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12 Cheap and Affordable Wedding Venues in 2024

wedding venues

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updated: June 13, 2024

Your wedding day should be one of your life's happiest and most memorable. But stress surrounding wedding planning and budgeting can exhaust you before the day is even here. The average cost of a wedding in 2024 is $33,000—a huge amount for just one day. But there are ways to keep the costs down. One of the main ones is choosing an inexpensive wedding venue.

12 cheap wedding venue ideas

According to Zola, the venue is one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, costing $6,500 to $12,000. That price might not even include the catering, table and chair rental, or cleanup. Luckily, there are plenty of locations where you can get married for less while making your wedding memorable and special. See if any of these sound likely.

1. Home

If you or one of your family members has a large-enough home, consider hosting your wedding there. While you won’t need to pay for a venue, there may be other costs if you rent tables, chairs, and dinnerware. You can even rent a marquee and have the wedding and reception in your backyard, so you don’t need to worry about deep-cleaning your home before and after the event.

Getting married at home can be deeply memorable. It can deepen the special place it holds in your heart, and you can remember your wedding day every day that you’re there.

2.Courthouse or city hall

Getting married at the local courthouse or city hall has long been popular, and for good reason. Many municipal buildings have impressive designs that make for fabulous wedding photos. And getting married at the courthouse is cheap. The exact cost will depend on your location, but it’s unlikely to cost more than a couple of hundred bucks. Of course, you may then need a place for lunch or a party.

3. House of worship

If you’re planning a religious ceremony, ask about the options for getting married in your church, temple, or mosque. Smaller houses of worship often allow congregants to be married at a low cost (or even for free). As a bonus, you’ll already be familiar with the clergyman or woman and the people who run your house of worship. This means you can feel more comfortable working with the people helping organize your wedding. And there may well be a church hall or reception room for a gathering after the wedding.

4. Local park or beach

Local parks and beaches often permit people to hold special events such as weddings. A local park or beach can be a cost-effective and memorable wedding location if you live in a region with plentiful outdoor recreation.

If you choose this option, you must apply for a permit to hold the event there and there will likely be a fee. Make sure you plan ahead as these affordable wedding venues can fill up quickly. You might be out of luck if you try to book your wedding without enough advance notice.

5, National park

Like a local park, a national park can be an excellent place to hold a wedding. If you live near a one, this option becomes even more affordable since you won’t need to factor travel costs into your budget. National parks have permit requirements for weddings, and many have waitlists that are months, or even years, long. National parks are better options for couples who can wait to get the venue they want at a bargain price.

6. Museum or library

Consider marrying at a museum or library, especially if you’re into reading, art, or history. These buildings can make beautiful backdrops for your nuptials and can be affordable wedding venues. To maximize your cost savings, choose a smaller library or museum rather than a large or famous one, as those tend to have higher price tags for wedding venues. Again, they may have reception rooms where you gather after the wedding.

7. School or university

Did you and your partner meet at school or college? Consider hosting your wedding at the campus where it all started. Depending on the school, you could get affordable rental prices for the football field, dining hall, amphitheater, or another campus location. Depending on the school, there may even be a chapel. Added bonus: Your wedding will have even more meaning as you start your life as a married couple at your alma mater.

8. Restaurant or cafe

For a small or casual wedding, consider renting a restaurant or cafe and holding the marriage and your reception there. Many restaurants have event spaces that you can rent or you can see whether renting out the entire space is possible. Although this option may seem more expensive, remember that a restaurant or cafe will have all the tables, chairs, table linens, and dinnerware you need, saving on the cost of renting those items.

Consider a favorite restaurant where you like to go as a couple. It could even be the place where you went for your first date.

9. Barn or garage

Consider a barn or garage for your reception if you’re planning a more intimate wedding. String lights and carefully placed decorations can easily transform a drab space into a magical wonderland. If you don’t have a space large enough, ask if anyone in the area would consider renting you their barn or garage space for your wedding.

10. Vacation home

A vacation home can be a memorable location for a wedding. Look on vacation rental websites to see what’s available in your budget. If you’re planning a small wedding, look for a place with enough beds for you and your closest friends and family members. Or try to rent several homes close together so you can have your wedding in one and your guests can stay in the others.

11. Garden or greenhouse

Many cities have community gardens or greenhouses that can be rented for events such as weddings. This type of venue is perfect for a summer wedding and can be very affordable—especially if you opt to have your ceremony during the day rather than in the evening. Added bonus: A garden or greenhouse is perfect for taking one-of-a-kind wedding photos.

12. Movie house

Are you a movie buff? Consider getting married in a movie theater. Not only can this type of venue be very affordable, it also makes for a truly unique setting for a wedding. Theaters come in many sizes, so you can rent a small local place for a more intimate wedding or a larger theater in the city to accommodate a larger wedding.

TIME Stamp: Wedding venues don’t have to be expensive

There are many options for cheap and affordable wedding venues, from a local library or museum to a national park. Consider what you want for your big day and list potential options before calling around to research what’s available and learn about pricing. Don’t forget to consider financing options such as the best wedding loans to help you pay for your special day. Even on a smaller budget, you can have a wedding you’ll remember and cherish for the rest of your life.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the cheapest type of wedding?

The cheapest type of wedding is one held at home with minimal guests. The venue itself is free, and you can look for low-cost catering options and use your own tables and dinnerware rather than paying to rent those items.

What's the cheapest way to get married?

The cheapest way to get married is to choose a date in the off-season (typically late fall, winter, and early spring), opt for a low-cost venue, choose a dress on clearance or at a second-hand store, have a friend take photographs, and keep your guest list small.

How do you throw a super-cheap wedding?

In addition to finding a low-cost wedding venue, you can throw a super-cheap wedding by purchasing wedding attire second-hand, making the wedding favors (and potentially the cake) yourself, and getting food catered from a local restaurant (or cooked by friends and family). Another way to keep the costs down is to limit your guest list to your closest friends and family members and have a truly intimate wedding.

How much should a wedding venue budget be?

Zola estimates couples will spend between $6,500 and $12,000 on their wedding venue. Spending less is possible if you look for lower-cost wedding venue options, such as the 12 we’ve suggested.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.