I've found my first potential location for a reception, thanks to vrbo.com.
Moroccan villa with ocean view, on 4 acres of land with a private access road = hello, parking and privacy. Linens provided. Fully stocked kitchen plus outdoor BBQ grill = idea for how to feed the peeps. Catering available (does that mean they're used to renting it for parties?) Obviously I would need to go by & look at the place first, but this is the first place that's well within my price range that looks like it has serious potential.
I initially found this idea on one of those "real wedding" posts. The bride with the brainstorm used Craigslist to find hers, but I'm a little more need-to-be-sure-about-it than that. Enter the fabulous Beer Babe b-maid herself, Christmas, who suggested the above website. It has tons of listings that rent by the night/week/month, just about anywhere you can imagine finding a place to rent.
I love the idea of having a day to set up & clean up, for less than the total cost of renting a hotel/restaurant space. And we'll skip the wedding surcharge, too -- I'll just tell 'em it's for a birthday or anniversary party. (Our Zero-th?)