Does anyone have ideas about how to spend as little as possible on a wedding, without it seeming tacky? Places like parks dept. rentals, or a restaurant that would charge less than others, but is still nice.Thanks. Elle
I have been to a lot of weddings! There are lots of great little places tucked away ..More specifically, I know a couple of boat clubs in San Francisco that are amazingly cheap to belong to; the BayView Boat Club at China Basin and the Mariposa ...they both have nice kitchens. Also in Sausalito um forgetting what it is called...a huge barge, has a fantastic kitchen & you can have a party on it. All 3 places are non-profit and you can have a catering company to do the work...all 3 have safe parking and fabulous views. I have been to weddings at Delancy Street in San Francisco that were very very well catered by them and it's nice there. I think The Maybeck Recital Hall does parties here in Berkeley and The Faculty Club on Campus but not as inexpensive.. Mazeltov!
One way to save money would be to search (on Here Comes the Guide or elsewhere) for venues that allow you to use any caterer, rather than making you choose from a pre-set list. If it fits your taste, you could probably save significantly by having your wedding catered by an ethnic restaurant--say an Indian or Mexican buffet. There are tons of cost-cutting tips: buy a wedding dress from a consignment store, or use a bridesmaid's dress instead, hire students as musicians, have a small wedding cake with a big sheet cake for slicing, use a make-your-own-invitations kit, etc etc. If friends and family can help do things like flowers or photography, that's great. Focus on what's most important to you about the day and don't let the wedding industry convince you a bunch of silly extras are absolute necessities. Have fun!
I went to a great wedding which was 'pot luck'. Instead of bringing gifts, everyone brought a dish for the party afterwards. The food was great and everyone has a great time because they felt like they participated. Honestly, at a wedding, everyone wants the couple to be happy, so don't worry about the details which seems to upset many other brides, just have a great time.
Most parks will allow use of the facilities with a minimal reservation fee and I have seen weddings in the Rose Garden in Golden Gate, in Tilden,at the Legion of Honor (it was very windy), and on Mt Tam. If you have a favorite spot, you may want to look into whether it can be reserved. Anon
HI - Of course, places that are nice and inexpensive are going to be booked up way in advance. But if you are planning ahead, you might try either the Berkeley or Oakland Rose Gardens. I was a student when I got married, and we had our ceremony in the Rose Garden in Oakland and then a reception in Sequoia Lodge in the Oakland Hills. The lodge is also in a park and managed by either Rec and Park, or East Bay Regional Parks. It's been a while, so I don't remember the details. Saturdays are booked very far in advance, we lucked out and got a cancellation spot on a Sunday (my husband's family is Jewish, so it worked for us). Good luck! Deborah
Congratulations! I was married in October and remember having the same questions. It was not easy, and we still spent a lot of money (probably between $7-10,000). Yikes! However, we did have help from folks. We had a two day affair: Saturday was the intimate backyard wedding (no fee!) and dinner with all those folks. The next day was the larger reception with about 100 people at Mills College. My husband's brother-in-law officiated (no fee). We bought cheese and fruit from our local market as appetizers. We had our wedding night dinner, with fewer than 30 people total, at Lo Coco's on Piedmont Ave. We took up around 2/3 of the restaurant. It's Italian food, Sicilian style, and one of our favorite restaurants. We met with the owner ahead of time and chose our favorite dishes (pizzas, bolognese, caprese salad, etc.) The total cost was in the hundreds (600 ish? The exact amount is escaping me). I asked my aunt if she would co-sponsor the dinner, and she generously said yes. Ask people for help!
For the reception, two friends made nuptial brews, so that cut down on beverage costs. I'm a Mills alum, so our fee was 50% of the cost. Do you have that option?
Our photographer is an assistant to an established photographer. She had done a few weddings, but was still building her portfolio, so her fees were much less expensive. She charged $850 for unlimited shooting, and a CD of the photos. She also graciously lowered her fee by a hundred dollars when we asked her because we were overstretched financially. It never hurts to ask for lower fees. The worst that can happen is the person will decline.
For flowers you can do it yourself and get flowers at the SF Flower Mart. If you know someone with a badge, you'll get an even better discount. Good luck and have fun! still a newlywed
Sequoia Lodge, Redwood Lodge, in Oakland (Oakland Parks dept) are relatively inexpensive to rent. Then you can either do pot luck, or plan a menu and ask specific people do bring specific dishes. We did this for our wedding. Although we had it at the Brazil Room which was more money then Sequoia Lodge, etc. we saved several thousand by having our friends adn family bring food. I hired a caterer to move the food around, but maybe you could hire some teenagers. Get your wine at Trader Joes, do a lot of the prep weeks in advance, yourself.
