I Do Details

Our most frequently asked questions.

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help answer any wedding or event inquiries you may have. However, we understand that every celebration is unique, and you may have questions not listed here.

Please feel free to contact us directly to learn more about our downtown SLO wedding venue. We are excited to help make your special celebration an unforgettable and incredible experience!


Located in downtown San Luis Obispo, The Penny is a distinctive event venue boasting an expansive open floor plan encompassing both an industrial indoor space and an inviting outdoor courtyard. Available for a variety of occasions including weddings, receptions, parties, corporate events, photo shoots, productions, and workshops, The Penny offers flexible rental options.

Originally constructed in the 1930s to house a blacksmith shop, the building exudes historic charm with its original architecture, exposed brick walls, and industrial finishes complemented by modern fixtures and decor. The venue’s name, The Penny, pays homage to the decades of craftsmanship that have flourished within its walls.

As San Luis Obispo’s premier large-scale mixed-use event space, The Penny’s central location ensures convenient access to the city’s finest hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping destinations. With a commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences, The Penny’s owners have leveraged their extensive event expertise, a passion for preserving historical significance, and a discerning eye for design to create a truly remarkable venue.

With over 3,700 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space, The Penny offers versatility to accommodate various setups. As a rough estimate, we can host up to 125 guests for an indoor seated dinner, 75 for an outdoor luncheon, and up to 300 for a combined indoor/outdoor cocktail-style event. These capacities may vary based on specific event requirements such as space for a DJ, dance floor, cocktail tables, and buffet or plated meals. Our Venue Manager will collaborate with you to tailor the space to suit your event’s unique needs.

The Penny boasts a lush private patio ideal for wedding ceremonies, cocktail hours, and dance parties. Enhanced with modern fencing and landscaping, the patio showcases our historic barn constructed in 1895, illuminated by stunning bistro lighting throughout.

At The Penny, we encourage clients to personalize their events and welcome them to bring in their own decor. However, for those seeking to simplify the planning process, we offer an extensive collection of decor and specialty rentals in-house. Explore our offerings by visiting the “Decor Closet” page on our website for a sneak peek into what we have available.

Do you have any restrictions?

While we encourage guests to add their personal touch to each event, we have a few policies in place to maintain the integrity of our venue. We kindly request that nothing be nailed, taped, or glued onto any surfaces inside or outside the venue. Additionally, while confetti may add to the festivity, it can be challenging to clean up. Therefore, we ask that confetti, rice, glitter, and birdseed be left at home. For safety reasons, sparklers are strictly prohibited on the premises.

Although we don’t have a designated getting-ready space onsite, we offer a charming bridal lounge that serves as an ideal spot for the bridal party to unwind before the ceremony, touch up makeup, and more. Our wedding clients appreciate having a private space for intimate moments as a married couple after the ceremony. This bridal lounge is accessible to wedding clients throughout the entire rental period.

Our stunning lighting options provide ample illumination throughout the venue. Indoors, modern brushed gold sconces and overhead pendants, all equipped with dimmers, add a contemporary flair. Meanwhile, the bistro lighting on our patio creates a delightful ambiance that extends into the evening hours.

As a general practice, The Penny staff will handle the setup and breakdown of all items owned by the venue, including tables, chairs, furniture, and decor. These will be arranged according to a confirmed floorplan at the start of the rental period. Should any chair movements or space rearrangements be necessary, our team will oversee and assist, although we do require cooperation from the food catering team to ensure efficient execution.

Furthermore, for clients who book one of our wedding coordination packages, we will also take care of setting up and breaking down any personal items or decor provided by the client.

While we do not offer overnight accommodations onsite, our central location is conveniently situated within walking distance to four downtown SLO hotels. Additionally, there are dozens more hotels within a 5-10 minute drive from our venue. We’re delighted to provide our guests with recommendations for our favorite hotels in the area. Click here to view our hotel recommendations.

Located in Downtown San Luis Obispo, The Penny does not offer on-site guest parking. However, there is ample street parking available in front of the venue, as well as a convenient three-story parking structure just 2.5 blocks away. Additionally, we are just a quick 5-minute rideshare away from most hotels in the area.

