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July 14, 2008

In Person Venue Search

So I made it to CA last week which would explain my absence on blogging for the week. It was an eventful weekend (Friend's BEAUTIFUL wedding - I'll blog about soon) and then finally meeting my wonderful Wedding coordinator Paola and seeing some venues in person.

I have a great brother. I try not to tell him this to often, although he knows it, but he's pretty damn cool and always looking out for me and ways to make my life easier. Since he does consulting, and is currently working at the House of Blues location for Live Nation he is often stuck at a hotel in Hollywood. So, knowing that my SIL, my mom, my niece and I were going to go Venue shopping out in the LA area, he made sure that the room he got that week for work was a SWEET suite.


Renaissance Hotel near Kodak Theater is amazing. But the room my bro got was even more AWESOME.

This room has a view slight north, all of east, all of south and some west of the LA area...

So Tuesday morning started off busy. I was trying to fit too much in into one short day, and was hoping to get out to West LA early enough to see my dear friend Care and her new baby JIL. I really wanted to fit this visit into this trip b/c i didn't know when i would actually get a chance to see them again... but alas, i obviously overbooked myself and couldn't make it.

So i thought we'd be on time b/c we had to cut that baby visit out, but alas an accident on the 405 still made us 30 minutes late to my first meeting with Paola. But she was calm and understanding yet again.

So we got on our way... a little late but nevertheless headed towards Camarillo. Our first stop was McCormick House ... It may look familiar and is better known as the House from the "Father of the Bride" Movie.

(Click on any picture below to see the actual pictures I took or click on the link of the name for their website)

It was beautiful but there were definitely some down sides for it to be chosen as our wedding venue. The biggest issue besides the distance from OC was that there were no flush able bathrooms. The one VIP bathroom was for the bride and wasn't THAT VIP. The Deluxe bathrooms weren't that great and just took away from the venue site.

Camarillo Ranch & Museum

Camarillo Ranch & Museum is very nice as well. The one thing i loved about this location is that the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception had distinct individual spots on the location. There were normal bathrooms. The bad was that it was in Camarillo - too far and that the reception area seemed close to the 101. however, I'm told Saturday traffic vs. Tuesday traffic is much lighter and another alternative is that they are remodeling the Barn which will make for a GREAT reception venue.

Rancho Sol Del Pacifico

The location is stunning via pictures but it was in Malibu but way in the Malibu Mountains. You would have to provide a shuttle at the base of the mountain b/c the hill is hard for sober people during daylight, i can't imagine that drive at night with people who've had a drink or more... My party could have been accommodated at the lower court aka the lower tennis courts that definitely needed a paint job.

Malibu Phoenix

Malibu Phoenix was also a bit of a hike, but not as scary a hike as RSDP. The one issue i had with this venue is that it was in Malibu but had no view of the beach. It would need some serious work for what i had in mind for my venue and for the price, it just didn't suit our needs.

Natural History Museum

The NHM is beautiful venue. The inside location for ceremony is gorgeous. the architecture is amazing - but as you can see there are erected dinosaur statues in the center of the ceremony location. Seeing that neither of us are real Dinosaur people, we couldn't justify the dinosaur centerpieces. The north entrance had some serious potential but a lot of switching around during cocktail hour or having to have everyone at their tables instead of chairs for a ceremony.

LA Rivers Garden Center

This venue is a little haven in a very busy LA area. It's beautiful with lots of nature surrounding you. But it also had a traffic noise that bothered me. i was told however, that on weekends, its never been noticeable, which i definitely believe. Weekdays just have more big trucks on the highway. That being said, there were three distinct areas you could use for each aspect of the wedding, but I wasn't keen on the set up for the dance floor.

Red Horse Barn

The Red Horse Barn is GREAT! The location is one mile from the beach - which is great for hotels for out of town guest albeit slightly pricier possibly, but overall a GREAT venue. It's at an equestrian center but its secluded off. My only concern with this venue is that there isn't three distinct spots for each part of the day and that picture possibilities are quite limited. The option would be to do a wedding elsewhere and then to do the ceremony cocktail hour here OR that during the cocktail hour, the transformation from ceremony to reception begins.

Rancho Santa Margarita's Bell Tower

One of the few places I inquired into but never got the 411 for. My SIL and I went by there on Wednesday on our way to the Hat :) This was IT! It was so perfect. It was city owned so therefore the rates were reasonable. It had a huge banquet room to fit up to 300. It had separate areas that could be rented to ensure distinct spots for each part of the wedding and it was close to my bro's and about 15-20 minutes from Laguna beach. Not too bad. EEEEEKKKEE! Hold the phones. When Paola tried to pry some info from the city about this location we hit a roadblock. She refuses to really be of any help until at least 12 months out and no more. I mean we're just asking for basic questions and everything is "well we don't know, it could change," but that's not what we are asking, we are asking for what about NOW! Anyways, it is still on top of our list. We will go out and revisit it in September and Mom Likes it a lot too... sounds like a hit!

**Shouts outs must go out to my loving and oh so very patient SIL who drove us all over SoCal Tuesday. My beautiful niece who was Amazing considering we didn't' even stop for food. My mom who stayed open minded throughout most of it.


  1. I was wondering where you went! Glad to see you had a good and productive time!

  2. Hello there! I just discovered your blog today from Lady T -- I love all of your venue pictures. I haven't read all of your posts yet, so forgive me if you have already posted about this, but do you have a specific venue look you are going for? Are you looking in the OC at all?

  3. I miss my beautiful AJ...wingman par the venues!!!


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