Do you want a professional photographer? If not you can ask everyone to bring cameras adn take pix. These days you can get fabulous pics on digital cameras. They can e-mail ou pics or give you a CD. Then you can figure out if you want to spend money on a band, a DJ, or small group to play background music. good luck. have fun planned my own less pricey wedding
I wanted a low-budget, low-drama wedding and planned a roving celebration in SF for ~25 people. We all met in a public park, had a gathering and ceremony for about 40 minutes, then had a nice shuttle van transport the guests to a friend's apartment for a champagne reception (about 1 hour long or so) and then had the shuttle transport everyone to a restaurant for dinner. Someone else gave me the inspiration for this format and her wedding was similar, except she was married at a city hall, stopped at an art gallery for a reception, and then went to a restaurant afterwards.
I don't know about specific restaurant suggestions, but I would look for ones that are moderately priced, but nice and that don't have a specific wedding program. Boulevard in SF had a set wedding program with a boring menu and an exorbitant price. Call around and ask how they would handle a large party and what the pricing/options would be. Anon
We had a relatively inexpensive wedding (about $5k for 100 people) by: 1) Got married at the Brazil Bldg in Tilden Park on a weeknight - I think it was a Wednesday night - we had the space from 4pm to midnight for around $800 (I think about 1/3 or less of the price of a weekend day - not to mention we were able to book our date within a few months before the wedding)
2) Hired the least expensive catering company they offered - Royal Raspberry was the company and they were awesome - didn't do appetizers - just snacks out on tables that we supplied ourselves - and supplied our own alcohol (we paid the catering co. to serve the alcohol)
3) Friends supplied the photography and dee jaying as wedding gifts. My dad's band played for free also.
4) Got my dress at the Gunne Sax/Jessica Mcclintock outlet in SF - absolutely loved my wedding dress (traditional white wedding gown) and paid $100 for it - then spend another $200 or so to have it altered to make it perfect.
5) Didn't do many flowers - very minimal - the space itself was beautiful, so flowers weren't a priority for us.
Come up with a budget and stick to it by deciding what things are the most important to you and letting the rest go. good luck
My SIL and fiance are really struggling to make their wedding plans. They don't have much money, but they want to have a large wedding (150-200 people). They really want to avoid a reception in a lame hall with terrible catering. Any suggestions?
I once went to an outdoor wedding of some friends, and I described it to my SIL and she thinks it sounds good, but it was in another state and we can't figure out where/how to do it in the Bay Area. It was on a lovely piece of property outdoors, there was a lovely early-evening ceremony, followed by a great BBQ/party (someone came in and did a hawaiian pig roast, they had some catering and a cake, and some of the couple's foodie friends made some amazing ''potluck'' dishes to share. They had the property overnight, so all the young folks camped on the land that night. The couple shacked up in a loaned motorhome on the property that some friends decked out for the wedding night.
Anyone know where one could do something like that for relatively cheap?? Or, anyone have any other good suggestions or recommendations? They're hoping to get married in early Fall. Thanks so much! trying to help the bride!
Tilden Park in Berkeley has a bunch of ''spaces'' for rent. Some are much nicer than others, and would be perfect for a low-key, inexpensive outdoor wedding. More info at the link below. The better spaces get booked quickly, of course. One of the really nice locations is next to the golf course. http://www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden congratulations!
I saw a exact outdoor wedding like you describe last year while camping at New Brighten State Beach in Santa Cruz. They had the entire group day use area reserved that is set on the cliffs overlooking the sea. They had it catered by a bbq service and had live music. It looked just wonderful. They also reserved the ''premium'' camp site that are on the cliffs overlooking the beach where they spent the night(in tents-no RV)
If they are planning for Fall you better hurry and reserve whatever site you ultimately decide on as to they all fill up 6 months in advance. Love a beach wedding
Tilden Park. You can rent a large picnic site, get reasonably priced catering, keep it simple. Rebecca
We got married five years ago at Tilden Park. We booked a spot (grassy meadow near a big redwood grove) for 2 hours in the Botanical Garden for the ceremony and also reserved a picnic area nearby (I think it was Laurel) for the whole day. We had to fudge this since for some reason they won't rent two different facilities on the same day to the same person - so my fiance reserved one and I reserved the other; different names, no problem. We did the ceremony in the Gardens then moved over to the picnic area for the reception. Most of our guests were young and healthy and had no problem walking the quarter mile; we had a couple of friends with minivans shuttle the older folks. Dress was casual so most people were not doing this walk in dress shoes.
