By: Revanche

Wedding Planning: Scoping out the venues

April 5, 2011

Also, above our pay grade.

One of the things we’re going to have to do, once we finally set a date, is to select a place to have this shindig.  We’re discussing more casual options like local parks which can be absolutely beautiful even as late as fall in Southern California.

Some reality checks: the weather can be capricious so a back up plan is advisable.  We’ll have to budget for some set-up if we want tables, chairs, games or anything like that for guests to eat, drink and play.  I don’t think a park picnic with just blankets would be terribly comfortable for all our guests, especially if some of them chose to dress up to any degree.  That calls for a discussion of whether to go DIY, hire a company to do set-up, or part A, part B. Given the level of disinterest on the part of most of our family and friends, I suspect the practical thing to do from afar is Option B.

Backyards aren’t an option – neither of us have people whose yards can accommodate nearly 200 guests (alas, that is the intimately-sized guest list).

Along the way, we encountered some delightful places that I just had to share with you.


The Stop Talking Venue

PiC asked me to look at the Wayfarers Chapel.  It came to him as a recommendation or a take a look cause it’s cool or something (I stopped listening.)  It was designed by Lloyd Wright, of the Frank Lloyd Wright line.

It’s really pretty, and inspired by the giant redwoods so they loom … but they loom.  And I’m not all about the chapels.  And then I saw the cost.

$3,000 for Saturday or Sunday weddings.  No, no, no, and no.

We’re not spending that much of our budget on a venue, my dear, no way, no way.  He kept telling me about the “Friday special” just to torture me.

The Wed and Run Venue

Well-Heeled pointed out that contrary to our (PiC and mine, at least) assumptions, the Huntington Library was anything but affordable.  You sure can be wed there, they’ll even reserve “scheduled access for vendors on set-up and tear-down days, as well as the day of the event; scheduled access for guests on the day of the event; and an engagement portrait session and a wedding photography session.” The use fee doesn’t include “catering, flowers, musicians, security required by The Huntington, cost of event planner, etc.”

All for the low, low, exclusivity-guaranteeing price of: $100,000.

For a mad moment, I suggested that WH run in there on a free admission day with CB and her officiant, have him pronounce them man and wife, and RUN.   What?  It’s no more raving than paying a hundred grand just for access to a place that doesn’t include anything but the place and a planner.

Any takers?


We’re still “working on” the date/place thing, but this was a breath of (gaspingly drawn, after much laughter) fresh air).  Oh me, oh my.  That we had that kind of budget.

Speaking of, we have a rough one.  I’ll share with you once the edges have been smoothed over.

10 Responses to “Wedding Planning: Scoping out the venues”

  1. mOOm says:

    $100,000 is insane for just space, however nice. Our venue was free, in a park/nature reserve with a fantastic view over the city and lake. But we didn’t have 200 guests. We looked at the Botanic Gardens here at the bottom of the same hill, which I think was about $1000 for one outdoor venue and with more guests would likely have gone that way. But then we’d have needed a serious back up venue. Our backup was the restaurant where we were having lunch who were happy for us to use the space for free if we needed to due to rain before they actually opened for lunch. We don’t get a lot of rain here usually so outdoors seemed a fairly safe bet as primary location.

  2. eemusings says:

    How are you finding about venues? (I guess Google is a start, but those results are going to skew towards insanely pricey places.)

  3. Serendipity says:

    Wedding venues are a bit ridiculous I am starting to realize. They all want to charge up the ying yang for someones special day. Blah.

  4. Bucksome says:

    My son and DIL got married in a San Diego park on the bay and it was beautiful. Of course, 200 people wouldn’t have been an option.

  5. Gasp! My superannuated jaw dropped at the three grand…then i almost fainted at the Huntington’s hundred grand.

    DOLLARS? Are they serious? I mean…it’s a swell place and all, and wouldn’t it be cool to be able to put up out-of-town members of the wedding party at the Athenaeum, but for hevvinsake you oughta be able to buy the Athenaeum for that price!

    For that price, you could have the darned wedding in Tahiti.

    Hm. You know, there used to be the nicest little resort in the foothills above San Pedro. Yeah, I know San Pedro is allegedly the place where the term “skid row” was coined. But once you get out of the dock and downtown areas you’re back in the civilized world. My mother and I met my father there one Christmas when his ship (amazingly) was tied up for the holiday. It was really a lovely place, lots of broad open grassy areas, and could probably accommodate 200 guests inside if the weather hiccups.

    Might be worth checking to see if it still exists. Or, since it probably doesn’t, searching for B&Bs and casual resorts in the towns within shooting distance of LA.

  6. Our favorite wedding was up in one of your local state parks. We also went to a nice one in Livermore at a vineyard. I keep hoping more of our friends in the bay area get married and invite us. Sadly some of them are scattering.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Have several backup dates in case your venue choices are booked.
    Check homeowners associations. Many have clubhouses at minimal fees for residents. Maybe someone would gift you. How about a state, city or county park? With picnic tables? One niece married in church with reception at the local college (Arkansas). Another chose church and private room at restaurant (Michigan). Cousin chose a private park. Wonderful quartet playing as we walked through to the outdoor amphitheater (Sonoma). Caterers set up below the parking area for California grill buffet with assigned seating. The cousins table was a blast!
    Don’t forget to check on parking. No one wants to be surprised with a fee at the gate!

  8. StackingCash says:

    200 people? Elope!

  9. Hi! It’s Annie from, please contact me ASAP- I sent you an email!!!!

  10. Wait, you don’t want to spend $3,000 on 200 people or was that $3,000 per head? I feel like with such an *intimately* sized guest list, you might be looking at at least $20,000 for a wedding.

    Unless you were able to shut down a portion of a national park. That would be beautiful and cost effective.

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