Recession Mama

{May 18, 2009}   Picking a Wedding Location #1

By Katy

Help me find the perfect wedding location. Here’s what I need: beautiful, unique, and not an arm and a leg please. Today, I will discuss my first choice, so far. In my next post, you’ll hear all about my second choice. I would love to hear your feedback.


#1 - seafood restaurant in Dana Point, CA

#1 – seafood restaurant in Dana Point, CA – They have a deck that overlooks the marina and ocean, as you can see from the photo. Here are the 2009 prices and amenities:

$ 90.00 per person – Served Entrée

Includes the Following:

4 Hour use of Reception Area with Spectacular Ocean & Harbor Views

Course Served Dinner or Buffet

Complimentary Champagne Toast

Complimentary Cake Cutting

Choice of Cotton Linen Colors to Enhance your Theme

Custom Set-Up of Area Including Tables, Linens, Chairs & Place Settings

Dance Area

Complimentary Site Rental Fee

Choice of 300 pieces total of Appetizers from our Silver Selection

Upgrade Hot Hors d’ oeuvres to our Premier Selection: Additional $6.00 per person

Hosted Well Liquors, House Wines, & Domestic Beers (unlimited for 2 hours)

Upgrade to Premium Wines, Premium Liquors & Imported Beers:

Additional $14.00 per person

Host Bar for additional hour – Add: $10.00 per person, per hour (for Riviera standard)

Add: $15.00 per person, per hour (for Riviera upgrade)

I would definitely be upgrading the hors d’oeuvres and hosting an additional 2 hours of the bar. So my total would be $29,853 with tax and service charge. But remember – this is all before we hire a photographer, florist, or DJ AND before my fiance and I think about what we’re going to wear or how much it’s going to cost for me to get my hair and makeup done. But here’s what I like and don’t like:

Pros = beach location (what we’ve been hoping for), gorgeous views, good food, and this place does not nickel and dime you. They actually include stuff like cake cutting, which seems like a rarity here in SoCal. Another pro – there’s a very cute B&B next door, and it would be fun for the wedding party to stay there and have breakfast together the next day. Also, down below the cliffs…by the water…there’s a giant fireplace carved into the side of the mountain. We can all go down there and make smores and hang out after the wedding is over.

Cons = Dana Point is very far. It’s especially far if we’re doing our rehearsal dinner, Chinese banquet style, which is what we’re planning for the night before. All of the good Chinese restaurants are inland – Downtown Los Angeles, Monterey Park, Alhambra, or Arcadia. So, I ask you this…is it fair for everyone to have to go to our rehearsal dinner/Chinese Wedding banquet in, let’s say, downtown Los Angeles, and then drive 60 miles South to Dana Point for, what is essentially, a second wedding location?

Oh dear… that’s a hard call. $90 a person seems pretty high too! (Or is that just the frugal old biddy in me?)

What’s location #2?

Katy says:

Oh you’ll have to wait until I write my next post for location #2. $90/person does seem high, but that’s kind of the going rate in Southern California.

Jill says:

I think it seems like a nice spot, and I LOVE the fact that you want to have smores on the beach after the reception! And as far as the 60 mile drive…this is your wedding!!! You’re kinda allowed to do what you want, and it’s not often that these occasions happen. Your guests will get over it, and if they don’t then too bad for them!! The place seems a bit pricey, but I’m so not used to SoCal prices, and I’m sure they’re much more than Austin prices. Best of luck with all the decision making~~~~ much love from Texas!!

recessionmama says:

Hi Jill! How are you and the baby doing?!? Thanks for writing! I should definitely start thinking it’s my wedding and to do what I want. I hope you and Michael and the baby are coming! It will be sometime next summer!

Kim says:

Katy, I love the Dana Point location. It’s gorgeous! As far as an hour drive, I think that’s fair. I’ve been to some weddings where the reception was about an hour from the church, which was a little tiring, but people did it. It’s your wedding. Do what you like!

recessionmama says:

the good thing is…the guests would all have a day to recover so it won’t be that tiring, hopefully. Friday night…Chinese Wedding Banquet/rehearsal dinner. Saturday evening/night…possibly this beach location?

Claudia says:

How many people are you inviting to your wedding?!? Wow! I say at $116 a head, whittle down that guest list if you can. People actually charge out there for cutting the cake? I’m shocked! The place is gorgeous though and the whole thing sounds like a dream. 60 miles is not that bad.

Can’t wait to see location #2.

recessionmama says:

Thanks for commenting, Claudia! Right now the guest list is at 200. We’d like to cut that down though. And yes, can you believe that some places charge up to $10/person for cutting the cake!?! That’s $2000…for 200 people…just for cutting and serving cake! Location #2 will be the next time I post!

Carla says:

The pic is beautiful, Katy. I tried picturing it when you found it, but my mind never painted such a fabulous location! WOW. But I’m cheap, we all know that, so $90 seems high to me. I won’t eat or drink, so you can save that $$…how’s that? JK. I’ll just drink. KIDDING. As for the drive, it’s your wedding day…you’re the princess!
I really like this spot!

recessionmama says:

Thanks, Carla! Yes. $90 seems high but for what you get…this place is actually a bargain. And I want everyone to eat and drink a lot!! 🙂 That’s what we’re paying for. We don’t mind as long as people have a good time. It would be awful to pay a lot of money, and no one liked their food and no one drank!

When I was planning my reception, they wanted to charge me $5 per piece of cake sliced. I said, “That’s fine. I’ll have my mom do it.” They waived the charge. 🙂

recessionmama says:

Yeah! I almost wanted to not even have a cake. $5/person is the average! Where did you get married, Jennifer? Was it here in SoCal?

Heather says:

I think this looks like a beautiful spot. But couldn’t they give you a better deal? You should check out Mexico. I bet you could get a hell of a deal there. They would probably cut your cake, cut your food, wipe your mouth, and kiss all of your guests for you. The beach ain’t bad either.

recessionmama says:

Ha! Ha! Ha! Well, if I had gotten married this year, the catering manager said they would cut me a deal to $80/person. That was why I was debating as to whether I should get married this year or next. It’s a savings of $2000, and when we’re talking about a $30,000+ wedding…$2000 doesn’t seem like a good enough deal to wipe out nearly all of my emergency savings.

I’d bet you can negotiate this rate? Do things like skipping the champagne toast (no one ever drinks it). Perhaps serve one signature cocktail during the cocktail hour to get your guests drinking that and not something more expensive.

And ask for fewer, larger tables to cut down on your floral/centerpiece cost.

It is a beautiful venue.

Katy says:

Great ideas, Josie! I will definitely try and negotiate the rate, and I will also ask about a signature cocktail. That could be fun too!

[…] you have it!  3 locations — Dana Point restaurant, downtown L.A. restaurant, or this DIY beach property rental.  I’d love to hear your […]

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