The Bees’ Venue Budgets: Small and Medium Cities

We created a chart using the reception venue rental costs of all the Bees who shared their budgets.  The mean cost was $2878, and the median cost was $1900.  Where does your venue fall?

Check out the venue budgets of the Bees who got hitched in small towns or medium cities below.  You can see venue budgets for Bees who got hitched in major cities here!


Mrs. Cherry Pie’s Venue
Venue/Place: Polebridge, Montana
Venue Fee: $500
Includes: Use of stage, sound system, and land

We were allowed use of our venue for the entire weekend. Typically the charge is not for weddings on-site, but for use of the land for receptions and/or music events on the stage.

We were also allowed to offer camping on-site for our guests, both before and after the wedding, for no extra charge.


Mrs. Flamingo’s Venue
Venue/Location: Imperia Hotel in St-Eustache (Quebec, Canada)
Venue Fee: FREE, but requires a food and beverage minimum

There were no fees associated with the Hotel we used for our wedding reception. Basically, the cost was absorbed in the food and drinks. We had a beautiful hall with the capacity for 300 guests, therefore, enough room to move and dance. We had a beautiful terrace with a waterfall and fireplace at night where guests could enjoy themselves. Site included tables, chairs, linens (table runners excluded), movable dance floor. Renting this venue also requires a food & beverage minimum, taxes (12%), and 15% service charge.


Miss D’orsay’s Venue
Venue/Location: Oakland Manor. A historic mansion in Columbia, MD, a mid-way suburb between Baltimore and Washington DC.
Venue Fee: Renting the venue is $1400, and if you want the optional tent, with tables and chairs for 80 guests, it’s $1,000.

To save costs we were willing to do a Friday night, but only if it would be convenient to our guests coming from both metro areas. We were originally looking for Saturday night in either city, but, you can imagine how that turned out, which is why we went back to my hometown for our lower cost venue!


Miss Gloss’ Venue
Venue/Locations: The SS Katahdin, (aka ‘the Kate’) Greenville, ME
Venue Fee: $2,000
Includes: 2 hour boat tour and lawn adjacent to dock for tented reception

After researching numerous options throughout the state of Maine we decided that if we were going to spend a good amount of money on one day we wanted people to remember it… so we decided to have our wedding on a boat! I spent many summer days cruising around the lake with my family and friends so it holds a special place in my heart. Plus, it is so gorgeous and relaxing up there and I think it will be perfect for entertaining all our out of town guests! Plus, our venue is a registered historical landmark and non-profit organization so all our $$ goes towards preserving the operation!


Mrs. Eggplant’s Venue
Venue/Location: Mediterranean themed boutique hotel in Silicon Valley, CA
Venue Fee: $2000 facility fee for the first floor ballroom (negotiated from $3000).
Rental Time: Hours of use- 5:30pm to 11pm for the reception, plus extra hours before and after for setup and cleanup.
Includes: Private use of the gorgeous courtyard for cocktail hour. We guaranteed 160 guests at $85/pp minimum food and beverage (negotiated down from $150 guests at $95/head). This included wait staff and banquet coordinator, dance floor, linens, silverware, tables and chairs (but we rented nicer chairs), bridal suite, valet parking for guests. Bonus: one week paid hotel stay at their sister hotel in Spain!

We picked our venue based on a central location for our guests and activities in close proximity. The venue ended up being one of the very best wedding decisions we made. We were able to negotiate the price and fees down by guaranteeing more guests than their minimum (tip to those still venue searching: give your venues a smaller guest count number than you actually expect and use the buffer as your negotiating room). The $85/pp food and beverage minimum could be applied however we liked (e.g. $5 on food, $80 on alcohol). The service we received was five-star and we even got a paid second honeymoon since they were offering a 1-week stay in any of their hotels across the world for couples that booked with them.


Mrs. Gummi Bear’s Venue
Venue/Location: Bear Flag Farm, just outside of Davis, in Winters, CA. Organic farm, we had free access to any part of the farm, but only the bride + friend could go into the cottage after the event began. Or… so they said.
Venue Fee: $8500
Includes: NOTHING. You must provide everything yourself, and we did.
Rental Time: The weekend is rented to you alone, so there are no other events to work around. If it happens to be pouring the day before and you can’t set up, you can come at the ass-crack of dawn and set up. Tina, the owner, is very friendly and accommodating.

Despite the rain the day before, it actually turned out to be a gorgeous, cloudless day… and we had to break out the parasols and fans for everyone!


Mrs. Deviled Egg’s Venue
Venue/Location: The Scottish Rite Cathedral – New Castle, PA
Venue fee: Included in per-person price (Estimated total for rental – $1800)
Included: We had to use the venue’s caterer and just about everything (rental, food, table linens, tables, chairs, dinnerware, staff, set-up, tax and tip) was included in the per-person price.

We rented the lobby and the mezzanine level for our reception and used the East Lodge Room for the ceremony. We had access to the large porch adjacent to the lobby, but didn’t opt to pay its exclusive rental (another $400) since we were the only event at The Cathedral that day and didn’t have to worry about sharing. The lobby, with beautiful columns and large windows, did not need much as far as decorations. I got so many compliments on how elegant the venue was and beautiful the place looked.


