Orange County Wedding Venue Breakdown

Let me first just say that I originally thought I could plan a wedding for under $10k. Psh, yeah right. What I quickly learned is that most venues charge over $10K just for the venue, rentals, food & bar. The ones that don’t still charge a venue, table & chairs rental fee of about $5,000 or more. Swallowing my pride thinking that I can do anything DIY for cheap, we charged ahead, looking for the best bang for our buck, while still nailing most of our wishlist.

Our wishlist: outdoor ceremony & reception with lots of trees & bistro lights, 6+ hours of event time, and hopefully a food truck and/or BYOB option.

Surprisingly, this mythical spot is extremely difficult to find. Many only have the reception inside, others only allow you to have the venue for 5 hours of event time, most don’t allow outside catering, and very few allow BYOB.

Anyway, before checking out a few wedding venue locations in Orange County, I spent a fair amount of time researching and price checking quite a few venues in the area. Since we ultimately decided to hold the wedding in my parent’s backyard in Sacramento (and are able to cross off all of our wishlist items), I thought I’d put my extensive research to use with a blog solely about venues in OC.

So here it is all laid out in what I hope is a helpful fashion. Everything’s based on Saturday pricing in peak season, so it could change based on your preferences. I based the total estimate on 150 people (when it’s a per person situation), 4 hours bar service and choosing the lowest cost options for comparison (no appetizers included).

Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar

Estimate: $4,000

  • Price breakdown: $2,000 + $2,000 membership fee.
  • Includes: Venue for 6 hours.
  • Notes: Must used their approved caterer.

French Estate in Orange


  • Includes: venue for 6 hours, tables & chairs, and shuttle service.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony & reception in the backyard of a large home.
  • Notes: BYO everything. Limited amount of weddings per year.

Wilcox Manor in Tustin


  • Includes: Venue, rentals & lighting.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony & reception in the backyard of a large home.
  • Notes: BYO everything.

Credit: Wilcox Manor


Griffith House in Anaheim

Estimate: $5,000

  • Price breakdown: $3,500 + $10/pp for rentals and coordinator.
  • Includes: Venue, rentals & coordination services.
  • Space: Outdoor lawn area for ceremony & reception outside of a cottage style home/church.
  • Notes: BYO everything. Great value, but the surrounding neighborhood is a bit sketchy and the lawn is right next to a very busy street.

Eureka Building in Irvine

 Estimate: $5,350

  • Price breakdown: $2,800 venue + $12 pp for rentals + $5 pp for table settings.
  • Includes: Venue & rentals.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony & reception under a trellis.
  • Notes: BYO everything.

Red Horse Barn in Huntington Beach

Estimate: $5,500

  • Includes: Venue only, but they offer all-inclusive packages as well.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony & reception.
  • Notes: Must use approved DJ and bartender.

Serra Plaza in San Juan Capistrano

Estimate: $7,000+

  • Price breakdown: $7,000
  • Includes: Venue for 5 hours, tables & chairs for 200, and vintage furniture.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony & reception in a pretty courtyard.
  • Notes: Must use one of their preferred caterers for food and alcohol.

Villa Del Sol in Fullerton

Estimate: $7025

  • Price breakdown:  $5225 venue + $12 pp rentals
  • Includes: Full use of Courtyard and Terrace, Villa Suite and valet parking/security.
  • Space:
  • Notes: Event time frame is 5 pm – midnight and catering required from one of 4 onsite restaurants.

Credit: Villa Del Sol

Wedgewood San Clemente

Estimate: $7,350+

  • Price breakdown: $49 pp for crystal package.
  • Includes: venue, dinner, DJ, invites, champagne toast and rentals.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony on golf course; Indoor reception with cocktail hour on outdoor deck.

Parker Ranch in Trabuco Canyon

Dream outdoor venue right here, but don’t bother looking into it because they are currently only renting the space out to family and friends.

University Club in Irvine


  • Price breakdown: $4,000 outdoor reception + $1250 outdoor ceremony + $28 pp for dinner
  • Includes: venue for 5 hours & food
  • Space: Outdoor and indoor options.
  • Notes: Currently closed for renovations.

Long Beach Museum of Arts

Estimate: $13,800+

  • Price breakdown: $500 ceremony site + $4,000 reception site + $9,300 buffet & standard bar.
  • Includes: Venue, rentals, food & bar, heaters, coordination.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony and reception with an ocean view.
  • Notes: Includes 5.5 hours event time.

Rancho Las Lomas

Estimate: $18,250+

  • Price breakdown:  $8,500 rental + $1500 lighting + $34 pp Silver menu + 21 pp beer & wine bar.
  • Includes: venue, rentals, lighting, catering & bar.
  • Space: Multiple outdoor and indoor ceremony/reception spots.
  • Notes: This place is insanely gorgeous and has plenty of options for where you want your reception/ceremony to be.

Colony House in Anaheim

Estimate: $16,500+

  • Price breakdown: $6,500 + $10,000 food minimum
  • Includes: venue, security, standard lighting, and tables & chairs for 250
  • Space: Indoor ceremony & reception in a brick/modern/industrial area.
  • Notes: Food, beverages and rentals must go through 24 Carrots Catering (lowest cost: $30 pp for food; $18 pp beer & wine).
colony house

Credit: Wedding Bee

Franciscan Gardens in San Juan Capistrano

Estimate: $17,500+

  • Price breakdown: $7,500 rental; $10,000 food minumum.
  • Includes: venue, chairs & tables, security, & basic bistro lighting.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony & reception. They are currently renovating a very cool indoor brick space to use for either reception or ceremony.
  • Notes: Food, beverages and rentals must go through 24 Carrots Catering (lowest cost: $30 pp for food; $18 pp beer & wine). Space available until midnight for up to 200 people.