It was a great experience, perfect for us because we wanted casual/outdoor. It turned out to be a 100 degrees that day so people migrated to the strip of shade along one edge, but the picninc area was a huge field with lots of room. We had an acoustic band - there's no electricity. We had about 130 guests and a caterer (Wildrose Catering) who had no problem with setting up a buffet on picnic tables. Parking was tight, but we managed.
All up, I think it cost about 200 bucks for the day (for the rental). You could do the whole thing at the picnic ground and save $60 and avoid the walking issue. I 'd do it the same way again
Having that large of a headcount at a wedding will not come ''cheap'' and will require lots of engenuity to make it not appear ''cheap'', but fortunately, it can be done. As for location, check out the regional parks district website and look at Ardenwood Farms (historic victorian structures, lots of pretty landscape, different activities there so guests could make a day of it... and they do weddings). It's in Fremont, so the weather in the Fall may be more predictable and constant throughout the day than weather up here. Another suggestion or theme: Some friends of ours who were both older and didn't want the pomp-and-circumstance of a fancy wedding hosted a cozy-country themed wedding somewhere in South San Jose (heard it was really fun). Ceremony was outdoors, reception in a barn-like structure, they had BBQ for the dinner, guests and wedding party went on a hay ride and they learned some country line dances... UC Botanical gardens also does weddings... Happy planning
I missed your original post, but thought I'd chime in for a casual wedding. My husband and I were married four years ago in the gazebo at Alvarado Park. We live close to the park and were very familiar with the setting and the EB Park Staff, so we made it work. It wasn't a 'traditional' wedding location, but we rented the two picnic areas surrounding the gazebo, had a friend that brought in nice chairs, had a superb bbq and the guests really enjoyed it. The only downside was that it was 103 that day (unseasonably warm) and it was quite a bit of work (which my husband and I didn't mind because we are the types that like to work). We really wanted our wedding to feel like us and have some personality to it, we just are not formal people and would feel uncomfortable in a formal setting. We had badmitton, but also hired a jazz band, which was a hit. You can see my review of the park on Yelp, along with a picture of the gazebo. Good luck. a casual setting fan
We are getting married now, and need... Location 1. outdoor setting like a garden, farm or vineyard 2. a place we can do both the ceremony and the reception with room for dancing. It is fine to have the reception indoors. 3. kid friendly 4. max $2000 site fee, without any accommodations. We will of course pay more if services are provided. 5. within 2 hours of Berkeley
Caterers 1. organic is better 2. we want the best tasting food, not the best price
DJ 1. nothing too cheesy 2. someone who knows house music and cheesy wedding music
Thanks for the help!!! Courtney
We just went to a wedding at the park in Piedmont. Our friends had an outdoor wedding and indoor reception. There was a dance floor inside, and we even saw couples dancing in the adjoining courtyard. I don't know how expensive it is, but the wedding we attended was not extravagant. The location is beautiful, with lovely indoor and outdoor spaces. It's very kid friendly. The children ran all over the park while waiting for the wedding to start.
Check out the Marin Art and Garden center (http://www.maagc.org/index.html). I believe the cost is less than 2k on certain days and during the ''off'' season.
I don't have any recommendation for a DJ, but an amazing event venue in Sonoma is Cline Cellars. We were married there 7 years ago, and it is still my favorite place on earth. It is not pretentious, a country setting with tons of rose bushes. We were married on the patio near the adobe mission. I'm sure their prices have gone up since then, but I did TONS of research and they were one of the most reasonable in the wine country. At the time, they let us choose the caterer from a list. We chose Piper Johnson out of Calistoga and LOVED the food. Check out Cline's website at www.clinecellars.com. Click on winery and vineyard and then host an event on the pull down menu. Seven years later, that is a picture of our first dance when you click on HOST AN EVENT. Good luck finding a great place. It's still the best day of my life!!! Kris
My fiancee and I are planning a frugal (but pleasant, we hope) wedding this summer. Our preferred location has no catering restrictions, so we're considering having some buffet foods prepared by one or more local restaurants ... but we'd like to not be involved in picking up food, setting up, serving, cleaning up, etc on the day of our wedding, so are seeking ideas for reliable and not-too-expense help for these services. There's a recommendation for Hostess Helpers in the archives, but even they seem a bit pricey ... up to $140/hour for one Captain and two Servers. Anyone have any goods experiences or suggestions? Mike
My husband and I got married in our backyard in Oakland 3 years ago. We were totally broke but wanted to get married then because there were lots of people around that were moving and we wanted them to be at our wedding.
