Prospective, affordable reception venue: check
Prospective church for the ceremony: still looking.
Yes, I attended the information meeting night at St. Andrew church in Pasadena. I waited three weeks to find out the stipend fee was way out of our budget. Perhaps I budgeted way too low for the church, but the $2500 to marry at St. Andrew is just too much. While I would love to marry my future husband at St. Andrew's, I know that it's not really necessary. The church's physical beauty shouldn't really matter and I would be happy to marry my fiance in the simplest of chapels. The church drills home the fact that marriage shouldn't be all about the reception venue or the party afterwards. The ceremony is the most important part and you should spend even more effort and focus on your preparation for such a huge committment. Sure, I believe all of these things, 100%. But that doesn't mean I need to fork over tons of money to make that commitment. All you need is (cue The Beatles) love.
So the search for the wedding ceremony site continues...and we can't book our reception venue until we do so. My advice: If you're going to have your wedding in a church (or at least a Catholic church) secure your wedding ceremony site first. Make sure you understand all the requirements and set your wedding ceremony date. Your ceremony site should dicate where you have your reception, not the other way around.