According to The Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is right under $30,000. According to the report, the average cost of the wedding venue rental is 15-20% of the total budget.
As Central Florida’s wedding venue expert, we couldn’t agree more!
But if the question is “What does the average wedding venue cost in Florida?” the best answer is “It depends!” There are so many different types and styles of venues (farm venues, hotel venues, and many more) 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 get what you pay for, so find out exactly what that is!
Jessica Castrejon with Mission Inn Resort & Club, a Lake County wedding venue, 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.
Wedding Venue Map Tip: Make sure to read the reviews from each event space looking for speaking details regarding the couple’s experience working with the venue staff directly.
Michael Thomas with Celebration Gardens, a popular Orlando garden wedding venue, says to make sure to ask plenty of questions. Find out if you’re paying for items like chairs, tables, and linens, bartending service, event staff, etc.
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.
Wedding Venue Map Tip: If you’re considering an all outdoor, uncovered venue – be sure to get a cost quote for a tent rental – just in case. The cost of adding a last minute tent because of weather can be a huge surprise.
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.
Aleshia George with Historic Venue 1902 shared, “Venues with an open vendor policy probably still have a recommended list for you to consider. You want to make sure you are getting quality vendors who know the venue’s spaces and the rules there. We also often know each company’s style and price point.” It’s a lot easier to choose someone who comes highly recommended rather than taking a chance to find someone online.
Wedding Venue Map Tip: While making your wedding budget, make sure to talk with you fiancé about the wedding day priorities BEFORE you select the venue. Take a look through all of the categories of wedding vendors and write down the top two of importance to each of you. This will help you better allocate the budget into the right areas.
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 or are interested in a totally different option, 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.
Wedding Venue Map Tip: It’s easy to assume that because it’s “in the package” from the venue that they own the items being provided. But sometimes, they are renting the items from an outside vendor. Upgraded chairs and linens are a great example of this. By asking if there are any ways to cut the costs, you may find that these items can be removed for you to source a lower cost item.
Downsize Your Guest List
According to The Wedding Report, couples in 2021 had an average of 124 wedding guests at about $241 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 $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 wedding venue cost adds up very quickly.
Wedding Venue Map Tip: Take a good look at your guest list with your fiancé. You’re going to organize them into an A list and a B list. The A list are the people in your life that you would notice that if there weren’t at your wedding and, if they RSVP’ed no, you’d be sad that they missed making memories with you. The B list should be everyone else that you would love to invite if you have the space and the budget for it, but wouldn’t really be that disappointed if they weren’t there.
The Day and Time of the Year Matter
Many couples planning a wedding here in Florida start by choosing a Saturday in the best weather months of the year. They often don’t realize that many venue rentals have different rates based on the day of the week and also the time of the year. Your wedding does not have to be on a Saturday night when prices are at a premium. Couples today are starting to think outside the box.
“Our favorite way to save money on wedding venue cost 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 the off-season of July and August than the rest of the year.”
Wedding Venue Map Tip: Ask the venue if their pricing changes upon the day and date. Also, check to see if they have any dates that might be available at a big discount. At one venue – a holiday weekend might be a prime cost while at another, it could be discounted. There is always the possibility that they might have had a cancellation to fill or a hole in their calendar that they might be flexible on the pricing.
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 step of the process. Local Central Florida 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.
Wedding Venue Map Tip: Look for wedding planners that offer full-service or full-planning packages. These are the planners usually with more experience to guide a budget from the start.
Your Best Wedding Venue Resource
The range of wedding venue cost in 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.