Post # 1
So FI and I are just about 2 years out from when we want to have the wedding (date next to my name is not our actual date). I’m feeling very discouraged about our venue search. I read here about so many ladies having beautiful weddings with 200 guests and it costs them 15K. I’m not seeing how this is even remotely a possibility where I live.
At first, I thought I was crazy to start looking at venues so early. But I quickly realized I’m not. What I’m finding for venue costs range from $4500 to over $10K!! And let me reiterate that is JUST FOR THE VENUE! Not to mention some venues require you to rent their chairs, tables, tents, etc. all at an additional cost per item.
My only “requirements” when it came to venue I thought were easy, simple, and inexpensive. I was clearly wrong. I wanted to be by the water (preferably ocean, but open to other bodies of water), walk through grass for my ceremony, and not have my reception in a barn or primarily wooden interior venue. I’m feeling like there’s not a chance in heck I’ll get any of that.
I didn’t think we had a cheap budget, but now I feel like we do. We’re trying to form our budget around the venue and go from there, but this is proving to be extremely difficult. I initially imagined 25K max when I started doing very light research. But now I’m feeling like there are so many things we need to compromise on to meet that. We can do a larger budget, but I just am not the type of person who wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding. It’d be great if we didn’t go over 20K but I’m not seeing that as an option.
We’re looking at a guest list of 125-150. That even cuts out some venues because they have 150 person minimums that make me nervous because we’re only teetering near that number.
How did you ladies set a budget? I’m looking for any advice possible. It’s astounding to me that just the cost of renting the venue could take up 20-40% of our ENTIRE wedding budget! I’m now open to having a Fri/Sun instead of Sat, I’m open to no water view. I’m not open to a barn or rustic feel or substantially dropping our guest list. And I really don’t want to do a chain hotel or a yacht club. But I’m feeling very frustrated and like my standards are WAY too high, but I see what other ladies in other areas can get for that budget and I’m so jealous. CT/RI weddings are nauseatingly expensive it seems no matter what =/ We’re even still toying with the idea of a destination wedding and coming back to have a reception here.
I just need some reassurance that this is somehow doable without raising the budget. I’m fairly ok knowing that even at 25K there’s a possiblity of us reaching 30K if we’re not careful. But I don’t want to go over that once everything is said and done. We already had to scratch my dream venue even though it was on a Fri off-peak. If we chose that place we’d be looking at 35-40K easily once everything was said and done. But even then, 30K is still more than I wanted to spend.
Post # 3
Are you set on getting married in Connecticut? It is probably more expensive than others places cause, well, it’s Connecticut! But, despite that, I would keep looking and looking. You will find something you can afford. Keep looking and searching. I found information on a venue when I did a craigslist search for a photographer…so places pop up unexpectedly all the time.
Post # 4
@PaisleyMedic: I’m sorry for you. My fiancee temporarily lived/worked in CT for his job. It takes at least double to live up there as it does down here. I feel like up there you either have it or you don’t, no middle ground. Have you considered having your wedding in a more rural part of the state of NY? Have you looked into having your wedding at a park?
Post # 5
I agree, CT is so damn expensive and im originally from Boston and I honestly think weddings there are less expensive! We are having 120 people and we are probably spending close to $32k for the wedding but that includes the open bar my dress photobooth extremely expensive dj gifts rehearsal dinner and all the other extras that you pay for along the way, basically everything. Its definitely doable for under 25k my friends getting married a month before us and spending $16k for everything for 150 people. You just have to look around and be willing to sacrafice somethings and no matter waht you do sacrafice your guests probably wouldnt miss it anyways! Try finding lower costing photography, my photographer has been amazing has done 3 ephoto shoots with us for no extra charge goes to the rehearsal dinner and spends the whole day with you on your wedding for under 2000! If you want some advice PM ive been planning for over a year and a half now in CT and have seen a lot especially with a good friend of mine getting married right before me as well!
Post # 6
@peachacid: We want to. We’re open to RI and maybe Worcester area in Mass (though I haven’t looked there at all). But that’s essentially worse than CT! We live in CT and all of our friends and here and nearly all of our family. Going to NH/VT is too north, going to NY is counterproductive and just a little too far. GAAH!! I feel so trapped here in New England!!
Post # 7
I am getting married in Portsmouth, NH, and it is pretty expensive…and there are like NO places that can fit a group of 100 downtown. So that’s another problem with New England – everything is SMALL.
