Venue Review – Julia Morgan Ballroom

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JULIA MORGAN BALLROOM

The Julia Morgan Ballroom is one of San Francisco’s most exclusive special events venues and it is an architectural gem. Designed and named after the famed Julia Morgan, this space is like no other. The ballroom has 4,300 square feet of unobstructed event space located at the top of the Merchant’s Exchange Building, which is situated in the heart of the financial district.

CEREMONY

The Merchant’s Exchange allows couples that choose to wed add the Julia Morgan ballroom to host their ceremony in the ground floor lobby, which becomes exclusive and private during setup and the ceremony.

It is typically a good idea to fabric drape the back walls where the ceremony takes place to help create the ceremony space. By adding large focal points in the ceremony area such as archways or floral centerpieces, you can literally transform the space into your dream wedding. You can also add statement pieces at the entrance of the isle, which is also a good idea as it helps encompass the ceremony area. We have used estate gates, candle walls and candelabras for ceremony backdrops and they all fit perfectly here.

RECEPTION

This is a fun room to create a look in because it was designed so well. With the ornate ceilings, dark wooden walls and oversize mirrors, this is definitely a space to be mindful of when designing the added ceremony décor. Typically, the decor that works well in the ballroom is sophisticated and oversize floral centerpieces on the table, which go perfectly with the tall ceilings.

Candlelight, mirrors, mercury vessels and lush flowers all feel at home here. If you are choosing floral palettes that include creams, blush, purples and deep reds then you will have nothing to worry about. That said, playing with bright oranges and yellows within the flowers color scheme is doable, however you might want to consider using a linen color that is not as bold. Finally, be sure to add candles and/or flowers to the stately fireplace that resides on the far end of the room.

LIGHTING

The oversize windows that face outwards let in a lot of daylight, however once the sun sets, it gets dark in the ballroom. This makes the Julia Morgan Ballroom an excellent candidate for event lighting. Up lights work well around the room – highlighting architectural features. In this space, it is also important to pin spot or highlight the centerpieces because they can easily get lost in darkness. Also, be sure to light the fireplace, whether it is with overhead light or with up lights. JL Imagination is the preferred lighting company for the Julia Morgan Ballroom and they have an excellent feel for the space.

LINENS

While it is appropriate to play with bright flowers in this space, I do hesitate to say the same about adding bright colored linens. The ballroom has such an “interior design feel” that I am inclined to only work with linens that accompany the strong features and deep rich tones within the space. Having said this, here are color palettes that are safe to play with: any creams, blush pinks, beige, browns, earth tones, silver, deep reds and purples. Also, any greens or blues with dusty undertones are appropriate. I would stay away from stark white, bright yellows, vibrant oranges and blue. Also, be weary of selecting black linens, as it will get lost in the room.