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Best Reception location on a budget

HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 10:28 AM

Hi, I am newly engaged and going absolutely nuts over finding a decent reception spot. I'm not looking to spend thousands for a Private Club or a Beverly Hills location. Just a nice restaurant, maybe with danicing that can cater to our group of 80 guests.

  1. n
    nancyc4fun May 23, 2007 01:54 PM

    Hi - Congratulations! Other posters have recommended bringing food to Descanso. We hosted a 100th birthday party there for my aunt and I thought it worked out well. You do have to use their caterer however. The food was OK (Patina) but we only opted for buffet salads, etc.. The room we used would have been too small for dancing. They do have a large hall but I have a feeling that would drive the price up more. I do think their prices are comperable to hotels though. Best of luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nancyc4fun
      HarleyQ6 May 25, 2007 10:24 AM

      Well i think I should become a Wedding Planner. Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. We found our ceremony spot at Kindred Church in Anaheim Hills...Totally recommend it. It's gorgeous for outdoor weddings. As for the reception....believe it or not, we found one....with tax and gratuity...food and non-alcoholic beverages for 100 guests....$3983.27 with a cash bar. Sorry to say not at a restaurant...but at the Embassy Suites in Anaheim. Had a taste of their food and it's really good. Hope this helps anyone looking for wedding planning advice. Thank you!!!! =)

    2. n
      Nicole May 22, 2007 05:59 PM

      Honestly, I think your most economical bet is a hotel, not a restaurant. Start surfing the websites of nice hotels in whatever area you are in. Restaurants can rarely accommodate a dance floor, and if you want to essentially close down the restaurant at a popular time (i.e., Saturday night), you are going to have to spend a lot of money to make it worth their while. And the problem with the interesting locations suggested (gardens, etc.) is that you will have to pay a lot of money just to rent the space, and then pay for food (and possibly other rentals, like tables, linens, plates, flatware, etc) on top of it. When you do a hotel, you just pay for the food, and the cost of the space and all other other stuff is generally included. Unfortunately, a hotel is probably not going to have as good food as a restaurant, so chowhounds may object to my suggestion.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Nicole
        Pei May 22, 2007 07:44 PM

        You're right, because there are few restaurants in LA that either have a private room big enough for 80 or are small enough that shutting it down for 80 people is cost effective. So sadly, though the food will be better at a restaurant, a hotel is worth considering.

        There are numerous Ayres Hotels. My friend's sister is getting married at one and says it's quite reasonable and the food is good. I don't know anything about Ayres personally.

        1. re: Pei
          mojoeater May 22, 2007 07:49 PM

          The most affordable option would be to call LA Parks & Rec and get a permit for a party. Then you can get a casual barbeque catered and provide the alcohol yourself. It's not fancy, but if you are looking at $50/person for location, food and drinks, you might have to compromise.

        2. re: Nicole
          HarleyQ6 May 23, 2007 01:43 PM

          Well, we actually have a friend that was going to cater for free, but the restaurants start at 25.00 per person and drinks on top pof that is around 17.00 per person for just one hour.

        3. browndoggie May 22, 2007 01:36 PM

          My cousin had a beautiful wedding and reception at the Long Beach Aquarium. Guests had free access to all the exhibits and they offer catering.


          2 Replies
          1. re: browndoggie
            Oh Robin May 23, 2007 09:30 AM

            My cousin also held her reception at the Aquarium in 2002. Very nice and I know they were on a budget. For a more fun party restaurant atmosphere that I know has cheap catering, dancing, and your own private bar...


            A great place for a party and your guests will love the food! (in Whittier/Santa Fe Springs)

            1. re: Oh Robin
              HarleyQ6 May 23, 2007 01:42 PM

              Oooh, thank you!!!! Yeah I looked at the aquarium, and they are a bit pricey.

          2. l
            letynjery May 22, 2007 11:42 AM

            Call the LA Train Station. I saw pics of a beautiful patio reception with fresh fruit/cheese table that would be ideal if you want outside. You might even have the ceremony there.

            6 Replies
            1. re: letynjery
              HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 11:56 AM

              I had not thought about that. Thank you!!!!

              1. re: letynjery
                Burger Boy May 22, 2007 12:59 PM

                You mean Union Station, Traxx probably did the food. Maybe Travel town would be fun?

                1. re: letynjery
                  maybelle May 22, 2007 01:26 PM

                  I looked into this for my wedding and thought that the site fee was too expensive.

                  It would help if you told us your budget. Between planning my wedding, my sister's and my best friend's, I've looked at a BUNCH of places in the LA area (not OC though).