We provide a range of rental packages tailored to accommodate various event and client requirements. Each package is meticulously crafted to streamline the planning process, offer exquisite and functional furniture and decor, and allow for personalized customization.

All our packages include onsite staff, set up and breakdown of venue-owned items, in-house tables and chairs (quantity varies based on the package selected), a custom-built bar, security services, abundant indoor plants, and full access to the entire property, including indoor and outdoor spaces, catering area, and showroom/lounge.

For a comprehensive list of inclusions specific to each package, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our contact form for further details.


To guarantee the success of your event at The Penny, we require the presence of a professional coordinator/planner for all weddings, as well as for non-wedding events with more than 100 guests. However, we offer an excellent in-house wedding coordination package for an additional fee, which we believe adds tremendous value to your experience. We’d be delighted to provide you with more information about this service!

You are welcome to engage an outside wedding coordinator for your event at The Penny. Our team has curated a list of seasoned coordinators that we would be pleased to share with our clients. While you are not obligated to select a coordinator from our list, we do require that all vendors, including planners, be approved by the Venue Manager at least (90) days prior to the event. This ensures seamless coordination and execution on the day of your event.

Based on our experience, most clients take approximately 9-15 months to plan a wedding at The Penny. Throughout this period, our team is dedicated to assisting with the planning process and guiding clients in selecting vendors who align with their vision for their special day. While we are involved from the moment clients book, we typically recommend scheduling a final walkthrough and design meeting with us about 4-6 months before the wedding date. During this meeting, we review details such as floorplans, logistics, vendor arrangements, and provide access to our latest decor inventory, ensuring every aspect is meticulously planned and executed to perfection.

Our Brass and Copper wedding packages feature a complimentary 1-hour rehearsal the day prior to the wedding. Additionally, a rehearsal can be added to our Steel wedding package as an optional extra.

We permit both live and amplified music at The Penny. However, please note that our city permit mandates that all music must conclude by 10pm.

Yes, our Copper and Brass packages include a one-hour rehearsal the day prior to your wedding. Additionally, this rehearsal can be added to our Steel wedding package as an optional extra.

Yes, at The Penny, we host both indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies, cocktail hours, and receptions. Our venue offers a variety of layout options to suit your preferences, and our team is delighted to provide insights into these choices to ensure your event is tailored to perfection.

Yes, all rentals at The Penny include tables and chairs. Our custom-built tables feature wooden tops and do not require linens, while our chairs complement the industrial modern aesthetic of the venue. Each package includes a specific quantity of tables and chairs, although additional items can always be added based on the event’s requirements.

With its historic brick building adorned with modern and industrial accents, The Penny offers a versatile backdrop perfect for a diverse range of event and wedding styles. From whimsical bohemian playgrounds to gorgeously modern aesthetics featuring streamlined lines and minimalistic vibes, we’ve witnessed the space transform to suit various visions. Whatever your dream is for your special day, our team is dedicated to assisting you, and our in-house decor options help streamline the process, ensuring your vision comes to life seamlessly.


For liability reasons, pets are not permitted on the property at The Penny.

Sparkler Exit Policy:

For liability reasons, sparklers are not permitted on site at The Penny.

We require all clients to obtain host liability insurance of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000), naming The Penny LP, Inc as additionally insured up to (60) days prior to the event. Our team can provide a recommended carrier for this service, offering an easy online application with a fee of approximately $150. While clients are not obligated to use our service, several other online companies also offer these types of policies. Additionally, all vendors working on-site must show proof of commercial general liability, workers’ compensation, and liquor liability (if serving alcohol).

Yes, The Penny mandates on-site security for all events to ensure their success, the safety of guests, vendors, neighbors, and the proper treatment of our venue. We collaborate with a licensed, insured, and bonded third-party vendor and handle scheduling for all events. Security personnel are required to arrive on-site one hour prior to the event start time and remain until all breakdown is complete. Our wedding packages include security for up to 8 hours, while our Gatherings packages have a security fee of $250 for up to 6 hours of on-site staff. If additional hours are needed based on event times, pricing starts at $75 per hour. Typically, one staff member is sufficient for most events, but the number of security staff is at the discretion of The Penny Venue Manager. Any additional security needs beyond a single individual will be discussed with the client at least (30) days before the event.