We went to a Tacqueria in San Leandro (Los Pericos) a few months in advance to discuss all of the possibilities and then again the week before. They made large pans of rice, beans, 2 different kinds of meat. Also all the trimmings (lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole) in presentable containers as well. We ordered 100+ home made tortillas. The food was awesome.
We ordered the kegs from a local liquor store. We set the whole thing up buffet style. It went off without a hitch. We hired 3 persons who were friends of friends and it was perfect. They picked up the food and set up everything up for us. Everyone got lots to eat and the service was great.
The whole thing to feed & drinks for 60 people and hiring cost us about $500. Was not my ''dream wedding'' but it sure came close. DiAnn
I just got engaged and am looking for recommendations for wedding reception sites in the Bay Area or nearby/Northern CA (e.g. Tahoe, etc). Ideally, we are looking for locations that are reasonably priced as we have a limited budget. I reviewed the past recommendations on the web site but still need more help. We're open to all kinds of suggestions (e.g., restaurants, hotels, halls, parks, etc) -- we're undecided but it's likely to be between 50-125 people. We plan to hold the ceremony in a church. And, any other hints/tips about weddings are most appreciated too! (web sites, magazines, advice)
Best wishes on your upcoming nuptials! For a great party space - check out the California Alpine Club facilities on Mt Tam in marin. They don't advertise their space but it is gorgeous setting and non-members can rent it. http://www.calalpine.org/ The Oakland parks have nice lodges for rent too, they have a website also with fees listed. Many places are hurting for business so don't be afraid to bargain--my employer held a function at a local hotel and had the room rental fee waived - only paid food costs. In Tahoe you might check places like Holly's Place, Camp Richardson, and Spruce Grove (tahoe has many facilities like these) where you have a courtyard space to celebrate within surrounded by cabins and rooms where guests can stay. Do a websearch for ''family reunion'' type of facilities for lodging/meeting space, there are nice settings in Monterey, Anderson Valley, and Marin which offer the same. Consider a picnic style menu, just appetizers, or similar simpler but still tasty fare to lessen your food costs. frugal new wife
Congrats on your engagement! Since you said you want to have the ceremony in a church, I want to first point out that whatever church you use may have a parish/social hall that you could very conveniently have your reception at. That's what my husband and I did when we got married in 1998. Otherwise, I honestly can't give any further suggestions on reception sites, except to say that it will be very hard to find an affordable place for a wedding reception here in the Bay Area. Actually, since you mentioned Tahoe, I'll add that one of my best friends got married on The Princess (Tahoe Queen affiliated) in Septmeber 2001 and that was very nice. Here are some helpful websites:
www.theknot.com www.ultimatewedding.com www.easiestwedding.com www.weddinglocation.com www.wednet.com www.topweddinglinks.com www.tahoeweddings.org Etc, etc, etc.....Just do a ''wedding planning'' search on Yahoo! You may find TOO MUCH info!
Also, for general party planning and supplies for cheap, I just bought a bunch of stuff from Oriental Trading Company (www.orientaltrading.com) and PartyPro (www.partypro.com) for my other best friend's Bridal Shower coming up in April. Have fun and good luck! P.S. I can recommend a good caterer if you do have your reception somewhere in the Bay Area! Jennifer
We just had our wedding in September. We did a very laid back afternoon party, so this may not apply to you at all, but here's how we did it.
We did our ceremony and reception in the Mountain Theatre on Mount Tam, which certainly fits your budget requirement (it was only $100 to get the whole thing for the day, as it's basically classified as a State Park picnic site) and it's beautiful, with a view of the bay and the city on a good day. But it's logistically challenging to do the (outdoor) reception there. We were only able to make it work because we had a wonderful caterer, the Kitchen Magician (Rachel - 415-459-3033) who was flexible, creative, accomodating, extremely helpful, made fantastic food (I mean it - delicious) and really quite reasonably priced, especially for what we got, which was a full Thai-fusion feast outdoors under the trees. I'd recommend Rachel no matter what site you end up with!
