Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MY Top 20 Affordable SoCal Venues

When I was trying to find a way to possibly afford my wedding, I did a ton of research and narrowed it to the top 20 that I felt were most affordable. Later, I can give you more information on the ones I visited and what I thought of them, but here's my initial research. And yes, I research things in way too much detail. :)

In case my work helps anyone...ENJOY!

BTW- where I put C and R, I meant Ceremony and Reception.

Also, please be aware that I did compile this list over a year ago. So yes, prices have probably gone up a bit, but hopefully, are still in the same ball park!

Click to see the fruits of months of research.

(compiled by Karen on 1.17.12)

  1. Baldwin Hills Overlook (Culver City)
COST: $1,950 for four hours (BYO catering and alcohol).
WHERE: C: Amphitheatre, R: Indoor Pavilion
PROS: Gorgeous view, good price, easy location.
CONS: May need to rent additional chairs and hours.

  1. Aviation Room (Santa Monica)
COST: $700 for four hours. (BYO catering and alcohol).
WHERE: C: Outdoor. R: Outdoor, indoor.
PROS: Cozy indoor area, great cheap extras like 3 Hours event photography with images delivered to you on DVD ($100), red carpet ($50), basic backdrop ($75), and onsite photobooth.
CONS: Roadside appeal isn’t huge.  Outdoor area might be ugly. Tiny venue—maybe too tiny.

  1. Renberg Theatre & Patio (Hollywood)
COST: $1100 for three hours and set up / tear down (BYO catering and alcohol).
WHERE: C: Theater. R: Patio
PROS: Theatre is pretty.  It’s in the LGBT village so we’d be supporting gay rights!  It’s cheap.
CONS:  It’s not usually used as a wedding venue, so some rentals of items may be needed.

  1. Agoura Hills / Calabasas Community Room (Calabasas)
COST: $1355 for eight hours (BYO catering and alcohol).
WHERE: C: Patio or Calabasas, R: Agoura & Las Virgenes Rooms.
PROS: Inexpensive, lots of parking, big space, great Yelp reviews, seats and tables included in rental.
CONS: Will need to rent wedding decorations  Further drive.

  1. Greystone Mansion (Beverly Hills)
COST: $2783 for four hours and set up and tear down; must use of 3 approved caterers (they look expensive).
WHERE:  Not sure.
PROS: Mansion, old Hollywood, great ambiance.
CONS: Can’t go inside, expensive to cater, must be torn down by 8pm.

  1. Expo Rose Garden (South Los Angeles)
COST:  $675 for 7 hours (2 in rose garden, 5 in Ahmanson).
WHERE: C: Rose garden, R: Ahmanson Center. (or maybe science center)
PROS: Pretty, affordable.
CONS:  South LA can be not as pretty, parking costs.

  1. Maxwell House (Pasadena)
COST: $2,600. for entire day.  (BYO caterer and alcohol).
WHERE: C: Patio, R: Living room.
PROS: Get the whole house (including small library), gorgeous mansion like house, includes a professional kitchen facility, basic audiovisual equipment, and a limited number of 6 ft. and 9 ft. long tables, 60” round tables and wooden chairs.
CONS: Limited parking, more expensive.

  1. Friendship Auditorium (Griffith Park)
COST: $2105 for 5 hours.
WHERE: C: outdoors?, R: auditorium.
PROS: Not far from merry-go-round, in pretty park.
CONS: Have to use approved vendor for alcohol (more expensive), not super pretty, hard to find.

  1. Camp Seeley (Crestline near Lake Arrowhead)
COST: $2,000 for overnight (10am Saturday to 2pm Sunday). (BYO food and drink).
WHERE: C: Outdoors, R: Lodge.
PROS: 60 cabins (each sleeping 4-5 people) are included in the cost because they only offer overnight rental, meaning we could have a sleepaway wedding.  Where 1998 Parent Trap was filmed.  Cheap catering options for supper and next morning. Tons of things for people to do.
CONS: Farther away.  Needs more decorations because it’s not just a wedding venue.  Means we should provide breakfast. People will need their own bedding.

