Recession Mama

{May 23, 2009}   Picking a Wedding Location #2

By Katy

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback about location #1. Here is location #2:

Ceremony set-up at the Cicada Restaurant

Ceremony set-up

Above is a photo of the interior of a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. Here’s how the website describes this 1920’s building which has been renovated into an Italian restaurant and event space:

This grand building was constructed in 1928 as the headquarters of one of the most prestigious and expensive haberdasheries in Los Angeles — Alexander & Oviatt. During the early phases of construction of the Italian Romanesque styled building, Oviatt attended the 1925 Paris Exposition and decided to decorate his building in the new style.

When the building was completed, the sheltered lobby forecourt contained over 30 tons of glass by designer Rene Lalique. Many original pieces remain in the panels at the top of the lobby columns. Lalique also designed the mallechort elevator doors, mailboxes, and directories. The interior retains the elegant art deco fixtures, stair rails, and molded plaster ceiling panels.

Reception set-up at the Cicada

Reception set-up

Now, here are the numbers (based on the same amount of guests as location #1 and also 2009 prices):

$4.75/person Appetizers

$ 74.00 per person – Served Entrée

$5/person Champagne Toast

$3/person Cake Cutting

$7/person Tables, Linens, Chairs & Place Settings

$800 Dance Floor

$3500 Site Rental Fee

$7/person Ceremony fee

$27/person for first 3 hours and $7/person for each additional hour – Premium bar

The total comes out to be $40,594 (including service charge and tax), and again this is before photographer, florist, clothes, and music. Here are my pros and cons:


Pros = Location, location, location. It’s in downtown Los Angeles. That’s where we live. It’s also close to Chinatown (remember, I want to do the rehearsal dinner in a Chinese restaurant the night before). It’s a gorgeous art deco restaurant, and I love the 1920’s style of architecture and decor. My ring looks very vintage Art Deco, so it would fit in perfectly here! The food is phenomenal, and the service seems impeccable. (Fiance’s boss had his wedding here a couple of years ago, and he said everyone raved about the food and the service.) We’d be able to save on a hotel since we live blocks away.

Cons = It’s not the beach. Prices are higher because they make you pay for every little thing. It would be a bit similar to the rehearsal dinner since both are inside restaurants without much of a view.

OK so how does location #2 compare to location #1?


Kim says:

Wow, Katy! This place looks gorgeous as well. I love the 1920s look. My preference is still #1 though b/c of the beach.

recessionmama says:

Yeah we’ve been partial to the beach too. But we keep saying…this would be so convenient! And this is so gorgeous!!

Jean says:

Both are gorgeous and elegant! It’s really a toss-up and , of course, only you can make the decision based on what you want…But if it helps, we had the same dilemma (we wanted a beach wedding too). We ultimately went with practicality & convenience — our location made it easier for the guests to go in a short drive from the wedding venue to the banquet restaurant. Being that some of them were elderly, pregnant or had young kids, it made more sense to do it the way we did.

Katy says:

Thanks, Jean! Ultimately, we are going to make the decision, but I thought it would be fun to share our top choices. In the spirit of Recession Mama (getting people to talk more about money and finances), I wanted to share what it truly costs to have a wedding. By the way, your wedding was amazing!

Carla says:

WOW, beautiful location, Katy, but DAMN that’s high. I like the look of it, and it certainly fits you perfectly, but I gotta say it again, DAMN that’s high. It’s a really tough choice..and I can totally see why. I do lean a little more to the beach, but I’m a beachy kind of girl. So if you’re asking for input, there’s mine..heehee….plus it’s cheaper! : )

Katy says:

LOL. Yes, it’s high. Also, I’m both urban and beachy…so that’s why this is such a dilemma! In the words of Donny and Marie (sort of)…the fiance is more rock n’roll and I’m more country.

Kathy says:

My girlfriend was married at Cicada last year. AWESOME! It’s such a phenomenal space you can’t go wrong. Funny… she also held her rehearsal dinner in Chinatown. Good luck!

Katy says:

Oh that is funny that she’s thinking of doing what we’re doing! I would love for her input on it all! You should pass along this blog and have her write in. Thanks for your input! Did you like the food and the service at Cicada?

recessionmama says:

From Heather: I love the beach too. But this is beautiful. I’d go with the least expensive one. Use the extra money for a GREAT honeymoon or put the rest in savings. 20 years from now you won’t say “Gosh I wish we had our wedding at that place. All that matters is the moment you say “I do.” The scenery is just “extra.”

Katy says:

Great advice, Heather B! That has been our dilemma…that’s why we’re postponing the wedding till next year. That way we’ll be able to keep our emergency savings and have the wedding/party we really want. Location #1 is the least expensive, so far. I will post location #3 tomorrow!!! Stay tuned.

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

Mary (toppy) says:

The choices are all so elegant and beautiful! I can see why it’s a hard choice. Wondered if buffet service is an option and alcohol could be purchased by the guests, with just the regular beverage included. Could that save more?
With location #1 – the distance between downtown and dana point is not an issue. #2 is most formal and soooo european elegance. #3 also looks dreamy and has a better view than #1, i think! Bartender and DJ – maybe one of Tony’s friends could provide this? 🙂 I would if i had the know-how! Exciting, Katy. Thanks for sharing…
Much love…

recessionmama says:

Hi Toppy!! Good to see your thoughts here! Buffet service is definitely an option, but strangely enough…in some places…buffet is more expensive! We’ll just have to see. We don’t actually want our guests to pay for alcohol, since we’re “hosting” the party! I’m so glad that the distance between downtown and Dana Point is not an issue. I think it hasn’t been for most people. I think the views between location #1 and #3 are very different. Both are amazing. #1 sits on a bluff so you’re seeing the marina and ocean from on high. Really dramatic. #3 sits right on the beach. So yes, it’s pretty spectacular, but everyone has to walk around on either grass or sand all night. Thank you for writing in!! We miss you lots!!!

Stephanie says:

Okay, I’m a little late chiming in here, but I think it’s definitely between 1 and 2. The DIY wedding just seems like too much work. You want to enjoy your wedding, not be worried over every detail! And only you can make the final decision, but I kinda like the Downtown LA scene the best. While the distance to Dana Point won’t ultimately be that big of a deal, I find that the more convenient things are the better moods people are in. Less stress for all = a better time on the dance floor! That’s my two cents! Good luck. Can’t wait to hear that final decision.

recessionmama says:

You’re not too late! I agree that #3 might be too much work, and I definitely don’t need to work on my wedding day. Thanks for chiming in, Stephanie!

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