Imagine saying "I Do" beneath a stunning Chihuly glass chandelier…posing for photos with a classic Jaguar convertible…savoring champagne and caviar surrounded by avant-garde sculpture or 3,000-year-old Chinese ceramics…
Any of these out-of-the-ordinary scenarios can become your reality if you wed at one of the Bay Area's acclaimed art galleries or museums. No longer the sole province of school field trips, tourists, or snobby scenesters, galleries and museums have found a fresh calling as novel places to throw a party.
Read on for a guided tour of five of our favorite artsy locations:
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.
A stunning monument to the City's cultural mastery, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has been hailed for its cutting-edge Modernist architecture. It's also a boldly sophisticated setting for lavish affairs, particularly the spacious Atrium. Black-and-gray marble floors and columns form an engaging contrast to honey-colored birch walls, and a skylit roof showers the guests with a natural glow. Brides look ultra-glamorous poised on the open spiral staircase that winds its way up five floors to an aerial bridge. In the adjoining Schwab Room, dreamy specialty illumination gives receptions a romantic patina. Take your gala to the next level—literally—by reserving one of SFMOMA's upper galleries. The traditional social hour takes on an exciting originality when guests circulate among the vibrant brushstrokes of Pollock, the provocative interpretations of Duchamp, or Kahlo's searing imagery. Both versatile and remarkable, SFMOMA helps make your celebration as unforgettable as the surroundings.
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