But since you're set on the ceremony, for an inexpensive site for a reception I might suggest looking at the Marin Headlands Hostel, out near Rodeo Beach. We had family and friends stay there, and were able to very economically house over 30 people (it's a hostel, not fancy, bunk beds), plus we rented out their main hall as a rain back up for $150 for the afternoon. It would have been a tight fit for us with nearly 150 people, but I think it's fine for a group up to around 80. Full kitchen, tables, couches, outdoor picnic tables. You may want to rent a few extra tables and chairs. Not fancy, but definintely a beautiful setting.
There's also a great website which is fun to check out, which debunks a lot of the commercialization of weddings and is full of a thoughtful commentary on the whole wedding experience: http:// www.indiebride.com/
Most important, which was hard at times, is to remember to ENJOY yourselves -- both the getting ready and the having the party. We tried to involve friends and family every step of the way - we had a wine tasting at a dinner party to choose wines (which we bought at Trader Joe's -great prices), we got friends to create decorations, our moms went to town creating pots full of annuals for the tables rather than (more expensive and less long-lasting) cut flowers. My mom made my dress, which was a simple sundress out of a material I chose, a good friend did my hair that morning. Three photographer friends took our photos (we bought the film online for cheap at B - http://www.bhphotovideo.com) Friends and family provided live music at the reception. We had plain sheet cakes and asked guests to sign the cakes with frosting during the reception! People all claim to have enjoyed themselves, and more importantly, we certainly did.
This was possibly more than you asked for, but I hope some of it helps! Deb
Congratulations on your wedding! I'm getting married too this July. Wedding planning has consumed my life for the past five months. I think I have read every bridal magazine, searched every site available and asked every question there is to ask... and I'm still not ready. Anyway, to answer your question... I looked into renting the Redwood Heights Community Center in Oakland. Its a nice place esp. for a low budget, approx. $65 an hour, and accomodates up to 150 (more ideally 125). I think we were going to pay about $700 (including liquor lic. fee,clean- up/set-up,etc.)for the evening, 3-11PM.
Most city facilities have reasonable rental rates. The only problem is that although tables and chairs are provided, you may spend more money decorating because the place is bare... only a big room with tables and chairs. Thats one of the reasons we chose to go with the Rockefeller Lodge in San Pablo, which rents for $1050 for 6 hours, Sat and Sun and 1/2 price, $525. on Fridays! There are no clean-up or set up fees or liquor license fee, only extra for additional chairs, or tables outside. Rockefeller is a historic lodge/garden location, with indoor and outdoor areas for ceremony and reception. Its also partially decorated with flowers on each table etc.
If you choose Rockefeller or a place like it, be aware that you will have to use their catering services and the catering is the most expensive. I think its still worth it though and their catering fees are pretty average especially since they include everything... china, glasses, linen, and servers. Most catering companies charge an extra fee for bringing linen, china, etc. to another location so it adds up.
Other nice locations are...Preservation Park in Oakland, The Snow Building at the Oakland zoo, Webster House in Alameda (a little expensive), Marina Community Center in San Leandro, and another historic house in San Leandro near Dutton...rents for $550 (I can't remember the name).
My favorite and most useful website is The Knot.com. There is a ton of information on the site, including vendor lists, your own personal budget information, checklists, and a personal website for you and your fiance' to tell your story. So, good luck. You can email me anytime of for more info. magic
We were married in China Camp State Park 2 1/2 years ago (on the Bay near San Rafael). We couldn't have been happier with our choice. We held the reception during the afternoon at Miwok meadows ($25 to rent for the day) after a late morning wedding at little peninsula in th epark (special permit required). SOme people have held both wedding and reception in the meadow). We used A La Heart catering--and they did a beautiful job in a place with no water or electricity. We brought in our own bathrooms because we didn't love the ones there. Go visit and Good luck!