In accordance with city permits, we maintain a smoke/vape-free property, and smoking/vaping is prohibited inside or within 300 feet of the venue. San Luis Obispo city mandate extends to the entire downtown core (The Penny’s location), including all sidewalks, parking garages, restaurants, stores, and playgrounds. Violation of this rule will result in a partial loss of the security deposit and may also lead to city citation.

Absolutely! The Penny boasts a wide array of audiovisual equipment, ranging from standard projectors/screens/microphones to the latest state-of-the-art technology, along with on-site AV tech services. Please reach out for a comprehensive list of options and pricing.

Bar & Catering

While The Penny does not offer in-house catering services, we have a curated list of pre-approved caterers that we can recommend. Drawing from over a decade of experience in event catering and restaurant ownership through our sister business, Sidecar, our team is delighted to provide insights into various catering options to suit your event needs.

Yes, we provide a fantastic list of recommended caterers for our clients to choose from. While clients are not obligated to select from this list, all the caterers included have previously worked at our venue, offering exceptional service and high-quality products. Therefore, we believe it’s an excellent starting point for clients. However, if a client prefers to book a catering team not on our list, they must meet our catering requirements and receive approval from our Venue Manager to work onsite.


Clients are welcome to bring their own beer, wine, and spirits for all events at The Penny, as the venue is permitted for all alcohol types. However, while you are welcome to BYOB, we do require that all bar services be operated by a fully licensed and insured bartender and/or caterer. We do not allow self-service alcohol of any kind.

Additionally, The Penny is pleased to offer fully licensed, insured, and highly experienced bar services through its sister company, Sidecar Cocktail Co. However, clients also have the flexibility to hire other bar services from our list of approved vendors.

To ensure safe and efficient bar service, The Penny requires a minimum bar service protocol of no less than 1 bartender per 50 guests.

Yes, at The Penny, we provide both indoor and outdoor cooking areas for catering teams. Additionally, there is ample prep and storage space available inside the service barn. However, please note that all catering equipment will need to be brought in, as there is no built-in kitchen available on site. Nevertheless, most caterers in the area are experienced with prepping off-site and finishing on site, ensuring a seamless catering experience for your event.

We maintain a wonderful list of recommended vendors that our team has thoroughly vetted and believes offer an excellent product and service. All vendors on our list are pre-approved to work on site at The Penny. We are delighted to assist clients in finding vendors that align with their vision and event needs, ensuring a seamless and memorable experience for their special day.

Day Of

Our wedding packages typically offer between 12-14 hours of access to the venue. Most rentals begin between 9am-11am, allowing ample time for setup and preparation before the event commences.

Our wedding packages typically include 12-14 hours of access to the venue. However, additional hours can be added on if needed for an additional fee, providing flexibility to accommodate specific event timelines and needs.

Yes, we do require all vendors working on site to provide proof of commercial general liability insurance. Additionally, if alcohol is being served, we also require proof of liquor liability insurance. This ensures the safety and security of all parties involved in the event.

In compliance with city ordinance, all events at The Penny must conclude by 10:00pm and be fully broken down by 11:00pm. This ensures adherence to local regulations and a smooth conclusion to your event.

Logistics & Activities

Centrally located, The Penny is approximately 3 hours away from both LAX International Airport and San Jose International Airport. Additionally, there is a local airport just 10 minutes away from our venue, offering direct flights to many major domestic cities for added convenience.

SLO Food and Drink Hot Spots

Located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, our venue is just a stone’s throw away from some of the best food and drink spots the Central Coast has to offer. The Central Coast has become a destination for some of the finest wineries and breweries in the state. The beauty of our oak studded rolling hills and pristine beaches make the region the ultimate food and drink lovers paradise with set against the most gorgeous backdrop.

Downtown SLO Food Stroll

Start your morning off right with an iced latte or matcha at Field Day Coffee. Field Day sources their coffee, espresso, and tea from some of the countries most respected roasters and you can really taste the quality. Don’t sleep on their house made pastries and don’t even stop by their shop next door for some rad vintage goods and home decor.

For lunch don’t miss SLO’s iconic High Street Deli for the ultimate sando. The hype is real, everything High St touches is gold, and you can’t go wrong, but our staff favorites include the Dutch Punch and Mother Nature Veg, to name a few. They’ve also got a great selection of local brews to enjoy on their sun soaked patio.

