Venue research making me discouraged

posted 2 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
744 posts
Busy bee

I’m sorry, the venue search can be extremely stressful.  May I suggest that you look into having your wedding reception at a restaurant?  FI looked into a lot of restaurants but many of them were too small for our size (150).  But there are SO many restaurants out there that would be perfect for a 30-50 person wedding.  It doesn’t even have to be a place that traditionally does weddings – in fact, if they are not known for weddings they will probably be cheaper!  And they can provide you almost everything you need.  Good luck!

Post # 3
8387 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Isilme:  *HUGS*  Sorry you’re feeling this way.  I don’t think most brides are lucky enough to have their parents pay for their weddings, so many of us have to work with the money that we have/can save.  Unfortunately, much of the wedding industry forces people to think that the “must have” certain things in order for their wedding to look classy/nice/beautiful.  Since you’re not planning for a lot of people, maybe look into doing a something at a restaurant?  I highly recommend using wholesale flowers, paper decorations and as much DIY and upcycling as you can manage.  You could also think about combining your honeymoon fund and wedding budget and doing a small destination wedding.  You could also plan for a long engagement so that you and your FI have more time to put money away.  I hope you’re able to find something you love that’s within your price range.  Best of luck!

Post # 4
2428 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Weddings can be pretty pricey if you get into all that WIC stuff, but don’t feed into it! Everything you described can definitely be done for $1500 or less. Think about having it on an off day like Friday or Sunday, or even a week day. That can defray a lot of the venue cost. Or have it outside in a park where you’d pay a really low fee (not sure if you want indoor or outdoor). Alternatively you can look at for a nice property to rent out for a night or two.

Don’t get discouraged! Everything will work out. And don’t let thoughts of your friends’ weddings or how they may judge yours get to you. If they’re truly your friends, none of that stuff will matter. Plan it for you and your fiance, not them. Good luck!

Post # 6
622 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

Sorry you’re feeling overwhelmed, I was too until we found our venue. Any before you say “bleh” to venues under $500 just know they do exist! I was ready to elope after looking at place after place and the cost of these venues blew my mind ($9,000, $5600, etc. JUST for the location) when I came upon a PERFECT location that is only 10 minutes from our house (?!) for $300 plus a $400 refundable deposit. We’re having a waterfront ceremony with the reception inside. Keep your head up and when you find the place you’ll know it 🙂

Post # 7
1202 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

You have 1500$ budget for a ceremony and a reception for 30 people and no officiant fees? It depends on your region but that’s 50$ per person and I think that’s completely doable!  And while it might not be the lavish wedding your social circle is used to, true friends will respect you for living within your means.  

I think your best bet is a cake and champagne reception.  You could probably get cupcakes and a cutting cake for 30 people from a Craigslist vendor for 100$ or make the cake yourself, and buy alcohol wholesale.  Champagne glasses from Ikea/Walmart/Dollartree can be resold on Craigslist afterwards.  I got a 1hr outdoor engagement photoshoot off Craigslist for 100$, and out of the 100 pictures I liked 20, which was good enough for me.  If you’re flexible, you can save money (friday/sunday wedding, off-season wedding, afternoon wedding, ceremony and reception in different locales)!   

As for venues, have you tried community centers, public parks, gardens, arboretums, legion/veteran halls, friends’ backyards, community churches, friends’ churches, b&bs, museums, historic buildings, restaurants, golf courses, farms, art galleries, cooking schools, theaters, college-university owned properties, government buildings?  Venue will be your biggest expense and it is well worth your time to spend hours and hours of research here.  Good luck!     

Edit: Flexibility is the key.  If you have your heart on the outdoors, consider doing outdoor photos but an indoor ceremony.  As soon as you insist on a particular item/location/time, it drives up the cost.  

Post # 8
720 posts
Busy bee

Isilme:  You need to look for public, not private, spaces. Go to the websites for your city and county and they should have info on their about how to rent pavilions, parks, boathouses, indoor community centers, etc. These are BY FAR the cheapest wedding spaces unless you know someone with a big backyard willing to let you use it for free. Once you have a gov’t owned venue, you can either try to find a caterer willing to work with your budget, or go to your favorite affordable restaurant and get them to deliver hot food etc. The restaurant option will be food that you already know tastes good and will probably be cheaper than a caterer. Then its just chair/table rental and decorations (if you want). Good luck!

Post # 9
622 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

canadajane:  YES on the flexibility part!!

Our date was 3/15/15 but for us having Sunday wedding was becoming a HASSLE as it’s an unpopular day. When it came to our venue it was either change the date or not have it there as they won’t allow Sundays so our date became 3/14/15 🙂

Post # 12
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I’m sorry- planning a wedding is stressful (and prices are ridiculous everywhere in the wedding industry), and it must be hard without your family.  

Since you do have a smaller sized wedding, I’d encourage you to look at more off-beat locations.  They can both save a lot of money and make your wedding more unique, and with the right decoration (you can do DIY things that are beautiful for not much money), it won’t look unspecial.  A night tented backyard celebration with a pig roast would be lovely, or try parks, firehalls, community centers, and restaurants.  Another thing is you can get married in a beauitful public location.  I once saw a couple getting married in front of Niagara falls in front of family and friends.  Of course it wasn’t private, and many stopped to watch, but it only added excitement to the event.  Something like that could be beautiful, and then you could celebrate with a backyard lunch or something.  


Another idea that is getting popular would be to get married at night like 7pm, and have an only cake and punch reception.  That gives people time to eat quick before they come.  

Post # 13
21 posts
  • Wedding: September 2015

Don’t worry about your friends judging you. I’ve been to a lavish ballroom wedding, a wedding on the steps of a local public historic house, and a back yard wedding with standing room only  and homemade pulled pork. They were all awesome. No matter what you choose to do, your friends will be honored to share the day with you. Keep looking– you’ll find something. 🙂

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Dizzydiamond.
Post # 14
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

Yes, your friends will love you no matter what. If you can’t find cheap enough options in your area, I know this isn’t an ideal solution, but…you have a little under $2000 for a honeymoon? You can easily cut that down with a small, close-to-home honeymoon and put the balance toward the wedding. Road trip to a state park. Their inns are usually very cheap to stay in. I bet you could do a 3-5-day state park honeymoon for under $1000. Or even do your honeymoon as a “staycation.” Budget money to go out to eat in your hometown, and maybe even budget money for professional cleaners to come in and clean your house. Still doesn’t add up to anywhere near $2000, and you can take 3-5 days where you make the rule to do no work, do no housework, limit “screen time,” spend time with each other and get out and explore things in your city that you usually don’t have time for. 

Post # 15
1099 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

I feel your pain. We’re looking at June of 2015 too. My FI doesn’t want to spend a ton of money either. I originally started looking at venues in Chicago (which was a bad idea lol) and found that I couldn’t do anything for under $15k which my FI thought was bananas. He’s much more concerned with spending the money on the honeymoon. We decided to have it at the farm I grew up on. We’re thinking about 80 guests and I found out our favorite restaurant caters for $9 a person, which is awesome. We’re also going to ask FI’s parents to make their puerto rican chicken for a taco bar at cocktail hour.

Anyway, we are keeping it all really laid back and very barbeque like. Maybe you could find a non traditional venue to get married at and then just do a dessert reception with cake, cupcakes, cheesecake etc, and wine or spiked punch? 

Does a friend have a backyard you could borrow for it? Or a city park in your area? 

I would just suggest to spend money on what’s important to you. There are always ways around spending a fortune on a wedding. Setting up an ipod with speakers for music, family friend to take pics?

Hope this helps!

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