Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
One of the biggest mistakes most couples make in this area of their wedding planning is simply to jump online and search "wedding venues." While you'll get tons of bites in your area for wedding venues, you'll find only the most expensive, extravagant venues available with the most rules, regulations, and restrictions for couples getting married.
No worries! There are tons of great potential venues out there that aren't typically used for weddings. That's the key! They're not "wedding venues" you could find on Google by searching with those terms. You'll have to be a little bit more creative to find that perfect place.
Even if you have all the money you could possibly want and could have your wedding anywhere your heart desired, do you really want to have the same old wedding everyone else has at all of the same locations they get married? I didn't think so. By looking in places you wouldn't have even considered before, you just might find your perfect wedding venue, and save a lot of moola in the process.
Before starting your search, I highly recommend siting down with your fiance' first and working out all of the details before jumping in to find one. Have you chosen a state you agree on? What about a city? Maybe you or your significant other already has the perfect place in mind and just needs to talk it over with you.
Also consider formality, chosen wedding month, time of day, day of the week, and even the wedding theme. Did you want to get married indoors or outdoors? Do you have a large guest list or a small one? Do you even want to have your ceremony and reception at the same place? By discussing these topics together before the research begins, you'll save yourself a great deal of time and grief.
Many brides (and oftentimes grooms as well) have a spot in their minds they always dreamed of getting married. This is possibly at the church all of their family members have been married in, or at the football/baseball stadium they enjoyed as a child. It's important to sit down and talk about these things ahead of time o make sure you are both on the same page. You might be surprised at what they are thinking, but hopefully delighted. This is definitely going to be a journey for the two of you. You'll want to do it together!
What Are Your Options?
Your wedding venue truly says a lot about you as a couple. Are you a high-class couple that would be perfect at a Country Club or the Hilton? What about your mutual love for camping? The national forest, a campfire and S’mores might be perfect for your nuptials.
If you're die-hard baseball fans, getting married at your favorite baseball stadium might be the key. But for those monster-truck fans, you might consider getting married at a Rally. Maybe they'd even let you say your I Dos on a monster truck in the middle of the field. There are limitless options for you if you're really willing to get creative. Don't let that truly unforgettable location slip past you just because you aren't willing to step out of your comfort zone and consider other options.
Consider some of these imaginative locations for your wedding:
On a dock
Football or baseball field
In the woods
A friend's backyard
Your high school
Under a waterfall
Many of those ideas that you might think are impossible could be achieved by making your wedding a destination affair! You could swim with dolphins for your nuptials, get married in the rainforest, on a hike in some of the most amazing areas the world has to offer. If any of these options sound good to you, find them by searching for specific, rather than general terms. Search "gardens", "snorkeling", "most beautiful hiking in the US/in the world", "parks", "aquariums", etc.
You'll be more likely to find places that will allow you to get married there this way, and they will likely let you handle all of the vendors. There won't be many (if any) restrictions, and therefore you'll probably get to have your event you're way within your budget. I know National Parks don't charge for anything but parking. If you're a student at the University they won't charge you anything, and unlikely places like the bookstore or the coffee shop won't charge you anything either because they've probably never had anyone ask them.
Many of the most unusual places to get married will simply be glad to have the business and the free advertising that you can have it exactly like you want. Keep in mind, unusual doesn't mean scary, weird or creepy—it just means that it's not the normal place for a wedding. I once coordinated a wedding where I was able to convince a restaurant owner to let us have the ceremony down below the restaurant on a patch of land by the water (on their property), and then have the reception in the restaurant. It was completely private and definitely unique!
Finding a Venue Within Your Budget
Your hopes for having that gorgeous wedding for less than $10,000 can be renewed. It’s actually not that difficult to find the wedding venue of your dreams as long as you can be patient and can think outside the box.
Maybe the local country club is out of your price range, but if you’re willing to consider options like a film studio, a pirate ship, a vineyard, an airplane hangar, a farm, a campground, or a library, your choices for your ideal wedding are endless.
Public locations like fountains, parks, lakes, dams, waterfalls, and even airports and local baseball fields usually won’t even charge you to have your celebration there due to their being public use areas.
Your church may give you a discount for being a member, your college may not charge you if you’re a student and unusual locations like the circus, the Empire State Building, and the local doughnut shop may not charge much because they are so rarely used for weddings.
If you just want to be married and don’t care where, your options will open up even more.
You can get married on:
- the courthouse steps,
- in your backyard,
- on your roof,
- in your car,
- on an airplane,
- in a canoe in the middle of the lake,
- in an inner tube floating down the river,
- on a mountaintop,
- while skydiving,
- in a shark tank,
- while snorkeling,
- in a nudist colony,
- at a drive-through window,
- on a roller coaster,
or anywhere else your heart desires!
Do you see what happens when you open up your mind and consider other options? Think about your interests, your hobbies, and what would truly show your personality as a couple.
Do any of these spark your imagination?
- A rooftop lounge
- A haunted house
- A nightclub
- A floating platform in the sky
- A greenhouse
- An Opera House
- A paddle-wheeler
- An air tramway
There are so many creative places out there, there’s no reason to limit yourself to those locations the wedding industry so lovingly calls “Wedding Venues.” Feel free to branch out, open your mind and get inventive. For more ideas on being unique but saving a buck or two on your wedding location, visit Saving Money on Your Wedding Venue.
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on April 16, 2013:
You know, when I started my wedding planning business, I knew I had to do something different to get enough business to make it successful. The majority of weddings in this country are in the $10,000 and lower range, with most of them being $5,000 or less.
BINGO! I formed my entire business on being unique and on providing the fancy, platinum wedding look for pennies on the dollar. This is one of those ideas!
Aileen Billones from Naga City, Philippines on April 16, 2013:
Very interesting, it is indeed exciting to think out of the box.