Are you looking for brilliant ways to save money on your wedding? Here’s an idea— ditch the traditional wedding venues. Try these inexpensive wedding venue ideas instead!
But first, don’t forget to consider the average price of a wedding venue to compare prices with the following low-budget wedding venues.
Once you understand the average cost of wedding venues, keep reading to find out how much money you’ll save with these 10 inexpensive wedding venue ideas. Ready? Let’s dive in!
1. At Home/Basement/Backyard
Get married at home! I know what you’re thinking: who wants to get married at home? You might have pictured you’re ideal wedding to take place in a traditional wedding venue that costs thousands of dollars and that holds hundreds of guests, but getting married at home will save you tons of money!
Why spend thousands of dollars on a wedding venue that’ll kick you out once the venue curfew sets in when you can party all night at home? Where at home, exactly?
Here are your options: Backyard and Basement
Do you have a big backyard? If so, you’re in luck! You won’t have to spend any money on wedding venue costs and fees. You can have both the ceremony and the reception in the backyard. If you don’t have a backyard, you can always ask to borrow a friend’s or a relative’s backyard. I’m sure they won’t mind.
If you’re wondering what a backyard wedding is like, check out our ideas for backyard weddings!
Do you have any furry friends? A backyard wedding means that you can invite your furry friends to your wedding. This way, you avoid paying any pet fees or deposits at traditional wedding venues.
If your home has a huge basement, you can have your wedding party there. This idea might work better if you plan on inviting few guests.
Own a ranch or a barn? Hosting your wedding at these places are great locations to get married as they have a lot of indoor and outdoor space.
Wedding Foward estimates that the average cost of Barn wedding venue rentals can start at $6,000. That is still much cheaper than some traditional wedding venues.
Check out our 9 Inspirational Barn Wedding Ideas if this option interests you.
3. National Parks/Garden
If your love being outdoors, you’ll love having an outdoor wedding. Parks and gardens are affordable places to have a wedding.
There are many beautiful local and national parks to hold your outdoor wedding, including stunning places like Yosemite Park, Zion National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park.
You’ll have to get a special permit to host your wedding at a national park. But don’t worry! The permit prices vary but are only a few hundred dollars, which is a fraction of a traditional wedding venue cost. Visit the National Park Service site to learn more about the special events permit.
4. The Courthouse/ City Halls/ County Clerk’s Offices
A courthouse, also known as a “civil wedding,” is another budget-friendly wedding venue for your ceremony. Although it is more of a private and intimate ceremony, you are allowed to bring some guests (probably your closest friends and family) as you will need witnesses to get married.
How much does it cost to get married at a courthouse? The cost depends on the city, state, or county that you live in. In other words, the cost of getting married at the courthouse depends on your location.
What we do know is that some states charge a flat marriage license fee. There are other courthouse wedding expenses that you must take into account, such as getting a county-appointed witness or a government-authorized wedding officiant.
According to Nerdwallet, some city halls or county clerk’s offices in most cities, typically cost less than $100. You can have your wedding ceremony there, and then throw a small party to celebrate with guests that you weren’t able to invite to the ceremony.
As stated before, you won’t be able to invite a lot of guests to witness your big day as some courthouses limit the number of guests you can bring.
If you wish to invite more guests, however, some courthouses provide rooms or gardens with chairs and tables and wedding decor. Some even let you invite up to 100 or 250 guests, according to Joy. According to the same source, the Old Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio hosts both wedding ceremonies and receptions with up to 400 guests.
Are you a bibliophile? You might be surprised to know that libraries are also great places to get married. Not only do they have plenty of space, but they are affordable wedding venues. The prices vary, but they are much cheaper than traditional wedding venues.
Beautiful library wedding venues include:
- The George Peabody Public Library in Baltimore, Maryland
According to Brides, this library at John Hopkins University is cheaper on weekdays or any day other than Saturday. Prices start at $5,000.
- The Boston Public Library, in Boston Massachusetts
Brides also states that you can get married at this gorgeous public library’s courtyard with rates starting at $6,500. Or you can have your wedding at their Guastavino Room with rates starting at $3,000.
- Brooklyn Art Library in Brooklyn, New York
According to The Knot, the Brooklyn Art Library makes a perfect wedding venue to take the perfect wedding photos. You can invite up to 100 guests for your wedding; however, the price for 50 guests is $3,500.
- The Richard Nixon Library Foundation in Yorba Linda, California
According to The Knot, this library offers elegant indoor and outdoor spaces to host your wedding. Its lawn has enough space for 450 guests.
- Providence Public Library in Rhode Island
This library can accommodate 200 to 300 guests, according to Brides. The cost depends on your wedding time and date. But the prices range from $2,500 to $6,000, which is about half of what most couples pay for a traditional wedding venue.
If you’re interested in getting a library venue, you might want to call the abovementioned places for more information. Or if you have a library near you, check to see if they offer wedding venues.
6. Museum Wedding Venue
Did you know you can get married at a museum? Museums are unique places to have your wedding ceremony and reception. According to Happily Ever After etc, the museums’ rental prices are usually higher than park prices, but lower than ballroom rates.