  1. Annenberg Community Beach House (Santa Monica)
COST (off-season): Guest House – 1st Floor & Garden ($1500) or Garden Terrace Room & Terrace Lounge or Splash Pad ($1900-2000) . Must used approved caterer for food and alcohol.
WHERE: C: Theatre, R: Garden (Guest house).
PROS: Right by the beach, gorgeous!
CONS: Needs to be in November or December to be affordable.  Most pay $6-10/parking space.  Must used approved caterer: expensive! Many extra costs.

  1. Buerge Chapel & Garden Reception (Pacific Palisades).
COST: $3000 for six hours. (Not sure of catering requirements).
WHERE: C: chapel, R: garden.
PROS: Beautiful.
CONS: More expensive, no alcohol allowed. Farther away.

  1. Clarke Estate (Santa Fe Springs)
COST: $1,848 for 6 hours (BYO catering and beer).
WHERE: C & R: Courtyard
PROS: Gorgeous estate.
CONS: Must used one of their DJ’s. Far drive. All outdoors (cold?).

  1. Nature Friends LA (Sierra Madre)
COST: $1,717 for entire day.  (BYO catering and beer).
WHERE: C: Meeting room, R: outdoor patio or indoor dining room.
PROS: Pretty, affordable, guests can sleep there for $25/person.
CONS: Far, pretty minimalist, very rustic looking.

  1. Heritage Square Museum (Montecito Heights)
COST: $1,600 for 9am to 11pm.
WHERE: C & R: outdoors, in front of house.
PROS: Rad looking house. Easy to find venue. Affordable.
CONS: Must remain outdoors (cold!). Open to public from noon to 5. Cannot go indoors.  No electricity available; need a generator. No dogs allowed. Minimal bathrooms.

  1. Brand Community Room (Glendale)
COST: $535 for 7 hours, BYO beer and catering.
WHERE: C: Gazebo, R: Brand Community Room.
PROS: Affordable, awesome pictures, historic site.
CONS: Small community room, need to rent multiple decorations and dance floor.

  1. Occidental College (Eagle Rock)
COST: $1500 for 4 hours, catering and beer by the college.
WHERE: C: chapel, R: one of the halls.
PROS: Gorgeous photos, easy parking, easy to find. Catering starts at $18 a person, so affordable.
CONS: Will have to pay more for catering and alcohol, can’t control quality as much.

  1. San Moritz Lodge (Crestline near Lake Arrowhead)
COST: $2100 for five hours, cheaper if we only want one reception room, BYO catering and beer.
WHERE: C: Lawn, R: Lakeview and/or fireside.
PROS: Dance floor, tables, and chairs included.  Affordable. Beautiful.  Can have fireside room and lake view room for only $400/hour.
CONS: Far drive.

  1.  North Ranch Center (Westlake Village)
COST: $2100 (whole day, 9am-11pm), BYO catering and beer.
WHERE: C: Lawn, R: Oak Room.
PROS: Great price, affordable, pretty.
CONS: Far drive, may need to rent decorations.

  1. Cerritos Library Sky Room & Terrace (Cerritos, CA)
COST:  $1300 for five hours. BYO catering and alcohol.
WHERE: C: Sky Terrace, R: Sky Room.
PROS:  Amazing views, affordable, library.
CONS: Not a lot of places for people to roam, unless library is open between wedding and reception, in which case people can wander downstairs.

  1. Brand Park Community Center (Mission Hills – NOT Glendale)
COST: $1,594 for six hours.  BYO catering, must used authorized alcohol.
WHERE: C: Lawn, R: Assembly room.
PROS: Affordable.
CONS: Must pay more for alcohol. Hard to tell if inside is pretty from pictures.

This is just my list; if you have more that you think I should add, write it into the comment list.

Yay for the top 20 budget, most affordable wedding venues in Southern California!


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  2. Karen, I'm looking for an indoor venue for both ceremony and reception that fits about 200 people (I know, that's a ton). Totally struggling with how much a SoCal wedding costs and looking through tons of venues now. Any recs?

    1. Hi Amy! You actually inspired a new part of my blog! Check out my latest post and comment with the answers to the questions. Then I will go researching for your ideal venue (as soon as I have time.) Excited to go looking for you! Just need a few more details.