                  1. re: maybelle
                    HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 01:33 PM

                    Well the ceeremony place is booked. It's at the Kindred Community Church. Lovely outdoor wedding. Pur budget for the reception alone....not counting the dj o the cake, etc. is about 4,000.00

                    1. re: HarleyQ6
                      cookie monster May 22, 2007 06:11 PM

                      Where is the church? That might help with narrowing down suggestions.

                      1. re: cookie monster
                        HarleyQ6 May 23, 2007 01:41 PM

                        Anaheim Hills

                2. d
                  Diana May 22, 2007 11:30 AM

                  Try this link:
                  Or here:

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Diana
                    HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 11:58 AM


                  2. m
                    mojoeater May 22, 2007 11:28 AM

                    My sister gave up on finding an affordable reception site around LA, and instead opted to have it in Mexico! That way, they'll already be where they want to honeymoon.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mojoeater
                      HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 11:37 AM

                      That sounds smart....but my guets may not go for it.

                      1. re: HarleyQ6
                        mojoeater May 22, 2007 01:21 PM

                        She was actually happy that it took the guest list down some. All those 'obligation invites' were really stacking up. Now only the people who really care will be there.

                    2. aching May 22, 2007 11:21 AM

                      I haven't been myself, but I've heard of people having receptions at Twin Palms in Pasadena...

                      I've wedding planning too, albeit in Northern California, so I feel you. Good luck!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: aching
                        HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 11:38 AM

                        Thank you......well if you are near monterey, there is a really great italian place on cannery row facing the beach...and lots of others less expensive.

                      2. Pei May 22, 2007 10:41 AM

                        What kind of budget are you looking for? I went nuts trying to find a place for 100. It's just not that easy UNLESS you do like Mr. Taster on this board and hold it at a Chinese restaurant. I think he spent $5000 total (cake, food, etc.), but had fewer guests than you.

                        I don't know what you mean by "thousands," but you are definitely going to have to spend several thousand to feed 80 if you want any privacy. $100 a head after food, drink, tax, and tip is on the low side for LA and would already bring you to $8,000!

                        Paying for a location and then paying again for catering will almost always be more expensive than buying out a location. Some that I tried:

                        O-Bar (very clubby/loungey)
                        La Boheme (but will be closing for renovations at least July-Sept)
                        City Club LA on Bunker Hill
                        Akwa (?) Santa Monica
                        World Cafe Santa Monica
                        Mission 261 (Chinese banquet)
                        Triumphal Palace (also Chinese banquet)

                        Verandas and La Venta are both beautiful venues owned by the New York Food Co. Food is very corporate (what you'd expect at an office party) but I think Verandas is perfect for 80 for dinner and dancing. Minimums range from $10,000-15,000 I think.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pei
                          HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 11:35 AM

                          Thank you.

                        2. s
                          shelovestoeat May 22, 2007 10:38 AM

                          Around what location were you thinking?

                          Well, I've been to a couple of wedding receptions at Khoury's restaurant in Long Beach. (www.khourys.net) It is a waterfront restaurant with glass windows that is gorgeous around sunset and has a very classy feel to it. It does have a dance floor, catering from the restaurant, and will definitely accomodate your group of 80 guests. I'm not too sure about pricing, but I'm positive it will not be as expensive as a location in Beverly Hills. Definitely worth checking out!

                          Congrats on the engagement and good luck!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: shelovestoeat
                            HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 11:38 AM


                          2. d
                            Diana May 22, 2007 10:35 AM

                            Eek! Hard to do.

                            Try Cafe Bizou,
                            Il Tiramisu
                            Angeli Caffe

                            Dancing I can't help out. A better bet is to find a location that will bring in caterers or let you bring your own, like Descanso Garden, or a golf club. You can even rent out the Peterson Automotive Museum, but that may be way over your budget. Many reception palces are very nice and offer locale for receptions with lots of included stuff.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Diana
                              HarleyQ6 May 22, 2007 11:39 AM

                              I was actually looking towards Descanso Garden or the Japanese garden in Long beach. Thanks!!!

                              1. re: HarleyQ6
                                Burger Boy May 22, 2007 12:58 PM

                                I believe there is a japanese garden in the san fernando valley also, maybe bring in a taco truck and the hagen das or baskin robbins truck, unless that is way to casual. Or you can even use a park, had a friend have a reception at a park in beverly hills one time, cater droped food and they had 2 servers pass food and clean up.

                                1. re: Burger Boy
                                  Diana May 23, 2007 06:09 AM

                                  the valley japanese garden won't let you bring in catering, I checked when I was planning my own wedding.. Also, it is next to, and part of, the water reclamation plant. Odd algae smell permeates the area, especially on hot days. Also, many mosquitos at night. A good location for the ceremony, though.

                                  An interesting fact, though, the Japanese garden/reclamation plant and buildings have played "Starfleet Headquarters and Academy" in Star Trek movies and TV shows since the 80's. Beam me up.

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