By this point in time, we had already accepted that nothing was going to look as classically Art Deco as the SF City Club, so our focus had shifted on finding a pretty space that would lend itself to that type of decor, typography, etc... and would work for what we had in mind. San Jose would be a great option since the San Francisco and San Jose airports are nearby, and downtown San Jose would have worked out perfectly because of all of the hotels in the area for our out of town guests! Here's an overview of what we found.
The first stop of the day was the Bay Club in Santa Clara. The informational packet they sent us before the meeting was promising, price-wise, and they venue looked neutral enough. Upon arrival, however, John and I pretty quickly ascertained this was not going to work for our vision. The building looked very late 70's/ early 80's in a clay tile and unfinished wood sort of way. I was reminded of Epcot- always a good association, but not what we were going for! The inside of the building had a little stream with a lot of vegetation around it going down the center, with wooden walkways on either side.
|Ceremony Area; they put up dividers so you can't see the opposite wall/ walkway|
This location looked like it would fit with our budget as well. The ceremony and reception would have taken place on their patio, which they flip during cocktail hour which is held in the hotel lounge. John liked this option, but I wasn't as crazy about it; the patio was fine, but nothing about it really spoke to me personally, and I didn't like the idea of having such a small amount of space. The lounge for cocktail hour would still be open to the public, so between that and using the same area for the ceremony and reception, I just didn't think the event would have a nice flow. The lounge and exterior had a great period feel, but the patio looked a bit Mediterranean.
|Ceremony/ Reception space|
After the Hotel De Anza, we wandered downtown San Joseand went into the Hilton, which was much too modern for our event; it was decorated in Chihuly style glass and bold primary colors.
After that, it was time for food. We passed on the provocative pho.
|Enlarge for double-entendre that is more like a single-entendre|
Next, we went into the Fairmont, which was lovely but lacked personality. If we had just been hosting a reception, it may have been a contender, but they wanted to put is in one meeting room for the ceremony, another for cocktail hour, and a third for the reception, and all three looked nearly identical. The man who helped us here was a bit condescending, too. We were walk-ins, so it was really nice of him to accomodate us, but I was really turned off by the way he spoke to me.
From there, we walked over to the Sainte-Claire, another historical hotel.
|The Sainte Claire|
|Cocktail Hour Hallway|
|Ballroom for the reception|
|Lounge off the lobby|
After that, we drove over to Santana Row in San Jose to see the Hotel Valencia.
Their pricing and menus both looked great, so we decided to check it out. It was very modern and sleek with an Asian aesthetic. It kind of felt like a club inside... It was incredibly dark. Awkwardly so. It was too dark for me to take any interior pictures.
|Outdoor courtyard. There's a terrace up here somewhere that is used as a ceremony space!|
It was a long day, but we got a lot of great information and saw some really inspiring spaces! I think this was the first day where we were able to let go of the SF City Club, and we also got some neat ideas about how a less specific venue could work with our vision. I'll show you guys the rest of the places we toured soon!