Every time we photograph a wedding at Kohl Mansion, its splendor blows us away. Kohl Mansion is an expansive, well laid-out estate that allows us to create a wide array of amazing photos for our couples. Since it houses the Sisters of Mercy High School during the week, and hosts weddings and events during the weekend, we are very fortunate to experience its grandeur.
History of Kohl Mansion
In 1914, Frederick Kohl and his wife, Bessie, completed construction of “The Oaks,” which was the original name of Kohl Mansion. The massive estate was situated on 40 acres near San Francisco, in what is now Burlingame. They designed this opulent Tudor-style home to be the epitome of luxury with its four stories and 63 rooms. The entire first floor was dedicated to entertaining, while the other floors housed more than bedrooms, closets, and lavatories. Notable examples include a billiard room, scullery, chapel, wine room, and a brushing room. Of course, the architecture in every room was and still is absolutely stunning.
In 1916, only two years after the mansion was built, Frederick and Bessie separated due to ten years of family tragedy and drama. When Frederick tragically committed suicide in 1921, the mansion was left to his mistress. She decided to sell it, and in January 1924, it sold for $230,000 to the Sisters of Mercy. They joyfully used this gorgeous estate as a convent until 1931, when they opened an all-girls Catholic high school. Mercy High School still thrives to this day.
In 1982, the high school started renting out Kohl Mansion for parties, events, and weddings. To this day, Kohl Mansion is booked year-round for these events, especially weddings. Since the high school uses the building during the week, events and weddings solely take place on weekends.
In 1984, Music at Kohl Mansion was founded. This organization regularly uses The Great Hall on the first floor for musical performances. It was originally built for Bessie’s love of music, as she often sung both professionally and personally.
Wedding Photos at Kohl Mansion
Kohl Mansion is a popular choice for weddings due to its versatility. Both the reception and ceremony can take place either indoors in the Great Hall or outdoors on the sprawling lawn. Unpredictable weather is never an issue at Kohl Mansion. We have photographed weddings on the steps outside the mansion, and others on the lawn. There are many options for the wedding ceremony and reception locations throughout the estate.
Before the reception, and often before the ceremony, we take advantage of the venue for wedding photos. Kohl Mansion has many different areas throughout the grounds for photos. There’s a little bit of everything here. Outside is a beautiful garden alongside the amazing architecture of the estate. There are also a ton of trees that provide a more woodsy setting. Inside the mansion, there is a really cool room with a checkered floor where we’ve gotten some great shots. Then, of course, the architecture and furniture inside the mansion allow for more elegant photos.
Since it’s such a large property, it’s perfect for an outdoor photo booth such as our VW Bus photo booth. This vintage photo booth is a unique addition to any Kohl Mansion wedding.
Kohl Mansion is so vast and so well laid out. This means that every couple gets the photos that they want when getting married here.
Getting Married at Kohl Mansion
When couples book Kohl Mansion for their wedding, they get exclusive use of the entire grounds. The ceremony, reception, and the majority of photo ops are on the first floor and outdoors on the grounds. The estate is situated on 40 acres of property, much of which is perfectly landscaped.
While a lot of time is spent on the first floor and outside, couples do find themselves on the second floor before the wedding. There are rooms on the second floor reserved for getting ready. We typically recommend that couples find a roomy space with natural light for getting ready before the wedding, as this way we can get some great photos. At Kohl Mansion, that’s already taken care of, with plenty of space and natural light streaming in through the windows. Plus, the architecture and furniture are a big bonus. We love taking photos during this time, as it also gives us a chance to capture detail shots.
The event coordinators at Kohl Mansion make sure that everything goes smoothly both before and during the wedding. Their contact information is here on the Kohl Mansion website.
Kohl Mansion is such an incredible place, and you want to make sure that your wedding photographer knows and appreciates everything it has to offer. We are experienced with weddings at Kohl Mansion and ensure that couples get every photo they want and more.