Hmm. You said you were thinking of $25K? The Wentworth by the Sea, in Newcastle, NH (tiny town right next to Portsmouth) requires a minimum of $20K…lol. I think just for food and drinks. WHATTTT?
Maybe check out Rhode Island…and I guess Worcester if you want to get married no where near the ocean.
Post # 8
I’m very fortunate to live in a place with a lower standard of living – I lived in metro NY for the longest 10 months of my life, and the move to VA was like a cool drink of water. My life here costs half what it did there. Of course, the trade off is having fewer resources sometimes. Wedding planning, however, would have driven me crazy up there.
But I’ve noticed that people in very expensive areas are able to find venues that don’t break the bank, they just have to look long and hard and be willing to look off the beaten path. Have you checked out National or CT state parks? They may not have the accommodations that a hotel or resort venue would have, but they should have very decent facilities, and will have the natural beauty you’re looking for.
I just did a quick search, and this one looks nice.
Even the ones that only have picnic pavilions can be made workable if you rent a curtained tent for a dressing/preparation area.
Post # 9
Go UPSTATE Honey… look at the smaller quieter New England States (and stunningly beautiful)… New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Definitely some values to be had, and you can “embrace” the idea of having a bit of an exotic Destination Wedding to boot.
Post # 10
My venue alone was 8k and we had a 25k budget that we stuck to. It was difficult and we made some sacrifices, but it was totally worth it. Good luck to you!
Post # 11
I lived in very expensive area of the country as well, and I, too, had “sticker shock” when I began planning my wedding. My original budget essentially ended up being triple what I originally had been given as my budget.
Post # 12
If you’re open to going to Mass, I got an ocean front venue that was only 2k to rent for a sunday (3k for sat, less for off season & friday) it’s the elks at bass rocks in gloucester if you’re interested 😉
Post # 13
FI and I made a list of what was most important to us for our budget. Our guests list and food/drinks were at the top (we are not cutting the guest list and we want good food). We are lucky to be able to plan our 100 person wedding for close to $6,000 and our venue is $2,100 (35% of our budget). The venue includes table and linen rentals, lighting, etc… so most of the decor is taken care of. I’m DIY-ing a few aspects, mainly invitations, centerpieces, and additional decor items. It’s all about what is important to you and your future husband, and if you have budget restrictions, you will have to give up or modify your plans.
Post # 14
I appreciate all of the advice from everyone! I know some people mentioned traveling farther north into NH, VT, or ME, but we really want the venue to be well within driving distance for the majority of guests (no more than 2 hours drive, preferably no more than 1.5 hours). And because we want an evening wedding, having a wedding 4 or 5 hours away I assume means people would be forced to stay overnight or just not come.
We’re just going to try to balance things. The next thing that’s frustrating is trying to gauge how much other things will cost like flowers, centerpieces, hair, etc. to really see an overview of everything. I feel like I’d be setting myself up for failure by saying we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Because since everything seems expensive here, I don’t want to be naive and assume we can find things cheaper than they really are. How did you all figure this out? I’ve looked at budget things like on theknot, but it doesn’t work by region and that makes me think it’s not exactly the best thing to follow. I just don’t want to go around posting on each board asking how much people spent on flowers, how much on hair, etc.
Post # 15
Have you tried going to caterers and asking them about cheap places you could rent? They seem to know the best places, because the pricier venues are caterer exclusive.
You’ve probably looked into this, but sometimes you can find community centers, churches, libraries, town halls, etc. that offer lower prices.
Post # 16
I’m not sure if it is within your driving range (don’t know what part of CT you are in), but my venue in the Hudson Valley hits all your checkpoints, if you are okay with a tented reception. The venue price includes food, drinks, tables, chairs, linens, servers, etc. – you basically only need a florist, photographer, and DJ (they have an all-inclusive package that has these things, but those vendors are not to my taste).
We are having a Saturday evening wedding for well below your budget, and the place is gorgeous in person (MUCH better than it looks on the dated website). I found it through another bee, so I wanted to pass the tip along to you.
This is where I’ll be walking down the aisle 🙂
In the other direction, the venue faces the sun setting over the mountains in the distance. It is just beautiful. Let me know if you might be interested, and I will PM you the pricing and what we negotiated.