Cut to the following weeks of November, 2008 when I took Mr Fix It to 12 different venues for other options. All in all, we visited:
*Fullerton Arboretum (an outdoor lawn site at a local nursery with trees and ponds where you bring in all the rentals to get married under the stars on the grass)
*Turnip Rose (a nice outdoor courtyard patio in Newport Beach with an inside hall type room for the reception)
*Summit House Restaurant (a restaurant with an outdoor park as part of it's grounds with a gazebo and stadium style seating. Ceremony in the park, reception inside a large, large room at the restaurant)
Amada Club (a very cool business building in Buena Park that actually rents out their place for weddings and other events. Sounds strange, but it is really amazing inside. They have a large restaurant type area that is like a cafeteria for the business but really nice for a dining area. They have a HUGE lounge area near the front entrance that you can use for cocktails which has several large red sofas. The entire building is centered around an indoor Japanese garden complete with little waterfall that the ceremony takes place around. And when the bride enters, the roof actually retracts and opens up for the sky to be open above. This area is then converted to the dance floor area)
*Los Coyotes Golf & Country Club (a golf club where your ceremony takes place on a patio overlooking the course and the reception takes place in a large banquet room)
*Tivoli Too (a really cool outdoor venue in Laguna Beach right next to the Pageant of the Masters and Sawdust Festival. Ceremony takes place in front of a waterfall/fountain on the hillside and the reception happens right behind there in a quaint little patio decorated with lights and such)
Richard Nixon Library (a library where your ceremony takes place in the garden outside around a large fountain pool and reception inside in a large banquet room. There is also a museum for guests to browse during cocktails if they'd like)
*The Hacienda (an outdoor/indoor type venue in Santa Ana with a Spanish style feel to it. It is surrounded with fountains and greenery and twinkle lights)
*Jones Victorian Estate (another private estate in Orange with a nice little pool with a bridge and gazebo where your ceremony takes place. The reception takes place in a large circular courtyard type area in the front yard. There is no use of the pretty little victorian house available for your event, it is basically just the backdrop to your event.)
*Muckenthaler Mansion (a cool little mansion/museum type place in Fullerton where guests can browse the museum and your ceremony and reception take place outdoors surrounded by trees on a lawn with a large tent for your reception)
*Anabella Hotel (Near Disneyland, this is just a basic hotel type place that allows you to have your ceremony near their pool...nothing really fancy...the worst of all we looked at)
*The Queen Mary (this large old stationery cruise ship in Long Beach is a huge historical monument. It was actually one of our very favorite places...very Titanic-ish style wedding could happen here - without the sinking of course)
*Electra Cruise lines (a harbor cruise around Newport Harbor on a large three story cruise ship completely used by you and your guests for the ceremony and reception. )
Photo Sources: Unless otherwise indicated on photo, all photos are courtesy of Herecomestheguide.com or the venue's website
Other places we considered but did not visit were Long Beach Museum of Art, Marbella Country Club, Rancho Capistrano, and the OC Museum of Art. When I factored in the rental and catering prices to my entire budget (vendors, florals, attire, gifts, etc) for each of the places we did visit, our budget ranged in prices from $25,000 to as high as $37,000.
So there you have it...we visited just about every type of wedding venue you could imagine from library to museum to park to restaurant to hotel to cruise line to golf club and so on! I definitely showed Mr Fix It the rounds. And honestly, most of them were pretty darn comparable when it came to price.
Now we checked out the cruise line only because Mr Fix It's brother had gotten married on one years earlier and said how inexpensive they were. And we both insisted that we had no intention of getting married on a cruise ship. But wouldn't you know it, of all the places I took him to, Mr Fix It fell in love with the cruise line idea and insisted that was the way we should go! I tried to remain calm and kept an open mind about his request. I went through and shared all the pros and cons to the cruise line versus Rancho Las Lomas.
I even showed Mr Fix It my new idea for how we could afford to get married at Rancho...if we got married on a Friday, they let us bring in an outside caterer - much, much cheaper than their required weekend caterer. We also got lots of discounts from vendors and other wedding related items due to a Friday versus Saturday wedding. We also opted for April which is a slightly off season month for weddings but still has great weather in So Cal. So I knew we could make it work in our budget.
Mr Fix It insisted the only way he would even consider getting married at Rancho was if they agreed to come down from their $8,000 venue rental fee to $5,000 for our Friday wedding. I was keeping my fingers crossed. He slowly began to let go of his desire for the cruise line wedding and realized it would be a much different affair than the one I was planning at Rancho Las Lomas.
And then the day before he was going to call the property manager at Rancho to negotiate the venue rental fee he called me. I was at work. And he said, "I'm going to call them tomorrow to see about getting the fee reduced to $5,000. They better work with us for sure as that $8,000 price is ridiculous!" I just agreed and said I trusted him to be polite and respectful and plead our case with them. Then he went on "I already decided though that I know how much it means to you to get married at Rancho Las Lomas. So if you really love it there, then you can just count on us booking it and we'll reserve it even if they won't come down in the price."
My heart stopped. I couldn't speak. I asked him if he was serious and when he said yes I instantly began to cry and with tears streaming down my face told him that "I was the luckiest girl in the world to have a fiance who cares so much about my hopes and dreams and that I was so in love with him regardless of where we got married."
And that is how the man of my dreams made my dreams come true by letting me book our dream venue! I am so very thankful for my Mr Fix It!
Oh, and he was able to talk them down to $6,500 on the venue rental fee so at least we got something back :)