Los Angeles is a hotspot for fine dining, celebrity spotting, and nightlife. But did you know it's also a phenomenal place to get married? If you're thinking of heading to the West Coast for your "I Dos," the first thing to do is choose a venue. But does the glitterati mean that having a wedding in L.A. is out of your budget? We asked Kristin Banta, wedding planner and founder of Kristin Banta Events, to break down the options and let us know what renting a venue will run you in the City of Angels.
The range in costs of renting a hotel ballroom in L.A. is vast, spanning from a $30,000 to $80,000 food and beverage minimum, depending on your guest count. "The number of guests you're having will have the biggest impact on this total," says Banta. The fee usually includes site fees, food and beverage, bar, and basic rentals (think chairs, tables, and basic linens, napkins, glassware, flatware, and china). "Deciding between a bar package charged per person or one based on consumption can also dramatically affect your numbers, especially if your crowd either really likes to drink or won't have more than a half a glass of champagne," Banta explains. So remember to consider what you'll want to provide when you're crunching those numbers.
Lofts and Blank Spaces
"Weddings in these types of venues can be significantly more expensive, since you have to bring everything (and I mean everything) in with you," Banta explains. That means you might have to build out a kitchen, rent furniture, and source all the glassware, china, and flatware — and that's before you even think about catering, décor, lighting, and entertainment. But if you're looking to create an experience from scratch (or have a more minimalist vision), the $5,000 to $25,000 rental fee could be pretty tempting. "Just remember that there's nothing included, except maybe the restrooms!" says Banta.
Where you are in the city (and which restaurant you choose!) will lead to a huge range of prices in this category, too. "Depending on the day and the restaurant, a buyout can range from $25,000 to over $100,000 — especially if it's a hot restaurant and the buyout is on the weekend," Banta says. However, it can also be a tremendous way to save, too. "A restaurant doesn't need much. They've got linens, china, and glassware, and décor built in. But that also means the rental is usually as-is, so you can't do too much to customize the experience," Banta continues. "But if the restaurant you pick is your absolute favorite and represents your vision, it can be a great low-maintenance option."
Ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 (and depending on whether you're using the entire building or just the exterior space), private residences are the priciest option in the L.A. area. "There are a number of extra fees involved, including additional charges to install or strike on the day before or after your wedding, but with an estate, that extra time is usually a necessity," Banta says. Site fees commonly cover the exterior grounds, though occasionally some property rentals include furnished interior spaces. "However, you can't usually have your wedding in those spaces: They're for you to use as a space to get ready, or for the bride and groom to stay overnight," Banta explains. And don't forget the accommodations you'll need to make for your guests (on top of all the rentals you'll need to bring in). "It's common for venues like this to require off-site parking and restroom rentals, especially if you're not allowed inside the home," says Banta. But for a wedding that feels like you're celebrating at (a very swanky) home, private estates can't be beat.