A backyard BBQ isn't the only option for a budget-friendly wedding!
While the venue will take a healthy bite out of your overall wedding budget, you don't want it to consume the whole thing!
To get the most bang for your wedding buck, we recommend thinking "off": Have your wedding on an "off" day (e.g. Friday), or "off" season (e.g. January), or at an "off" time (e.g. morning) when venues don't usually book events.
And, of course, find an "off"-the-beaten-path venue! When you choose a nontraditional venue, like the 13 types listed below, you're likely to enjoy a unique setting along with a lower price point. And we call that a win-win.
Disclaimer: "Budget" is in the eye of the beholder. The following site types are typically on the more reasonable end of the pricing spectrum, but it bears mentioning that not ALL of them will always be affordable. Do your research, inquire directly with the venues you love, and be sure to ask about any special promotions!
1. Bed & Breakfast
Just think: a cozy, intimate space that feels like home, charming on-site guest rooms, and a quaint garden just perfect for your small outdoor ceremony. Plus, you get a built-in post-wedding brunch—eggs benny, anyone?
Palmetto Riverside Bed and Breakfast
2. Church, Chapel, or other House of Worship
If you and your fiancé want a spiritual ceremony, it makes sense to get married at a church, chapel, synagogue, or other house of worship. These sacred spaces require minimal financial investment, and some even have an adjacent hall for receptions.
3. College or University
While the word "wedding" may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of college, many campuses have incredibly picturesque locations to say "I do!". From historic libraries and serene chapels to manicured gardens, we're talking lots of options for hosting a beautiful—and budget-friendly!—wedding or civil union.
4. Community Center or Civic Building
Community centers and civic buildings are meant to be gathering places for social or cultural activities—so they're a natural fit for weddings! Many of these structures are historic, cutting-edge, or even eco-friendly, and can also be quite cost-effective for special events.
5. Conference Center
A conference center is a full-service event space with amenities that may include everything from on-site catering to on-site guest rooms! These facilities can accommodate small to medium-sized meetings and events (as opposed to convention centers, which host large groups), and specialize in all-around hospitality without a five-star price tag.
6. Courthouse or City Hall
Of course, you can always get married at your local courthouse or City Hall! Some of these buildings are absolutely breathtaking, from San Francisco's City Hall with its jaw-dropping interior rotunda to Philadelphia's majestic City Hall constructed of brick, marble, and granite. Keep in mind that marriage license requirements vary, so do your research. Go to the website of the appropriate city/county Clerk's Office for the specifics.
7. Museum, Library, or Gallery
Museums, libraries, and galleries—frequently known for dramatic architecture, incredible exhibits, and curated collections—are works of art in themselves! They often provide such a striking backdrop, you can end up saving a ton of money on décor.
If you want your wedding reception to have a cool nightclub vibe, then why not host your event in an actual nightclub? Once they turn down the EDM and turn off the strobe lights, many nightclubs magically transform into contemporary event spaces. And since they're not usually thought of when couples are venue hunting, most of them offer very affordable wedding packages.
It's great when your wedding can do some good long after your Big Day. If you host your celebration at a nonprofit venue, your rental fees will also support a charitable organization. Some nonprofit venues stay afloat through donations and volunteer work, so you can rest assured the money you're spending on your venue is going to a good cause. #winwin
National, state, or even local city parks are a scenic-yet-sensible option for an outdoor wedding. Many of them contain lush gardens, verdant lawns, towering trees, mountain views, and even a beach! A special use permit may be required, so be sure to check with the park in advance.
If you're a self-proclaimed "foodie" couple, hosting your wedding at a restaurant is a great way to eat, drink, and get married. Restaurant weddings can be quite reasonable, and come with the food, tables, chairs, drinks, and service staff already built in. Some even have private rooms to allow for a DJ and dance party!
12. Yachts and Boats
Get your nautical nuptials on! A wedding on the water is a cost-effective way to tie the knot. An all-inclusive vessel, panoramic views, and affordable pricing—what's not to love?
Sun Dream Yacht Charters | Cary Diaz Photography
13. Zoos and Aquariums
Take a walk on the wild side at a zoo or aquarium! These venues offer an incredibly unique experience for a really reasonable price. Imagine saying your vows surrounded by wildlife…or dining next to a floor-to-ceiling glass tank full of sea life. What could be more perfect for creature-loving couples who want an unconventional (and unforgettable!) event!
The Florida Aquarium | Lifelong Photography
Filed under Ceremony, Budget Wedding Ideas, Small Wedding, Expert Advice, Offbeat, Outdoor, Unique, Wedding Venues / Locations, Museum
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Some clients may have paid to be placed in our editorial and some of these links may be affiliate; however, we never include a venue, vendor, or product unless they have a proper place here. This is part of our Core Values. We create our website first and foremost to be good for the couples using it to plan their Big Day. We won't stray from that for a few advertising dollars. #scoutshonor