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One of the biggest decisions any couple makes when planning their wedding is on the venue for the ceremony and reception.
According to WeddingWire.com, couples spend an average of $9,000 on the wedding venue alone.
Even if your budget is stretched tighter than your wedding-day shape wear, you can find a venue that satisfies both your bank account and your personal style by exploring some non-traditional options.
Our guide for finding unique and affordable wedding venues is designed to help modern brides take advantage of locations they might not have already considered. Check it out for everything you need to know to get started.
Non-traditional wedding venues offer a lot of benefits to couples on a budget. Because most of the options that we’ll cover here aren’t typically used for weddings, you won’t be paying seasonal premiums or wedding-industry-driven prices.
A secondary benefits comes in the category of scheduling. Most of the destinations on this list never experience the same competitive booking practices that typical wedding venues do. In essence, a non-traditional venue means you get the boon of flexibility.
When searching for affordable wedding venues, be ready to shift to an opportunistic mindset. You’ll want to look for events and areas that fit your needs at the most basic level.
You may need to re-evaluate what the functional definition of a wedding is for you, but what you lose in tradition, you can often gain—in a big way—in the atmosphere and freedom to be creative.
Here are a few great examples that are growing in popularity among budget-conscious brides.
If you and your partner are festival goers or just love music in general, this can be a great option for your wedding ceremony. You’ll be able to take advantage of the high energy atmosphere already in place, and you’ve got a sea of built-in entertainment.
Jamming to some of the most sought-after musicians in the genre is just an added layer of magic for any wedding, and one your guests won’t easily forget.
The costs on this one can vary wildly, depending on which festival you’re aiming for and how elaborate you will need your wedding ceremony to be.
If you’re looking into a festival wedding, a pro tip is to contact the festival organizers and see if you can work with them to organize your ceremony.
Many festivals will go above and beyond to help you create a magical event, and occasionally, your request will be so unique that much of the logistics can be taken care of for you, at virtually no cost.
Campsites are the perfect wedding venue for those couples with an attachment to nature. You can recite your wedding vows and create memories in a natural environment that makes for a whimsical backdrop for your photos.
You can even enjoy your first night as a married couple under the stars.
According to familytentlife.com, the average campsite costs just $24 to $90 for two nights. When compared to the $9000 cost of the standard traditional wedding venue, a campsite could represent a tremendous savings for most couples and produce a beautiful ceremony.
While this may not be a venue in itself, surprise weddings are a fun and non-traditional way to get married and save big on costs at the same time.
Simply invite your close friends and relatives to what they think is a birthday celebration or dinner party, and surprise them with a sudden wedding ceremony for some laughs and awesome memories.
Spur of the moment weddings give you the opportunity to do away the formalities of a traditional ceremony and instead, get married with an abbreviated “service” and focus on the ensuing celebration.
You could book an officiator and a restaurant, and get married between the entrée and main course, or say your vows over drinks at your favorite bar.
There are a few important things to consider when investigating an affordable wedding venue. Brides.com has listed up mentions some great tips for helping couples choose the perfect wedding venue, and we’ve narrowed the list down to the three most valuable ones.
Know Your Budget
Since affordability is a major factor when picking out your venue, make sure to keep your budget firmly in mind. When you find a spot that might work, remember to factor in the costs of decorations and any other specific adjustments the space may need.
Understand the Size of Your Guest List
This tip is especially important if you’re planning on getting married in a non-traditional venue. Determine whether or not the venue is in line with your guest list, and if it’s not, a completed guest list will help you decide if you must trim down the list or scale up the venue.
If there is room in your budget, considering consulting a wedding planner. Wedding planners are experienced enough to know the best venues that will suit all your needs. And, they can even help you find unusual locations that will wow your guests and remain within the bounds of your budget.
Finding a Venue Online
Affordable wedding venues are easier than ever to locate with the emergence of relevant marketplaces. This means that creative venues and on demand quotes are only a search away.
