The wedding venue is the first thing you must consider when planning your wedding. You might opt for a beach wedding, a ballroom ceremony, or stick to a traditional church ceremony, depending on your preferences and budget.
Apart from catering, one of the most significant expenses you will incur is the wedding venue.
Some venues will be more expensive, and understanding the factors contributing to a wedding venue’s cost can help you make an informed decision.
Wedding venues are more expensive during peak wedding season. Other factors like the number of guests, location, services provided, number of hours you’re hiring the space for, and additional hidden costs are included in the total.
Our comprehensive guide explores some of the reasons wedding venues are expensive. Find out what’s included in a wedding venue and if there are ways to cut down your wedding venue budget.
What’s the Average Cost of a Wedding Venue?
A study by The Knot on over 15,000 couples revealed that the average cost of a wedding venue was $10,700 in 2021.
Couples were willing to spend most of their wedding budget on a preferred wedding venue.
Note that this cost may fluctuate depending on other factors like location and additional expenses.
What’s Included in a Wedding Venue Fee?
Although getting a $1,500 venue might seem like a good deal, failure to know what’s included in the venue fee can quickly drive this cost up to $10,000.
Finding out what the wedding venue fee includes is essential as it helps you plan and budget accordingly.
A wedding venue fee typically covers:
- Seating arrangement
- Decor and flowers
- A DJ
- Catering costs
- Number of hours the space is hired for
10 Reasons Why Wedding Venues Are Expensive
Wedding venues take up most of the wedding budget, which can be attributed to the following reasons.
Location is one factor that drives the cost of a wedding venue up.
Although you may prefer a location accessible to your guests and one where you don’t have to worry about extra transportation services, that may come at an additional cost.
You may find a unique venue hidden in the mountains to be cheaper than a venue in the city center.
Additionally, wedding venues in exclusive areas like beach resorts, golf parks, or castles may be expensive.
2. Type of Venue
There are different types of wedding venues depending on your budget and preferences.
Moderate wedding venues like city gardens, museums, theaters, and libraries are fairly priced and an affordable option. Places like churches, national parks, community reception halls, and courthouses also have reasonable fees.
However, places like country clubs, historic homes, resorts, and farms are expensive due to their location and status.
For example, places of worship hosting at least 200 people can cost you up to $600, while a specific wedding venue that can accommodate over 200 people can cost up to $2,000.
A national park wedding venue can cost $200, including the permit, but you’ll need to account for rental costs, catering, and other wedding services like the decor.
Opting for a banquet hall wedding may cost $2,500 and can go as high as $20,000, including catering, rentals, and other amenities.
Country clubs are considered exclusive and can charge up to $20,000. Some clubs will also include a convenience fee.
Popular hotel destinations can charge $5,000-$10,000, with the higher fees including catering, rentals, and extra costs.
Find out what each venue includes as part of their overall fee.
3. Size of the Venue
The size of the venue includes the dancing area and where guests can walk around and eat.
A venue accommodating over 100 guests will be more expensive than one that can only hold 50 guests.
Calculating the venue size is essential as you don’t want to end up with unused space that makes the place look empty.
Some venues have catering as an optional or mandatory fee.
A venue that includes catering in their overall cost will be more expensive, especially if the venue is in an urban setting.
Find out how much a venue charges for catering and if it’s possible to hire an outside caterer to cut costs.
Note that some venues might have an outside vendor fee if they allow you to bring an outside caterer. That can quickly rack up costs.
5. Setup Equipment and Service Staff
The final cost of the wedding venue will be high if it includes catering, service staff, and other items like linens, chairs, dishes, lighting, speakers, and a DJ.
Although having a backyard wedding may seem like an affordable option, once you start calculating the costs of hiring the rental equipment, catering, and transporting these items to your wedding venue, you may spend the same as a person who hired a wedding venue.
6. Length of the Event
Another reason your wedding venue may be costly is the length of your event. The longer your ceremony and reception, the higher the cost.
7. Facilities to Run the Venue
Various overhead costs are required to run the venue, like building upkeep, cost of utilities, insurance, staff, etc. The venue also has to make a profit, which adds to the wedding venue’s overall cost.
8. Time of Year and Day of the Week
The date and time of the year you choose to get married can impact the wedding venue cost.
Wedding venues will charge more during prime season, which happens in May, June, September, and October.
Most people want to get married on weekends, and wedding venues understand the demand during this time, pushing the costs up.
If possible, scheduling your wedding on a weekday or during an off-season period is best.
9. Number of Guests
The type of venue you choose will also depend on your guest list. The more people you invite, the higher the cost you’ll have to pay for the venue.
When planning your budget for a venue, remember you need to factor in more than the per-person cost for the food and drinks. Other things like rental, setup, and delivery costs could quickly add to the price.
Find out if the wedding venue includes these items as part of their cost and if they charge a fee per person.
10. Additional Costs
Some venues might be more expensive than others based on what they provide as part of their packages. A few venues might have additional costs that include:
- Kitchen and Catering
While most venues include catering as part of their package, some allow you to bring in an outside caterer. If your caterer decides to use the venue’s kitchen, there’s a fee that you may incur for that.
Not all venues have items like tables, chairs, linens, and glassware included in their venue costs. Find out what’s included and if there are other extras for hire.
Some venues require you to pay for event insurance.
Premium wedding venues have valet service available at a fee, while others provide discounted or free parking.
- Cake Cutting and Corkage
Find out if corkage or cake-cutting costs are included. A cake-cutting fee is charged when you get a wedding cake outside the venue.
- Setup and Break Down
A couple is responsible for the setup, breakdown, and clean-up after the event. The whole process takes resources and time. Ask about the fee and time allotment a venue will charge for your event.
- Taxes and Gratuities
Service charges, gratuities, and taxes can quickly add to the wedding venue cost. Ensure that you ask about these when choosing your preferred wedding venue.
Tips to Save on Your Wedding Venue Costs
The wedding venue will take up about half of your wedding budget. Knowing where to save and minimize costs means you can always channel these funds to other wedding necessities.
Below are a few tips on saving money on a wedding venue.
Work With a Budget
Start by deciding how much you’re looking to spend on a venue. Find out your preferred venue costs and be honest about your budget. Don’t overspend if your budget doesn’t allow it.
Determine what you need to spend and where to conserve. Your guest experience is all that matters, and a convenient venue, the right ambiance, and prompt service are all you need.
Have the Ceremony and Reception at the Same Venue
Hosting your ceremony and reception in the same venue will reduce your cost, as you don’t have to think of extra transportation costs or hire out two locations, which could be expensive.
Some venues have a package for couples booking their venue for both events, which may include a percentage discount or a deal that includes inside vendors.
Schedule Your Wedding Date on a Weekday
Most venues charge a hefty premium for weddings hosted on Saturdays and Sundays, as these are the times when everyone might be available to attend the ceremony.
However, reschedule your wedding to a weekday to save on the high costs.
Review Your Guest List
It’s expensive, and some of those people you may not even have close relations with.
Cut down your guest list to reduce the wedding venue and catering expenses.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Although working with a planner may seem like an added cost, it can help you get special discounts.
Planners have experience working with different venues and can negotiate a good deal to help you reduce site fees.
Depending on your budget, location, and amenities, there are different wedding venues to consider.
Ensure that you do your research before settling on any venue. Ask about what the overall cost includes and if there are any additional costs you need to be aware of. Don’t forget to book in advance as this could get you a better deal.