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Wedding reception on a budget (LA or OC)

Throw me ideas...please! About 150 people for about $10000; that's about $67 a person. We would love something near the coast. Any restaurants or a good location that will allow outside catering would be awesome... any suggestions? Anywhere from SB to SD!

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  1. My fiance and I are planning a wedding right now, and I have to tell you that for $67 a person you actually won't get much anywhere in Southern California unless you go far inland. Believe it or not. It's pretty crazy. You have to provide some information about what you are looking for and whether it includes the cake, decor, alcohol, location fee, etc. Try this website for a pretty comprehensive list of locations http://www.herecomestheguide.com/

    1. First of all, congratulations!

      Our wedding was this past April so I can say from experience wedding planning is no walk in the park. My biggest piece of advice would be to expand your idea of a wedding reception.

      I consumed every wedding magazine out there and really didn't consider other options other than ceremony/dinner/dancing. We could have taken many different paths and each would have been fun, special, and unique.

      For $67 a person, including tax and gratuity, you are going to be extremely limited but, and this is a big but :), only if you choose to do the traditional dinner and dancing reception. Also, at 150 you are probably going to need to buy out a restaurant which will increase the price per person.

      It may sound crazy, but have you thought about a cocktail reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres? I'd also suggest a Friday or Sunday wedding which is usually cheaper than Saturday night. Here Comes The Guide is a great idea but keep in mind that almost every space listed specialize in weddings and charge wedding prices, which as you're surely learning, are astronomical. You may also want to think about a brunch which could be lovely.

      Are you looking for an elegant evening or are you open to a casual affair? Coastal resorts and country clubs are going to be out of your budget, but I'm wondering if somewhere like Duke's might fit the bill.


      It's not near the coast, but I'd also look into Traxx at Union Station. We almost went with them as the food was great, the space is beautiful (we love the classic architecture and their big patio/garden), and their coordinator was refreshingly sweet and attentive. You may be able to do heavy hors d'oeuvres on a Sunday night for 67 a person..


      I'll keep my thinking about this and post if I think of other spaces. Another suggestion is to grab a Zagat and flip through that for restaurants, not just wedding places.

      Good luck! It's hard work and often stressful, but in the end I'm sure you'll create and plan a wonderful day!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Suebee

        Thanks for all your thoughtful suggestions!

      2. The LA River Center & Gardens, while not at the beach, is beautiful and allows you to bring in your own caterer. You could possibly do it there for $67 per person, if you can find an affordable caterer, or like another poster said, do heavy hors d'oeurves.

        FYI-a fabulous cake person who is amazingly affordable is located in Newhall, California. She does deliver. I've listed her website below. I ordered a beautiful, fondant baby shower cake, 2 layers, w/50 servings and it was $140 (delivery included). For that kind of cake, it was amazingly cheap (just to give you an idea, we paid $1800 for our wedding cake, not even fondant, in Orange County, with 225 servings). Anyway, her website is:

        Here Comes the Guide is a really great resource for locations. Oh, and if you are really set on the beach, I've been to a wedding at the Malibu West Beach Club (you can bring your own caterer), and while the rental fee is a bit high, you can cut costs on the food & beverages.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Samantha

          I'll have to check them out for cakes~~Thanks

        2. something my friends did to lower the cost of their wedding was to have the marriage ceremony in the morning followed by a brunch.

          not only is brunch type food less expensive, the guests were less likely to consume much alcohol that early in the day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: westsidegal

            Although a brunch sounds chic and less expensive I think I'd rather has an evening party. We would surely go through a lot of mimosas! lol.

          2. I am jumping into this without much knowledge, but Las Brisas Restaurant in Laguna Beach is upscale Mexican, part of the El Torito chain, fabulous views and while dining there I have seem many private events. Perhaps you could be married cliffside, and have reception on the patio? Wherever it be, congratulations! Santa Barbara to San Diego takes in alot of coastline, and perhaps it would be better to zero in on a specific area which would be accessible to most guests.

            1. Have you looked into renting out Paradise Cove in Malibu? They have a rental fee though, but will do all of your catering and beverages. I looked into them for a company bbq before and it was reasonably priced.

              1. I am doing my ceremony & reception for under 7 grand total (dress/tux/cake/photographer/reception/ceremony). I went w/ wedgewoodbanquet.com that lists there packages on the site (as cheap as $35 pp w/ Ceremony). Granted it is a country club on a golf course and not a beach location, but you can have your ceremony on the ventura beach (get a permit - cheap rental decor at http://rainforestplantcompany.com) and then have the reception in the country club (no rental fees as long as you meet minumin and food starts as low as 19.95 pp, rated #1 catering in Ventura County). I marry in Ventura in March. I also found a photographer at blackboxxphoto.com who is doing 6hrs of pics (280+) and giving me my own pic cd for $525. As for the cake, I am going w/ a less experienced designer who is trying to build up her portfolio and is charging me $260 w/ delivery for a 148 serving white chocolate coated 3 layered french vanilla & butter cake w/ a cream cheese/cheesecake filling w/ a brown chocolate vine design (christys-cakes@hotmail.com or 951-924-1165 & 951-488-1492). The dresses, I found a designer online that you mail your measurements to and they customize your dress (retail 2000, selling for 199.95 + 59 shipping) at http://stores.ebay.com/ANNE-QUEEN but one that will have dresses you've seen at David's Bridal for a fraction of the cost is http://www.elegantgowns.com who is going out of business (so you can try on the dress at DB and order it online when you know your size--free shipping). As for invitations, I found http://www.elegantbrides.invitations.... which has discounts of 25-40% on different brands and http://www.budgetweddinginvitations.com/ which are as low as 29.95 per 100 invitations. For flowers, wholesale retailers like www.onlinewholesaleflowers.com/ and www.GrowersBox.com are very nice. Happy hunting. And if you know of an officiant in the 150-175 price range, please let me know at cgarcia721@gmail.com.

                1. Can't attest to the food, but I found this location: La Palapa del Mar in Long Beach.

                  You can even have your wedding on the beach (although their particular view wasn't too great in my opinion) right in front of the restaurant. Good luck!