(Closed) The Cost is Killing Me

posted 9 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
5472 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Could you possibly do a lunch reception instead of dinner?  Or even a non-meal time reception, and host appetizers or hors d’oeuvres instead of a full meal?  Have you checked into local parks or historical societies or cultural arts centers?  A lot of public recreation facilities are available for much less than banquet halls.  I’d check with your department of parks/recreation and see what kind of locations they have, and what the rules are for renting them out (i.e. do they allow alcohol, what are their indoor capacities, do they allow outside food vendors, etc.)  I know it’s overwhelming, but it can be done!!

Post # 4
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I haven’t chosen a venue yet, and I’m running into the same thing.  DaneLady’s advice is exactly what I’ve going for too.  Do some Internet searches for things like “brunch reception” and “picnic reception” to see how they can work.

Also, consider a Sunday morning wedding: people will not expect much/any alcohol (a very expensive item) and you can get away with a simpler/lighter menu.  Another thing to consider is a “dessert reception.”  It’s what a usual reception was a couple decades ago and earlier–it would work well for a early/mid-afternoon wedding and you can still have things like dancing, etc.

Good luck!

Post # 5
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I find that what you unique types of weddings tend to cost more than the places that are “wedding professionals”, those (like hotels and reception halls) that know weddings like the back of their hand. They’ve got all of the equipment on hand, and throwing one is like a no-brainer to them.


The receptions you’re considering “casual” are also “unique”, and “different”, and “outside the box”. They’re also fabulous. ๐Ÿ™‚


When you get into outside catering, generators for electricity, DIYing things, rentals (tables, linens, chairs, dishes, etc.) the price starts to escalate. Unfortunate but true.


We are planning an outdoor wedding at my parents house, and the price is climbing, too. ๐Ÿ™

Post # 8
2333 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I think a restaurant is a good way to keep costs down, plus its non-traditional (and delicious!).  It may seem like more money than caterers, but you’re also getting decor, linens, tablecloths, chairs, tables, and servers…which is a ton of money to rent on its own.  Throw a few flowers in a couple small vases and you’re set.

Parks are super cheap for ceremonies, but not receptions because of the reasons above.

Post # 10
1412 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

Additionally, can look into all inclusive packages that do everything for you. Sometimes, they stack the prices together well. I saw one place that even included the photography and video and a lot of food. It worked out to be about $4,000. I didn’t like it because it looked like you had to get married in their log cabin church, but I dont like the log cabin look. Although…they allow pets in their cabins and I don’t want to leave my huskies for the honeymoon, so….

Post # 11
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I’m totally in the same boat… looked at all sorts of places. Have you considered museums? I contacted loads, but there were issues with all the ones near me. Also… church halls… some of the older churches have amazing grounds and you could maybe do something with that?

Post # 12
41 posts

Hi there Sassa,

I live in Upper Central MA and my family lives on Cape Cod, and my friends live in Bristol County. I too, am on a budget. Both me and my fiance want something elegant but different. We found the perfect location, in Marlboro, MA off of Rte 495.

The place is the Marlboro Fish and Game, it’s gorgeous there, very scenic, with rocks, trees, lakes, grass areas. They have an outdoor pavilion that seats up to 200 people. And they have a newly redone function room inside that seats about the same. Both have bars, outside and inside.

I booked outdoor pavilion, and was told if it is really horrible weather outside, it can be moved inside for free! They never rent both the outside pavilion or inside function room at the same time, due to parking issues! That sold me, I don’t have to worry about weather…. and to get the whole entire pavilion w/ bartender or inside it’s only $350. There are 5 hotels within a half mile, and it’s perfect for pictures.

I suggest you call them, it’s truly a lost gem. And it will cost you next to nothing to book. They have a caterer (Dan) who is amazing, and he also has a catering menu that is low cost but you can get from hamburgers to lobsters…depending on your venue. Good luck! I am excited to have my wedding there this August!

Post # 14
47 posts
  • Wedding: May 2013

My fiance and I are in a similar situation. We are hoping for a family/food/fun oriented wedding above all else. We are also from MA. I hear you when you say it’s not easy to find. The only suggestion I can think of right now is Haverhill Brewery in downtown. There is an event space and it’s cheap. If you have them cater, it’s practically free. And the food (and beer) is really good. 


Post # 16
1623 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@Sassafraskate:  I’m not sure if your date is set in stone, but you may want to consider an “off-season” date (which in WI, Nov-April).  Moving our date 2 weeks back from our ideal date saved us $1500 on venue, as well as discounts on most of our other vendors.  Also something to consider if your desired state(s) offer this deal.  Also, I think @BuelowMrsBuelow’s venue also sounds AMAZING!!  Good luck!

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