Weddings are expensive, with the average cost of a wedding in 2017 ringing in around $25,764. They’re even costly for attendees, who typically shell out cash for new clothes, travel expenses, and presents for the bride and groom. It’s no surprise that more couples are turning to elopement as a way to save and avoid the hassle of racking up wedding venue costs.
If you’re set on having a party for your big day, there are plenty of ways you can save, starting with the venue.
Maybe you already have a perfect venue in mind. The lakefront pier overlooking a cozy log cabin. The beautifully tiled ballroom with hanging glass chandeliers. No matter your dream destination, the easiest way to save on wedding venue costs is to plan for the off-season.
Venue prices are always higher during spring and summer, as this is peak wedding season. While you might have to compromise on your date, planning for the fall or winter months will earn you substantial discounts. In fact, 80 percent of couples said they’d be willing to choose a less-preferable wedding date as a way to save money.
If you have plans for a big traditional wedding, including the wedding party, fancy venue and catered sit-down meal, you might not meet your budget goals. Unfortunately, a large conventional wedding is pricey. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and try new traditions that won’t cost a fortune.
Instead of a fancy ballroom or giant church, consider an alternative venue, such as a nice restaurant or a secluded beach house. You can even choose a nearby park, which is often free to use when reserved ahead of time. Picking a spot not limited to weddings can save you money and give your big day a personalized touch. As a bonus, venues like restaurants often don’t charge a fee for the location, only asking you to pay for food and alcohol.
The number of people you invite will determine the venue you choose. If you have a hefty guest list, you’re going to need a large — and expensive — area to house them all in. However, if you can cut your list to those most important to you, you’ll earn significant savings.
For example, say you’re planning to invite 200 guests. According to one survey, the average cost per guest at a wedding is $268. That’s a total price of $53,600. If you can cut that list to only 50 close guests, you will save more than $40,000. That’s a hefty savings for merely cutting out those distant relatives you haven’t seen in years.
Wedding venue costs don’t end once you’ve found the perfect location. There are flower arrangements, baked goods, lighting, music and more. If you want to save money, enlist close friends to help make your big day special. When you have a musician in the group, ask them to cover the DJ booth. If you know an aspiring botanist, ask them to create some the centerpieces.
Most of your friends will be willing to help out for a small fee or as a wedding present. If you want to go all out, you can even ask a friend to get ordained by the state — a process that’s quick and inexpensive — to perform the ceremony.
You may think choosing a full-service venue is a quick way to lose cash. In reality, a place that bundles everything together can lead to big savings. Some sites include catering, alcoholic beverages, a wedding cake, decor, music, seating arrangements and much more. As a bonus, if you choose a hotel as your venue, you can often get a room for the night.
When looking at venues, ask what they can offer besides location. Remember, you can always negotiate on price and ask about available discounts.
Planning a wedding — especially one that doesn’t break the bank — can be challenging. Follow these tips to learn how to save big on your venue, so you can enjoy your big day without going into debt. That way, you can start your marriage on strong financial footing.