We Cancelled Our $50 Wedding Reception Venue For a Better Deal

Hey again Money Manifesto readers! It’s Tori again and I’m stoked to be sharing another post in my wedding planning series! I have decided I will be writing one post every week up through the wedding so make sure to check back next week for another post.

To give you a little more background on the wedding plans, we are having a DIY morning shabby chic garden wedding. We’re having a brunch reception, no bridal party and we’ve only invited family (with the exception of two of my friends). The best part is, we’re going to put it all together for under $3,000. After spending more than I wanted on my wedding dress, I had to figure out how I was going to make up for that unexpected cost of almost $400, plus whatever alterations are going to cost.

The Original Frugal Wedding Reception Plan

As Lance wrote a while ago, we chose to have the ceremony at a frugal wedding venue, a local park, and the reception at community center in the town neighboring ours. The community center was only $50 to rent from 8 am through 11 pm. It included more than enough tables and chairs, a full kitchen, bathrooms, and was located right on the bay.

As fantastic of a deal this was, I soon cancelled the reservation. You all are probably thinking how crazy I am for cancelling such an amazing space that cost almost nothing! How could I possibly find a better deal? Well here is how!

I couldn’t figure out how the heck I was going to get brunch food all set up and ready, much less keep it warm, at the reception site which is about a 30 min drive from the ceremony site. We would need food, serve-ware,  dishes, utensils, plus what ever else we would need, in addition to someone willing to clean it all up. I called my mom stressing about this and asking how I would be able to do this without hiring a full service catering company, which of course would completely blow my budget.

Our New Wedding Reception Venue at a Lower Overall Price

Mom to the rescue, with the perfect answer as always! She suggested calling a local restaurant, The Egg and I, to see if I would be able to reserve their private meeting room. Sure enough, after speaking with the owner, he allowed us to reserve the room FREE OF CHARGE! Wooo hooo!

All we had to do was pay for the food and normal gratuity. Better yet, there is a flat screen television with a sound system, and is allowing us to decorate with minimal restrictions! Because we are having under 25 guests, we calculated that all of the food including gratuity should be right around $300. I think this is a pretty dang good deal if you ask me! Plus no clean up and very little stress!

So now we have the dress, and both venues taken care of, it is on to booking the officiate, and figuring out DIY decorations.

Total Wedding Cost So Far: $1,295

Venue: $100    Dresses: $895   Reception: $300

Here is a lineup, in no particular order, of upcoming post topics for this series.

  • Pinterest Inspired Crafts
  • DIY Ceremony Decorations
  • After Ceremony/Pre Reception Refreshments
  • Finding the Best Deals on Reception Décor
  • How to Make Your Own Wedding Invitations
  • Wedding Registry Tips
  • How to Find a Great Photographer At Reasonable Price
  • Alternatives to Fresh Flower Bouquets
  • How and Why We’re Making Our Cake
  • Other Random Wedding Stuff!

Do you think our new venue is a better idea than the original? Are there any particular topics that you’re really looking forward to? Leave a comment so I can tailor future posts to what you want to know!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Wow! That’s awesome! I think a small guest list is definitely one of the keys components of having a budget friendly wedding. Great job!

    • Thanks Christine, small guest list really is key for a frugal wedding. There are lots of other people I wanted to invite, but realistically it would cost those guests quite a bit of money to travel from out of state causing unnecessary financial stress for them, which we want to avoid for everyone involved, not just Lance and I.

  2. Sounds like a good plan. Nice work.

  3. That is an awesome idea! The best part about that has to be the no clean up. I’m having a large outdoor wedding and clean up was a major concern for us. We ended up going with biodegradable paper plates so that no one would have to be stuck inside washing dishes while the reception went on.

  4. Nice find! Far more frugal than our reception. Good for you guys.

  5. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

    What a great deal! It’s great they’re allowing you to decorate the room with minimal restrictions, you can make it all fancy looking with frugal Pinterest ideas!

    • You are absolutely right Kyle! I will be writing more posts about all the decorations with pictures included of the pinterest inspired frugal crafting I have been doing!

  6. Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide says:

    We did exactly that, too! Our wedding venue was the only local four-star restaurant, which normally isn’t open for lunch. As a plus, it was so well appointed that only minimal decorations were needed. So we ended up saving a bundle versus a venue, caterer, possible chair and table rentals, and more substantial decorations.

  7. Congratulations on your engagement and best of luck (and fun) during the event preparations! We just got married earlier this month and although it wasn’t a DYI event there were many aspects that were! My sister did my cake (beautiful) and I opted for a puzzle guest book that was very reasonable AND unique!

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