Ship to Shore: A Boat’s Victorian Saloon Finds a New Home and Life As a Wedding Venue

Go big on impact and small on guest count at China Cabin, a charming (and floating) San Francisco Bay event space.

Real Weddings Editor
Photography by: Jasmine Lee Photography

This Victorian saloon was initially a part of a ship built in 1866 to sail from San Francisco to the Far East. After the ship’s life at sea, the stately structure was set on pilings and found a permanent location (and landmark status) at Belvedere Cove just north of San Francisco in Marin County. The humble exterior makes way for ornate white walls, moldings, and arched ceilings, with 22-karat gold leaf detail.

Photography by: Jasmine Lee Photography

At just 17.5 feet wide and 34 feet long, the China Cabin is an ideal setting for an intimate seated dinner for 40 guests. If you’re planning a bigger wedding, consider this venue for a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower. With its intricate architectural details you don’t need much to fancy up the room, except for a few flowers (candles aren’t allowed) and some table linens. The views of the Bay Bridge, San Francisco skyline, and Angel Island enhance the charm of this location and can be enjoyed from the surrounding deck.

Photography by: Jasmine Lee Photography

Whether you’re into the gilded aesthetic, antique appeal, or nautical elements (like the compass rose on the floor where the mid-mast used to be), this restored gem lends itself as just the place to throw a vintage-glam celebration.

Photography by: Jasmine Lee Photography

Get the full 411 on the Landmarks Society’s page.

About the Author

Shira Savada

A seasoned bridesmaid, Shira has been working with real couples and industry vendors for more than seven years as real weddings editor. Her love of all things bridal began at a young age, when she dressed up as a bride for Halloween in a “gown” made by her mother. Today, she’s a sucker for a great first dance song, anything calligraphed, classic photographs, family heirlooms, and a...


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