public Library, so I know they have
that year. They may have the 1998 or 1999 edition as well. The new
editions come out in the spring.
Also, as a plug for a caterer, I just used Rick and Ann's pantry
for an office party and I think they are fabulous! The event planners,
Kimberly and Andrea, were wonderful and extraordinarily helpful. They
worked with my miniscule budget and strict dietary restrictions and helped
me develope a wonderful menu!
Hope this helps. By the way, I LOVE party planning, so if you
want some tips, send me email (email@example.com)
I have just the place for your small wedding party. We were married
in Point Richmond (right next to Richmond) at a place called Linsley
Hall. Take the Canal St. exit off 580--right before the San Rafael
Bridge. It is an old chapel that is only used for weddings. The chapel
is quaint--windows and wood etc... There is a full basement and full
kitchen for a dinner. Or you could do what we did and use the
garden/gazebo outside for an outdoor meal. Our wedding included 75
guests and this place was perfect.
We had our wedding at 1409 Sutter in San Francisco, It's an old Victorian
ideally suited for
small - medium sized weddings (we managed to squeeze in over 100 but some
people were standing
during the ceremony) The event planner that we worked with was absolutely
wonderful -- unforunately
her name is escaping me, but i can look it up if you like. The chef was
great too, he helped us
come up with a simple menu that would appeal to our very diverse group
(little kids, vegetarians,
meat and potatoes folk) and that was within our budget. The decor is
lovely, period furniture,
lots of stained glass so minimal decorating is required. I don't think
there's anywhere else
we could have put together a wedding in six weeks and still have people
talking about how lovely
it was two years later. Little bonuses that made it extra nice: The event
was on the ground floor,
but they had a room set up w/snacks for me and my bridesmaid upstairs to
wait/dress/wait in until
the ceremony and where my husband and I could escape to for a few moments
alone together from time
to time when the whole thing got to be overwhelming. You can make your
entrance down the grand oak
staircase, FACING your guests. There's an elevator, which makes it easy for
to come and go without wading through the guests.I could go on and on, but
you should probably just
check out their website: http://www.1409suttermansion.com/
In 1997 we were married at the BR Cohn winery in the town of Glen Ellen, up
in Sonoma. A beautiful spot--ceremony under a gigantic old live oak with
the vineyards beyond, and dinner and dancing alfresco in the olive grove up
by the old home following the ceremony.
Get the book "Here Comes the Guide"--there are a plethora of spaces like BR
Cohn all over the Bay Area, and the book lists most of them, and gives all
kinds of useful information that allows you to compare sites before
choosing to visit.
Be warned, however, that many desirable places will already be booked for
late spring and beyond. We started looking at sites in early January and
found that the only date available at BR Cohn was September 13, a date some
people may have considered unlucky! Best of luck to your sister.
Has anyone attended a wedding at the lake merritt hotel? I
would be interested in hearing about your experience,
the food, and the service. Any feedback much appreciated!
I attended a wedding reception there last November. I thought that it was a
beautiful place! The
reception was about 7 so you looked out over the lake with the necklace of
lights. Incredible. The
food was really good. We had filet mignon for the meat and I think the
stuffed portabella mushroom
was the vegetarian. The meat was fantastic. Vegetables were well cooked and
not overdone. The
appetizers were really good as well. The service was good and they were
really friendly. I highly
recommend it. Oh the rooms are nice. They are not huge.
e were married at the Lake Merritt Hotel last April and I would highly
recommend the experience.
We had looked at many many places, and the LMH had everything we were
looking for - beautiful views,
great food, good selection of wines, very flexible in our wedding requests,
and the rooms are great!
We ended up customizing the reception (adding a sherry toast, having a
British wedding cake that
needed to be boxed, and being really specific with our food needs), and
they were very accommodating.
We have such great memories of our wedding, and have heard compliments from
alot of the guests about
the ''perfect'' setting.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.
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