Wednesday, October 1, 2008

#389: method (wo)man.

i am not an event planner.

so instead of reinventing the wheel and limiting myself to my own research, i've reached out to several industry experts to help me.

first, there was this. their response was quick and sweet but alas, no matches with their affiliated partners and my paltry budget.

and then there was this. did i ask for help? i surely did. did they have any suggestions for me? not yet. but i just sent a follow up email. so we'll see.

and finally, you'll find my most recent call for help below...in the form of a mass email to a bunch of caterers.

Hello Caterers: I found your information courtesy Brides Magazine, Southern California and was hoping you could help me.

I'm trying to
1) find a location
2) stick with a budget of $8,000 for 100-125 people for *fabulous* food and alcohol
3) throw an awesome wedding party

I'm based in Los Angeles but I'm open to suggestions for the SFV, OC, anywhere within 40 minutes drive of LA.

If you have ANY ideas, as far fetched as they may be, for venues or catering or ANYthing that would help me stay within my budget, please get back to me and I would be entirely grateful.

**********************************************************

i know. it makes me come off a bit desperate, eh. but really. i kind of am.

so far, i've received a couple of automated responses (next!)...but one catering company in particular has been remarkably helpful and attentive. and she's suggested several venues i've never even heard of (score!).

i'm sure it's not a 'new' idea to ask event specialists and caterers to share their expertise when you're looking for a venue...but i don't think it's an entirely common practice either. i'd say most people just research the nets on their own or ask friends for advice.

which makes me wonder: what method did you use to find your venue?

please. share.

22 comments:

seersuckerandcashmere said...

I had a very similar approach to you and emailed everyone and anyone wedding related and not that could possibly have a location ANYWHERE in the state of maine. then, one day, our wedding location just donned on me (it was very near where I grew up and not typically a wedding venue) but i asked anyways, and the captain's daughter (our location is a boat) was actually married on it last summer and they did another this summmer.
we can bring whatever we want food/alcohol wise, and provide our guests with a tour around one of the largest lakes east of the mississippi! which hopefully makes it worth the super long drive for almost half our guests. it's not a typical wedding location which has benefits and drawbacks - we can do whatever we want but we have to do everything ourselves or hire people to do it for us since there is minimal staff.
btw. our budget is very similar to yours-

uber said...

I don't think your situation is at all unusual. It's the old world vs the new in wedding planning.

Let's look at the old world view for a minute: They have worked hard to cultivate relationships and grow their business over many years. Why should they share this information? They worked hard to get it.

And the new - Information is as easy to get as typing it in a search bar. But the web is less than a decade old so not everything is there - yet.

Perhaps we can help, if not you specifically, someone else.

Cheers,
the ├╝berBrides Team
www.uberbrides.com

fadedblue said...

while i never contacted caterers directly for venues, a number of well known caterers in the area did have very helpful sections on their site regarding venues they've catered at. granted, not all of them were wedding friendly, but it was certainly a HUGE help when i was still looking for a place that allowed outside catering.

hopefully some of these caterers end up being very helpful to you...i'm not sure how it would hurt them and if they're easy to get along with and have great food, it's a foot in the door for you to have them cater your wedding, right?

{amy lynn} said...

i knew i was going to be in my hometown for only a few days...so i didn't have time to ponder about where exactly..which i think was a good thing. we literally got in the car and drove around. the place i chose is perfect, because it is right down the street from my future mother-in-laws home...where i will feel most comfortable getting ready on the big day. it's an old plantation that is a historic site...we will be having our ceremony and reception there.

have you tried local farms or other places that might have a sort of...barn? i know..it sounds crazy. but not all barns are for storing animals...a lot of them are being used for other means...like christmas tree farms..who would love the extra cash during an off season and might be easy to bargain with.

Caroline said...

I live in LA. I'm not getting married here, but people who don't know that invariably rave about the be-all and end-all of wedding planning books for Los Angeles: "Here Comes the Guide". You can get it in any bookstore and I'm sure there are more venues in there than you could possibly fathom.

Also - I used to work for a pretty damn good catering/events planning company in Culver City called Event Solutions, http://www.eventsolutions.com/

They can do anything.

Hope that helps!

Jill said...

I relied on friends and family. The venue I chose was the same one my brother was married in, plus two close friends. And in addition to location and convenience, plus affordability, it was a no-brainer for me. But of course I lucked out too, i realize it's not that easy for everyone.

maggie said...

I ran around like a madwoman in a five-day trip to Oregon (where my parents live.) It was nuts. Luckily, I narrowed it down to *only* twelve places or so through the internet...looking at photographer's blogs was especially helpful.

I also got estimates from caterers for the cost of all rentals etc for each place—that affects the budget a LOT, and it can turn out that a "cheap" farm with no infrastructure is more expensive than a place that already has chairs/tables etc.