Here is a list of amazing museums from Weddingwire that you’ll want to consider for your wedding:
- Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego, California
Capacity: 140 guests
Services included in starting site fee: clean up, set up, and parking
Starting site fees: $3,000 for ceremonies & $3,000 to $3,200 for receptions
- Hermitage Museum & Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia
Capacity: 250 people
Services included in starting site fee: bridal suite and parking
Starting site fees: $700 for wedding ceremonies & $1,000 to $1500 for wedding reception
- Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana
Capacity: 280 people
Services included in the starting site fee: Bridal suite, chairs, tables, clean up, event planning, parking, and set up
Starting site fees: $3,000 to $3,500 for ceremony & $3,000 to $3,500 for reception
- Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts
Capacity: 192 people
Services included in the starting site fee: Chairs & tables, china, clean up, flatware, glassware, linens, parking, set up.
Starting site fees: $500 for the ceremony and $2,500 for reception
- Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach, California
Capacity: 150 guests
Services included in the starting site fee: Bridal suite
Starting site fee: $500 for ceremonies & $1,500 for reception
Note: The above-mentioned museums charge extra for services not included in the starting site fee. Some locations might require you to bring everything not included in the site fee. That’s why it is a good idea to calculate how much it would cost to book a venue that includes everything vs. a venue that only includes the minimum services.
Another option: see if there are any museums in your area that host wedding ceremony and receptions.
As you can see, these wedding venues don’t cost as much as traditional wedding venues and many come with services included in the starting site fee.
If the museum wedding venue idea didn’t appeal to you, another cheap wedding venue you should consider is renting an Airbnb. What is an Airbnb? It is a temporary rental home.
If you don’t have enough space in your backyard to accommodate your guests on your big day, then booking an Airbnb is a great option. Prices vary from place to place and depend on the day or time of your wedding.
8. Restaurant With Bar
Do you have a favorite restaurant? Consider hosting your wedding party at a restaurant. A restaurant already comes with food, tables, chairs, and dinnerware. You’ll avoid spending money on caterers and food wedding vendors.
Perhaps you know someone who owns a restaurant with a bar, and they can let you have your wedding there.
9. Zoo or Aquarium
Do you love animals? Did you know that you can get married at a zoo or at an aquarium? Neither did I! It might surprise you to know that these wedding locations are often budget-friendly.
Not only will you be surrounded by exotic animals, but you will also save lots of money on your wedding. According to Nerdwallet, you and your partner can get married at Jaguar Cove in Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo for only $600. In addition, they provide catering for a minimum fee of $1,500.
10. School or College
Another inexpensive wedding venue idea that you’ve probably never heard of is having your wedding at a college or university. Several campuses have beautiful gardens, chapels, and libraries that can accommodate your guests and your budget.
Universities with Chapels or Churches include but are not limited to the following:
- Stanford University’s Memorial Chuch
- Princeton University Chapel
- St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University
- Bowdoin College Chapel
- The Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame
If you went to a college, you might want to consider renting your former school’s facility to host your wedding. Some universities offer onsite staff too, such as security. And some might even charge you less if you are an Alumni. Prices vary depending on the college, but surely there are some budget-friendly ones out there.
How to Save Money on Wedding Venues
Do Some Research
Talk to friends or family members who have gotten married, and ask them how they saved money on their wedding. Ask them what is a reasonable price for a wedding venue so that you won’t get ripped off or overcharged when you book a venue.
They can guide you with the wedding planning if they already went through that process. Perhaps they can recommend some cheap wedding venue ideas that aren’t already listed above. Also, ask your wedding planner. Wedding planners might be able to recommend cheap wedding venues and could get you a discount.
Carefully research wedding venues that won’t break the bank and that’ll fit your tight budget. Most importantly, take your time. Don’t rush the wedding planning process. If you want to find a cheap wedding venue that’ll suit your wedding budget and that’ll you’ll love, you’re going to have to do some digging.
Try to negotiate with the wedding venue vendors. Perhaps they’ll waive some fees if you ask. You won’t lose anything if you try to negotiate with them.
Consider a Short Guest List
The fewer people you invite, the less space you’ll need at the wedding venue. This can save you lots of money as you won’t have to book a huge wedding space.
Consider an Off-Peak Time
Wedding venues are usually less expensive if you choose an off-peak time for your wedding. For example, don’t choose to get married on a Saturday since it is the most popular day of the week to get married. That day is in high demand and is often more expensive than getting married on a weekday.
Consider hosting the ceremony & reception at the same place
You’ll save more money if you have your wedding ceremony and your wedding party at the same location. You’ll avoid paying two separate rental fees.
There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding venue that’ll only rent you the place for a few hours. As you can see from the list and the tips above, there are many inexpensive wedding venue ideas that you can choose from.
At the end of the day, the amount of money you spend on the wedding venue depends on your wedding budget. Remember that you can always try to negotiate with venue vendors before you book your venue. Good luck with the wedding planning!
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