Tips For Creating Unforgettable Private Events

We host countless special events here at Greens. Our staff goes to extraordinary lengths to make the events unforgettable, but from our experience we’ve compiled this list of things the host should do as well to make things go perfectly!
Any Event:
  • Ask around about special diets. Sometimes this can cause a deluge of folks who all have some dietary restriction or food allergy, but knowing about special diets ahead of time and letting us know creates a much smoother dining experience for everyone involved.
  • Slideshows take up space! Especially if you are close to capacity in our private dining room, a projector and screen take up real estate in the room. This can create an issue if you are interested in having mingling and/or passed appetizers before your seated meal.
  • Parking. Although Greens is located in the Fort Mason Center, the parking lot is shared with the many other resident organizations. Discuss parking options early in the planning process, as there are many events in Fort Mason each week that affect parking.
  • If you are paying by credit card, contact the company in advance of your event. It happens very frequently that credit card companies flag an attempted payment for private events, as the charge is larger than a typical meal cost. 
Baby Showers:
  • Consider buffet service, as opening all those presents can take time! Buffet service allows for a more free-flowing event to leave plenty of time for games, gifts, etc.
  • Plan the shower for at least two months in advance to avoid complications with early delivery dates, and traveling too close the mom-to-be’s due date.
Rehearsal Dinners:
  • Decide who (if anyone) will give speeches at the rehearsal dinner – those who will not be speaking at the wedding itself.
  • Review the menu for the wedding to ensure there is no overlap between the rehearsal and wedding meals.
Business Events:
  • Often business events are planned by one person, but run by someone else on the day-of. Be sure all parties involved are well aware of the menu, timeline, room arrangements, etc., so everyone is on the same page for the event. This creates a much more fluid event for guests and organizers alike.
  • Plan any speaking/programming after entrees are served so that guests are relaxed and ready to listen.
  • Keep presentations short if possible, especially for evening events, as guests may get tired after their workdays.

Top 5 Benefits of a Greens Wedding

  1. You’ll get to share our award-winning cuisine created by the legendary Annie Somerville, (who’s been at the helm for 30 years) ​which features the freshest seasonal produce, provided by local farmers and producers. We also will work with you to ​pair wines with your menu and budget, culled from our select list and create a custom artisanal cocktail or two to ​personalize your beverage list.
  2. ​​Our location in historical Fort Mason Center and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, provides not only breathtaking views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Marin Headlands but also ample parking.
  3.  Our venue is open, airy​ and light on the inside, with no need to bring in additional decor. We recently won a Zagat award for our decor and made their list of top 25 restaurants.
  4. Greens provides a staff of professionals who will guide you every step of the way and make the process of booking, planning, and executing the perfect wedding simple.
  5. Greens is owned by the San Francisco Zen Center, so in supporting Greens, you support the good works and services they provide to the Bay Area community and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions About Having An Event At Greens

Q. What if my family/friends/colleagues aren’t used to eating vegetarian food?

A. No one ever leaves Greens hungry. If you know your group doesn’t normally indulge in vegetarian fair, our Private Events Manager will work with you and our Executive Chef to find the best omnivore-friendly options to suit you, your guests, and your event perfectly. During our private events, we often hear things like “And can you believe this is all vegetarian?” We’ve even had guests who didn’t notice until the meal was over that the meat was missing!

Q. Is Greens able to accommodate special diets?

A. Absolutely. Vegan, gluten-free, nut allergies, garlic/onion allergies… you name it, we can almost always accommodate. And picky kids are not a problem either – cheese pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, or a basic pasta dish will keep the kids happy. Just give us ample notice, and we are happy to help.

Q. May we have a live band for our event? How about a DJ? A dance floor?

A. Yes, yes, and yes! Acoustic violinist? Four-piece jazz band? Your favorite DJ? Live modern dancers? Uncle Dave’s playlist on his iPod? As long as space allows, we will do everything we can to assist you in providing the kind of entertainment you want for your private event. We have even arranged for things like movie screenings and group dance lessons.

Q. What about flowers and other décor – may we bring that in?

A. Greens provides simple but tasteful bud vases with fresh flowers or greenery (changed weekly) for the tables, plus glass votive candles for evening events. You are more than welcome to bring in additional flower arrangements (please ask for recommendations – we have plenty!) or other décor such as candle holders, succulents, place cards, and string lights. Once you have reserved the private dining room, or the full restaurant for your private event, you may pretty much do whatever you want with the space (short of altering the wall colors, setting anything aflame, or tearing up the carpet).

Q. What is your maximum capacity for the private dining room? For the whole restaurant?

A. Our capacities for seated meals are 50 for the private dining room and 140 for the main dining room. For a standing reception, we can host up to 75 in the private dining room, and 200 in the main dining room. Every event is custom, though, so please ask about alternative seating arrangements to squeeze in just a few more people if needed.

Q. What sort of events do you have at Greens?

A. Pretty much anything under the sun. Alumni events, business presentations, baby showers, birthday parties, weddings (ceremonies and receptions), luncheon meetings, wine tastings, guest lectures, book signings….the list goes on and on!

Q. Parking is a pain! What can Greens do to help?

A. We strive make the experience as seamless and easy as possible for private clients. We have the option to arrange with the Fort Mason Center to make parking a little easier. For a fee, you may reserve parking spots in the lot for your guests, and/or you can also pay for your guests’ parking. One helpful tip when you are considering a private event with us – check the Fort Mason Center calendar ( for events that may be going on at the same time that could impact parking