San Rafael Wedding Venue
200 North San Pedro Road
San Rafael, California 94903
When this long-anticipated architectural gem opened in 1991, it was an immediate hit with Marin County residents. It continues to be one of the county’s main social hubs, with a constant stream of people attending exercise classes, lectures, dances, theatrical productions and parties. It’s also one of Marin’s favorite places to hold a wedding, and just one look at this facility’s design tells you why.
Set at the base of a high forested ridge, this three-story Craftsman-style building is a masterpiece of exquisite proportions and detailing—including one of the Bay Area’s most beautiful interior staircases.
Its façade, screened by maple trees, is faced with brick on the bottom and finished with a smooth, soft beige stucco on the top. Rust-red window sashes and trim complete the building’s subdued exterior palette. Inside, past the reception area, are three contiguous spaces that form the nucleus of the JCC’s wedding venue: the Hoytt Theater, an enclosed atrium that opens to a garden courtyard and the impressive Main Hall that connects them.
The Theater, with its broad stage, extensive seating area and professional sound and lighting equipment, is a flexible space suitable for ceremonies, receptions and dinners. Its sconces and light fixtures, which resemble white pyramids stacked upside down upon one another, give it an Art Deco look. For event coordinators this place is like catnip: one whiff of its ample size and high-level amenities, and their imaginations start buzzing with ideas. The venue is a classy blank slate that lends itself to almost any theme, and dresses up beautifully for a wedding.
Just outside the Theater, the terracotta-paved Main Hall has a peaked 30-foot ceiling of white tiles, supported by light-colored wood trusses. A row of glass doors along one wall leads into the spacious Kurland Center, which can be used as one large room, or can be closed off with moveable walls to create three separate spaces. The central atrium, filled with natural light, opens onto the intimate garden courtyard.
Then there’s the JCC’s most compelling interior feature: the Elaine Rosenberg Stairway. This grand staircase has to be one of the Bay Area’s loveliest. It curves out in wide welcome at the bottom, then narrows and climbs, first to a spacious mezzanine landing and then up to the facility’s lofty top floor. The stairway ascends so steeply (a clever visual trick) that you get the impression it’s aspiring to reach Heaven itself. Many brides can’t resist descending this remarkable flight of steps during their pre- or post-ceremonial entrances.
Management here is fond of saying, “This isn’t your grandmother’s JCC,” and they’re right. Grandma never had access to such an architecturally satisfying, state-of-the-art facility. And her JCC probably didn’t have this community center’s reputation for hospitality, either. While the Osher Marin JCC is set up to accommodate pre-wedding minyans and other traditional Jewish activities, it is a famously “come one, come all” place. It doesn’t matter who you are; when you’re here, you are somebody.
CEREMONY CAPACITY: The Hoytt Theater holds up to 500 seated guests; outdoors, the courtyard holds up to 200 seated guests.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: The Hoytt Theater holds up to 300 seated or 650 standing guests; outdoors, the courtyard holds up to 200 seated or 250 standing guests. The Kurland Center holds up to 185 seated or 200 standing guests.
MEETING CAPACITY: The Hoytt Theater holds up to 500 guests; the Kurland Center accommodates up to 200 guests. Meetings and conferences for nonprofit organizations only.
A $750 deposit is required to reserve your date. The balance is due 1 month prior to the event. Rental fees range $450–4,500 depending on space rented.
Special Events, Parties
Kitchen Facilities: fully equipped, no catering equipment
Tables & Chairs: provided
Linens, Silver, etc.: BYO or through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: yes
Bride’s Dressing Area: yes
Meeting Equipment: yes
Parking: large lot
Accommodations: no guest rooms
Telephone: pay phone
Outdoor Night Lighting: yes
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: no
Cleanup: renter or caterer
View: garden patio
Other: internet access
Banquet Hall/Events Facility
Community Center/Civic Bldg
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: extra liability required
Year-round, daily, 4pm–midnight on weekends, 6pm–midnight on weekdays.