I feel like there is a lot of free/cheep labour available (I'd love to help for free) can we find a venue where we can leverage this?
Unfortunately, no. This is actually the #1 problem, at least insofar as Seattle venues. Thanks to all kinds of ridiculous union and contractual requirements, the venue rental for larger/fancier venues is completely dwarfed by the required labor contracts that you have to pay to a bunch of people who you don't need.
It really pisses me off :(