I can’t believe we finally found a venue, after all the hunting we did in Monterey and Carmel, and the Central Coast, but somehow we managed to end up at the right place! Before revealing where the main event is taking place, I’ll have to fill you in on our last venue hunting adventure.
Fiance and I decided to venture out on our own and take venue hunting by storm, but the very weekend we were supposed to go traipsing through Half Moon Bay and the Silicon Valley, both of our cars took a nosedive. Mine got stuck in a teeny parking garage, four floors down, in San Francisco when the clutch died, and fiance’s lost all torque and started smoking on the freeway coming back from a work trip. Fortunately we both have amazing families who loaned us cars and helped us through repairs, but our venue hunting weekend had been severely dampened.
The next weekend we lined up a few places by the coast in Half Moon Bay, a few Berkeley spots, and a little hotel in San Jose. I made reservations at a fabulous little Peruvian Restaurant at the end of the day so we’d have something to look forward to if none of the venues panned out. We took our rental car to downtown San Jose, and pulled up next to a gorgeous 1920’s hotel called the Sainte Claire. Immediately I spotted the black and white striped valances over the windows of Il Fornaio, the hotel’s conjoined restaurant, that had caught my eye in a photo while putting together inspiration boards. We walked in, looked at each other, and smiled. The hotel is beyond beautiful. The detailing and meticulous restoration on the interior is breathtaking. There are hand painted panels on the ceilings, gilded frames on the elevator doors, and beautiful chandeliers. Wandering into the foyer, complete with grand piano, giant fireplace, and multiple lounge areas, it felt as if we’d found someplace special. Catering staff was busy setting up for an event in an adjacent room, and we snuck a peek into the hotel’s gem: the atrium. Uncovered in a recent restoration project, the glass-covered room is flooded with beautiful light, and there I got my first look at our future ceremony space. We barely needed to see the stunning ballroom next door before asking for an information packet, and were quickly e-mailing Yelena (our coordinator) to see if it was in budget.
After getting an eyeful of this beautiful place we didn’t even need to see any other venues. We walked happily down the streets near the hotel, and to our surprise we stumbled on something unexpected: the location of our first date! Seven years ago the fiance and I traveled to San Jose for his birthday for some winter ice skating, and solidified the mutual attraction we’d felt since we met a few short months before. The pavillion is only two blocks away from the Sainte Claire! The entire day was meant to be. We drove off toward Half Moon Bay with the windows down, breathing in the sea air, completely contented. After a perfect Peruvian dinner by the sea, we rushed home to tell my parents the news that we’d found our venue!
Now that the venue is chosen and contracts signed, we can start focusing on the really fun stuff! So many beautiful florists, so many amazing cake makers – it’s going to be a whirlwind!
The exterior view of the Sainte Claire Hotel in San Jose. Its 1920’s style exterior and interior make it stand out in downtown San Jose’s eclectic mix of old-world buildings and modern high-rise hotels and art museums.
The atrium is full of light and is a wonderful blank canvas for decorating! I can’t wait to see how Yelena transforms this room for the wedding!
So the word is out! I’ve found my venue! Thanks for tuning in on this beautiful Monday!
xo- Morgan Elizabeth