Everyone knows that planning a wedding can be expensive, and one of the largest expenses can be the venue. These days, it is not uncommon for couples to have the wedding ceremony in one location and a reception in another, and the prices can add up quickly.
If you are currently thinking about where to get married, or where to celebrate afterward, here are a few ways to save money on a wedding venue:
1. Have your wedding and reception in the same location.
This should go without saying, but one of the easiest ways to save money on your wedding venue is to have your wedding and reception in the same location. Not only will you only pay one rental fee, but you will also eliminate the transportation costs of getting you, your wedding party and your wedding guests to a second location.
2. Have a backyard wedding.
Whether you have a nice backyard yourself or know someone else who does (and that person wouldn't mind letting you invite your dearest friends and families over), hosting your wedding in a backyard can save you big bucks on rental fees.
3. Get married during the week.
Saturday weddings are the most popular, so most venues charge more for this coveted day of the week. An easy way to cut costs on your wedding venue is to look at alternative days, such as Friday or Sunday.
4. Choose to have the wedding off-season.
November through March tends to see a lull in weddings, which means that some venues may offer discounts to brides and grooms that are willing to get married during the off-season.
5. Don't get married in a big city.
When my husband and I were planning our wedding a couple of years ago, we quickly realized that we would pay quite a bit more for everything, including a venue, if we got married in Chicago. We ultimately decided to get married in our home state of Michigan, and paid one-third of the cost that we would have paid for any of the venues that we looked at in Chicago. In addition to the venue, if you choose to get married in a big city you will likely pay more for food, beverages and lodging, as well.
6. Consider university campuses.
Many university campuses will have ballrooms on campus or other large spaces that they rent out for large events. You might even be able to get married outside in a scenic location, or even at a stadium. Depending on the university, these spaces can actually be quite affordable. If you and your husband met at college, returning to your campus to get married can be a cute nod back to the beginning of your relationship.
7. Consider an alternative reception.
Most of the weddings that I have attended over the years have been traditional ceremonies followed by a sit-down dinner. There are no rules, however, that say this is what must be done. Some venues will charge less for receptions that are earlier in the day, so if you are not set on a dinner reception, perhaps you could serve brunch, dessert or just drinks instead.
8. Have an all-inclusive destination wedding.
While a destination wedding will likely cost your wedding guests quite a bit more, this approach can be a great way for the bride and groom to save on wedding costs. Many all-inclusive resorts will throw in extras based on the number of guests that attend your wedding (and stay at the resort), and the amount of money you pay for the ceremony itself may be nominal. Since it is an all-inclusive resort, dinner and drinks will be included.
9. Compare venues online.
Wedding-spot.com is a fantastic website where you can search for wedding venues and compare the price of all of the venues that interest you in one place. The site allows you to search for venues based on budget, style, guest count and more. You can also easily book an appointment at any of the venues that fit your specific criteria. Currently this website is only available for couples planning weddings in California and New York.
While there's no denying that getting married is expensive, being flexible on your wedding reception could yield you sizable savings.
Lisa Koivu is the founder of ShopGirlDaily.com, a shopping blog for women who want to have the best for less.