4 Smart Ways To Choose A Wedding Venue Without Breaking The Bank

Before you even start working on your guest list, there's one decision you'll have to make first––where you'll hold your wedding! Location, location, location. This is the decision that informs every other decision you'll make. For example, if you decide to get married at a barn, you probably won't choose a heavy ballgown. If your venue is a large hotel, you probably won't waste that space by only inviting 50 people. Real Simple has some great tips for choosing your venue.

Now you know that choosing your venue matters––a lot. But maybe you don't want to get married at the same reception hall that all your friends picked, and you don't want to break the bank on a massive hotel ballroom. What's a bride to do? We have a few helpful hints for choosing a wedding location that's a little bit off the beaten path.

1. Consider getting married in your hometown

This may not be a popular opinion, but hear me out. Let's say you live in Chicago, but grew up a few hours outside the city — it's almost guaranteed that any venue in a smaller town is going to be less expensive and easier to book. Chances are, too, that your friends will look at it as a little getaway. Some smaller towns have charming B&Bs, cabins, parks, or vintage buildings that would be great wedding venues. Just think about it––that's all I'm saying!

2. Don't underestimate the great outdoors

Even a park that's not popular with brides can be transformed into an entirely different space with the right decorations and vision. Space at parks can often be reserved through your local Parks & Recreation department for a nominal fee. Brides has a great guide for setting the framework for a park wedding. A few things to consider: Does this park allow you to set up an outdoor tent, just in case it rains? Is there a way to keep the public from roaming around your ceremony area? How early can you set up?

3. Don't forget about value

This post from Offbeat Brides offered a great point: cheap doesn't always relate value, and I believe that sometimes spending a little more can end up being the fiscally responsible thing to do. Often, a venue with a high price tag offers more. Things like linen rentals, tables, and chairs can add up quickly. Be sure you know what you would really be spending at a $500 venue before you sign the contract––you could be in over your head quickly. That being said, don't choose a high-value venue if you won't actually use or need what's included.

4. Choose one venue instead of two.

You know you hate driving from the ceremony to the reception, so why make your guests do it? Choosing the same venue for both the ceremony can cut down on both hassle and cost. Some venues will give you a bundle deal for using their facility all day. For example, if you're getting married at a hotel, you could use a rooftop for your ceremony, then hold the reception downstairs in a ballroom later. You may be writing a big check up front, but it could help you cut down costs in the long run!

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