Weddings can be big, small, elaborate or quaint – but one thing they rarely are is cheap. The average wedding is estimated to cost more than $25,000, and in pricey cities like Manhattan and San Francisco, weddings often cost more than the average yearly salary. Unless you’re independently wealthy, or if you don’t mind paying credit card debt until you retire, finding ways to save money is crucial – but not at the expense of looking cheap or detracting from the elegance your wedding deserves. A great place to start shaving dollars is the venue itself.
Weddings are inspiring, fun, and expensive – pick a venue you can afford!
Big City, Big Budget – Head Out to the Country
As discussed in the article “Savvy Ways to Slash the Cost of Your Wedding Venue,” sometimes it pays to get out of the city. Venues in small towns and rural locations are often cheaper than the same place would be in a city or a metropolitan suburb. Not only is the venue likely to be less expensive, but the surrounding costs – such as local florists, bakers and hotels for your guests – are all likely to be cheaper than their urban counterparts.
Focus on Decor and Amenities
When you shop around for venues, think about what’s included in the way of amenities, decorations and other extras. When you look at just space, seating capacity and other hard logistical concerns, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to what it will cost for ambiance-reloated things like decorating the venue. Does the venue provide things like centerpieces? How about its sound system and speakers? A bare-bones venue may be cheaper up front, but it can wind up costing much more to make it your own.
Think Outside the Hall
By the time they reach middle age, most people have been to dozens of weddings. But in reality, they’ve been to the same wedding dozens of times. Weddings have a tendency to be predictable, unmemorable, cookie-cutter events. If you’ve seen one venue, you’ve seen them all. But by taking a bold, yet calculated risk, you can save a heap of money on the venue and put your own individual stamp on a wedding that won’t soon be forgotten.
Environments that are blessed with natural or inherent aesthetic beauty – and also are equipped with the infrastructure to handle large, catered events – can be the perfect backdrop for a wedding. Botanical gardens, museums and wineries all host large, formal, catered parties on a regular basis. See what they charge for wedding receptions.
Can you save money without looking like your cut corners for your wedding? Yes! Start with choosing the right venue.
When you plan your wedding, consider that venues are often empty during off-peak times of year, and therefore can be had for a steep discount. Consider planning your wedding outside of the most popular wedding seasons, look for venues that are different, unique, cool and inexpensive like butterfly or botanical gardens. If you get creative, and always factor in the cost of providing what they leave out, you can save a ton of cash without looking cheap.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers event planning and the wedding industry.