Lately, we've been seeing more and more couples hosting their reception at a restaurant—after all, it's very convenient because nearly everything you need is in one place, including the food, staff, china, linens, and booze. Plus, you'll probably spend less on decorations and rentals. Southern California couple Ila and Hiroki opted to host their reception at a local restaurant last summer, and we checked in with them to get the scoop on how they, along with their wedding planner Natalie Good, of A Good Affair, pulled it all together.
"Good food and wine were top priorities for us," says Ila. "And we realized that hosting our wedding at a restaurant would be much more affordable than a reception hall." The Old Vine Café, in Costa Mesa, is a favorite of theirs, but "it's pretty small and we didn't think it could accommodate our guest list," says Ila. "But once we found out they could add additional tables on the patio in the summer, we jumped on the opportunity and booked it." The couple rented the restaurant for a buy-out fee, and the restaurant owners rented extra chairs and linens to accommodate their 54-person guest list.
"We loved the restaurant's décor, so we didn't need to add very much," says Ila. She purchased succulents from a local nursery to use as table centerpieces and crafted birds from different textiles to decorate the space; the bride and her sister also made strawberry-prosecco jam, which were given as favors. During dinner, guests enjoyed a four-couse tasting menu with wine pairings, which featured sautéed scallops, handmade fettucine pomodoro, grilled filet mignon, and cheesecake with a wild berry purée. "Everyone still raves about the food," says Ila. "Our wedding was wonderful and we're so glad we decided to go this route." —Heather Lee, Brides Southern California