I'm in the wedding business, in California! Get married in a frind or family members backyard. It costs a lot of money in overtime fees to have food and equipment brought to a park or beach. It will end up costing much more than a venue!
Here's one way to save....
You can rent linens directly from a wholesale rental company instead of buying them. Some companies to try are Creative Coverings, Tabletop Fashions, and BBJ Linens. You can get some very nice linens at a small price.
Also, party rental companies are a great resource. You can rent tables, chairs, china, etc. And they can usually recommed the best venues, caterers, etc.
I seriously do not recommend getting chaircovers! They are so out of date and tacky. Simple, nice chairs are much more tasteful. Chaircovers are made to fit many different chair styles and sizes. They do not end up looking like the ones in the magazines. Those covers were custom made to fit those chairs and would cost over $50 each. The ones you would get would like look a "one size fits all dress", lumpy and ill fitting.
This is a great time to be getting married. Caterers, florists, photographers, etc are all feeling the recession and will negotiate pricing. Just remember to not lowball them and insult them or you will not get a high quality product.