Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Venue Found

We found a venue, and it's perfect for us.  However, because a slightly unorganized non-profit owns the space and they don't have a calendar yet for 2011, we don't really have the venue. They told us to reserve the space now and come back in a year to request a contract.  So, until our contract is signed, I'm being a bit protective of our find.  In the meantime, here's what I can tell you:
  • It's in one of the Malibu canyons with views over rolling hills (no ocean views, but I like mountains and trees better anyhow).  You wouldn't know you were anywhere near Los Angeles, and yet we also have all the city's amenities right at our fingertips
  • We can have the ceremony and reception at the same location. Yeah for convenient and eco-friendly.
  • The outdoor views are stunning and the indoor space is authentically rustic and charming.  If an event stylist got ahold of the location, it would no doubt be gussied up like a so-called Anthropologie-themed affair.  When I get ahold of it, my mishmash of thrifted low key decor ideas should work nicely.
  • The event fees will go to support a number of community programs, including scholarships for local kids to participate in art and enrichment programs.
  • There are some restrictions (beer and wine only, no open flames outside, Sunday reception music shuts down by 10pm) but overall, they're pretty laid back.
  • 150 should fit well for a reception + dance party.  More than that and I think the space might be too cramped.
  • It's affordable.  Like HIGH FIVE NOW ALL MY OBSESSIVE GOOGLE RESEARCH REALLY WORKED OUT levels of affordable. Like, the site manager actually said to me that they strive to make things affordable and can't imagine wanting to exploit people at an emotionally vulnerable time (she mentioned weddings and funeral/memorials) for economic gain.  
  • Deer greeted us as we drove out.  Deer!
  • We got the "Yes, we belong here" feeling the moment we arrived.
Is is everything I ever imagined from a wedding venue?  Yes and no.  When I started this research process I know I wanted an indoor-outdoor venue (I've always wanted to get married outside and didn't want a mid-event schlep). I knew we needed a handicapped-accessible venue (so nothing too rustic). I knew we wanted to bring out own caterer and booze.  I knew our budget was tight (well below the local average). And I knew we wanted a rocking all night dance party.  Did we get all of that?  Yes, mostly.  I've compromised on the convenience (it's no where near a hotel and we'll probably need to add shuttles to our budget) and on the booze (beer and wine only).  And I guess that a Sunday night party won't be the most rocking dance party ever, especially if the music shuts down at 10pm (but the party will absolutely continue at the hotel with out of town friends).  However, those issues feel tiny now and I'm just feeling ecstatic about our future wedding location.  (Added bonus: the location has a lot of personal significance for me and J.) 

Check back in a year or so for the full listing of information and photos.  But from now until then, I'll be working to share all the other great affordable venue options I found around the city, because I'm tired of the year-long google insanity we each need to go through here in L.A. to find something that's affordably priced. I found a ton of great places that don't show up on Here Comes the Guide, Project Wedding or the Knot.  Now that my own venue search is over, it seems almost seems wasteful that I file the information away on my personal computer instead of putting it into a coherent, searchable form that can benefit other local couples. 

If you have an amazing local venue find that you want to share, leave me a note in the comments or email me at alosangeleslove at gmail dot com.  I'm starting to pull together local venue search resources for those of us without $5K to spend on an empty room and would love your input too.

View from Malibu Canyon - It's not our exact site, but it's just a few miles away and has a similar landscape


  1. it won't help me because i'm in ny, but i think it is great to share your research. if only ppl did that more often, brides everwhere wouldn't have to repeat the same painstaking venue research all the time.

  2. It looks GORGEOUS.
    Good for you for finding such a great locale. Can't wait for the reveal and hope you get it!

  3. Congrats on finding your venue. When we found ours it was a bit weight off.

  4. Really looking forward to seeing the other venues you are posting - my criteria are pretty much the same as yours, but without being "on location," we're stuck with what The Google gives us.

  5. Congrats! Sounds like an amazing deal. I, too, found a place that was a nice compromise of our wants and needs. It also won't let us stay too late (everything must be as if we were never there by 11 p.m.) and we can only serve beer and wine. This bummed me out at first because I wanted to party all night. But I think if you start the reception earlier, like at 5 p.m., people can still dance for a long time. Also, beer and wine is cheaper than good rum or whiskey, so it all works out. How long do you think your party will be?

  6. I am searching for a venue in the LA/OC area to fit into our $5,000 budget. There's one venue left on the list, and it's on the border of more than we can afford to spend. It also doesn't have the dates we'd prefer to have, but I don't mind changing. I'll be calling the local Girl Scout council asking about their camps if the other location is a no-go.

    I'd love to hear more about the other venues have come across. Ideally, we're looking for a place to have the ceremony and reception that we can cater ourselves and with lodging on site.

  7. I'm so glad that I found this blog. I live in Los Angeles and just got engaged. We are on a super strict budget. I'm going to have to google furiously to find this place, because it looks phenomenal! Thanks so much for sharing all of your resources!

  8. Just discovered your site and I've been reading all day! I'm looking for wedding/reception locations in the LA area and your site has already been a great help!


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