Choosing your wedding venue is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the wedding planning process (next to choosing the groom, of course!). From a black-tie worthy ballroom to a romantic garden or lakeside retreat, there is a wedding venue for every bride and budget. But considering how expensive we all know weddings can get, it’s pretty common for couples to find their dream wedding venue but then sadly realize it’s way out of their budget. If you do find a wedding venue that is perfect for you but is out of your reach, consider these tips to bring the costs back down to earth.
Looking for more wedding venue tips? Be sure to read our 16 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue Before You Book.
If you’re head-over-heels for a lakeside wedding venue but the prices in spring and summer are through the roof, ask the sales manager if there are incentives for booking during off-peak season. Prices can be astronomically higher during the spring and summer months, which is also known as wedding season. Giving the venue your business during late fall or winter months will typically get you a substantial discount on the average price per person. While you may be compromising on the time of year, you’ll be saving a ton. Bonus: Guests will love an excuse to get away after the excitement of spring and summer vacations have worn off. (And possibly get the chance to go someplace warmer. Hint. Hint.)
Time of Day
If you were quick to choose a Saturday night because that’s what you thought was conventional, think again. From Friday night to Sunday evening, there are so many options to choose from when picking your reception day and time. For instance, a non-holiday Sunday sunset ceremony will be just as gorgeous as one on Saturday, but can often save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars when it comes to facility rental fees and food and beverage minimums. Just keep in mind that since you may be requiring out of town guests to take the following Monday off from work, you will want to wait to schedule any wedding events (such as a rehearsal dinner) until Saturday, so guests don’t have to take Friday off as well. Here’s a few other reasons why we love friday and sunday weddings.
Refine the Guest List
Though it’s easy to invite every acquaintance you’ve ever spoken to (we’re looking at you, guy in accounting), remember that each one of those guests will drive up your overall wedding budget, since venues or their caterers will charge a per person cost. We suggest choosing wisely, and inviting only family and close friends you truly can’t imagine getting married without. (Need help? This guest list infographic will help you decide who to invite in less than 1 minute!). Stressed about cutting your wedding guestlist? Think about throwing a post-wedding cocktail party in your hometown instead!
Tables for Twelve
Depending on your wedding venue you will most likely have the option of round or rectangular tables with varying guest counts. Working with the space, we suggest planning your seating chart with as few tables as possible. Reducing the amount of tables will save money on your flowers, linens, candles, and more. I mean, what guest wouldn’t love a large, round table with a great group of friends and an open bar?! Just make sure there is a reasonable distance between each person. (Read our tips for creating the perfect wedding seating here.)
The Full-Service Venue
Choosing a full-service wedding venue can actually save you more money than you think. This means all your services and needs will be in one place (from a caterer to a day-of event manager) rather than having to bring each of those vendors and services in. And while you won’t benefit from being able to bring in your own food and beverage (which can be a big wedding savings), you will benefit from not having to bring in tables, chairs, flatware, etc. Just note that while full-service venues are a smooth running machine, they’ll most likely know where they can (and can’t) skimp on costs. By asking your venue what else they may be able to throw in (or even negotiating the per person cost) you may just save a few extra dollars. While you’ll want to do your initial and best negotiating with the sales manager before you book, you might also have the opportunity to negotiate with the event manager if you’re assigned one. They often know a little goes a long way, and in the long run that will make you more likely to recommend them to your friends, too. 🙂