Mrs. Quiche’s Venue
Venue: The Coyaba Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Venue Fee: $2,250
Included: Tons! Pre-event consultation, day of coordinator for ceremony & reception, vendor liason, marriage license, Pastor, bridal bouquet & groom boutonniere, ceremony set-up & decorations, Jamaican Mento band during ceremony, tented reception site, reception set-up, candles on tables, tables, table linens, chairs, chair covers (table runners & chair tie-backs were provided by us), servers, bartenders, etc. Also, a photographer that we didn’t use.

The staff at Coyaba is incredible! They took care of everything and made our day a stress-free celebration – the way it should be!


Miss Mary Jane’s Venue
Venue/Location: Traill County Courthouse, Hillsboro, ND.
Venue Fee: $50 (includes a room to get married in and the Deputy Clerk’s time to marry us).

We chose this courthouse not only because it’s gorgeous, but also because the staff members were friendly and willing to marry us on a day of our choosing, unlike many of the other courthouses I called. All of the courthouses I called had fees ranging from $20-$150 to hold a marriage ceremony lasting anywhere from 3-15 minutes. Most allowed a maximum of 20 guests, which is fine for us since we’ll only have seven. If you’re choosing a courthouse or city hall as your venue, you should clarify what kind of ceremony will be read. One of the courthouses I called simply has you sign papers in front of a qualified clerk – no ceremony at all!


Miss Powder Puff’s Venue
Venue/Location: The Trillium, Spring Lake, MI
Venue Fee: $700 for gazebo rental and sound equipment
Rental Time: We have access to the venue from about 8AM until midnight.

The staff at the Trillium is super helpful and accommodating. I would highly recommend it!


Mrs. Penguin’s Venue
Venue/Location: Villa Toscano Winery in Northern California
Venue Fee: $6500 site rental fee
Rental Time: 5PM until 10:30 PM
Includes: Exclusive use of grounds (ceremony site, permanent tent for reception) and staff to assist in setup and cleanup

It was important to me that wherever we had our wedding, that the site was completely closed to the public. I envisioned a private estate, winery, or a restaurant completely rented out for our wedding party. $6500 was a lot more than I wanted to spend for a venue, but worth it for the complete privacy. Our venue was really good about letting us do whatever we felt like doing, and had very few rules and restrictions, including letting us come and store random wedding stuff in an extra room of theirs throughout the week, letting us leave the venue a mess the night of so we could clean up the next morning instead, and allowing our dog to celebrate with us.


Mrs. Plumeria’s Venue
Venue/Location: Doubletree Hotel in Berkeley, CA
Venue Fee: $0  (Catering was $20K ”” about $50 a head for ~400)
Includes: Islands Ballroom


Mrs. Corn’s Venue
Venue/Location: Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI
Venue Fee: $3,500

When our site coordinator at the Fort mentioned that we could hire Revolutionary War reenactors, Mr Corn and I both knew they would be perfect for our event. We didn’t care that they had nothing to do with being ”˜New England Coastal’, we figured they would be fun. Then we found out we could have an authentic Revere Cannon lit as well! We went back and forth on the cannon for quite a while, but in the end we decided that hiring the reenactors was the start of going overboard, so we might as well go completely!

And, you know what?

IT WAS GREAT!! Our guests LOVED it!!


Miss Cowboy Boot’s Venue
Venue/Location: Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Colorado. Five-thousand acre, environmentally-friendly, upscale, ranch-style resort in the mountains two hours from Denver.
Venue Fee: $3000. Renting this venue also means a $5500 food and beverage minimum, tax, and 20% service charge.
Rental Time: Access to the site starts at 11 am and goes until 11 pm. This is the low-season pricing which starts October 1st.
Includes: The ceremony site, restored barn for reception and use of its deck for cocktail hour. The site fee also includes all tables, chairs, linens, silverware, glasses, dishes, servers, bartenders, a sound system, other tables (for gifts or escort cards), and menus for each seat.

Third time’s a charm. I stumbled upon Devil’s Thumb Ranch. It included five thousand raw acres of mountainous Colorado with a renovated barn on a completely, sustainable ranch. Whew. That’s a mouthful, but that’s because it has a lot to offer.


Miss Bunny’s Venue
Venue/Location: Everal Barn in Westerville OH
Venue Fee: $840

We’re not spending money on music for the reception (instead going with my trusty iPod and pre-made playlists). I plan to DIY as much of the decor as possible. Our venue doesn’t allow alcohol, so that’s one more cost we don’t have to worry about.


We’d really love for hive members to share their budgets as well! If you’d like to participate, check out our past real budget features, and submit your own budget and pictures with the information provided here!


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  1. flamingo Bee
    flamingo 1365 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:14 pm

    So nice seeing all the venues like that… so many different styles. Thanks for putting this together 🙂

  2. Member
    Vic004 804 posts, Busy bee @ 7:16 pm

    Very informative!! What is the hotel that Mrs. Eggplant had her wedding at?? I love Bear Flag Farm and Mrs. Gummi Bear’s wedding!!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Vic004, Guest @ 1:48 pm

    Very informative!! What is the hotel that Mrs. Eggplant had her wedding at?? I love Bear Flag Farm and Mrs. Gummi Bear’s wedding!!
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Mark A Higgins, Guest @ 1:46 am

    As a Mainer from the Moosehead lake region I have to plug the “Kate.” Mooshead Lake is beautiful and one of the great locations that a relatively few people know about. Also, check out The Blair Hill Inn and the Greenville Inn if you are up there.

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