Budget-friendly venues in Southern California

It amuses me that my friends now come to me as a sort of sounding board for upcoming wedding planning. One of those friends includes Bryan Frank, a news photographer for my station and a fellow blogger. Turns out his oldest daughter is engaged and is turning to mom and dad for help finding a wedding venue that only an economist (the daughter) could love.

So he stopped by my desk the other day and picked my brain about which, in my experience, wedding venues in Southern California give you the most bang for the buck. Now, seeing as how I didn’t exactly get married in a traditional manner, I don’t exactly have a bride’s experience with shopping wedding venues. But I do have secondary experience with brides on a budget. My mom’s clientele was in general all budget minded, but they all liked things to look nice, too. So, I’m going to share with you an alphabetical list of the venues I’ve decorated at least four times or more, which indicates to me all these venues are budget-friendly.


Almansor Court in Alhambra

Almansor Court in Alhambra is basically a restaurant with gorgeous scenery and a golf course. This venue is very popular with the San Gabriel Valley crowd. As you can see, you can have a really beautiful ceremony using the gazebo, overlooking the pond. It’s main ballroom overlooks this scene, but there are a bunch of other ballrooms of various sizes without a view.

The Castaway in Burbank

Luckily, I’m a better decorator than photographer, so forgive me the graininess of this photo. It was a lot darker, trust me. The Castaway in Burbank sits atop the Verdugo Mountains, so it overlooks much of the Los Angeles basin. This is a great place to have an evening wedding. They have two large ballrooms overlooking Los Angeles and the Valley. My buddy Moonie, who had his raucous reception here, told me in 2005 that the Castaway offered him the best deal out of any other wedding venue he checked out. I’ve been decorating at the Castaway for more years than I can remember, and I can tell you that they are really improving the outdoor area — there is now a pergola along the courtyard and I believe a fountain, as well. Oh, and there is also a gazebo here, but I haven’t used it very often.

The Courtyard in Baldwin Park

Because of its proximity to my mom’s church, The Courtyard in Baldwin Park was practically the official church party/wedding venue. This hotel has had several names over the years, by the way, so maybe you don’t remember it as the Courtyard — its basically the hotel you see to your right when you exit the westbound 10 Freeway at Puente Avenue. The nice thing about this hotel is that its quite economic — I’ve been told that the per-person price of a steak/beef dinner is as little as $24. But this was quite a few years ago, so this may have changed. Anyway, the staff is pretty friendly and very cooperative, which is always helpful for florists and crew.

The Hilton in Glendale

I’ve been to the Hilton in Glendale (formerly the Red Lion Inn) several times for a variety of reasons. I’ve been here to cover stories and I’ve been here to decorate. I think I’ve even attended an event here. Anyway, the grounds are nice, its a pretty nice, central location and the facilities are pretty updated. The staff is cooperative and I don’t think I’ve done too many stacked weddings here — meaning, weddings scheduled back to back.

Pacific Palms in Puente Hills

My family has a pretty long history with the Pacific Palms in Puente Hills. It used to be the Sheraton Industry Hills. History includes my sister’s 18th birthday party (her debut) and my swimming in a meet in the Olympic-sized pools down the hill. I’ve done many a wedding and birthday party here, both in the lower level’s big ballrooms with high ceilings and on the upper ballrooms with lower ceilings, but huge windows and beautiful views.

Bonus: Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier.

I have not been to the Friendly Hills Country Club more than once — at least, to my knowledge. But the place is gorgeous. The greens are a golf course, and the clubhouse’s ballrooms don’t fit that many people as some hotels do. But it is definitely gorgeous.

10 thoughts on “Budget-friendly venues in Southern California

  1. Pingback: Want a Southern California winery wedding? | Wedding Decorator Blog

  2. California has a lot of different wedding locations to offer to a couple wanting to get married. Whether you are planning for an indoor or outdoor wedding, California has the perfect place for you. Also, California offers a budget-friendly. Chooses are, cathedrals, chapels, temples, synagogues, private homes, gardens, hotels, clubs, halls, parks, museums, yachts, wineries, beaches, and hot air balloons. The above places could be the perfect place for your wedding.

  3. Hello, my name is Joyce. I’m actually planning my own small wedding on a really tight budget. I don’t have a specific location. My concerns on a wedding is the reception. I’m trying to find a place where my guests can have a great time,and also be happy with their meals as well. I know a lot of places its very expensive for the dinner..if you can help me that’ll be great..

  4. We are a very budget-friendly, historical resort in Cherry Valley, CA. Our grounds are home to southern California’s largest organic lavender farm as well as Riverside county’s first historic landmark. We would love to be one of your go-to venues for future weddings. Please visit our website and let me know if you would like any further information.

  5. We have two very large outdoor areas to have the wedding/reception of your dreams on a budget. We allow you to use your own vendors and bring in your own food and drinks. Your day, your way!!!

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