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Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach

So isn’t it funny the places you think will be your least favorite end up being the one you love and the one that was your favorite didn’t quite meet the mark!?  Well unfortunately that was the case for Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach. Now do not get me wrong- this place is AWESOME! If I only had about 50 guests and my ceremony location was a little closer to Manhattan Beach then this would be my venue for sure.

The venue offers several different event spaces to use for your ceremony and/or reception.  The middle courtyard area can be used for ceremonies as well as a reception.  There is a lounge/bar area that can also be used for a small cocktail style gathering, and the sky deck (poolside) can be used for a reception.

I was only interested in touring the Sky Deck because it had an ocean view and it was poolside- the ingredients of my perfect venue!  The area unfortunately does not have much seating space and its slightly smaller than expected. I loved the modern-chic decor and it would not take much decorating to make this area look fabulous. Poolside lighting is already in place and space heaters would also be available since it does get chilly at night because of the ocean breeze. There are plenty of plants around the deck so again this would cut down on flower decorations and centerpieces if a bride was trying to save money.  It’s within walking distance to the Manhattan Beach Pier so if your guests stayed in the area there would be plenty to do, lots to see. They do offer guests a 10% discount on their rooms (which are gorgeous by the way!) With the food and drink package options you could really stay under $8000 for about 80-100 people. That’s a GREAT deal for the area. I also give their food two thumbs up! We arrived at Shade a little early before our appointment and had lunch out on the patio at their onsite restaurant.  We all (my mom, friend, and I ) had something different and we agreed the food was great!  So anyway, I certainly do not give them a bad rating at all. Unfortunately just for the number of people we’re expecting and the location it won’t be a match for us this time.  I’ve attached some of my own pics I took of the hotel on my trip out there!

Norris Center Pavilion Review

The Norris Center Pavilion is in Rolling Hills Estates and is only about 5 minutes away from the Wayfarers Chapel where we’re having our ceremony. June, the facility wedding coordinator is such a sweet lady and had all our questions answered before we could ask them!  The room is a traditional banquet style setting with an adjacent outdoor terrace.  The lobby and bar area at the front of the building can be used for the cocktail hour.  There is a big water fountain in the front of the building (very pretty)!  The facility was great overall and the price was right on target with our budget.  They have a list of 10 caterers who they partner with and as long as you stick to one of them there are no additional charges outside the site fee.  Unfortunately with us targeting a Thursday wedding date, they are not available on Thursdays since its also serves as a dance theater during the week where they hold dance classes and such.  It also does not really have a view of anything but the hill that backs up the facility and I’m really going for a city or ocean view if possible.  I ranked them #4 out of my 5 venue visits only because again, I just want something “different” and outside the typical banquet room reception.  If anyone wants more details I have a spreadsheet and other info I can share!  You can find pictures of the pavilion I posted previously here.

The Queen Mary

The view of the Long Beach Pike and Shoreline Village from the Queen Mary were awesome!  Unfortunately we were unable to view my room preference, the Verandah Grill ballroom, due to a business meeting running a little long.   We did see a few of the other ballrooms.  The Queen Mary offers great rates and low food and beverage minimum.  The negative for us was the lack of upkeep of some of the walls, floors, and restrooms we did see.  Now keep in mind the ship is over 70 years old, so naturally thats what we’d expect to get I guess.  If you want to give your guests a little taste of history, this facility just might work well for you.  It is a beauty!

Reception Venues Part II

So here are two more venues we’ll be visiting when we go in July.  Avia Hotel in Long Beach actually won’t be opening until August 1, but the Sales Director has been nice enough to schedule a site visit with us since we’re only there for a few days.  I’ve seen pics from the Savannah location from a friend of mine and it looks gorgeous!  The Savannah location prices look extremely affordable so I’m crossing my fingers its not too outrageous in Long Beach. Once we visit, I’ll post more pics.  It sits right in downtown Long Beach and has ocean views!   And last but not least is the Norris Center Pavilion in Rolling Hills Estates.  This is the only indoor facility we are considering.  The actual venue sits on a hill overlooking the water, but they don’t have an outdoor patio or seating area.  The reason I like this place is its very affordable to rent out and you have the option of using their vendor list or you can bring in your own. Its what they call a “blank canvas” meaning I can bring the room to life with my own creativity!  Ha ha! I’ve seen some amazing photos from this place from other weddings! Again, we really want something with an oceanview, but I thought I would check it out anyway. July can’t come soon enough!

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