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Looking for an inexpensive Venue in the Bay Area

Hello everyone!
I am having a difficult time finding a beautiful and affordable wedding venue!

We are planning on having no more than 100 guests and my dream has always been to get married outside and have the reception at the same location indoors. We want to have a great time at our wedding with lots of dancing and great food. Our wedding date is open but I am hoping for Labor Day weekend, Sunday September 1st, 2013.

The biggest problem is budget. We plan to pay for most of it with help from my parents so the cheaper the better! We prefer a location that will allow us to bring our own food and drinks (this is typically cheaper). We want to keep EVERYTHING (not including my dress or our rings) under $12,000.

Any suggestions will be good suggestions!


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  1. I think you're going to get a lot of the same suggestions as your last inquiry, but I thought I'd throw this in - The Purple Orchid in Livermore. http://www.purpleorchid.com/

    Friends of mine were married here a couple of years back. The ceremony was on the lawn overlooking the olive grove and the reception (tables, dance floor, dinner - the whole shebang) was set up on the lawn in the olive grove. They were also married in September and with our Indian summers, it really was a beautiful night.

    Food-wise, since we had the venue for the weekend, we did dinner the first night ourselves using the grill by the pool. We also had some access to the kitchen. There was so much running around that I don't remember what happened with lunch, but breakfasts were cooked to order by the staff and was your traditional American breakfast. I don't remember what I had, but I do remember the staff being very accommodating to requests. Hope they're still there.

    Fair warning - this place will have bad reviews online because the previous owner was not the most upstanding citizen (this place was on Hotel Impossible), but the couple that bought it have supposedly done a great job turning it around.

    1. Brazilian Room in Tilden Park in Berkeley.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Booked years in advance. Also, requires that you use someone from their list of caterers.

        1. The Oakland Zoo has a facility where you can have an outdoor ceremony (with a view of the Bay) and an indoor reception. I don't think it's too expensive and I'm pretty sure they let your BYO (I've been to a party there, but not a wedding). There's plenty of room for dancing, a stage, etc.


          1. Rockefeller Lodge in San Pablo -- you can get married in the garden and have the reception in the lovely, though slightly funky, building. Not sure how much it is, but the two events I've been to there were hosted by people definitely on a budget. Don't let the location put you off. When you're there you are totally unaware of the surroundings. I'm not sure if you can bring your own food, but I think so.

            1. Hiller Highlands Country Club in the Oakland Hills.

              Fantastic views, and will accommodate your other requests.

              1. First of all...good luck! It's not the easiest to find a place that suits all your wedding needs on a tight(ish) budget and I was in a similar place myself with a very similar budget just a year and a half ago. Generally, try to stay away from any place that screams WEDDING since that's when you'll get charged a lot more! Also, I think Labor Day and holiday weekends in general are very busy for weddings, so I'm sure as you know you want to book as soon as possible.

                Here are a few places around the bay that come to mind:
                Las Pulgas Water Temple in Redwood City- I think you have to bring EVERYTHING and it might be outdoors only, but maybe something to look into since I think you pretty much bring everything.

                (yelp because there are wedding reviews there


                The Trocadero Clubhouse at Stern Grove
                (I think the Stern Grove Festival summer concert series ends the week before Labor Day


                Someone mentioned the Oakland Zoo- I djed a wedding there last year that was outdoors and then the reception was just inside and it was really really fun, festive, and beautiful. The couple was able to customize the interior to their liking (they even had an electrician friend install lighting the day of and tear down after the wedding) and they had an SF restaurant they liked cater the food. While it's not near the animals, it had a great outdoor view.

                Last I remember about the Brazil Room (I know someone already mentioned it) was that not only do you have to work w/preferred caterers, it's actually not that cheap to rent out.

                But what about the Botanical Gardens in Tilden Park or the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley?

                Another thing to keep in mind for holiday weekend wedding stuff is that any other things you might need to rent out like sound systems or chairs or what not might be in high demand for lots of weddings happening then...

                Good luck!

                1 Reply
                1. i have no idea what they charge, but i went to the best wedding ever here: http://oac.relevanttools.com/
                  beautiful but not at all stuffy the way i feel most wedding sites are.