Many people I talk to know where they want to get married years before anyone pops the question. For them, the decision of a venue is an easy one. We weren’t these people and for us this decision was the most painstaking of all.
Every bridal magazine and wedding article I read suggested that the couple should try to think of places with meaning for them and make one of them work for a venue; the spot of your first date, the place the proposal happened, a family spot or a vacation destination. None of these worked for us. The site of our first date was a noisy bar that played live music. He proposed to me one night while I was doing homework in our bedroom. We had no family with the right space to host a wedding. And in five years of being together we had taken a total of zero vacations.
Zero is how many venue ideas we had. We started by deciding exactly what type of wedding we wanted. We knew it would be pretty low-key. We wanted to do as much of it ourselves as possible to save on costs but we had no idea where to start.
While talking to my seamstress at a fitting about what we wanted she casually threw out the name of a local venue that is already BYOB. Rustic décor (which fit our theme perfectly). Locally owned and relatively inexpensive. She passed along the phone number and I called them immediately. By the following Saturday we were there touring the most beautiful venue. As soon as we saw it we knew it was a perfect fit for our wedding. Best of all, the cost was $600 for five hours.
Here are our top tips for how we cut costs at our venue:
BYOB saves lots of money. Our venue requires the couple to purchase private insurance to cover the self-service of alcohol. This policy cost us about $120. Much more affordable than paying for a full bar and bartender.
2.) Do-it-yourself DJ
Our venue is a music venue which means that they have live bands regularly. Because of this they have all the sound equipment of a DJ and all we have to do is plug in an ipod with music loaded. This also means we have a dance floor already. No need to rent one. We spent about $30 on iTunes buying music. The rest we got from friends, family and our own CDs.
3.) Ask Away
Don’t be afraid to ask the venue manager what you want to know. Ours offers a rental of tablecloths at a fraction of the cost of getting them through a rental service or buying them ourselves. They will be steamed and set up for us good to go on our wedding day. One less thing to worry about. And it cost us only $96.
3.) Combine Ceremony Site with Reception
We aren’t religious people but we were going to get married in a church. For about $600 for 20 minutes. Then we asked the venue about hosting the ceremony with the reception. Turns out they offer this. At no additional cost. We are saving $600 plus we can reuse our ceremony decorations without moving anything.
The bottom line is that these tips aren’t for everyone. They worked for us and our style. Your best bet is to educate yourself as to what things cost so that you can figure out what best works for you, your wedding and your budget.