Affordable Wedding Venue Ideas

By Kelly Boyer Sagert · June 01, 2023 · 7 minute read

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Affordable Wedding Venue Ideas

You’re engaged and ready to plan your wedding. Along with plenty of excitement about your big day, you might also start to feel some sticker shock as you research prices for the ceremony and reception.

SoFi’s most recent survey found that the median price of a wedding is $10,000, and a large portion of that typically goes toward the reception venue.

The average cost of a wedding is $30,000, according to a recent survey of couples.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save for the wedding of your dreams. Reducing the costs of the venue helps with one of the largest expenses.

There are free wedding venues, as well as relatively inexpensive wedding venues to consider as you’re creating your budget. Below are four affordable places to hold a wedding. By selecting one of them, and adding some unique personal touches, you can make the day truly your own.

Plus, if you discover that you could use help financing your wedding, we have suggestions for that, too.

Recommended: Wedding Cost Calculator With Examples

At-Home Wedding

This could be at your own home, or that of a parent, friend, or other loved one, which will likely be one of the most affordable wedding venues around. Benefits of this choice (besides the lack of rental fees) include the flexibility to have your ceremony on just about any day of the year, plus you have a ready-made shelter if the weather isn’t ideal. Want a pet-friendly ceremony? It doesn’t get any better than a home wedding for having your beloved dog be your ring bearer.

Also, any home upgrades made for the ceremony can be enjoyed for a long time afterward. Just decide how much of the event will be held outdoors, what rooms of the house should be made available to wedding guests, and how to ensure enough seating.

You can keep it simple by focusing on certain aspects for home improvement. For instance, if you envision yourself making a grand entrance by walking down a staircase in your wedding dress, you might think about a staircase remodel for your ceremony.

On the other hand, if your powder room could use a glow-up, you might want to concentrate your efforts there for a beautiful bathroom refresh. As a bonus, a project like this could add value to your home.

Check to be sure your officiant of choice is able to perform the ceremony, plan the parking logistics, find out how to comply with any noise ordinances, and so forth. Also, this could be a perfect time to do some outdoor landscaping that will beautify your special day and your home for years to come.

City Hall Wedding

A city hall wedding can be a very chic choice. You aren’t restricted to the city hall or courthouse by where you currently live. You could choose one that has special significance to your relationship, perhaps the city where you first fell in love.

Or, you can get married in the city hall where you’ll enjoy your honeymoon or your family vacation. As another strategy, you can choose the city hall based on its beauty. For instance, the city hall in San Francisco has a stunning white column and gold-capped roof.

The fee for a city hall wedding varies by state and municipality. Generally, it ranges from $30 to $88 or more. Call the location to learn the exact cost.

There are usually designated days and times for city hall weddings, so find out what they are in the location of your choice and how that would work in conjunction with your post-wedding celebration. Also, ask if there’s a limit to the number of wedding guests you can have, and whether you’ll be able to have bridesmaids and groomsmen, given the logistics.

Recommended: The Costs of Being in Someone’s Wedding

Park Wedding

Perhaps there are beautiful parks in your town or city full of unique flowers, landscaping, and more — or maybe there is one with special meaning to you, say, where the two of you attended college.

If that’s the case, you could contact the relevant parks department and find out any details about fees and permits. How accessible is the location for guests? If it’s a small park in the center of town, it’s likely to be fairly accessible. If it’s deep in the heart of a national park system, you may need to decide how to make it practical for guests to find and attend.

Other considerations for a park wedding include shelter in case of rain, having enough public restrooms (are they readily available or do you need to rent portable options?), and how comfortable you are getting married in an open space.

You might also need to find out what the park’s policy is on receptions. Can you set up tables and have food brought in? Or are you imagining a picnic complete with champagne? Dream it up, brainstorm details, and get confirmation from park officials.

One bride who got married in Glacier National Park wore her grandmother’s dress. In and of itself, that might not be unique — but the dress had been made out of the silk parachute her grandfather used in World War II! What unique touches can you bring to your own special park wedding?

Beach Wedding

You might consider a beach wedding, with its possibilities for one-of-a-kind photography, soft breezes, and tropical drinks. As practical considerations, do you plan to have a ceremony along the ocean on a public beach or will you locate a private beach? The permits you’ll need will likely be quite different if you plan to have just your ceremony there versus if you also plan to have a beachside reception complete with food, drink, and music.

You’ll also need to create a Plan B or otherwise have shelter available if the weather doesn’t cooperate. And, where you plan to have the ceremony, geographically speaking, may help to dictate what time of year your wedding should be scheduled. For instance, for a July wedding at your favorite beach, think about how far in advance to plan summer travel.

Then figure out the final details. Do you plan to have alcohol at your reception? That often isn’t permitted on beaches, but there are some that do allow guests to imbibe. Do you want to rope off a section of the beach? Build a bonfire? Again, you might want to ask what the rules and regulations are for the beach you have in mind and be flexible about modifying plans to help make it all come together.

Budgeting for Your Wedding

Even when you choose a free or inexpensive wedding venue, you’ll still likely want to come up with some creative ways to save money for the food, music, drinks, flowers, photography, video, and so on.

You can also explore different ways to help cover some of the wedding costs. For instance, a wedding loan might be an option to explore to help pay for your big day. Or perhaps your families might be able to help out financially with some of the venue-related expenses, such as catering.

During a discussion with your partner, you could both try to determine who will pay for what, and how much you’re willing to spend. It could help to discuss priorities so you’re in agreement about where to splurge and where you’re willing to compromise.

If, for example, you know that having beautiful flowers is important to both of you, that could rise to the must-have category. And maybe you want to spend more on photography and less on videography — or vice versa. What’s important is that you mutually create and agree upon a plan that’s unique to you and your special day.

Financing Your Wedding

When it comes to financing your wedding, a wedding loan could be a good option for your needs. These loans are unsecured personal loans used to cover wedding costs. Rates on personal loans tend to be lower than credit card rates, and they can offer more flexibility on the term of your loan and the amount you can borrow. Plus, you’ll get a fixed rate.

A personal loan from SoFi can be a fast, simple way to get extra cash for your wedding. You can apply online and, if you qualify, you can get the money as soon as the same day.

Explore a personal loan at SoFi — check your rate in just minutes!

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