Many public spaces, like parks or the local village green, may be available to rent at a low fee. However, if the space is not equipped to handle events, you’ll have to rent everything from napkins to tables and chairs.
Choose an unusual venue, such as an aquarium, a zoo, a gallery or an historical site. Site fees are not high and you’ll save on décor because the venue already supplies ambience. But the same caveat goes as for public spaces: Figure in what you’ll have to spend on rentals.
Hold your ceremony and your reception in the same place. You’ll save yourselves multiple site fees as well as transportation from one location to the other.
If you belong to a community organization or to the military, you may have access, at low cost, to a venue belonging to them.
Don’t forget your alma mater — these usually rent for a few hundred dollars.
Depending on your venue, you may not need to decorate extensively. If you marry outdoors at a winery, for example, there’s not much you’ll need to add to the gorgeous vineyard backdrop.
Rent a vacation home. Even if the owners charge you a week’s worth of rent for the day, it may still be equal to or less than renting a traditional reception venue.
If a family member has a scenic property, find out if you can hold your wedding there. One couple held their wedding on the Wyoming ranch where the groom had grown up. Unique and cost-conscious!
If you’re a city-dweller, leave town for your wedding. One Boston bride saved more than $50 per person by holding her wedding in Burlington, Vermont.
For a garden wedding, look into renting an historic mansion; many of these have gardens that are included in the deal. You may find, as did one couple, that the mansion they rented had no time limit, and the fee was less than half a hall rental.
Determine early on what you can spend and stick to it. One rule of thumb: Food, beverage and venue should come to half of your budget.
What about a destination wedding? Because the guest list will be smaller, a wedding away may cost less than a traditional event held in your hometown.
Think small. Check into bed and breakfast venues in your area, and place firm limits on your guest list.
When you’re deciding between an indoor or outdoor space, figure in the cost of a tent rental— if it rains, a tent is worth every penny.
Look for reception packages. Holding your event at a venue that provides catering and food-service items will save you quite a bit of money on rentals.
Create a comparison chart to track what’s included in the price for each venue you’re considering. One company may not include linens and the cake, for example, while another company does.