Like you, I am getting married on a budget. My fiance and I chose the Joaquin Miller Community center for our reception. If you've looked through the ''Here Comes the Guide'' book, then you may have seen it mentioned. The community center is lovely, as is the park in which it resides (Joaquin Miller park). Reservations are made through the City of Oakland, Office of Parks and Recreation, Central Reservations Unit. The community center has 2 assembly rooms with beautiful wood floors, that can be opened up into one large assembly room if you need more space. There is a full, professional kitchen, a beautiful fireplace alcove and a gorgeous view off the deck that runs the length of the building. The rates are very reasonable, and you only pay for what you actually use (there are several different rooms and configurations of use), but you still get the building to yourself. In other words, even if you only rented one of the assembly rooms, the rest of the building would NOT be rented to anyone else for the duration of your rental period. We rented the deck and one assembly room, and the only reason we had to actually pay for the deck was because we decided to have our tables and chairs set up there. As long as you aren't planning a specific event or use for an area (like I am with the deck), you can still ''use'' it for free - that is, people can ''hang-out'' on the deck or in the fire-place alcove - you only rent areas if it will have a *specified* use, like eating, or dancing, or taking photographs, or whatever. I hope the way I said that makes sense. Any way, I also really liked the Community Center because it is near the ''cascade'' in Joaquin Miller Park. The Cascade is a beautiful, multi-tiered waterfall. It was made in the 1930's, and, even though it is man-made, it is very beautiful and perfect for photographs. Since it is a designated wedding site, we reserved a couple of hours so we could be sure to have it to ourselves to take our ''forma!ls! '' Oh, another VERY important reason we chose the Joaquin Miller Community center: you don't have to use a caterer. Since these are so expensive (we couldn't afford one), we needed to find a place that would let us bring in our own food (my dad's doing the cooking!). Joaquin Miller Community center reccommends Glass Onion for a caterer, but you're free to bring in whomever you wish. So many wedding sites make you use a caterer from their list of recommendations.
Well, best of luck in your search! Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the Joaquin Miller Community Center. alesiam
My girlfriend had what I thought was one of the most lovely and meaningful weddings I've ever attended (about 75 people attended). She and her husband were on a limited budget. So, they asked friends who had a pretty backyard if they would host the reception. They rented chairs (and decorated them with craft store white ribbon and dried flowers), a wedding canopy, aisle carpet, and bought and arranged ''outlet'' flowers and potted plants. For food, they asked about 6 of their closest friends to prepare food for the reception (in lieu of a gift). The food included two poached whole salmon, 2 large roasted turkeys carved and plated, a roast beef, and various salads, cheeses and olives, and side dishes. They bought a simple wedding cake and rented chafing dishes, plates, silverware, cloth napkins and tablecloths, etc. and also hired professional staff to serve and clean up. For drinks, they served punch - one with alcohol, the other without. The food was wonderful and none of us who cooked had to do more than 1 or 2 large dishes (I did a 25-lb turkey and a vegetable platter) and we could all enjoy ourselves while professionals served and cleaned up. The rented tableware and craft-store based decorations made everything look beautiful. Oh, they had music as well - another ''gift'' from a friend who was a semi-professional DJ (he did a tape so he could mingle most of the day)- they did hire a professional photographer. At the end, the photographer took a wide lens picture of all the assembled guests with the happy couple in the midst that was later sent to those of us who ''helped'' as a thank you. GREAT wedding. Karen H.
We had our wedding reception at the Central Park Restaurant in Oakland. It's right on Lake Merritt, and there is an attached ''rooftop garden'' that is actually quite pretty. It was certainly in our budget, we had about 80 guests, and I thought the food was good, the place was nice, the staff was very helpful. Overall, I thought it was a great place considering our budget limitations (I think we ended up paying about 35 dollars a person. I don't remember--or repressed--all of those specifics.) Jennifer
We got married at The Old Homestead in Crockett. It was $400.00 8 years ago and was great. Would only work for an outdoor wedding though there is a small house for food service, etc. There is a beautiful deck built around three redwood trees and a large cement circle that is perfect for dancing. Ariel
Lake Merritt United Methodist Church in Oakland has a lovely view of Lake Merritt, an incredible sanctuary featuring three glass mosaic panels by Louis Comfort Tiffany, and a social hall that accomodates up to 200 people for a sit-down reception. The rates are reasonable and you can't beat the location! Also, there is an enclosed outdoor patio that has a play structure, a plus for the kids of your guests who might come. You can rent the kitchen and do your own cooking or have a caterer bring in the food. Call me at 465-4793 (the church office), as I'm the facilities manager for the church. I'd love to speak with you about your needs and what the church has to offer. You can see some photos at www.lakemerrittumc.com. B Avalon