A wedding venue is typically the first vendor you should book when planning your wedding, and it’s also usually one of the most expensive expenses. While the average wedding venue cost varies based on factors like your location, size of the wedding, the type of event space, and more, you may find yourself asking “How much do wedding venues cost, anyway?”
Before you start touring extravagant wedding venues that simply won’t fit your budget, get an idea of how much wedding venues cost and what you can afford to spend on your venue.
How Much Do Wedding Venues Cost?
Since weddings can quickly become a large expense, you might be thinking, “How much are wedding venues?” Similar to wedding dress prices, wedding venues have a wide range of price points.
The type of venue or even what day of the week you plan to have your wedding are some components that factor into the final price. Hotels, banquet halls, and event centers are more expensive than gardens or barns.
When choosing a venue, always keep your budget in mind. You can decide to splurge on a lavish venue, but you may need to cut costs in other parts of your budget.
Average Wedding Venue Cost
The reception venue is usually the most significant cost of a wedding. The average price of a wedding venue is anywhere from $12,343 and $14,006, according to Value Penguin. Usually, you should set aside around a little less than half of your budget for the reception venue.
The Knot estimates the average price of a wedding venue is higher. In 2010, the average amount spent on a venue was $10,500. This was for weddings that averaged a total budget of $33,900, so the venue was roughly 30% of the total budget for the couples surveyed.
WeddingWire created this helpful graphic that shows the lower, average, and upper range that couples spend. You can even change the location to get a better estimate of the average wedding venue cost near you.
Wedding Ceremony Venue Cost
Nowadays, many couples hold their wedding ceremony and reception all at one venue. This can help to cut costs since you don’t have to pay for two different locations. There may, however, be extra costs for a longer period of time spent at one venue, but this is still most likely cheaper than paying for two.
If you choose to hold your ceremony and reception at the same venue, you may still have to cover the cost of an officiant.
The cost of a ceremony venue is typically cheaper than a reception venue, in part because you won’t spend as much time at the ceremony as you will at the reception.
If you plan to hold the ceremony at a church or another place of worship, they often only ask for a donation. If you’re not sure how much to give, ask how much the standard donation is or what amount would cover the cost of the event.
WeddingWire estimates the average ceremony venue cost to be around $600, so expect to pay less for a ceremony venue than a reception venue.
Factors that Affect Wedding Venue Cost
If you’re wondering how to cut costs on your wedding venue, there are a few factors that can affect the price.
Your location will affect many wedding costs. Wedding venues in some areas are simply cheaper than in other areas. Large cities tend to be more expensive locations in which to get married as opposed to rural areas.
Type of Venue
The type of venue you are looking for can seriously affect the cost. For example, it’s likely that a rustic barn outdoor wedding venue will be cheaper than a fancy hotel wedding venue. Consider the formality of the space you are looking for and how that will affect your price.
The size of your wedding and of your wedding venue is another major influence when it comes to price. Even if you don’t have enough guests to meet the maximum head count in an event space, you’ll still have to pay for a larger space. Smaller venues are generally cheaper.
Length of Event
The longer your wedding, the more your wedding venue will cost. Renting a space for four hours vs. eight hours will cause a significant shift in price. Consider how long your wedding reception should last, as it may affect the price of your venue.
Many venues charge different prices depending on your wedding date and the day of the week, Wedding venues aren’t often in high demand on days like Tuesday or Wednesday, so they offer lower rates for unpopular days.
If you’re not opposed to a weekday wedding, you can save money on the venue by choosing an unpopular day of the week or date. Keep in mind, however, that weekday weddings may be difficult for guests’ work schedules, or they may not be able to fully cut loose if they have work the next morning.
The calendar date is also important. Your venue will be more expensive if you want to get married during peak wedding season. Months like June, September, and October are the most popular for weddings, so it can be difficult and more expensive to book your wedding. Getting married in colder months like January or February can help cut the cost of your venue.
Some venues come complete with caterers, bar service, tables and chairs, lighting, and more. Others require that you bring in entirely your own vendors. What your package includes will affect the cost of your wedding venue.
Among other questions to ask your wedding venue, be sure to ask if you can choose your own vendors, if you have to use vendors approved by the venue, or if they charge an outside vendor fee.
Additional Wedding Venue Costs to Consider
There are some costs that may not be included in the final price of your wedding venue, but that you should budget for when considering your venue.
It’s customary to tip wedding vendors for their services. If your venue includes the help of servers, bartenders, coatroom attendants, or other on-site staff, don’t forget to budget for tips.
Does your venue offer free parking? Is there enough parking space at the venue for your guests? Be sure to ask these questions so that you can budget for parking, if necessary. You may have to pay the venue for valet parking service, or there may be other parking fees.
If there isn’t adequate parking at the venue, you may also have to rent space in a nearby parking lot or garage.
Before you book your venue, ask about any additional fees like outside vendor fees, corkage fees, cake cutting fees, or any other hidden costs.
Most wedding venues have insurance for liability and other purposes. If they don’t, however, you may need to cover some wedding insurance. Check with the venue about their insurance and what is covered in terms of your wedding.
How To Save on Your Wedding Venue
If the average cost of a wedding venue in your area has you stressing over your budget, there are a few ways to cut costs.
- Pick a less popular date: As we mentioned, some dates are less popular, and therefore less expensive, than others. While you may want to get married on a Saturday in September, a less popular month or a different day will lower the cost of your wedding venue. Consider a less popular day – even Friday nights are less expensive than Saturdays.
- Cut down your guest list: Smaller weddings are less expensive. Consider cutting your guest list to cut costs on various wedding expenses, and so that you can fit into more intimate, less expensive venues.
- Ask about hidden fees: Ask your venue about any hidden costs or fees. If you ask, they may waive certain unnecessary fees.
With this range of prices for venues, you can certainly find one that fits your needs and your budget. Just be sure to set enough time aside to do enough research before deciding on and finalizing your venue.
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