There are many ways to save money on your wedding. One large part of your budget will be venues--both for the ceremony and the reception.
The first thing to think about might be a no-brainer: Can you have the ceremony and reception at the same place? And if so, can that place be a family member’s home? If you answer “yes” to those questions, then there is your instant low-cost wedding.
But a home wedding might not be what you want, and that’s okay.
Is there any place you have your heart set on? Even if you think it will be out of your budget, go visit that place. It won’t cost you anything to look around and ask some questions. You may find that costs you hadn’t considered may be included in the price of the venue. The price of the church may include the officiant and a musician. The reception hall cost may include catering and centerpieces. Shifting your budget around may make your dream a reality.
Think about public places. National, state, and regional parks are often free or low-cost. Municipal buildings--which can include museums, historical houses, libraries, and theaters--host events and rent their space, often at a discount to local residents. These kinds of places also usually come with some restrictions, so be sure to do some research and read the fine print.
When do you want to have the wedding, and are you willing to be flexible in order to save some money? May through October is the prime wedding season in most areas and venues will charge more during that time. Summer resort towns will charge less for a winter wedding (and winter wonderlands will charge less during the summer). Venues may also charge more over holidays, including those three-day weekends we all love. Also, what day of the week? A Monday wedding may be cheaper than a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday wedding.
We wanted a June wedding, so had to get creative when it came to finding a low-cost location that would hold about 100 people. After a lot of research, we found the Brazilian Room, a historic building in a regional park. Being county residents entitled us to a 20% discount. And we decided on a Monday wedding to save even more money.
It takes some work, but if you are on a limited budget you can still find the perfect location for your wedding. The internet is great for initial research, but eventually you will have to call and visit some places. It's daunting at first, so get your future spouse involved. You don't have to do it all by yourself. You're both trying to save money and have a great wedding.
Some links to get you on your way:
Google Search: "theater rentals, wedding"
National Park Weddings
7 Ways to Save on an Off-Season Wedding