I announced that we got engaged a few weeks ago and a few people commented that they wanted to hear more about the wedding process and how we planned to save money along the way. We’ve already made a few decision regarding basics of the wedding, such as the date and the size of the guest list and those decisions are pretty basic.
We didn’t pick the date based off of anything special, we just did what worked best for us and what we could fit in the schedule. In terms of size of the guest list, it was a pretty easy decision because we have a very limited budget. We’re pretty much inviting only immediate family and we’re keeping the guest list under 20.
With those two items crossed off the wedding planning list we could now start making some more detailed decisions. The first thing on that list was the venue for the ceremony and reception. We had heard that venues could run up your budget fast so we knew we needed a plan of attack.
How to Find a Frugal Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue for Your Wedding
Some of the best ways to come up with ideas for frugal venues is to ask people who are established in your community. We are relatively new to our area so asking friends who have lived here their whole lives was a huge help. They know the area and where to find the great deals.
Be sure to think off the beaten path and consider public areas. In general, you can rent these areas pretty cheap and it is a great way to support your local community government. If you haven’t been to the local parks in your area you might be surprised at how nice some of them are!
Make sure to check out places where you have relationships with the owners or organization. You could probably get a great deal at your local church or potentially a not-for-profit organization building that you volunteer for. Even if you don’t think they’ll let you hold an event, it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask.
If you heart is set on a more expensive venue there are still ways to be frugal. Try scheduling your ceremony and reception at off peak times of the year. Another option is to schedule it on a weekday rather than a weekend or to schedule your wedding ceremony or reception at a non-traditional time such as in the morning.
By scheduling when the venues aren’t as busy you can likely get a discount on the normal price.
Our Initial Ideas for Wedding Venues
We initially had been talking about two ideas for wedding venues that ended up not working out for various reasons. We were seriously considering having the wedding at the beach or in my parents’ back yard on the water.
The first plan was to have our wedding on the beach. We currently live just 3 blocks from some of the most beautiful beaches but we’re going to be moving into town before the wedding. The things we really didn’t like about the beach was it would be hard for some guests to be able to get to the actual ceremony (walking in sand is a horrible idea for older people) and we’d be at the mercy of the weather with no hope of cover. Weather can be very unpredictable in Florida and with my luck there would be an all day downpour on the day of our wedding.
The second plan was to have our wedding in my parents’ backyard. They have a great backyard that would be an amazing backdrop for the wedding but it had the same problems as the beach with the weather. The other problem is it just isn’t big enough, even for our limited guest list.
Our Frugal Wedding Venue
We ended up finding a great deal on a frugal wedding venue. We decided to have our wedding in a great public park in our city. All we had to do was talk to the leisure services board for our city and ask to reserve the park. The park has many great outside locations we could have the wedding and a covered area in case it rains so we’ll be fine no matter what the weather.
As far as cost goes, they do charge a fee of $100 to reserve the park for a 3 hour time block and a $250 security deposit in case we need to set up electricity or some other service. We’ll get the security deposit back after clean up and leave the park the way we found it.
Our Frugal Reception Venue
We had to do a bit searching to find a frugal reception alternative that would work well for us. We actually asked some of our friends for ideas and many recommended a local community center in a nearby community in our city. They don’t charge their residents for use but we had to pay a $50 use fee and a $100 deposit which we’ll get back after we clean the place up when we leave.
The reception venue isn’t anything fancy but it doesn’t matter because fancy isn’t important to us. It is a nice building that provides tables, chairs a small kitchen area and a decent outside space. We get complete access to the venue the whole entire day of our wedding so we can have people there earlier in the day to set up if we want. We thought it was a steal for the price!
So now that we have the wedding venue and reception venue settled I’m sure we’ll have a lot more decisions to make. What should we be looking out for and do you have any frugal suggestions?