For dinner and a drink head on over to our sister biz, Sidecar for a craft cocktail and chinese takeout inspired cuisine. Whether you camp on our peaceful creekside patio or downstairs in our speakeasy style distillery den, you’re sure to enjoy Sidecar’s unique cocktails and amazing staff.

Winery and Brewery Tour

There are so many great places to imbibe in SLO County, but to narrow it down we’ve picked some of our favorite spots for a glass of wine or a brew.

Wine, Beer, and Cider tasting at Duncan Alley

With some great local options, we’re loving SLO’s newest hub to eat, drink, and linger. Home to small batch winemaker El Lugar, Shindig Cider, and craft beer bar Ancient Owl Beer Garden and more, the options to imbibe are endless. We love the focus on local makers here and its quickly becoming the ultimate weekend afternoon hangout spot.

Edna Valley Hot Spots

SLO’s own burgeoning wine region, Edna Valley is just a 10 minute drive from The Penny. There are so many options to choose from, but we love Malene’s delicious rose served from their vintage airstream trailer turned tasting room. The stunning Edna Valley location and laid back feel encapsulate the SLO town vibe perfectly. Just a few minutes down the road Biddle Ranch Vineyard and its gorgeous tasting room offer an effortless sophistication and more gorgeous valley views. On your way back to downtown don’t forget to hit up There Does Not Exist for their ever rotating line up of meticulously crafted beers and a fantastic lineup of local food trucks and pop ups.

An Oasis for Outdoor Lovers

From epic trails to jaw dropping beach sunsets, The Penny is surrounded by so many gorgeous natural gems. Our wedding clients love capturing golden hour at the Madonna Mountain trailhead about 6 blocks from the venue, but we highly recommend a scouting trip and hike to the peak on one of your planning visits. After your hike stop in to the ultimate icon of kitsch, The Madonna Inn, to reward yourself with a steak, martini, and world famous slice of pink champagne cake.

A trip to SLO is not complete without a day trip up Highway 1 to experience the beauty of our coastline and its surroundings. Heading north you’ll hit Morro Bay, a sleepy bayside town with a buzzing embarcadero and several infamous surf spots. Grab a coffee at the newest location of famed SLO cafe, Scout Coffee and cruise the bay in a kayak or boat rental and watch the adorable rafts of otter families. Continue north and you’ll hit Cayucos, home of the famed Brown Butter Cookie Company and the most delicious organically sourced faire at Hidden Kitchen, Take your scratch made gluten free blue corn waffles to go and hike out on Estero Bluffs to take in the untouched views of the Pacific and some of the areas most abundant tidepools. Next on your northbound journey you’ll find the town of Cambria known for vibrant artist community and miles of beachside bluff hikes. But don’t stop there, just another 15 minutes up the road Hearst Castle beckons. This stunning property is well worth the winding trip up the mountain fo ra tour. Knowledgeable guides will help you explore rooms and grounds adorned with priceless European art and ancient artifacts and share the castles rich and sometimes scandalous history. After your tour cross over the 101 to San Simeon Cove for a waterfront glass of wine at the Hearst Winery tasting room paired with some tasty bites from Seaside Foods. As your afternoon winds down if you trek another 15 minutes up the pristine coastline you can catch the most epic sunset at Ragged Point, the launching pad to the greater Big Sur area!

Celebrate your special day at The Penny in San Luis Obispo and extend the festivities with unforgettable experiences throughout the charming city. Explore vibrant activities and spaces with your loved ones, discovering hidden gems and creating lasting memories.

🏰 Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa: Immerse yourselves in the rich history of San Luis Obispo at the iconic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Wander through serene gardens and admire stunning architecture, perfect for timeless wedding photos.

🌉 San Luis Creek Bridge: Stroll hand-in-hand across picturesque San Luis Creek Bridge, where romance meets architectural splendor. Capture breathtaking moments against this historic landmark’s backdrop.

🎭 Fremont Theatre: Indulge your artistic side at the legendary Fremont Theatre. Catch a performance or marvel at its majestic Art Deco facade, adding vintage glamour to your wedding weekend.

🎨 The Creamery Murals: Dive into color and creativity at The Creamery Murals. Admire vibrant street art for playful pre-wedding photoshoots with your bridal party.