    2. Hi Karen,
      I'm in the same boat as Amy. I am looking to keep my wedding as close to $15,000 for everything, if not lower. I am planning on having about 175 guests though. Southern California is horrible for this! I can't wait to see what you suggest!

    3. Amy and Julie- If you're looking for a wedding photographer I'd love to work with you! My business is fairly new so my prices are very affordable :).. and I absolutely LOVE what I do!

    4. Amy, I just realized I responded to inLuv before you! I forgot you were the comment that inspired it! Did you find a venue? I got so swamped that I wasn't able to offer much help-- I'm so sorry-- but I know the other brides would love to hear from you!

  3. HI! I LOVE this site! great Job. you are a excellent researcher and its much appreciated. I am trying to have a small wedding - 65 ppl in los angeles or surrounding areas, outside or garden like area for 6000. Can this be done?? Thanks so much

  4. I seldom leave a response, but I read a few of the responses on this page. I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright.
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  5. Karen, I love your site. I'm so happy to see someone dedicated to making things a little easier on the brides.
    I am planning this wedding with my husband and have very little help due to living so far away from any relatives/friends.
    I was wondering if you had any suggestions for outdoor weddings with indoor reception sites (close to ceremony or on-site due to the number of out of town guests). My budget is also no more than $15,000 preferably which seems extremely difficult in Southern CA.
    Once I get the venue out of the way it should be smooth sailing. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

    1. Jennifer, do you still need help? Let me know. Did you find any good venues that I should add to my site? Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. wish i found this list sooner! looking for a spot for an small wedding in December, any idea if the rose garden is appropriate in the winter? I'm going to have 15-20 people. Really just need a ceremony spot because we're planning to go out to dinner for the reception.

    1. hey victoria, did you find out, or where did you do it? I am aiming for the same but maybe a few more guests. around 40

  7. westcoast catering is affordable. Its a catering company that does weddings in a torrance and a few other locations.

  8. hi my name is jessica and i could really use some help finding a wedding venue. i live 25 min away from palm spring but on a 3,000$ budget for venue and recerption including food. guest count is at 60. love outdoor weddings.any help or idea would greatly be appreciated. :)

    1. Did you find a venue and all for that price range? Please let me know I'm looking and have no luck

  9. Woo! it was good idea for me for plan my wedding thanks free wedding planner app

  10. Hi Karen. My name is Maria and first off, your site is amazing! My fiancé and I are looking to have an outdoor wedding (preferably outdoor ceremony and reception). We are looking to have about 120-130 guests and the time of year doesn't matter. Our budget is up to $20,000. One deal break for us, however, is we want to hire a live band. Most of the outdoor venues I've looked into seem to have noise ordinances. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!! :)

  11. Hello Karen,

    Thank you for the information you provided!! I am currently searching for a wedding venue to hold my reception. However, I'm on a $4000-$4500 budget. Any advice?? And do you think that will be possible??

  12. Hello Karen,

    Thank you for the information you provided!! I am currently searching for a wedding venue to hold my reception. However, I'm on a $4000-$4500 budget. Any advice?? And do you think that will be possible??

  13. I'm trying to plan our wedding on a 5000 budget for less than 100 prob. Any ideas of where I can do it? I loved Padua hills theater and it was way way to exspensive, heart crushed, any ideas

  14. Great discoveries!! Thank you so much for the saved headaches of all thsee incredible researches you have done!

  15. Great discoveries!! Thank you so much for the saved headaches of all thsee incredible researches you have done!

  16. I need help too!!!! Im trying to keep my wedding under $10,000 , in so cal, and around 30 people. I thought this would be doable but I'm struggling.

    1. Did you look into wineries in Temecula?
      There are some great yahcts that have all inclusive weddings, I believe they would totally fit in your budget.

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  18. I never comment but I have to on this one - THANK YOU!!!! I've come so close to giving up and this post has inspired me :) So many fantastic options, even a few years later.


  19. Hi, Karen -- I'm the Mother of the Bride and as a retired party planner, I'm going to oversee much of the planning for my daughter's wedding next year (probably June but no set date yet). I see a lot of questions on here similar to what I want to ask: 175 people for around $25,000 all-inclusive -- but I don't see a lot of answers or venue recommendations. Have any ideas for Orange County or San Diego County in SoCal?? Thanks, Robin

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