Are you interested in having a sailboat wedding in San Francisco? With the changing of the tides, navigating a wedding in these times and into the unknown can be a tricky adventure.

Sometimes the planning alone can be exhausting, leaving couples feeling overwhelmed and distracted from why they decided to get married in the first place. This year threw a lot of couples for a whirlwind. With Covid-19 in full affect so many couples were turned away from venues and forced to elope. 

Luckily, today’s bride is adventurous and creative in her thinking. Sailboat weddings and elopements in San Francisco have taken a new approach. Now with elopements being the number one option in getting married, couples who choose to have a sailboat wedding will spend a fraction of the cost without the sacrificing of luxury. 

Sarah & Kenny’s San Francisco Sailboat Elopement

Speaking of luxury. Nothing speaks luxurious more than champagne and sailboats with sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Marin and the San Francisco City Skyline. 

How can you find a venue that can accommodate all of that? 

I am sure hundreds of couples that read this are thinking wow this sounds amazing, but how?

Well, we have done our research and have the experience to share…

Where do you rent a sailboat in San Francisco?

Ok. So you have made the decision to have a romantic adventure at sea by having a sailboat wedding on the San Francisco bay.

Next step is to secure your sailboat rental. Luckily sailing on the San Francisco Bay can happen almost all year round. Aside from the gorgeous 360 degree views you also have optimal winds that can ensure a great sailing experience.

A Fine Day For Sailing

Our first pick for an elopement, small wedding or proposal that she is sure to say yes to is on Captain Heather’s gorgeous 32ft S/V Carodon at A Fine Day For Sailing.

Seating 6 people comfortably the boat is lightweight and fast ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride. Captain Heather’s prices are reasonable and she is such an enjoyable captain to have.

Check out Cassie & Nick’s beautiful sailboat elopement shoot on Captain Heathers Carodon sailboat.

San Francisco Elopement shoot on the Bay with A Fine Day For Sailing - Blue Note Weddings
Blue Note Weddings

SF Bay Adventures

For a larger wedding or elopement we recommend a SF Bay Adventures. This company offers larger capacity boats. They have a gorgeous Schooner FREDA B or 32 foot Grand Banks CIMBA available. They also have a selection of a few other boats such as yachts and larger boats. 

Most San Francisco sailing companies also offer smaller speed boat rentals which is really great for those wide shots of the sailboat or hidden proposals where we can zoom in on the proposal from afar. 

How to plan a San Francisco sailboat wedding.

When you decide to have a wedding, elopement or an engagement proposal aboard a sailboat, there will be a little bit of planning.

While some companies will offer planning services with the rentals of the boat, we can not suggest hiring a designer or wedding planner enough! In fact, before you even start to look at sailboat rentals or companies we would suggest hiring a wedding planner to take care of all the details for you.

Couple standing on a sailboat looking out over the San Francisco Bay - Blue Note Weddings

A proper wedding planner can secure the boat, dates, do all the prep work and style out the boat in florals and most importantly take the edge off of planning all together.

A designer or planner will think of things that may not have even crossed your mind. Not only that, a good planner comes with a roster of highly qualified planners and artists to take your experience from good to magical. 

How do you choose a photographer or videographer to shoot your sailboat wedding?

That answer is simple. Blue Note Weddings for your sailboat photography videography team of course!

Shooting a wedding on a sailboat in San Francisco is not like shooting a wedding on land.

When you think about hiring a photo video team to shoot your sailboat wedding or proposal you want to find someone that has experience sailing.

You also want to consider a team that understands how to work with the light on the boat and who understand the different possible lighting situations.

Drone Photography of a Sailboat under the Golden Gate Bridge - Blue Note Weddings

Some days on the San Francisco Bay can be overcast others may be sunny. Having harsh lighting overhead can ruin your wedding images by casting horrible shadows on the face.

We understand what it takes to have your images come out looking soft romantic and down right gorgeous, like a fine art painting!

We use the sails to defuse the light. We know where on the boat to position the bride and groom and we have experience shooting sailboat weddings enough to know how to balance, where to hold and what exactly is needed to execute an epic gallery and film. 

What questions should you ask when planning a sailboat wedding?

There are so many amazing venues in the Bay Area that will exceed expectations but none will top a sailboat. But what questions should you prepare yourself with before planning a sailboat wedding in San Francisco?

  1. Capacity. Chances are you might be wondering if you can have a 200 person guest list on a sailboat. The answer is yes! Anything is possible. Hornblower cruises and events can offer boats big enough to accommodate your guest count.
  2. Officient. These days anyone can marry a couple as easy as taking a test online. The wonderful thing about marriage celebrations is that no two weddings are the same. We have seen brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and even friends as officiants. It really is up to you! But if you’re stuck for an officiant, you can always ask the Captian of the boat to marry you. 
  3. Dinner or lunch options. You will want to know if the boat provides any type of food or drink options. While in some cases they will, we have experienced that after a few hours on board a sailboat its nice to give your sea legs a rest and head to your favorite on shore restaurant for a gorgeous sit down dinner and cake cutting.
  4. Details. Our take on details will always be the more the better. From vow books, to blankets to keep your guests bundled up and cozy we love all the thoughtfulness that goes into the planning. 
  5. Safety. If you have never sailed before it can be both exciting and nerve wracking, especially on your wedding day. You can ensure that most boats will have life jackets and vests to ensure safety. Relax and enjoy the view….the captains of the boats usually have lifetimes of sailing experience. 
Just Married Sign hanging from the sailboat - Blue Note Weddings

Where in the water will be the best to get married? 

This question comes up all the time. Whether you are under the Golden Gate bridge or cruising the Marin Headland’s waters you can’t go wrong with the views.

However you will want to consider the winds. When sailing out to sea it can be very choppy in certain parts of the water. Understanding the different areas on the Bay that offer calmer water is imperative to the ceremony portion of your wedding.

Sailing the Bay with San Francisco in the background at sunset - Blue Note Weddings
Blue Note Weddings

Finding those little coves and quieter winds will best serve you and your guests to being able to relax and focus on the exchanging of the vows.

Check out our article where we were featured in Wedding Sparrow

on 100 Layer Cake Blog and how to plan a Sailboat elopement