How much does a wedding reception venue cost?
One of the first decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding is choosing your wedding venue—and there are lots of types of wedding venues to choose from, from barns to ballrooms! You’ll likely spend a large portion of your budget on your wedding venue cost (half of couple’s total budgets are spent on wedding venue cost, catering, and rentals), so it’s important to do your research before selecting your wedding site. The average wedding venue cost in the U.S. is $6,000, with most couples spending between $3,000 to $11,000. Note that these are only averages and pricing varies widely depending on a variety of factors, like whether in-house catering is included.
How much does a wedding ceremony venue cost?
Some couples choose to have their wedding ceremony and reception in separate locations. A wedding ceremony is shorter than a reception and doesn’t include catering, so the cost of a ceremony venue is typically cheaper than wedding reception prices. In the U.S., the average starting site fee for wedding ceremonies is $600.
Do you save money by having your ceremony and reception in the same venue?
In many cases, you will save money by having your ceremony and reception at the same venue. You’ll not only save on the venue itself, but also on other wedding costs including transportation (you won’t have to worry about shuttling from one site to another), and rentals (you can reuse chairs and other items for both ceremony and reception).
What impacts a wedding venue’s prices?
There are many factors that can drive wedding venue prices up or down, including:
- Location: Wedding venues located in major cities tend to cost more than those in more rural areas. In fact, the most expensive places to get married in the country are big cities, like New York City, San Francisco, and Boston.
- Wedding date: It’s true, the wedding date you choose can have an impact on your wedding venue cost. If you want to get married on a Saturday night during peak season, you’ll likely pay more than a weekday wedding during an off-peak time of year. Many venues offer discounts for weddings during low season or on a weekday.
- Size: The more guests you invite, the more money you’ll spend. Larger venues that accommodate more people will cost more than smaller venues with lower capacities. If your venue includes catering, you’ll pay “per person,” so a large number of a guests means a higher wedding venue cost.
- What’s included: For some venues, you’ll pay a site fee and then have to hire an outside caterer, rental company, and all other vendors. Other venues are all-inclusive (typically hotels, banquet halls, and country clubs, for example) and have an in-house vendor and other vendors. While there’s no rule that all-inclusive venues always cost less, you may be able to find some savings on your wedding reception prices if your venue has in-house vendors.
Do wedding reception venue prices include rentals, like tables and chairs?
69 percent of venues do include tables and chairs, but with others, you’ll have to hire an outside rentals company to provide tables, chairs, china, flatware, linens, and more. Also, if you would like a wider range of rentals to choose from, consulting with a rentals company can be a good idea. On average, you’ll spend about $650 on event rentals.
Are there additional wedding venue costs that a couple should plan for?
When it comes to the average cost of a wedding venue, there are a lot of expenses that you might not have anticipated. Here are a few of these little-known expenses:
- Parking: If many of your guests will be driving to your venue, you may have to pay for valet parking or other parking fees.
- Taxes and fees: From cake cutting fees, corkage costs, service charges, and more, your wedding venue contract may include additional fees you might not have expected. Be sure to talk to your venue coordinator to clarify these additional expenses before signing on the dotted line.
- Tips: Many of your vendors will receive gratuities for a job especially well done. At your venue, you should tip the wait staff, bartenders, restroom attendants, and coatroom attendants. We also recommend writing an online review of your venue as an additional thank-you.
- Outside vendor fee: Many wedding venues have approved vendor lists—a list of vendors the venue has vetted and trusts. If you choose to hire a vendor outside of this list, you may have to pay an additional fee.
How can you save money on your wedding venue?
Yes, your wedding venue will likely be one of the most expensive things you pay for during your wedding planning journey—so every bit of money you can save on your wedding venue cost is a good thing! Here are a few ways to save money on your wedding venue:
- Cut the guest list: As mentioned, the more guests you invite, the more you’ll pay. Cutting even just 10 guests from your list can save you major bucks!
- Be smart about setting a date: Saturday night weddings during peak season will cost more than weekday weddings during the off-peak season.
- Look for tax-deductible sites: Certain venues that are affiliated with nonprofit organizations (museums, historic homes, parks, etc.) may have tax-deductible site fees.
- Read all contracts closely: Be open and honest with your venue about your budget, and be sure you completely understand your venue contract. There may be some fees that your venue can waive if you ask politely.
What questions should you ask your wedding venue before booking?
Choosing a venue is one of the first decisions you’ll make—at least a year before your wedding date. You’ll want to start by figuring out if you want to host a destination wedding or a hometown wedding. Once you’ve selected the area where you’d like to wed, read online reviews of wedding venues and narrow down the list to a few you’d like to visit. When touring venues, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Is your venue available on my target date?
- What’s the capacity?
- For outdoor wedding venues: What is your Plan B in case of bad weather?
- Do you have climate control?
- Can I see the restrooms?
- How big is the dance floor?
- What’s the parking situation?
- What’s included in the contract?
- Who is my main contact? Will he or she be present on my wedding day?
- Are you accessible to guests with special needs?
- What are your rules and regulations?
- How much time do my vendors have to set up and clean up at the end of the night?
- Do you have an approved vendor list or can I hire whomever I want?
- Can I host my ceremony here as well?