If you’re recently engaged, first things first, a huge congratulations are in order! This is such an exciting time for you and your significant other. And whether you’re two weeks into your engagement or two months, my guess is you are already starting to get the flurry of questions about the date and location. I know, deep breaths! You’ve got this. In fact, in this article we’re going to talk about your venue, and more specifically, how to find an affordable wedding venue, so you’re already on your way to answering those big questions.
When it comes to planning a wedding, the deluge of expenses that begin to rack up can often feel like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. And one of the biggest culprits is the wedding venue! Finding an affordable wedding venue option can be a real headache, trust me, I know as a former bride who went through the same struggle. But don’t worry, I’m here to help!
We’ll take a deep dive into the average cost of venue rental fees, alternative wedding venue options that can offer some savings (because let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good bargain?), wedding venue cost saving tips, important questions to ask before booking a wedding venue (no one wants any surprises on their big day), and the best timing to book to help you make the most of your budget.
What is the Average Wedding Venue Rental Cost?
The national average for wedding venue rental fees is $6,000 according to Wedding Wire’s Wedding Venue Cost Guide. Now, actual wedding venue rental costs vary significantly based on the style of venue, the demand, the date, whether in-house catering is offered, and the inclusions; however, no matter the case, there’s no other way to slice or dice it, it’s a big expense.
Ways to Save on Your Wedding Venue
Consider first the following wedding venue cost savings tips if you’re trying to keep costs down and are set on a more traditional venue for your wedding:
Keep the guest list small: The smaller the guest list, the lower the cost of the wedding. So, feel free to be selective and only invite the people you actually like. And if your parents insist on inviting all of their distant relatives, just tell them you’re having a “small, intimate ceremony” and hope they don’t show up.
Get married on a weekday or off-season: Saturdays are the most popular day for weddings, so consider getting married on a weekday or during an off-season month. This can save you money on venue rentals and vendors. Plus, it’ll make your wedding feel super exclusive. And if anyone complains about the weekday or off-season wedding, just tell them it’s “trendy and unique.”
Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate: When it comes to saving on those venue rental fees, negotiation is key. Don’t be afraid to be upfront about your budget and try to work out a deal with the venue. To save even more, find a venue that allows you to bring your own vendors as many venues require you to use their in-house vendors which can add up quickly. Additionally, consider booking a venue that doesn’t require additional rentals such as tables, chairs, and linens which can also add to the cost.
Alternative Places to Host to Your Wedding
If you’re open to thinking outside the box (or in this case, the traditional wedding venue), the possibilities for saving money are endless. There are so many affordable wedding venue options available for those willing to explore alternatives to the traditional.
- Park Pavilion or Lodge – If you’re more of a nature lover, renting a park pavilion or community garden space can be a great way to save on venue rental fees while taking advantage of the natural scenery as décor. Public parks and gardens often offer rental options for events, so it’s worth checking out for a budget-friendly wedding venue.
- Industrial Spaces – And if you’re looking for something a little more industrial and modern, consider an industrial or warehouse space. Not only do they provide a unique and stylish backdrop, but they’re also big enough to accommodate large parties and often come with a built-in aesthetic, saving you on décor costs.
In going one of these routes, your venue rental fees are either dramatically reduced or free! Talk about a win-win situation. If you’re open to non-traditional, you can consider these additional DIY Wedding Venue options as well.
How to Choose Your Wedding Venue
- Alignment with your vision – First things first, does the venue align with your vision? You know, like, does it give you those warm and fuzzy feelings? Because some venues just have a certain vibe that can’t be changed.
- Capacity – Next, how many guests are we talking about? Make sure the venue can comfortably fit all your guests and then some. No matter how many people RSVP their “we’ll be there in spirits,” plan on at least a few unexpected guests.
- Inclusions – Let’s not forget about the little details, like what’s included in the rental. Will they provide the catering? The tables and chairs? The forks? Find out before you sign on the dotted line.
- Photo opportunities – And last but not least, pay attention to the lighting and the surrounding area. It’s important for photography and can affect how you remember your big day.
Questions to Ask Before You Book
Before you begin meeting with possible venues, jot down the important questions to ask so you’re prepared and get all of the answers you’ll need to be able to compare and contrast your options before deciding on “the one.” Here are a few considerations:
- What is included in the venue rental fee?
- Are there any additional costs or fees?
- Is there a limit on the number of guests?
- Are there any restrictions on decorations or vendors?
- Are there any restrictions on the use of the space?
- Is there on-site parking?
- Are there any restrictions on the timing of the wedding?
When To Book Your Wedding Venue
The best timing to book a wedding venue will depend on a variety of factors, including your desired wedding date, the availability of the venue, and your budget. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to book a venue at least 12-18 months in advance to ensure that you get the date and space that you want.
One big consideration to think about before committing to a venue is your other vendors. Is there a particular band you’re dying to have? Well… they may only have 1-2 dates to choose from. Make sure you’re coordinating with any must-have vendors to ensure they are available for the dates you have in mind before locking it in. Otherwise, you may end up having to compromise on one or the other.
How to Find an Affordable Wedding Venue
Finding the perfect wedding venue on a budget can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack, believe me, I get it. But don’t let that discourage you! With a little bit of research and some creative thinking, you can have a stunning and unforgettable wedding without breaking the bank.
There are plenty of ways to keep costs down, like being selective with your guest list (if your parents insist on inviting their entire book club, just tell them it’s a “small, intimate ceremony”, tying the knot on a weekday or during the off-season (who needs a Saturday wedding anyway? Make it trendy and unique!), and being open to negotiation (never be afraid to haggle, it’s the American way!) And when all else fails, alternative wedding venues like backyard or home weddings, parks or gardens, and industrial or warehouse spaces are unique and cost-effective options.
And when it comes to choosing the perfect venue, remember it’s not just about the looks, it’s about the feels too. So ask important questions like “does this venue align with my vision?” and “does it come with free snacks?” With these tips and the top affordable wedding venue recommendations shared in this article, budget-conscious couples can have the wedding of their dreams.
Happy planning, friend!
The Savvy Swaréy