Campbell, CA 95008
Rhee is fabulous. I met her when she photographed by best friend's wedding, and loved her and the pictures so much I booked her for my wedding (and now another friend has booked her for hers). The pictures are amazing, she captures absolutely everything, yet stays out of your way. My wedding day flew by for me, but looking at the pictures I can see every moment, even the things I missed. When you take your place at the head of the aisle, she'll look past and catch the wistful look on your father's face. That's where the magic is.
She's also a wonderful person and so much fun to be around. Weddings are really stressful, and she's just. . . good company. Friendly, positive, good at making you laugh. She is my favorite vendor of all the vendors at all the weddings I have been in or at.
I had an awesome experience with Karen. I gave her really embarrassingly vague directions, and what I got was gorgeous and amazing. The only flower I specifically requested was lilacs. In the weeks before my wedding, there was a very bad heat wave. I'd already been pushing the end of their local growing season, and she called me the week before the wedding to tell me she the heat had done them in. We agreed on a change in flower, and then the day of my wedding. . . there are lilacs in my bouquet. I have no idea where she got them from, but she didn't charge me any extra, she just stuck them in. Such a small thing, but so awesome. Also, my venue told me at the last minute I couldn't have the flowergirls throw any petals, I panicked, she got me pomanders, and it was all cool. I would recommend her to absolutely anyone.
Redwood City, CA 94063
The venue is really, really beautiful. I was looking for a certain victorian grandeur for my wedding, but was not able to afford someplace like Ralston or Kohl. It doesn't take a lot of decoration because the venue building itself is so beautiful. If you have under about 90 guests, you can use these awesome wooden chairs from the courtroom to sit your guests it. Like the previous reviewer I was surprised it wasn't more expensive, and not booked more heavily. There's a beautiful courtyard out front with fountains that's a great place for pictures, built where there once was a big ugly auxiliary court building. I think people simply don't think of it-- downtown Redwood City used to be really horrible, and between the movie theatre and the annex demolition the whole area was under construction for years and years.
That said, there are a couple of caveats. Possibly because they're relatively new at the wedding business, there was some procedural confusion. Though they now do note this in their price sheet, I wasn't told the exhibits were only to be open for 2 hours, and that they wouldn't all be open. We found out the day before the wedding that the room where my husband and his guys would wait would be closed, and had to shuffle. I didn't find out about the two hour thing until the actual wedding day, when we were hustled out in the middle of our photoshoot. They don't allow flower petals to be thrown (real or silk), which is nowhere in their rules-- I found out the week before during my walkthrough with my florist. I was told there were no tables to rent, then called several weeks before my wedding to be told they had tables, and I had to use them. . . and pay $10 a table. If I hadn't been able to get out of my previously arranged table rental, that might have been a problem. Little stuff like that. Though they did let me bring a caterer not on their approved list simply because he was on Ralston's and therefore comfortable with historic sites, so they could be flexible.
In the end, the space and beauty I got for the price were worth the bumps. The exhibits are a really neat way to give your guests something to do during the cocktail hour. If you do get married there, don't freak out if all the pictures taken by all your guests come out really yellow-- it's just something about the bulbs. Great ambiance, but weirdly photographed by a non-pro. The big dome (only part of the building to survive the 1906 earthquake) is lit with colored lights that cycle through colors. It's absolutely magical to dance under. The acoustics in the whole place are spectacular-- you will not need a microphone for vows or toasts or anything-- and live music sounds amazing.
I would recommend this place, just make sure you get all the rules and procedures explained before hand (I believe they also disallow aisle runners, but I wasn't having one. I loved the floor in the rotunda).
I second the advice to check the plaza event schedule, as well as the schedule of the Fox theatre across the street.