7 Tips to Saving Money on Your Wedding Venue

A long wedding reception table in an industrial room decorated with lights.

You may have found a few wonderful wedding venue options, but it’s easy to experience a little sticker shock when you realize just how expensive your wedding venue is going to be. However, most sites have discounts for a variety of reasons, and if you know which ones apply to your situation, you can save some serious money!

1. Find a Venue That Doesn’t Normally Do Weddings

A bride and groom in a library at their wedding.

One of the best ways to save money on your wedding venue is to find a location that’s physically big enough to hold a wedding, but is rarely used for weddings. This may seem tough to do, but think about restaurants, museums, and community centers in your area that may not even have a wedding-related link on their website. The truth of the matter is that there is a fairly substantial mark-up on a rental rate whenever you add the word “wedding” to your inquiry, so renting a venue and turning it into a wedding space can be a real money-saver.

That being said, you will probably have to do a few more DIY and piece-meal things to make a non-wedding venue space look the way you want it to: if you’re in for decorating a community center meeting room from the ground up, you can save a pretty penny by going that route!

2. If Everyone’s Local, Pick a Weekday Wedding Date

While it can be tricky to make this work, most wedding venues reserve their highest rates for Saturday evenings, since that tends to be the most convenient wedding time for travelers from out of town. However, if you are willing to have your wedding on a Saturday morning, Sunday morning, or Friday night, you may get a few hundred dollars (or more!) off your rate. Many venues don’t even list a price for weekday weddings since they are rare, but if you know you want to just get people in town together after work for your wedding, you can afford a much nicer venue, since these are typically nights they can’t rent to brides and grooms.

3. Use Family and Friend Connections

If you know anyone working at a place that occasionally hosts weddings, ask if there is a way to get a discount or if they have any insights on how to save money at that location. This is especially true if you have a friend or family member who, for instance, owns a large barn building, or who has a magical backyard with a decent amount of nearby parking; you don’t have to call it a “venue” to make it work as a wedding rental!

4. Bring Your Own Rentals, Plates, or Linens

White chairs at a wedding ceremony decorated with green wreaths and pink ribbons.

It’s worth considering if you can avoid renting china and linens by bringing your own linens and disposable dishes. Yes, it’s a lot of trash to generate, but there are some very pretty, very inexpensive paper plates these days! If you can get, for instance, your local church to rent you folding chairs for cheaper than a wedding rental, you will save a lot on the chair rental as well.

5. Compare Piecemeal Rates and All-Inclusive Rates

Many venues create “packages,” which include the venue, food, staff, and DJ. This can be a good deal, but not always, especially if you have family or friends who are interested in helping with some of these aspects of the wedding. Look at what it costs to get the bare-bones rental and “price out” what you pay for the package. If you were considering getting vendors separately (no family or friends helping out), often the package deal is actually pretty great, and you benefit from their well-oiled machine of having worked together before. Just know that checking both options tends to provide valuable insights.

6. Get Married at an Unusual Time of Year

A bride and groom at their winter wedding walking in the snow next to an historic building.

If you’re opting toward the traditional wedding venue, you can definitely still save money. If you’re willing to go outside “wedding season,” which typically runs late spring to early autumn, you can save a lot of money. Winter weddings are just as beautiful and often much less expensive.

7. Rent Only the Space You Need

Finally, many people fall in love with a venue for 400 when they need space for 100; see if you can rent a portion of the venue for a fraction of the cost so that they can rent the rest of the venue to another happy couple! Venues want to fill their schedules, so if you can handle putting up some clear signs to get your guests to your ceremony, you can get a really great discount on that dream venue.

Don’t be afraid to at least ask about the options available, and don’t commit to one venue until you’ve shopped around; you might find something just as lovely at a lower rate!

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