Mount Palomar Winery in Temecula

Estimate: $18,000+

  • Price breakdown: $120 pp
  • Includes: venue for 5 hours, food & bar, and rentals

Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine

Estimate: $20,250+

  • Price breakdown: $1500 ceremony site + $1500 terrace site for cocktails + $92 pp dinner (minimum $12k) + $23 pp beer & wine bar.
  • Includes: Barn, rentals, dance floor, cake cutting.
  • Space: Garden ceremony and reception in Big Red Barn for up to 250.

Bella Gardens Estates in Murrieta

Estimate: $22,249

  • Price breakdown: $18,999 for 100 guests plus $65 pp over 100 guests
  • Includes: 3 days/2 nights stay for 10-14 people, all rentals, coordination, 2 photographers, buffet + appetizers, servers, and DJ. They have a couple other smaller packages available as well starting at $8,000.
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony & reception at a large estate.
  • Notes: Probably the best all-inclusive deal you can find in the area.

Bella Collina Golf Course in San Juan Capistrano

Estimate: $22,000+

  • Price breakdown: $5,700 + $59 pp dinner/appetizers + $14 pp first hour bar / $8 pp each hour after
  • Includes: venue, tables & chairs, food & bar
  • Space: Outdoor ceremony and indoor reception.
  • Notes: Great views from inside and two large patios areas during cocktail hour & reception. The chairs provided aren’t my style so we would’ve had to rent others.

Galway Downs in Temecula

Estimate: $24,500+

  • Price breakdown: $139 pp for classic package + $25 pp for beer & wine bar
  • Includes: venue, food, coordination, DJ, and rentals

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Estimate: $25,000+

  • Price breakdown: $25,00
  • Space: Various spots for ceremony & reception


Happy hunting!




DIY Hanging Tissue Pom Poms Video Tutorial


Fair warning, these are easy to make but take longer than you might expect…especially when you’re making over 20 of them. BUT, they are a super fun and cheap way to bring the party to your living room. I wanted various colors, shapes and lengths to create depth, but you can really make them however you want!


  • Tissue paper stack cut in half (10 sheets per pom pom)
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors


  1. Place 10 sheets of tissue paper on top of each other. Cut in half. I tried a couple ways of cutting them – in half and 2/3 to 1/3 to create one big and one small. Small ones are hardest to make and the large ones droop too much for my tastes.
  2. Fold like an accordion with 1 /2 inch of space in between – backwards and forwards.
  3. Once completely folded up, cut the edges – you can either round the tips or cut into a V.
  4. Cut a long piece of ribbon and tie one end in a knot around the center of the folded up tissue accordion. This keeps everything in place but also gives you something to hang the pom pom up with.
  5. Pull one side of the accordion open like a fan and lay it flat on the ground.
  6. Carefully unfold and fluff each piece of tissue so it forms a ball.
  7. Once each piece is pulled apart, you can pull pieces towards and away from the string and the other tissue as needed.


*Check out my other DIY projects*



DIY Copper Vases Using Beer & Wine Bottles

So, I’m obsessed with copper. And beer & wine.

Old bottles + copper paint = rustic sophistication.

I made these vases for our engagement party a couple weeks ago and even keep them to use in the future since they turned out so well.



  • Beer and wine bottles
  • Metallic copper spray paint
  • Matte finish protective spray
  • Wild flowers


  1. Peel off wine and beer labels
  2. Scrape off the leftovers by soaking in warm water
  3. Spray with copper spray paint and let dry
  4. Spray with matte finish to keep from chipping


*Check out my other DIY projects*



Matt’s Famous Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob

Matt and I love grilling. Well actually, he loves to grill and I love when he grills. My favorite thing he makes? Corn on the cob.


Sounds simple but boy, the way he makes it is truly addictive. It’s all about the spices and some TLC.


  • Corn – 1 per person
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Garlic Power
  • South African Smoke Seasoning (Trader Joes – This is a seasonal item but it’s supposed to be in stores in August)
  • Olive Oil
  • Tin Foil

Now for the recipe…


After husking the corn, place each one on it’s own sheet of tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil.


Add each of the spices and don’t be afraid to load it on depending on your preferences.


Rub it all in and wrap the corn up in tin foil, twisting the ends.


Place on the grill for ___ minutes.


Have a beer and wait it out. That’s what grilling’s all about, right?


Check the corn to make sure the kernels are nice a plump.




New photography website now live & other exciting news!

Recently, I decided to separate my photography from the blog to make sure I devote enough attention to each individually. That said, I’m excited to share that my photography website and portfolio is now live here!

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been taking engagement photos and lifestyle pictures for about a year and a half. I absolutely love love, which is why engagement photos are a huge interest of mine – it’s so fun to see my couples enjoying themselves and caught up in…well, love! I also love photographing people in general, so lifestyle photos like family photos, graduations and portraits in general are definitely my jam.


Prints on Society6

Some of my favorite travel & beach photos are now for sale as prints, canvases, iphone cases, mugs, pouches and more fun gifts on Society6, which you can also access through my website. Matt and I are traveling to Montana/Yellowstone in September and Costa Rica in November, so I’m hoping to add more photos to my collection then!


Blogger Project

I’ve been working on a fun new project with Brittany, the blogger for She’s All Smiles. As an eating disorder survivor, Brittany’s inspiring blog discusses wellness, fashion, food, and more – all to promote leading an all-around healthy lifestyle. Working with her has been awesome and I’m really happy to be a part of such a great project. You can see some photos from her blog posts here.


If you haven’t already, make my day and like my Facebook page and follow along on Instagram! Thanks for all of your support!