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BUDGETING

Low-Budget Wedding Venue Ideas to Keep Your Big Day Affordable


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Tying the knot is a pretty substantial life event, and it often has some equally substantial costs to go along with it. From rings to outfits to catered meals, there are plenty of details you’ll need to consider (and pay for) to create the celebration of your dreams. Some of the costliest of these expenses — and, thus, one of the areas where you may be able to save the most money —  are the venues where you’ll host your bach party, wedding ceremony and reception.

While some couples don’t mind splurging on an extravagant wedding, others would rather save the money to enjoy an epic honeymoon, put a down payment on a home or simply not start out life on such an expensive note. If you’re looking to stick to a wedding budget and save, check out these affordable wedding reception venues where you can get married and enjoy the company of loved ones without spreading your savings too thin.

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The bach party is a time-honored tradition in which both partners enjoy one last night (or trip) apart with their pals before getting hitched. Often, the tricky part about these parties is finding an option that fits the budgets of everyone who’s invited. Whether you’re looking for an affordable but entertaining night out or you envision something more low-key, these are some suggestions to get your creative gears turning.

Brewery and Winery Tasting Tours

If you live near an area that has a variety of wineries or breweries, it’s worth looking into tour packages. Rather than feeling like you need to spend a fortune to rent out a bar or club, these tours tend to offer a low-cost way to enjoy a day of sipping with your pals.

Tour companies usually offer great group rates that won’t break the bank but will allow you to see the facilities and sample a number of in-house brews or blends — just be sure you have a designated driver for the afternoon or evening if you plan on visiting multiple venues! If your group would prefer to keep things alcohol-free, touring a local coffee roaster is a great alternative.

Host a Slumber Party or Game Night at Home

Want to keep the party going all night — without booking costly hotel suites or flights? If you’re looking for a quiet night in with some pals, consider hosting a sleepover. You can use the money you would’ve spent on a venue to purchase ingredients for a themed cocktail and cooking supplies so you can all make dinner together and hang out. Pick out a few movies, fill your TV room with pillows and cozy throws, and relax — or create a blanket fort or two.

If a sleepover isn’t your idea of the perfect bach party, a game night might also do the trick. Set out a potluck-style spread of eats, and while the hours away playing your favorite card, board or casino games with friends.

Affordable Ceremony Venues for the Main Event

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What kind of environment do you envision for your ceremony? Perhaps it’s something outdoors, or maybe it reflects an interest you and your future spouse share. Whatever it might be, there’s an affordable option to suit your wishes. Check out these refreshingly inexpensive venues for weddings.

National Parks

If you’re looking for a beautiful setting for an outdoor wedding, look into nearby national parks. Their stunning scenery is often a big reason that they’re designated as national parks in the first place, and they can be ideal for spring, summer and even autumn weddings depending on your local climate. Even in winter, a park’s visitor center or lodge can make for a cozy venue. You probably won’t need to spring for too many decorations, either; instead, let the setting do the talking. Best of all, these parks usually offer low-cost wedding permits.

Zoos and Aquariums

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind backdrop for your wedding, ask about the rates at your local aquarium or zoo. A surprising number of zoos and aquariums offer wedding packages designed to suit a variety of different budgets, and they may be flexible about the location on the grounds where you want to tie the knot.

Libraries

One of the fantastic things about libraries is that many of them are located in older historic buildings that make for amazing backdrops for your wedding photos. Some are more expensive to get married in than others, but they’re definitely an option worth checking out, especially if you and your partner are bibliophiles.

Vegas (Yes, Really)

We know, we know. Vegas isn’t exactly known for hosting the most ornate weddings on the planet, but there is a reason that a lot of people choose to tie the knot there — and it isn’t the widespread availability of those drive-thru wedding chapels. That said, Las Vegas is well aware of its reputation for impromptu weddings and has prepared itself accordingly. As a result, it’s possible to find wedding packages that include everything, right down to your outfit rentals.

If one of the city’s iconic chapels isn’t your style, though, there are other budget-friendly options to choose from. You can have the chapel come to you at just about any location by making a reservation with a service like the Wedding Wagon, or you can head outdoors and into the Wild West with an affordable package deal

Budget-Friendly Reception Venues

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It’s almost time to party — after you choose a location for it, that is. Maybe you want to go the traditional route and get married in a church but then move your reception to another (more affordable) venue. Or perhaps you’re happy with a venue that does double duty for both events. These low-cost wedding reception venue ideas can also serve as ceremony venues if you decide to double up.

Vacation Rental Properties

Whether you want to host your wedding in your hometown (but not your backyard) or you’re springing for travel and want to save on other expenses, vacation rentals are a great option. Check out local listings to see if there are any you think might work as an appropriate reception venue. When you find one, make sure you clear your plans with the host in advance; it’s important they’re okay with your schedule and the fact that you might invite dozens of people to their property.

Museums/Galleries

A surprising number of museums and galleries across the country also serve as wedding or reception venues. Infuse your nuptials with a little culture and enjoy the upscale aesthetic that most museums naturally strive for all in one. You might even score the chance to feature a famous sculpture or painting in your wedding photos.  

Community Centers

This one does depend on how you feel about your local community centers or those in a location you’ll travel to. But, some community centers are beautiful and feature a nice mixture of gardens and updated interiors. Plus, they tend to cost just a fraction of the price of the average event hall.

Your Venue Checklist

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No matter which venue you choose, it’s important to make sure you cover certain bases before booking. If you find a venue that looks suitable, your next task is to get the answers to the following questions:

  • What’s included? Can the venue provide tables, chairs and decorations, or do you need to bring your own?
  • What’s the maximum number of guests you’re allowed to invite?
  • How long can you rent out the space?
  • Can you have the wedding and reception there, or only one?
  • Are your chosen date and time available?
  • Does the venue offer catering, and, if so, does it cost extra?

With the answers to these questions in hand, you’ll be well on your way to finalizing the plans for one of the key elements of your wedding.

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