Montalvo Arts Center & Villa | San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photographer

Last week I had the opportunity to tour the breathtaking Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga. You'll find the center at the end of a winding road lined by beautiful homes and towering oak trees. One of the more exclusive and high end venues in Silicon Valley, Montalvo Arts Center exudes luxury and historic charm reminiscent of a true Italian villa. The villa itself is decorated with 100+ year old wisteria that comes to life during the spring bloom. Year round the landscape remains lush and green with shade trees and sprawling lawns. Throughout the villa you will find hand carved doors, a light drenched spiral staircase, floor to ceiling windows,  beamed ceilings, beautiful wood casings, fountains, and individual rooms filled with charm and character. For a wedding each room and space can be given a unique purpose, from cocktail hour in the courtyard to cake cutting under an antique chandelier.

The venue offers a choice of ceremony locations. You can either opt to have your ceremony in the Oval Garden (best for it's proximity to the cocktail and reception spaces) or over in the Love Garden. The Love Garden will require a bit of a walk but the wow factor is huge with a long path leading directly to the alter. Either space would be wonderful but from a photography perspective I have to say that I'm smitten by the idea of a Love Garden ceremony. Umbrellas are provided to create shade for your guests.

Receptions are held almost exclusively outdoors on the front steps and outdoor spaces of the villa with views across the main lawn down towards the Love Garden. Large clear tents are available in case of rain allowing you to remain outdoors to enjoy the beautiful views.

The venue can accommodate up to 300 guests, but it sounds as though 200-250 would be more comfortable and allow for ideal use of the spaces.

Montalvo Arts Center offers a massive chef's kitchen and they do require that most couples use a preferred caterer (exceptions can be made). Worry not, as their preferred caterer list is extensive and offers plenty of options.

One thing that I found unique and special outside of the sheer opulence and beauty is the fact that some proceeds from wedding and events held at the center go towards community outreach, including camps and classes for underprivileged youth. To learn more about holding your wedding at the Montalvo Arts Center, please contact Tiffany and team at

The Mountain Terrace in Woodside | San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photographer

The Mountain Terrace is a gorgeous wedding venue located among the redwoods up in Woodside. With a charming patio lit by fairy lights at night and a expansive lawn ringed by towering redwoods, Mountain Terrace is the quintessential Northern California wedding venue!

We drove up to tour the venue on a warm summer morning where temps in the valley were set to reach nearly 90, but as we drove up the beautiful winding road I watched the temperature in my car slowly drop. By the time we arrive at Mountain Terrace we were greeted by a cool breeze that was so refreshing in contrast to the heat just a few miles down the mountain. Mountain Terrace is a wonderful way to escape the heat while still staying "in town".

Right off of the highway the wedding venue looks a bit unassuming with just a sign letting you know that you've arrived. It's not until your guests enter a charming back door that they will see the beautiful grounds of Mountain Terrace. A large, sweeping lawn opens up to towering redwoods and a partial view of the Bay Area below. Green surrounds you in a way that feels much like a secluded meadow.

To the left you will find wooden wine barrels, Adirondack chairs circling a small fire pit, and a wooden tree swing for the kids (and maybe adults too!) The back of the venue features a large patio for your guests to dine, complete with string lights to add ambiance once the sun dips below the horizon. The large, flat lawn is great for kids as well as any potential lawn games you might want to set up. 

Indoors you will find a large bar, cute getting ready room for the bride, and the kitchen.

The stats:

Number of Guests: 120-150 on average, up to 300 max.

Catering: Done in-house. Accommodations can be made for special requests such as kosher, Chinese, Indian, etc.

Average price: Packages range widely for base site rental fees, anywhere from $2000-$7000 depending on the time of year, day of the week and the number of hours.

Standard package: The standard package includes 8 hours on site, generally from 2-10 with the bride and groom choosing the ceremony and reception times. Chairs for the ceremony and tables and chairs for the reception are provided for up to 150 people. A day of wedding coordinator is not required, but can be added on to the package. Food and drinks are separate. A $100 ceremony fee includes a beautiful arbor that you can decorate with gorgeous flowers. Mountain Terrace also offers morning wedding packages for 5 hours from 9-2 on days where there isn’t an 8 hour wedding already booked or when the wedding is starting at 2 or 3.

I hope this post was helpful in your search for a gorgeous wedding venue in the San Francisco Bay Area! Sarah Hart, the sales manager was so wonderful to work with, so I know that you won’t regret choosing Mountain Terrace as your wedding venue. If you’re looking for venue that offers redwoods as a backdrop for your ceremony, Mountain Terrace is definitely a fantastic choice! Contact Mountain Terrace at or by calling 650-851-1606 and tell them that Bre sent you.