Pssst…It starts with a cool and classy location!
Celebrate amid the exotic lure of the Orient at the Asian Art Museum, a historic Beaux-Arts structure that rivals the works within for artistic appeal. The Lobby’s opulent Grand Staircase, with three flights of travertine marble steps, is an irresistible spot for a ceremony. Guests look on from the nearby Loggia, an airy arcade with a decorative barrel-vaulted ceiling and glass cases of Asian ceramics. In the museum’s galleries, a world-class collection from the Far East beckons guests to explore. Receptions come alive in the palatial ambiance of Samsung Hall, featuring enormous glassed-in arches crisscrossed with intricate metalwork. If you prefer the clean lines of a contemporary milieu, the museum’s thoroughly modern North and South Courts oblige, with angular skylit ceilings that rise nearly three stories high. No matter where you stage your fête, you’ll be surrounded by so much beauty and style that little else is needed for a dazzling affair.
America’s romance with the automobile has defined our culture since the beginning of the 20th century; perhaps nowhere else are the auto’s aesthetics so gorgeously celebrated than at the Blackhawk Museum, a striking glass, granite and stainless steel facility that showcases “the Art of the Car” in sumptuous surroundings. This “Auto Louvre” has a distinguished collection of vintage one-of-a-kind vehicles and rare classics, including cars once owned by Hollywood stars. Stage your reception in one of Blackhawk’s galleries or on its mezzanines or terraces, and watch your guests admire the stunning silhouettes of antique luxury sedans…the graceful curve of a fender…the gleam of polished chrome and shiny brass trim. Blackhawk goes one step further in vehicular appreciation by devoting an entire gallery to cars depicted in fine art. Whether you’re an auto enthusiast, an aficionado of Americana, or just looking for a unique venue, the Blackhawk Museum makes a scintillating showroom for any high-powered event.
Designed by award-winning architects, the new incarnation of the de Young Museum opened in 2005 to enthusiastic acclaim. Light seems to dance off the soaring building’s textured copper façade, an awe-inspiring first impression that prepares you for the world-class collections inside. A myriad of spectacular event spaces provide an immersive art experience. Expansive Wilsey Court enjoys high ceilings, a brick floor and a giant black & white photographic mural. Another option is the Piazzoni Murals Room, where historic Italian landscape paintings surround your celebration like gorgeous wallpaper. Dramatic cocktail receptions are held at the top of Hamon Tower, where floor-to-ceiling windows frame a view of Golden Gate Park against a glorious bay and city panorama. Even outdoor events have cultural flair: tent-friendly Osher Terrace overlooks the scenic sculpture garden. Any gathering within the de Young’s rich, stimulating environment takes on an extra dimension.
Set among acres of parks and gardens, the Los Altos History Museum delights both the eye and spirit. A red-bricked courtyard is tucked between the folksy, wood-framed museum building and the quaint façade of the landmark History House next door. A redwood pergola at one end of the courtyard is a lovely spot for a garden ceremony. When it’s reception time, the tall glass doors of the museum’s gallery slide right open to admit guests. Here, blond wood floors and visiting artworks (including collections from notable institutions like the Smithsonian) lend an air of distinction. The Museum’s upper floors house interactive displays, artifacts and vintage clothing from Los Altos’ early days. For additional entertainment, arrange a guided tour of the neighboring History House, which replicates in amazing detail the homespun lifestyle of a 1930s farm family. A gracious window to a genteel past, this museum is an inspired place to begin your future.