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7 Wedding Venue Ideas for Budget-Minded Couples

I can imagine how the price of wedding venues have skyrocketed. Good for wedding planners, not so good for clients. 

Here are 7 Wedding Venue Ideas for Budget-Minded Couples! 

When couples get engaged, often the first element they look to secure for their wedding is the venue. And rightfully so -- in-demand venues can be booked out 18 months or more. And the cost isn't cheap.

In 2011, couples spent an average of $1,179 on the ceremony venue, $3,228 on the reception location and $1,708 on reception rentals, according to research group That doesn't even factor the cost of decorations, food, service, bar or the wedding cake!

Brides and grooms are wising up about how and where they're spending their money by looking for single location venues where they can host the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. Not only that, they're looking for venues that are romantic and simple (bonus points if it's a natural setting), so little decoration if any is needed to make the venue beautiful.

With that in mind, here are seven surprising money-saving venues worth investigating when planning a 2013 wedding.
1. The Great Outdoors
City parks are cheap and sometimes free for wedding receptions, but rentals to make it work might get costly. Try your local agricultural center instead, which boasts bountiful gardens, and more than likely facilities, kitchen, tables and chairs and an alternative indoor area in case of inclement weather.

2. Express Yourself
You've seen one hotel ballroom, you've seen them all. Couples today want to express their individuality in venues that are unexpected -- like a historic library, museums and art galleries. Tia Smith of Colorado Springs chose to get married in an historical museum downtown that used to be the city courthouse. The ceremony was in an old courtroom (complete with judge's bench and jury box). 
"We just loved the character of the room and the building," she said. "Also, the venue ended up costing less than most of the churches we were looking at. We couldn't have been happier with our venue and the unique experience it provided."

3. Have a Ball
Sporting venues like stadiums, ice rinks and even bowling alleys can give your day a fun feel. Don't count out the traditional golf courses -- these country clubs often have multiple wedding packages with all-inclusive rates that can save you money overall. Register at for gift cards at your favorite sporting goods store to round out the theme.

4. Get Down on the Farm
The majority of couples travel within 25 miles of home to get married, according to Those who are willing to travel outside a metropolitan area may score a better deal. Farms, plantations and even conference and retreat centers usually have flexible spaces and affordable rental packages.

5. You Condo It!
Grand historic inns and intimate Bed & Breakfasts provide gorgeous settings for weddings, but renting it out for a weekend can take a toll on your budget. Investigate renting a group of condos or a beach house for a weekend and invite your closest friends and family for an intimate fun-filled destination wedding in a scenic setting.

6. Give a Little Bit
Private nonprofit centers in your city depend on rental income to keep the doors open. Give back to your community by renting a community or senior center for your big day. Our local YMCA has a beautiful indoor facility for receptions and parties and an outdoor lawn perfect for a late summer soiree.

7. Plaza to Meet You
Can't afford a special venue downtown? Inquire if the plaza (or even the lobby or the roof) is up for grabs. The War Memorial Auditorium is a pricey rental, but its plaza rents for under $100. But buyer beware: 
"The rental is cheap but keep in mind that you will pay extra for the troopers for security as well as tables, chairs, and possibly a tent," says Mary Hance, who writes the Ms. Cheap column for the Tennessean. "But of course you don't need much decoration because it is so beautiful," she says.

Weddings expert Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot and blogs from her home in Nashville, Tenn., about cheap ways to spend and save at She planned her wedding in under six months for $5,000 and has been offering tips and tricks to budget-savvy brides every since. Cara's tips have been featured in USAToday, The New York Times, Colorado Brides, Chicago Bride Magazine, Destination I Do Magazine, St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazineand many more.
For more information, to book a segment or to arrange an interview, email Cara Davis at

Colette is a busy mom of 2 kids focusing solely on being a mom. She hails from the Caribbean and now balances the full life of being a SAHM and dabbling in odd jobs to help around the home. She enjoys sharing her memories, hopes, food, travel, entertainment, and product experiences on her blog. Please read my disclosure 
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  1. I never thought about a non-profit center as a venue!

  2. This is a great group of suggestions, some outside of the box that would be great but I never would have thought of without reading this post. Thank you for sharing it!


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