Over the last year and a half of blogging, I have learned more about the wedding industry than I ever thought possible. And while I am by no means an expert – I’m still learning new things every day, after all – I felt as though it was time that I start sharing some of that knowledge with you guys. So I thought I would start with a subject close to my heart: planning an awesome wedding on a budget. Planning a wedding is challenging in and of itself; doing it on a less than generous budget is enough to make you want to run screaming for the hills. I had to learn this all the hard way, but hopefully you won’t have to! Over the next couple of months I will be sharing a series of helpful tips on how you can save money on all the different aspects of your wedding, from the dress to the venue and everything in between.
This week we’re starting off with one the biggest expenses on the wedding checklist: the venue(s). Your venue is one of the first decisions you will make in your wedding planning process and it will help set the tone for the entire day. But just because it’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll make, that doesn’t mean it has to necessarily be the most expensive. Here are 5 ways to cut down on the cost of your wedding venue:
1. Look for Venues Outside of the City
Let’s face it, things are just more expensive in the city, and venues in cities like Toronto and Vancouver often come with a hefty price tag. If you’re willing to travel, whether out to the countryside or just a smaller nearby town, you’ll find venue rates often start to drop – sometimes dramatically – in price. Just being flexible when it comes to the location can open up a whole world of budget-friendly options you never knew existed.
Pros: Perfect option for those interested in quaint, intimate or rustic weddings
Cons: Vendors may be more difficult to find or travel fees may be applied
2. Consider Non-Traditional Venues
Anything that advertises itself as a wedding venue is automatically going to have higher rental rates, but with a little creativity and a bit of searching you’ll find that there are a lot of spaces and places out there that could work just as well or even better for your wedding at a fraction of the cost. Some great options to consider: restaurants, studios, galleries, private farms/barns, National Parks and Forests, summer camps, legions, education centres, campgrounds, private cottages etc.
Pros: Freedom to choose your own vendors and customize your wedding to you
Cons: Non-traditional venues can be more work when it comes to set-up and cost you more in rentals
3. Host your Wedding on a Weekday or During the Day
Not surprisingly, Saturday is the most popular day of the week to get married, followed closely by Friday and Sunday. Because of the high demand for these days, venues charge much more on the weekends than they do for any other day of the week. If getting married during the work week is absolutely out of the question, you could also consider having a Saturday/Sunday brunch wedding or a weekend afternoon cocktail reception, as venue rates are usually slightly cheaper for day rentals than they are for evening rentals.
Pros: You’re almost guaranteed your pick of vendors (for weekday weddings, anyways)
Cons: Not great if you want to party all night long or you have a lot of out of town guests
4. Hold your Ceremony and Reception in the Same Venue
A lot of people don’t realize (I sure didn’t) that it isn’t free to use the church or any ceremony location for that matter. The fee isn’t always huge, but when you’re on a budget, every little bit helps, so consider finding a venue that allows you to hold both the ceremony and the reception in the same place for one single fee.
Pros: Guests don’t have to travel between venues and it simplifies planning, decorating and other logistical issues
Cons: Not ideal if you have your heart set on getting married in a church
So I’m half joking with this one, but then again, why not? It’s romantic and about as budget friendly as you can get; unless of course you run off to Paris to do it, but then it’s still probably cheaper then throwing a huge wedding. Realistically this option is not for everyone, but I say it’s definitely one worth considering. And just think of the great party you could throw afterwards!
Pros: Romantic and much less stressful than planning a wedding
Cons: Your mother may never forgive you
Now, if you have your heart set on getting married in a church and holding your reception in the city’s hottest wedding venue on a Saturday evening in the middle of wedding season, and these tips just don’t work for you, don’t get discouraged; you can always cut back on your budget elsewhere. Check back next week when I’ll be sharing my tips on how to save money on your wedding attire.