🅿️ Chorro St. Parking Structure: Elevate your experience with panoramic views from Chorro Street Parking Structure. Capture sweeping vistas of the cityscape and rolling hills for breathtaking panoramas.

🚒 Historic SLO Fire Station: Ignite adventure at the Historic SLO Fire Station. Explore vintage charm and snap photos amidst antique fire trucks for nostalgic wedding day memories.

🏰 Two-Toned Staircase: Ascend the enchanting Two-Toned Staircase, a hidden gem in San Luis Obispo. Let its whimsical allure inspire candid snapshots that showcase your love story.

⛰️ Madonna Mountain: Scale new heights with a hike up Madonna Mountain. Immerse yourselves in nature’s beauty and relish panoramic vistas, perfect for unforgettable wedding portraits.

🏨 Hotel San Luis Obispo & Hotel Cerro: Retreat to luxurious accommodations at Hotel San Luis Obispo or Hotel Cerro. Unwind in style amidst plush surroundings of these exquisite boutique hotels.

📸 Photo Op Spots: From the timeless elegance of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa to the modern charm of Hotel SLO, discover picture-perfect locations for your wedding album.

Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails:

Bishop Peak Trail:

  • Length: Approximately 3.7 miles round trip
  • Time to Finish: 2-3 hours
  • Offers stunning panoramic views of San Luis Obispo and surrounding areas. Moderately challenging with rewarding views.

Cerro San Luis (Madonna Mountain) Trail:

  • Length: Approximately 4 miles round trip
  • Time to Finish: 2-3 hours
  • Leads to the iconic “Madonna” statue with a mix of steep sections and switchbacks, offering beautiful city views.

Johnson Ranch Open Space Trail:

  • Length: Various loop options ranging from 2 to 5 miles
  • Time to Finish: 1-2 hours
  • Offers scenic trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking, winding through oak-studded hillsides and grassy meadows.

Reservoir Canyon Trail:

  • Length: Approximately 5.5 miles round trip
  • Time to Finish: 2-3 hours
  • Leads to a beautiful waterfall and offers panoramic views of San Luis Obispo and surrounding hills.

Irish Hills Natural Reserve:

  • Various trails ranging from 1 to 6 miles
  • Time to Finish: 1-3 hours
  • Offers a network of trails ideal for hiking and mountain biking through oak woodlands and grassy hillsides.

Yes! Our team is excited to showcase our space, address any inquiries you may have, and learn more about your needs. Tours can be conveniently scheduled by completing the inquiry form on our website. We look forward to welcoming you and providing a personalized experience tailored to your event vision.

Booking & Payments

To secure the venue for your event, we require a signed rental agreement along with a 50% deposit. This ensures your reservation and allows us to prepare for your special day accordingly.

Yes, 50% of the package rate is required to book your date.

To confirm your desired date, we require both the retainer and a signed rental agreement. This ensures that your date is secured for your event, allowing us to proceed with the necessary arrangements.

Bar Opt-Out Fee: If the client opts to hire a pre-approved bar service other than Sidecar Cocktail Co and serves hard alcohol, an additional $250 opt-out fee applies.

Photobooth Opt-Out Fee: If the client chooses to bring in a third-party photobooth, a $150 opt-out fee applies.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% credit card processing fee applies to all credit/debit card payments, while a 1.5% fee applies to ACH/Bank Transfer payments.

Please note: There are no other service fees or taxes for any of our rentals!

Final payment is due three weeks prior to the event date. This ensures that all arrangements are settled well in advance, allowing us to focus on making your event unforgettable.

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Happily Ever After

If this sounds like your dream wedding, take the next step.

Are you ready to start planning your dream wedding? Our expert team will guide you and ensure every detail is taken care of, so you can focus on enjoying your special day.

Contact our team to ask questions, check date availability, and schedule a tour. Come see the magic for yourself. Let us help you create memories that will last a lifetime!

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Kind Words

“If you’re looking for a fun party location for a rehearsal dinner or corporate gathering in downtown SLO—The Penny is full of character and a great choice. I attended a great party there last night and am sure hoping to return. Space for mingling with friends, listening to live music and of course dance party later in the evening. Nice bathrooms too!”