According to a recent article in Real Simple, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is right under $30,000. “As for where people are allocating their wedding budgets, it looks like it’s still all about the venue,” the article states.
As Central Florida’s wedding venue expert, we couldn’t agree more!
But if the question is “What does the average wedding venue cost?” the best answer is “It depends!” There are so many different types and styles of venues and the options included, rules allowed, and choices provided all vary in so many ways. Couples have to do their research and ask a ton of questions to make sure they are comparing all the information.
Here are a few tips for choosing the right venue for you.
Ask What’s Included
Venues vary in size and scale, as well as what services are provided. You pay for what you get, so find out exactly what that is!
Jessica Castrejon with Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills notes that oftentimes, couples will pay more for the service and reputation of a venue. “Established venues with experienced staff tend to be more costly than new venues,” she says. The couple is paying for the skills that the venue team has developed over the years of executing amazing weddings.
A venue may look much less expensive from the start but there are so many additional items you’ll have to add to be able to host your wedding there. You don’t want to find out later that you have to add on basic necessities. “You can avoid having to purchase separate insurance policies and other services,” says Thomas.
Can You BYOV (Bring Your Own Vendors)?
Some wedding venues may require that everything is handled on-site, from the catering to the cake to the decorations. They may include it in the package or have a required list you have to choose from.
Thomas says to look for venues with open policies and fewer restrictions. “Providing your own catering can save a ton of money,” he says. Castrejon agrees, “When you are on a limited budget, some of the best options for venues include city/state-run rental facilities and parks that allow outside catering since food and beverage is one of the highest wedding expenses.”
But it’s not just the catering to consider. Having any choice of vendors allows the couple the opportunity to invest more in the categories that matter the most to them and select more wedding budget-friendly companies for low priority items.
Customize Your Package
Each venue works a little differently. Some venues offer the event space solely while others offer an all-inclusive experience. For those that don’t allow outside vendors and only offer packaged services, there may still be room for flexibility, says Castrejon.
“Try to customize your package options,” she says. “If you don’t want the included wedding cake at the wedding, ask if removing it would help the budget.” The wedding budget is up to the couple to create. They will never know where they can make adjustments if they don’t ask the questions.
Downsize Your Guest List
According to The Knot, U.S. couples in 2019 hosted an average of 136 wedding guests at about $258 per head. That price tag might make you think twice about including your annoying co-worker or long-lost college friend. It’s your big day—it’s okay to be selective.
“If each wedding guest costs around $200+ each, that means for every 10 guests you cut, that could be about $2,000 savings on your wedding day expenses,” notes Castrejon. Remember it isn’t only about the food and beverage. Every 8-10 guests is another centerpiece, more rental items (like chairs, chargers, and linens), additional invitations, and servings of cake. The costs add up very quickly.
The Day and Time of the Year Matter
Your wedding does not have to be on a Saturday night when prices are at a premium. Couples today are thinking outside the box.
“Our favorite way to save money on a wedding venue is a fun daytime brunch wedding instead of the traditional evening affair,” says Castrejon. “Other ways to save money while venue shopping include being flexible to the day of the week and time of the year—Florida weddings definitely tend to be less expensive in July and August than the rest of the year.”
Hire the Wedding Planner First
Most couples that hire a wedding planner do so after they have already selected a venue. Consider having the planner be the first stop of the process. Local wedding planners know most of the wedding venues in the area and have experience working at them. They can ask the couple some detailed questions to help them make a proper budget, know what to expect from the average costs of things like wedding dresses, DJ, photography, and so much more.
By hiring the wedding planner first, it saves mistakes like choosing a venue that doesn’t include a lot so you have to spend more or picking a package that costs double at one venue than at another. Wedding planners have the resources to help and save tons of time.
Your Best Wedding Venue Resource
The range of pricing for venues in Central Florida varies greatly.
There are some venues that are just space (with nothing else included) that start around $1,500 while other all-inclusive packages that can be around $20,000. Make sure you invest the time to do the work and research to gather all the information before you make a decision.
And of course, start your wedding venue search here.