Frequently Asked Questions
How do I arrange a site visit?
All site visits may be arranged in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Site visits are available Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and generally last a half hour to 45 minutes.
Where are ceremonies held?
Weddings can be held on the platform or lawns directly in front of the Conservatory, or in the Orchid Pavilion. More intimate ceremonies can be accommodated within the Conservatory gardens. Up to 16 guests can be seated, or 75 standing-room-only, within the Potted Plants Gallery, and Special Exhibit ceremony capacities vary with the rotating exhibit design.
Where are receptions and dinners held?
In 2008, we opened the Orchid Pavilion, a wood-floored event space with windows the length of its south wall, facing a small courtyard to extend receptions outdoors. The floor plan measures 65’-4’’ x 34’-2’’, with 2232.2 square feet, and features a cathedral ceiling with industrial beans. For a dinner, 165 people can be seated or 150 with space for a dance floor. For larger parties, tented wedding receptions are held on the lawn or the platform directly in front of the Conservatory. Guests have access to all exhibit spaces throughout the evening.
What happens if I’ve planned an outdoor ceremony and it rains?
Should you decide against tenting, the Orchid Gallery can seat up to 199 guests for a ceremony, the decision made by noon on your wedding day. The space will be flipped for your reception while guests enjoy cocktails in the botanical galleries.
Are candles allowed?
No open flames are permitted inside the Conservatory greenhouse, but are acceptable in the Orchid Pavilion with appropriate permits from the San Francisco Fire Department. It is the responsibility of the client to obtain the permit and present to the COF 7 days prior to event.
Can I serve food in the exhibit space?
Yes. Passed hors d’oeuvres, attended food stations and bars are welcome across the rental property. Seated dinners are accommodated in the Orchid Pavilion or tenting on the platform.
Can the Conservatory accommodate smaller parties and shorter rental times?
Yes. Just let us know what you’d like to do, and we’ll aim to accommodate your event.
Does the Conservatory provide event coordination?
An onsite coordinator will assist with facility-related issues, but is not responsible for event planning. All event coordination is the responsibility of the client, and we highly recommend an event coordinator for any function larger than 75 people.
Will the flower beds and the Dahlia Garden be in bloom?
The flower beds in the lower valley are planted by SF Recreation & Parks, and are not under the Conservatory’s jurisdiction. These flower beds change seasonally, generally twice a year. We cannot guarantee when the beds will be pulled. During specific times of the year the beds are not planted. The Dahlia Garden is planted by the Dahlia Society of California, and are typically in bloom July-October.
Do I need to use an approved caterer?
Yes. All of our caterers are well-versed in the policies and procedures of the COF, are fully insured and licensed by the city and state. The caterer provides all personnel and equipment required for preparation of food and beverage, and handles rental orders for tables, linens, dishware, etc.
Can I bring my own flowers?
Floral décor is welcome in the Orchid Pavilion, but no flowers are permitted in the galleries. Wedding parties may have hand held bouquets and boutonnieres.
Do you charge for a wedding ceremony rehearsal?
No. A one-hour rehearsal is included in wedding rentals, and is held based on facility availability, typically the day before the wedding during 4:30 – 6:00 pm.
How do I reserve a date?
An event date is secured once your rental contract is signed and you’ve paid a deposit of 25% of your total rental fee. Deposits are fully refundable up to 90 days prior to your event, with written notice.
Is your facility accessible?
Yes. The Conservatory has wheelchair access throughout, wheelchair accessible restrooms, and provides designated parking. Guests with wheelchairs or limited mobility may arrange to be dropped off and picked up directly in front of the Conservatory’s entry.
Who is responsible for event clean up?
The client is responsible for the set-up and removal of all equipment used for their event. This is typically handled by the caterer. The caterer is responsible for the cleaning of food preparation areas and food service cleanup during and after the event, including all rental equipment such as tables, chairs, flatware, glassware, etc. All trash must be removed at the completion of the event. Caterer clean up includes sweeping, mopping and hosing food prep areas. Typically, private restrooms are rented, but in the case park restrooms are used, cleaning will be billed at $100.00 and is included in the total fee. Clients are not charged for the hours that caterers and vendors are onsite setting up and breaking down the event.
Is smoking allowed?
No. The Conservatory is a smoke free facility.
Is parking available?
Reserved parking can be arranged in the Dahlia Garden. Limited parking is also available on John F. Kennedy Drive.
Can my guests park overnight?
Cars left in the park after 10:00pm may be towed, with the exception of special event times noted in the Dahlia Garden reserved parking.
Should I arrange transportation for my guests?
Taxi service is sporadic and not reliable in Golden Gate Park. We recommend making prior arrangements for transportation, such as coach bus service or town cars for your guests. These services are often equivalent in price to individual taxi service.
Who orders the rental equipment?
Generally, the caterer will handle the rental of tables, tents, catering equipment, plates, dinnerware, and glassware. The COF rents the restrooms, and in some instances, will coordinate tent rentals and certain supplies.
Am I required to rent restrooms?
Restroom trailers are included in reception rental fees. If you’re hosting a smaller gathering or a ceremony, the park restrooms are made available, without an extra fee, and kept open for the length of your event. While these are sufficient for a ceremony, they are not private to your guests, and anyone in the park is welcome to use them while they are open.
Can I decorate the exhibit galleries?
The Orchid Pavilion may be decorated with prior design plans approved by the COF. Very limited additional decorations in the five exhibit galleries may be approved. Decorative or integral parts of the interior or exterior of the site cannot be moved or removed, such as plants, benches, flags, etc. Helium balloon use is not permitted inside the Conservatory of Flowers. Glitter, rice, confetti, bubbles, flowers or any other item cannot be tossed inside or immediately on the property of the COF. Violation of this policy will result in fining.
Do I need insurance to rent your facility?
Yes. The Conservatory requires a certificate of insurance in the amount of up to $1 million of coverage. The client obtains this through their insurance company and must provide it seven days prior to their event. This is also available online: wedsafe.com or theeventhelper.com.