When we began planning our wedding weekend a quick internet search had me floored at wedding venue prices. Our $16,000 wedding budget (much less than the average cost of a wedding) was immediately going to be swallowed up if the venue was $5,000. Many venues force you to use their caterers, DJs, videographers, and other vendors as well. This gives me no control over those budget items. Thankfully when we sat back and looked at How To Reduce Wedding Venue Costs many options were available.
We had decided early on to have a very small Friday night ceremony/dinner and then on Saturday night have a celebration at our house. We spent the money we would have paid for the party venue to do updates in the backyard making a capital improvement on the house and giving us a better return on those funds.
All photography in this post is supplied by the incredible Melody Gilliken Photography.
How To Reduce Wedding Venue Costs
- Host the wedding and reception at the same venue– this was a big one for me. I have always hated it when you have to travel from the ceremony location to the reception. By using the same venue you can likely save on transportation costs, decorations, and the actual building itself. Plus it’s more convenient for your guests. Let the venue pull double duty!
- Check off-peak dates– Some venues have cheaper pricing on less in-demand dates. See if you can snag an “off” date for a discount. January, February, November, and December appear to be lower-priced months.
- Consider new venues- The venue we used wasn’t new but had been closed for years and was open under new owners. The pricing was incredibly reasonable because they needed a season to build a solid reputation. At the time of publishing, I have been married for not even five months and they have already raised their published rates.
- Look at the time included in their packages– One of my favorite things about my venue was that we had access to the full property beginning at 9 a.m. the day of the event. In our case, I had rented the carriage house the night before to have some girlfriends over so we had access to the venue from 4 p.m. the night before. We were able Thursday night to set up the reception, get all the food there we needed, and get all the decorations unloaded. Plus my gown, bouquet, minor wedding décor, and other items were on site. I cannot express to you how much peace this gave me.
- Choose an unusual time– We married on a Friday night the week before the wedding season kicks off. This made quite a few things cheaper for us.
- Check for extras– Our venue was small so I was able to look around at the furniture and decorative options. We were able to grab tables from other rooms and move them where we needed them. We saved tons of money by being able to utilize everything on-site that wasn’t attached to the house.
- Is housing included?– The venue we chose to use had a beautiful carriage house included in the package. Instead of paying for a hotel room for the wedding night we stayed on property and paid nothing additional. That was great because I got ready in the house we would be in that evening and there was no dragging around any luggage.
- Does the venue provide enough ambiance you can skip some additional items? Our venue in itself was stunning so we didn’t need to spend a ton on decorations. If you want a blank slate to work with filling that space can cost big money. We were able to just use the natural beauty and the decorations in the house gave us the vibe we were looking for.
- Smaller can mean cheaper– Looking back I am thrilled that we chose to do a micro-wedding. We had 27 on the guest list and for us that was perfect. Our venue charges by the wedding size so keeping it small meant we paid much less money for the same space.
- Look for non-traditional venues– We are fortunate enough that our backyard is large. We were able to host the party on Saturday. Check out barns, breweries, rooftop decks, art studios, campgrounds, and libraries. I know in our area one of the nicest libraries is a very reasonably priced venue and offers a ton of flexibility in the space.
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