The Venue Hunt - Finding Hidden Gems at a Great Price!

We have all set a budget for our big day, and can't help but feel discouraged when we set out on step #1: finding the perfect venue.  You quickly learn that the nicest, most stylish venues are priced so high, they blow your budget right out of the water. They know they have a good thing and with constant inquiries, they realize that they can name their price and people will pay it (even if you can't). What can you do?

Don't lose heart. There are some hidden gems throughout your area, you just have to know where to look.  Here in San Diego, we have a lot of beautiful parks (with excellent weather year round to boot!), more specifically Balboa Park for us San Diegans (managed by the City of San Diego....which means it's inexpensive), along with a variety of other places that can give you the wedding you want at a price you can afford.

Understand that if you are working on a budget, that may translate to extra work to get you exactly the vision you want. The right venue can take some of that load off, but not all...and at what cost?

If you are looking for a great venue at the right price, here are some places to start:

  • County managed parks and community centers (yes, I said community centers...you are on a budget!! and some have been built in the last 10 yeas, which means they are pretty clean and nice) Here in San Diego, you can check your options by looking through this list of of county parks.
  • City managed parks and rec centers. These will vary by city. Here in San Diego, you can get creative and search in Santee, El Cajon, San Diego, Poway, Coronado (think Coronado Community Center) etc. Think outside the box.
  • Women's clubs.  These are spread throughout your area. Usually ideal for a wedding under 100 people.  Run a quick online search to see what's in your area.
  • A friend or relatives property. This usually means FREE. However, you need to consider power, bathrooms, and everything else you will need to bring in to make everything come together.  But a FREE venue is a nice place to start.
  • Your church. If you are a member of a church, it is likely that you will be able to use the space at a low cost. and most churches will also provide the tables and chairs, already have a sound system, and plenty of restrooms. Hello!
  • Off the beaten path. Here in San Diego, there are some really cool parts of town that offer incredible venues. But what if you looked in an area that isn't quite a "cool"?  What gems could you find outside of the city, or in a suburb? You may find a great place to hold your wedding at fraction of the cost...they just don't realize what a good thing they have.

Before you write these places off, go check a few out with an open mind.  You may be able to make the wedding you want happen at a price you won't lose sleep over.  When you start considering all of the pieces that go into making your wedding YOURS...you realize that you can work with most any space.