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Inexpensive Wedding Venue... Toronto Area

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Help me, if you can!

My fiance and I have been engaged for over a year and a half now, we've been trying to find the perfect venue for our upcoming (hopefully) reception.. However, its been extremely difficult to find something within our budget, thats also what we want.
If we had our way, we'd have a BBQ on the Island or in a park, with 60-80 of our friends and family, for under $3000, BUT, since we all know that wont happen, I'd be happy to find somewhere else to do this.

I need suggestions, I'm lost. I'm getting upset, partly because without a car (TTC only), its difficult to check places out.

I guess what I'm looking for is:

- An entire reception for as little as possible, including food/venue
- A picnic/BBQ feel vibe (i hate banquet halls)
- Shelter if it rains
- Wicked service

I'd love you forever if you could help me out.

Thanks so much,
Another Bride To Be...

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  1. I don't understand how not having a car is restricting you from finding a place because the Internet is a fantastic resource that you can use without leaving your house. If you Google 'wedding reception toronto,' you get pretty good results. For example:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/446815
    http://www.theperfectweddingguide.com...

    First, you really do need to establish a budget, so if $3,000 is it, then go with this and start calling some of the venues that you're interested in from your Internet research and ask them what they can do for $3,000. If they're not able to do that price, move on. If they're able, then and only then will be need to visit the place.

    All the best and if you have any specific questions, keep posting!

    Just to add: many years ago, a friend of mine had an outdoor wedding in Scarborough that I recall wasn't very expensive but they did have to hire their own caterer. Details here: http://www.toronto.ca/culture/pdf/ren...

    1. I got married on the Island at the Algonquin Island Community Centre about nine years ago - http://torontoisland.org/Home/Algonqu...

      Still a reasonable and lovely place. I don't remember the caterer and wouldn't recommend them anyway.

      I'm not sure if this is a chow topic...

      2 Replies
      1. re: hampark

        ToBe, contact a few caterers or restaurants that do catering on the side. Unfortunately, i think your budget is too small to interest most of them. Many Toronto parks have picnic/BBQ sites that can be reserved and have shelters. The park by Sunnybrook Hospital is an excellent site that I've used successfully for a group of your size. Check with Toronto Parks for other locations near you.

        At approximately $40 per person you need to very carefully define your expectations of "perfect". In reality you are likely faced with a very simple menu, (I.E. salads, sandwiches, etc,) as transportation, preparation, set up and service labor will consume a lot of your budget. Forget about serving alcoholic beverages, too expensive and illegal at public sites,
        - Can you and family members do some, or all, of the food preparation ahead? Many families produce very impressive wedding dinners.
        - Some grocery stores do excellent catering items but you'll have to provide the service people.
        - Could you accept self service? Buffet service fits with your picnic/BBQ concept.
        - Have you considered having a pair of whole Chinese BBQd pigs from an Asian grocery store? They make an impressive presentation and are a bargain around $125 each.

        You could also try a church or Royal Canadian Legion If you don't need to impress family and friends on how you can squander money. Some are quite competent for a basic meal and can be very reasonable because they use volunteers to serve. "Wicked service", not likely, but they won't let you down either as they do many weddings. The best of the Legions are usually fully booked more than a year in advance unless you can catch a cancellation.

        Congratulations and best wishes for all the happiness possible in your lives together.

        1. re: iamafoodie

          you might try the legion on the lakeshore, next to the Boulevard club. We threw a party there and had an outside caterer recommended by the legion, who did a BBQ that was perfect for our party.

      2. Check out The Kortright Centre -- you can have a BBQ caterer brought in (one was
        on their preferred list). http://www.kortright.org/private-func...

        I loved the place but it wasn't big enough for our wedding. There is no banquet hall feel about it AT ALL.

        I understand your frustration -- you have to check out a venue in person to get a feel for the place. I went through it all three years ago. Good luck!

        3 Replies
        1. re: geoprincess

          Do you recall how much the kortright wedding packages are per person for dinner?

          1. re: cm07zo

            Kortright Centre is $110 per person, just about all inclusive.

            1. re: Circle23

              Hi there, do you have any negative/positive things to say about Kortright? I'm considering the venue, and I've made an appointment to see the place. I'm just wondering if there are general things to be aware of.

        2. A friend of mine did a lovely BBQ at the Chalet at Bruce's Mill. It was a wonderful event, with trails for people to walk on and a wide open field for people to run around and play in (the bride and groom brought boxes of balls and frisbies for the guests to use). The ceremony was in a tent, though there's also the "Chalet" which seats up to 60 for this type of event.

          She brought in a BBQ caterer who did ribs and chicken. The food was great, the event was wonderful, and it had much the feel you sound like you're interested in. If you'd like, I could ask her about her caterer.

          1. Hi, I just had my wedding last sept 3. We had our reception at one of thereasturants in harbourfon t(207 queens quay - Pearl Restaurant). The food was great, it was a lot of food. you have a choice. its basically 35-50$ per head... and thats with lobster. the restaurant had a nice waterfront view from its glass windows. you might want to check this out. the only thing is the space is not too big. Outdoors is expensive, you have to consider everything Tent alone would cost you about 2000$ , plus linens, tables, chairs, china, cutleries rental plus the cost of food catered. you might just check this out. we had our wedding ceremony at the Casa Loma. It was Gorgeous there! we had the photography in their gardens and in their conservatory. Casa Loma venue and photography is just for 400$. you might want to check it out too if you dont have any ceremony venue yet. Good Luck!

            1. I just had a brunch to celebrate my wedding at the Bolier House in the Distillery District. We did it on a Saturday when they are normally closed and we had the place to ourselves. We had about 120 people attend and were charged 25 a head for the buffet brunch and alcohol was extra. We didn't do this but you could limit the alcohol to beer and wine only.

              I recall from seeing their catering menus that they do offer a bbq option as they have a large patio. If you do something mid-day you will reduce the alcohol costs. They were easy to deal with as well.

              1. check out granite brewery. it won't be BBQ but they do have an outdoor space. check their site as they have group prices on their website - the listed price is under $50 for buffet dinner and open bar so it works for your budget.

                1 Reply
                1. re: helen0505

                  I went to a great wedding a few years back at Puck's Farm - the food was simple and great (bbq/ grilled chicken, strawberry shortcake) - there were hayrides, fiddlers, etc. I recall my friend saying it was very inexpensive....