San Francisco Wedding Venue
45 Moraga Avenue, The Presidio
San Francisco, California 94129
For soldiers stationed at the Presidio during its early years as a military garrison, this little white church was known as the “Ivy-Covered Chapel” for the abundance of vines on its walls. The simple wooden building, with its gabled roof and steeple, was built in 1864 to serve as a place of worship for a small group of military officers and their families. These days, both the ivy and the soldiers are gone, but the Chapel of Our Lady has endured and is now a nondenominational church for ceremonies of all religions.
Although the Presidio is only minutes from downtown San Francisco, it’s completely removed from the “urban-ness” of The City, and it encompasses some of the most beautiful real estate in Northern California. In fact, this former military base is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
To get to the church, we followed Presidio Boulevard from the Marina, but it doesn’t matter which road you take through the Presidio—it’s a lovely drive from every direction. Our route curved through woods and past old officers’ houses and military buildings, all neatly maintained and painted off-white with red roofs. The Chapel of Our Lady is set back from the sidewalk, surrounded by a grove of eucalyptus trees and shrubs. Standing on the front steps, you can see snippets of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge through the trees.
From the outside, the little chapel is still reminiscent of an old country church, but renovations have widened its original footprint and added decidedly modern elements. The chapel has been expanded with side aisles, a baptistery, a dressing room, a choir room, and a sanctuary.
Standing in the chapel on a sunny day, you notice right away how warm and bright it is. The main room is filled with light, flowing in through two walls of windows, constructed entirely of clear and multicolored glass block panels. The altar stands in front of a huge floor-to-ceiling window, which lets in even more light. Contemporary-styled wooden pews flank the center aisle, and wooden beams support the vaulted ceiling. Small iron chandeliers and wall sconces provide ambient lighting for ceremonies in the evening or on a misty day.
When the weather is glorious, consider extending the celebration onto the chapel grounds. Guests can gather in the front courtyard to congratulate the happy couple as they emerge from the chapel, then walk over to the side courtyard for champagne and light hors d’oeuvres. For a festive touch, add a few umbrella-shaded tables, clad with linens and flowers.
Many couples who get married in the Chapel of Our Lady make life easy on themselves by having their reception at the Presidio Officers’ Club, Golden Gate Club, Observation Post or the Log Cabin which are popular for all types of celebrations.
After the wedding, consider staying the weekend at the new Inn at the Presidio. Formerly the bachelor officers’ quarters, this historic 1903 Georgian Revival-style building has been remodeled into an elegant lodge. It features an inviting front porch with rocking chairs, a dining room, and an outdoor deck with a fire pit. From here you can enjoy everything the Presidio has to offer, including miles of hiking trails, wild open spaces and public and cultural events.
CEREMONY CAPACITY: The Chapel holds 200 seated guests for ceremonies or 100 seated guests in the Courtyard.
RECEPTION CAPACITY: The Chapel Courtyard holds 200 standing for a cocktail reception.
MEETING CAPACITY: The Chapel can accommodate 200 seated.
A nonrefundable $350 booking fee is required to secure your date and will be applied to the total rental fee. 50% of the rental fee is due with the signed permit. The balance of the event rental fee, insurance fee and security deposit are due 90 days prior to the event date. The rental fee for ceremonies is $1,200. Rehearsals are $150/hr. A reception fee will apply for use of the garden for events with food and beverages.
Catering: in-house or BYO, licensed and insured
Kitchen Facilities: no
Tables & Chairs: BYO or through caterer
Linens, Silver, etc.: BYO or through caterer
Restrooms: not wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: no
Bride’s Dressing Area: yes
Meeting Equipment: some provided
Parking: large lot nearby, restrictons may apply
Accommodations: Inn at the Presidio
Telephone: no phone
Outdoor Night Lighting: access only
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: no
Cleanup: caterer or renter
View: courtyard and landscaped grounds
Alcohol: BYO, licensed and insured server
Smoking: outside only
Music: amplified OK until 7pm with volume restrictions
Wheelchair Access: no
Insurance: available, $150 fee
Other: no glitter, confetti, birdseed, rice or balloon releases; some decoration restrictions
Not Wheelchair Accessible
Year-round, daily, 10am–1pm or 3pm–6pm. Not available on national holidays, Christmas Eve or Day, New Year’s Eve or Day, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July.