When my husband and I were first looking for a venue for our wedding, his family was very persistent that we marry in the local country club where his brother and sister were married to their spouses.
When I sat down with the wedding coordinator, my husband, and our families, the number came out to around $10-15K with the choice of a pasta bar for food. His family told me how affordable that was, while I was on the edge of crying because my entire wedding budget was only $8,000.
Wedding venues can eat up a huge part of your overall wedding budget. So if you’re in a similar situation that I was in, here are the tricks I used to save money on a wedding venue.
1. Stay Away from Packaged Deals
The problem with the country club and many other pricey wedding venue locations is that they make you choose their caterers. They will also make you pay for their wedding planner, and their table/chair rentals. You don’t have the choice to pick your own caterers or where you’ll buy the decor rentals.
For the country club, the cheapest catering option was a pasta bar or taco bar for $20 a head. Those two options were expensive for what they were and just did not scream “romantic wedding” to me.
Instead, we found a venue that did not charge extra for a chair and tables. We were also able to choose our own catering. We went with StoneFireGrill.com, which at the time was only $7.99 a person for a meal of chicken, tri-tip, salad, mashed potatoes, and a bread stick.
We were able to save thousands just by staying away from venues that did not allow you to have your own catering. Country clubs and hotels all usually charge you a premium to use their catering services and packaged deals.
2. See What Your City Has to Offer
Many cities have rooms and buildings to rent out for public events, meetings, and weddings. This is the route we choose to go with.
Our local city had a ballroom available for rent for about $1,500 a night, with the use of tables and chairs. The only issues with using city property is that you might have to reserve your spot up to a year in advance, and they may have some strict rules, such as no burning candles allowed.
Also, the room was nice, but definitely more of a blank canvas than a ready-made wedding spot. The money we saved on the venue allowed us to spend a bit more on decorations.
3. Spend Money on Uplighting
One of the best things I spent money on for our wedding was uplighting. Uplighting is the use of mini spotlights that are show up the wall to create a more dramatic look in an specific area. You can choose from a variety of hues and even patterned lights to create that dreamy wedding look seen in magazines.
It cost about $20 per uplight, so for an average sized room it might cost around $200-300 for all of the light rentals. However, the difference it makes in the room is amazing! We choose a warm gold hue uplighting instead of using the awful florescent lights that came with the building.
With the use of uplighting, the chairs suddenly did not look as bad, and if the chair was a little stained, no one could tell in the new lighting. This saved me about $500-$1,000 in expenses to cover the chairs.
Choosing a colored uplighting, such as in blue or pink, could save a couple on table cloths too, since a white table cloth would look much better with the blue or pink uplighting. I consider the uplighting the Photoshop of wedding venues, since it hides a lot of flaws and sets a more romantic mood.
When planning your wedding you want to choose the areas to splurge and what to cut back on so you can get the maximum affect you’re looking for, without spending a lot money.
What are some other ways to save money on a wedding venue?