Many Bay Area communities have wedding and event venues. But outside of San Francisco, how many have eight fabulous spaces within an eight mile radius (Benicia and American Canyon), and over forty two salons & spas within a few miles?

Here we spotlight four special venues that offer something truly unique. Two are steeped in history, one is on the beautiful Benicia Marina and one is surrounded by southern Solano County’s rolling hills. And each has its own distinctive indoor and outdoor space that will inspire couples to embrace their own style.

Benicia Historical Museum

At a Glance
Accommodates: up to 240
Services: Bring your own
Space: Stone Hall or Spenger Garden
What makes it unique: Historic sandstone building, garden and arbor
Minimum rental time: By the hour, 5 hour minimum

This historic venue comes with a fascinating history (camel barns!) and an added bonus: it houses the museum’s collections of Benicia’s past. Benicia enjoys an important place in California history, which is on display in exhibits throughout the complex. It is a much-loved and used community asset. Stone hall is a one-of-a-kind space defined by huge structural arches and a view of the lovely Spenger Garden, available for rental separately or in addition to the hall. The garden is an excellent venue for wedding ceremonies, receptions and special events. It features a formal arrangement around a large fountain and a covered arbor that is perfect for musicians, dancing or extra seating. With excellent acoustics, the garden is a popular spot that plays host to musical events under the stars.  Stone hall seats 240 and the garden & arbor can accommodate up to 200. A list of wedding services is available.

2060 Camel Road
Benicia, CA  94510

Benicia Yacht Club

At a Glance
Accommodates: 120
Services: All-inclusive or bring your own
Space: Main Dining Room; adjacent lawn
What makes it unique: Waterfront location
Minimum rental time: 5 hours, lunch or dinner

Perched on the picturesque Benicia Marina, the Yacht Club works equally well for weddings and events with a nautical theme or something entirely different. Flanked between the Marina and its meandering waterfront path and the Harbormaster building, the scenery is breathtaking. The dining room’s wall of windows offers a fantastic view of area yachts—with Mt. Diablo looming in the distance—a particularly lovely backdrop for a special wedding. The space’s deep blue walls that echo the colors of the Carquinez Strait can accommodate up to 120 people for a sit-down meal, full buffet or appetizers. The club’s caterer, A Taste of Life, “Catering with European Influence,” is available for private parties or corporate events outside the club. For brides wanting an outdoor ceremony, the adjacent lawn and arbor that abuts the marina is available at no extra charge. However, ceremonies on the lawn area are bring-your-own services only. The rental fee includes a bartender for the event.

400 East Second Street
Benicia, CA 94510

Blacksmith’s Gallery

At a Glance
Accommodates: up to 240
Services: All-inclusive or bring your own
Space: Ceremony Site, Gallery Bar, Ballroom, Courtyard
What makes it unique: Historic building circa 1876; architectural character
Minimum rental time: By the hour

Located in the historic Arsenal Park, this venue offers something for everyone. Built in 1876, the building has very impressive architecture that is often photographed and used as a backdrop for national ad campaigns: beautiful brick walls, huge arched passageways and windows, soaring ceilings, original wood floors. For a building of such large proportions, each space feels surprisingly warm and welcoming. There are 4 distinctive areas included in the rental fee. The Blacksmith Gallery features a large, curved bar and enormous black & white floor tiles in an attractive checkerboard pattern. The Ballroom, used for dining and dancing, can accommodate up to 240 people. Smaller ceremonies can be held in the Main Hall adjacent to the Ballroom. For brides preferring an outdoor ceremony, the Courtyard is secluded and full of character. The Ceremony Site includes a processional stairway for the bride, tall support columns and chandeliers descending from the high ceiling. Photo by Bambi Cantrell, Cantrell Portrait Design, Inc.,

940 Tyler Street
Benicia, CA  94510

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club

At a Glance
Accommodates: up to 250
Services: Banquet services provided by the club
Space: Bridal room & lounge; reception, dinner & dancing areas
What makes it unique: Award-winning facility, situated in rolling hills
Minimum rental time: 5-hour minimum

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club is an award-winning wedding and event facility that features the spectacular Clubhouse and Pavilion Room, nestled between rolling hills and the acclaimed 18-hole signature Arnold Palmer Golf Course. With such a lovely setting, this venue is an ideal location for any bride and groom. Hiddenbrooke provides a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos and offers personally designed weddings, from cocktail receptions to sit-down dinners. The onsite culinary staff will execute the fine details of a wedding from initial planning to last minute arrangements. The club was recently chosen to receive the WeddingWire 2011 Bride’s Choice Award, which recognizes excellence in quality and service within the wedding industry. It is located off of Interstate 80 and American Canyon Road in the Solano County Hills. The facility is offering a $500 discount for events booked by 4/30/11 when mentioning Benicia Magazine. Restrictions apply.

1095 Hiddenbrooke Parkway
Vallejo, CA  94591