Wedding Venue Highlight: Oakland's Historic 16th Street Station

Today I had the chance to scout a venue for an upcoming fall wedding I will be photographing, and found Oakland’s 16th Street Station to be absolutely majestic and inspirational! If you know me, then you know I particularly love historic venues. I am in awe of the many stories a place can hold, and when you have your wedding in a historic place, yours is added to that great story.

This 1912 Beaux Arts beauty (like San Francisco’s City Hall!) was built as the terminus station for the transcontinental railroad. For a period of time it was connected with the trains-only lower deck of the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. The station was known as the “Ellis Island of the West” because of all the immigrants that came through it.

Oakland's 16th Street Station, still standing for over 100 years.

Oakland's 16th Street Station, still standing for over 100 years.

Postcard mailed in 1919 and courtesy https://alamedainfo.com

Postcard mailed in 1919 and courtesy https://alamedainfo.com

16thStreetStation_Oakland_Interior2_SonyaYruel.jpg

Throwing a big wedding? The main hall is 7000 square feet and can accommodate up to 500 guests.

The wainscotting is not original and was brought in by HBO for the making of a film.

The wainscotting is not original and was brought in by HBO for the making of a film.

I love love love the exposed brick and textured walls!

I love love love the exposed brick and textured walls!

When you step inside the main hall, you feel like you have gone back in time to the roaring 20’s!

When you step inside the main hall, you feel like you have gone back in time to the roaring 20’s!

Hello Victorian-era details!

Hello Victorian era details! These ornate gates were for the elevator leading up to the elevated platform. At the time it was built, the station had the first elevated tracks west of the Mississippi. Also the water from the Bay used to come right up to the tracks at high tide! Now graffiti covers the lower level and is well, perfectly gritty if that’s your kind of thing.

Outside, below the train tracks. A great spot to take photos!

Outside, below the train tracks. A great spot to take photos!

16thStreetStation_Oakland_Exterior3_SonyaYruel.jpg

The Quick Details

A historic landmark, the terminus train station built for the transcontinental railroad in 1912.

Urban Beauty: the peeling plaster, exposed brick, graffitied elevated train tracks.

Location: West Oakland

Size & Feel: Dramatic, vintage, and a grand spaciousness from another era

Guest Capacity: 500

Photo Perk: The venue has large windows in main hall that stream in a moody, beautiful light. The outside area behind the station has great open shade natural light to take photos amongst the support pillars of the elevated tracks.

This venue is the right fit for you if you’re looking for a unique space with history and a raw elegance. Currently the rental rates are budget-friendly, though the venue will require some planning to bring in certain necessities such as bathrooms, lighting, furniture rentals, and a self-sufficient caterer as there is no kitchen. There is space for parking within the property, though ride share is recommended for high-capacity events. There is also ample storage for vendors in the baggage wing, which is large enough to house a separate event!

I can’t wait to share more when I photograph this fall’s “Orient Express” styled wedding for a very creative San Francisco couple! We have a fantastic team of vendors that will be both transforming and paying homage to his unique space. I am super excited to be photographing this special wedding day!

16thStreetStation_Oakland_InteriorView_SonyaYruel.jpg

To inquire about photography for your wedding or event at the 16th Street Oakland Station, contact Sonya.