Amy said...

I did this with the cake my boy wants for his groom's cake. (We are from the south if we didn't have this we would be shot.) But the only thing he asked for was his favorite college football team's stadium (Tennessee). I looked everywhere for weeks over this thing trying to get some idea and no one did them. I finally called a planner in Knoxville where the college is and found out there is a special bakery the college owns that does it. Who knew?!

City Hall Bride said...

We found our venue through our caterer, who is a business associate of mine. We had looked for places in Brooklyn, where we lived, that would have views of Manhattan. There were lots of lofts and gallery spaces but they all cost a fortune. The one we really wanted to go with at least used the rental fees to support their art programs. But when we went to put down the deposit and sign the contract we found out they didn't have a/c. Which was a HUGE problem for me. They acted like I was crazy to care. My caterer had met us there and just said, you know she's being really rude to you on top of this. He ended up giving me ten places to look at, all unknown to me, for about half the money. Fell in love with the first place we went to. I think if you have one vendor that you trust and who gets what you're looking for, they can steer you in great directions.

Heather from the bar said...

We found our reception venue through the Knot, although it was a local restaurant that I had heard of before. Did you by any chance contact "thank goodness it's Sofia"? It is a catering company in Long beach, but they do event planning as well, and have a bunch of locations for the LA area on their site. It might be worth it to check it out. www.tgiscatering.com

Eliza said...

If you've hired any wedding vendors, or if you have any friends who are wedding vendors (especially DJs, Photographers, and florists), ask them for ideas...they know where everything is, and have worked everywhere...

amber {daisy chain} said...

I used the "oh, I'll just do-it-myself method which I don't really recommend. I love that you gave a decent budget - someone will help - maybe even someone in the blog universe will want to do your wedding as a portfolio piece if their starting a business, you never know...

.reese. said...

googling. mass emailing of course. looking at the sites that list event spaces (including wedding websites). i tried thinking outside of the box by choosing venues that were unconventional and ended up with a conventional space: a hotel ballroom.

if you're down in the oc...check out the el adobe restaurant in san juan capitstrano. it was by far the most affordable place we'd seen. http://www.eladobedecapistrano.com/

juicefairy said...

I have been reading your blog for a little while now while I am also planning my own wedding. Not only do I think this wasn't a desperate move but I think it is a great idea. I originally thought I was going to spend $15,000 on a wedding and that number has creeped over $20,000 very very quickly. It appears that everything "wedding" costs a fortune. I am struggling to plan a wedding that is affordable and there have been many times that I have just wanted to be blunt in an effort to get a reasonable solution from a vendor. They always seem to be ignoring my budget flat out suggesting things that sound amazing but are not feasible. It is annoying!

The Penny Pincher Bride said...

Check out The Bungalow Club Rest on Melrose. Awesome menues start at 30 per person

AmyJean said...

I don't think its desperate! I think its proactive!

Anonymous said...

I actually got a quote from the Bungalow Club in July, for 130 people cocktail reception. For everything, including tip, it was $6,500. I have the same budget as you, but I just could not imagine my grandmother having to climb those stairs and use that bathroom... And I really could not see a location for a ceremony. =/ But it they were definitely nice, and can work with your budget!

worm said...

I already had my venue booked but I got two great tips from the rental company (you know tables, chairs, linens) for the caterer and for the bar service. The woman who ran the rental company knew EVERYONE. We ended up hiring both people that she referred us to and they were awesome. She even had a list of venues, etc. on her rental company's website. It turned out to be a great resource I would have never thought about.

Anonymous said...

Try a private estate listed in vacation rentals, I have looked all over LA and there are toooo many to choose from that are FABULOUS, GLAMOUROUS and just plain I WANT THAT!. Gorgeous homes are out there and with the ambiance of the location, you need less in the decor dept. also, you can have your own catering. Hope this helps

Christina said...

I went the whole route of looking online some nights until 3am, but then I went through caterers and found one who was nice enough to invite me to an open house at a venue in downtown la. I loved her food and prices and she recommended many more places to hold the ceremony and reception. Best part! I can bring my own alcohol. We are checking out the venue tomorrow. With venue and food and rentals we are at $8,000 with byo alcohol we should be able to get at 10,000. I will keep you posted :)

Christina said...

Here is a link my fiance found. Its gorgeous private estate in Carlbad, but the venue price is not bad if you wanted to do 2 nights or a weekend thing.
www.elfinforestestates.com

sera said...

You're brilliant! I've been getting so frustrated because despite all the web research, it's rare when anyone posts prices of anything. And I'm behind in my research. I got engaged on Valentines day 2009 and I'm trying for Sept 2009. Can I do it? I'm reading your blog.

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