12Feb2015

15 Ways to Cut the Costs of a Wedding (or Party) Venue

Wedding Tent

Planning a wedding is expensive. Unless your plan is to run away and get married in a courthouse, even just having a few friends and family members at your wedding can really rack up the costs. The average amount couples spend on their wedding is $20,000—which is enough money to buy a reasonably priced compact sedan or put a down payment on a house.

If you’re not interested in spending your car or house money on a wedding but still want to have an elegant, meaningful wedding day, we have some tips and tricks to help you cut costs and still get exactly what you want.

1. Don’t get married on Saturday.

Saturday is the most popular day to get married—and it makes sense as to why. There are fewer work schedules to contend with, it’s tradition, and you’re less likely to run into inconveniences like rush hour traffic when you’re trying to get to the chapel. This is why most venues charge more to get married on a Saturday than they might charge to get married on a Tuesday.

2. Be willing to compromise on smaller things.

When it comes to picking a wedding venue, you might have to pay major bucks in order to get exactly what you want. If you’re willing to compromise to get the right size of venue, even if it’s not in the heart of the city, you could find a cheaper venue that still has everything you really need.

3. Consider a tent.

Spring is the perfect time to abandon the traditional venues and opt for something more personal and creative. You can rent a tent for much less than renting a venue, and you can get one in just about any size you need. All you really need is a flat patch of ground and you have a customizable, inexpensive, stylish wedding venue.

4. Get married outside the city.

If you live in or near a big city, it can be tempting to try to rent the biggest and most beautiful chapel in the city for your wedding. On the other hand, there’s something whimsical about getting married in a small, country church or venue—and you’ll probably save thousands on the rent.

5. Find a venue that is good for the wedding and the reception.

Not only does traveling from the wedding venue to the reception venue eat up time, it means you have two rents to pay. Instead, rent one location that can do both parts of your big day.

6. Get married in the spring, fall, or winter.

Summer weddings are more popular, but if you don’t marry in June (as is most traditional), you can save on venue costs. It will also help you cut the costs of your honeymoon.

7. Get married in the morning.

While this might mean you have a bit of rush getting ready for the wedding, not trying to have an afternoon or evening wedding could save plenty of money. Plus, catering lunch and renting a space for midday, instead of evening, for a reception will be far less expensive. And that also means you won’t be catching the red eye flight for your honeymoon.

8. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

You never know if the venue might be willing to offer a discount until you ask. While you might not feel comfortable heckling, if the venue knows you’re planning a wedding, they might quote you a higher price because they see weddings as a larger task than just a standard party.

9. Shrink the wedding and reception.

Especially if you’re going to be jetting off to Aruba the next morning, you might consider cutting down your invite list to under fifty people. This will save you a lot of money. Once you’ve returned from the honeymoon, you can throw a larger, less expensive party for everyone else.

10. Ask for a “pay in full” discount.

If you’re willing to pay the full price of renting a venue, instead of a down payment and installments, the venue might be willing to offer you a discount, as this is more convenient and less risky. Even if you do this, you might want to make sure there is some sort of reimbursement plan—just in case.

11. Don’t rent more space than you need.

While you don’t want your wedding or reception to feel crowded, there’s no reason to rent a space that can hold four hundred people if you’re only inviting two hundred.

12. Cut off the reception.

A four hour reception is going to cost much more than a two hour reception, and because many people leave a reception early, most won’t notice that the party isn’t as long as they thought it was going to be. This doesn’t just shave cost off of booking a venue, it also saves on catering, music, and photographer costs.

13. Find a venue that does it all.

If you can find a venue that will decorate, make food, and bake a cake, you can save serious coin on finding other vendors to take care of those tasks. And they might even give you a discount on rent if you pay for their other services.

14. Go for a new spot.

Brand new venues are probably still trying to fill their time slots and might have much lower prices than other venues in town.

15. Have the wedding and reception in your own backyard.

This is another great time to utilize a rental tent! When you get married at your own home, you don’t have to pay for a venue for either the wedding or the reception, and you can rent everything you need, from tables to cutlery.

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