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Finding a cheap/creative wedding venue that can trick people into thinking it's a formal/traditional location.
April 20, 2011 7:29 PM   Subscribe

How to search for a wedding and reception venue in LA.

Good answer: Particular suggestions/recommendations.
Great answer: Advice on how to go about finding venues.

Info on the couple:
She's from a family that does weddings right, so for example, you know how invites have an envelope inside an envelope which contains a card and yet another return envelope? Removing one of those redundant envelopes is out of the question.

On the other hand, he is from a context where eloping is more common, and the marriages that did happen didn't have mailed invitations, but rather email/phone calls.

On the other hand, she is a bit rebellious to all that traditionalism and wants to be more casual, while he is looking to do things "right" and have something more formal than normal from his family.

Thus the wedding will be a compromise between these two wedding approaches. The aim is to follow the most important traditions and rules, but to be really flexible in those rules, especially when they are inconvenient or don't make sense. So, e.g. bridesmaids will be getting dresses that they can use for other events.

The real question:
How do I find a venue that is as cheap as possible while still meeting some minimums for a traditional wedding? Where can I look? I've seen many venue websites, but they don't sort by price, which is absurd, I think, despite their explanation as to why. There's got to be a way to automatically exclude venues that cater to millionaires and to exclude venues serving people on welfare. Price is going to be the main thing that determines that line between traditional and informal, but I'm convinced that with some careful planning, we can find a cheap place that nobody will know isn't expensive, formal, and traditional.
posted by brenton to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Where in LA? How many people? How much do you want to spend? Do you want to choose your own caterer or will you be okay with theirs?
posted by elsietheeel at 8:07 PM on April 20, 2011


San Gabriel valley. 50-100 people? Ideally spend less than $6000. Catering: whatever is cheapest but that will be nice enough not to offend her family.
posted by brenton at 8:17 PM on April 20, 2011


Perhaps check the city/county park facilities. We rented a big ranch house that was part of a Santa Cruz county park for our wedding reception; it was awesome and appropriate and dirt cheap.
posted by secretseasons at 8:48 PM on April 20, 2011


The way I found potential venues for my mom's upcoming wedding reception was to enter "Wedding Venue" near my specific location in Google Maps. Then I started reading reviews and visiting websites. Unfortunately most of the ones down there don't seem to have rates posted, but a lot of them have request forms or numbers you can call. Find ones that look interesting to you and start calling around. Consider a Friday or Sunday reception for substantial discounts.

Don't forget to ask questions once you've narrowed it down to a couple of locations.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:00 PM on April 20, 2011


The minute you attach "wedding", the price increases dramatically. When you're shopping around, present it instead as party planning, not wedding planning.

That, and echoing the advice above to look at park facilities - we got married on the beach of Lake Michigan for a $50 permit application fee.
posted by bookdragoness at 5:59 AM on April 21, 2011


Does anyone in your wedding party reside in Santa Fe Springs? They have a special rate for locals married at the exquisite, city-owned Irving Gill Clarke Estate, though non-locals can book, too.
posted by Scram at 6:48 AM on April 21, 2011


Perhaps try the VFW/AFL's in your area? Or Elk Lodges, etc.
posted by luckynerd at 12:17 PM on April 21, 2011


The Lindley-Scott House in Azusa is in your price range. And it looks really lovely.

Eitwanda Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga looks nice, but the rates aren't posted.

If you just want a place to have it, the LA County Arboretum is very affordable, but you have to do ALL the arrangements yourself.

Ditto the Descanoso Gardens

Look into museums as well, if you don't mind doing stuff yourself.

The Pacific Asia Museum is affordable.

If you don't mind the outer reaches of the San Fernando Valley there are some nice options there as well.

Hidden Chateau is highly rated, looks pretty awesome, and the rates are posted online (and in your price range).

The Skirball Cultural Center doesn't have rates posted, but they have 10+ venues. Might be worth contacting them to get rates.

The Inn of the Seventh Ray is a restaurant with several venues in your price range.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:25 PM on April 21, 2011


This guy blogged about his budget wedding in Los Angeles. He was so irritated that the venues refused to post their prices online that he put together a spreadsheet with details on the venues he researched (and he researched a lot of them.) Very slightly out of date now, but really, really helpful to cut through the BS. (and his blog is hilarious if you are at all annoyed with wedding planning).

Go here and look to the right for "spreadsheets"
posted by rainydayfilms at 1:43 PM on September 6, 2011


I am getting married at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. It is about $4,500 to rent the venue for the day which is about a 12 hour block. I chose it because it comes with a small indoor space that is very pretty (in case of rain) and a gorgeous garden with fountains which is our first choice for the reception area. We are doing both reception and ceremony here. There are multiple areas you can use so this is handy. This is a good price compared to other venues I looked at and I liked knowing that I wouldn't have to rent a tent if it rained. The whole theme is spanish garden. There are no on-site caterers so you have to hire one of your choice and bring in rentals. There is a huge free parking lot in front.

Our dream location was the Natural History Museum but it was $10-15K for way less time, after museum hours and no free parking. But the T-Rex! Oh well.
posted by dottiechang at 12:53 PM on October 24, 2011


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