I just REALLY looked at all the details of what was included with each venue we looked at. Where one may SEEM less expensive, after reading the fine print it may actually be pricier. For example, are you obligated to use their recommended vendors? One place we liked (and seemed reasonably priced) charged an extra $250 for EACH VENDOR not on their "preferred vendor list". Want colored linens? ... upcharge .... chair sashes? ... upcharge addition/deletion/change to standard menu? .... yep, upcharge. So while I *thought* it was a better price than where we eventually booked, after all the little extras it wound up almost $2500 more.
Also, what JM said in previous post - although for us it just had to be on a Saturday so that wasn't an option.
Find a venue that includes more with it. For example, ours came with tables, chairs, linens, dance floor, uplighting, valet, security, drinks, waitstaff, and food if you chose (we went with their food because they’re a local renowned restaurant and got half off the venue fee!). I was shocked at how much more expensive other venues were that did not include this stuff, so I would have been paying an expensive venue fee on top of expenses of bringing all those other things in!
Lower guest count first. The guest count actually is what determine the "cost "of everything . Choose a non traditional venue. Stay away from banquet halls and conference centers. A nice vfw, community center, park, beach, college campus, restaurant with private room for reception. (when decorated nicely you can't tell the difference). We eloped on the beach. Weekday wedding not Saturday.
I see a lot of people saying all inclusive. While I think that makes it easier, like MUCH easier, we’re saving easily THOUSANDS by going with a venue where we basically have to do everything. Every place that had food and alcohol included was a lot more expensive than us doing it ourselves
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This is what we are doing as well. We priced out all inclusive venues and they were 100x more expensive with no room for customization and too many restrictions. They draw you in a “low” rental fee but they don’t tell you upfront that you are required to pay 5-6 figures minimum for food/beverages that you are not allowed to sample before signing the contract plus other vendors you must pick from a list and are not cheap.
While the majority of the internet insists otherwise, we found it to be much cheaper to go with a blank slate venue. Many have tables, chairs and a kitchen on site. By looking outside the box, we found a number of options: parks department owned venues, industrial warehouses, etc. Also where we are located, there is no price difference between Friday and Saturday for venues and vendors. Monday-Thursday are discounted but are inconvenient for guests. The venues we looked at don’t charge a higher rental fee for “extra”guests.
Also we are finding local rental companies to be much more economical and eco-friendly than purchasing various items that you would have to figure out where to donate afterwards, including but not limited to silverware/dishes, vases, linens, etc.
Definitely cut the guest list. But also, navigate to the seventh or eighth page of listings on WW or The Knot. Pricier venues pay for the first several pages. Once you hit about page seven, you can still find venues that have a decent number of reviews (so you know whether they're good), but they're not spending a ton on marketing (and so your price is lower).