There are several digital platforms that can help you find a wedding venue. These are some of our favorites.
EventUp.com is a website dedicated to helping users find locations to host their events, and that goes for weddings, too. The site first asks you where you want to host your event and starts from there. Its simple interface should make finding a venue pretty simple.
To look for a perfect, affordable wedding venue on EventUp.com, be sure to take advantage the filters and narrow down results by the number of guests, how the guests will be staying in the event (sitting or standing), the budget of the venue, and location.
Advanced parameters also allow you to select the event type, including weddings, but when you find a good option, be sure to contact the owner of the space and start a discussion about the wedding. You’ll be surprised at how helpful people can be.
Similar to EventUp.com, Peerspace.com is a website that hosts venues for different occasions. It’s also similar in the sense that you can use different search parameters to find your ideal venue.
When searching on Peerspace.com, first specify that you want to book a wedding venue. You can do this by clicking “View all activities” under the “Book a unique space for your activity” tab on the homepage. Then, find and select the “Wedding” tab.
From there, you can browse the recommended venues displayed on the landing page or search according to custom filters.
Don’t be afraid to search for other event types, too. Non-traditional weddings can fit with a variety of venues, and the less typical the location, the less you’re likely to pay.
By now, most of you are probably wondering, “can you have a wedding at an Airbnb?” And, the answer is yes! While the platform is more commonly known for allowing travelers to find affordable accommodations, Airbnb also hosts a large number of venues for weddings.
It’s actually pretty simple to find a venue using Airbnb. All you have to do is enter the date and place you want to hold your wedding, specify 16 as the number of guests for maximum occupancy, and under amenities, check “suitable for events.” That’s pretty much it.
Once you get some results matching the given criteria for your venue, be sure to start a dialogue with the owner before booking. They can often offer tremendous support while planning and setting up for the wedding.
Airbnb locations might not be as large of a venue as entire cathedrals, but the platform can provide great locations for small weddings.
If you’re just not finding the right location online, there are other ways to find great venues for your wedding.
Use Personal Connections
Using personal connections is a convenient way to help you source an affordable wedding venue. Ask your friends and family for recommendations and don’t discount the idea of a backyard wedding. They can be stunning and virtually cost-free.
Hire a Wedding Planner
One of the biggest perks of using this method is that wedding planners also provide many other services aside from just locating the venue itself, so the overall preparations for the wedding become a lot easier.
Wedding planners can find you a great venue that isn’t listed online and could end up saving you some money in the process. Setting aside a budget for a wedding planner could have a bigger impact on your budget than you might think, so it’s worth investigating.
Have you ever wondered what percentage of a wedding budget should be spent on the venue? The answer is around 50 percent, according to TheNest.com. If you plan on spending half your budget on the venue, you might realize that some cutbacks are necessary elsewhere.
These are the most cost affective areas to scale back on when working with your wedding budget.
Arguably the easiest way to cut your wedding expenses is to host fewer guests. According to a study by The Knot, couples spend on average $258 per guest at a wedding. Coupled with an average of 136 guests per wedding, that’s a lot of cash.
The theme of the wedding does have an impact on the overall costs. For example, hosting a fancy wedding with formal reception will cost you a lot more than, say, a casually-themed wedding held at a movie theater or in a friend’s back yard.
Flowers represent a major cost center for many weddings. Scaling back on the blossoms is an easy way to cut costs, and a creative venue can limit the need for them all together.
Tablecloths, center pieces, and ambient décor can drive up your costs very quickly. And much of this stuff can’t be rented, meaning you’re stuck with it after the wedding. Try to use items you and your loved ones already have and choose a venue that needs minimal décor.
So, How Do You Find an Affordable Wedding Venue?
They’re not as hard to come by as you might have thought. Leveraging a non-traditional venue can help you host the wedding of your dreams on a budget you can actually afford.
Just remember all the tips and tricks we went through in this article, and you’ll find your ideal location in no time at all.