One of the biggest expenses of any wedding is the venue.
But, did you know that there's a world of options outside the traditional hotel ballroom or event center?
10 Cheap or Free Wedding Venues
These days, just about ANY place can be a wedding venue and the best part?
Lots of them are cheap or even free!
Check out my list of 10 cheap or free wedding venues (and then get your fingers to Googling one in your area)!
This is what we did and, 10 years later, I'm still thrilled by that decision.
For one, it was completely free.
For two, it was a great excuse for us to do some much needed landscaping (also free – just a buttload of manual labor).
But what I really loved is that how our Texas home had special memories attached to certain specific spots.
Every time we came up our driveway and pass the big ass oak tree we got married under, I smiled.
That big tree in our backyard?
My kids had their swings hanging from it but during our reception, all the kids had a blast climbing it.
An at home wedding is a lot of extra work but it can be so memorable and amazing, too.
Many, many local parks allow you to get married there for free.
Some require you to make a reservation or get a permit but that's generally just a formality so they can make you aware of what is and isn't allowed.
Parks are great for weddings because they generally are very green and have pavilions or gazebos.
Also, they have bathrooms and play areas for kids. Winning!
If you plan to bring in food or drinks, double check the rules – you may not be allowed (particularly in the case of alcoholic beverages).
A park wedding can be really lovely and gorgeous.
Lots of cities have botanical gardens.
Some are event spaces that charge but some allow you to use their facilities for free (or, at the very least, with a tax deductible donation).
Double check to see if you'll need a reservation or special permit to have your ceremony there.
Botanical gardens are excellent wedding venues because they are already “decorated”!
All those flowers and greenery really pack a visual punch – bonus if there's a water feature or sculptures.
Generally these places will not allow you to have your reception there (the food and drinks can negatively impact the local insects and birds) but it's an awesome option for the ceremony.
A botanical garden wedding would look and smell so amazing!
Sure, many museums double as event spaces and charge a fee to use the space but – some are free for use to alumni or annual pass members so check yours out.
Often these places have a smaller room (away from the valuable art) that can easily host the reception while the ceremony can be held in one of the museum's main rooms.
I love museum weddings because you have to do very little as far as decor (hello – ART) and seating (most places already have chairs or benches available onsite).
Often, a museum will ask you about photography and detailed wedding plans but that's just to ensure that nothing will damage the art.
A museum wedding could be so stunning for a modern wedding venue!
Okay, how sweet would it be to get married at your alma mater especially if you met your partner there?
I mean, ADORABLE.
Most schools and colleges are set up to host an event (they often do orientations, fundraisers, and graduations) so they are well versed in handling this type of thing.
I think it would be so romantic to get married in the same place you met your one and only.
Most of the time, the only people with access to this venue for free are patrons and former students so be sure to point out if you're an alumni (or your family has donated a shitload of money).
I think a school or college wedding would be amazing and so nostalgic.
A beach wedding is the dream of many and sometimes, it can even be free!
That's right, some places include private beach front access on a home owner's property.
At some public beaches – simple wedding ceremonies are free (receptions generally cost).
I have always thought beach weddings were so romantic and sexy!
Double check with your local Parks and Rec department and see if they allow wedding ceremonies on their beaches and if there is a fee.
Also, be aware that many beaches do not allow alcohol or food due to littering and local wildlife concerns.
I think a beach wedding would be so carefree and stunning.
Nearly every modern or urban wedding these days is held in a loft space or warehouse.
Some are vacant or unused and could be free.
Often, these spots are completely or partially unused but perfectly safe for a crowd of people.
And sometimes, you can even get the city or an owner to recognize the power of true love and allow you to use the space for free!
I mean, can you imagine how spectacular a wedding in an empty industrial building filled with candles would be?
Be sure to check that the space has working restrooms, plumbing, and electricity.
Bringing those basics onsite could cost you an arm and a leg if they aren't there already.
I think an urban warehouse or loft wedding would be so chic.
Think of it – an empty field of grass or wildflowers and you pledging your love to your partner right in the middle of it. Swoon!
Most areas have a field or two that are not owned by anyone and everyone is free to use it.
So why not have your wedding there?
The aesthetics are already there for you, too. Green grass, wonderful smells, and open blue skies.
Make sure that you are actually allowed to use the field (and that no one else is there smoking pot or having an orgy – unless that's your thing and then, anchor's away, y'all!).
Also, have a backup plan for restrooms and rain – just in case.
I think that a wedding in a field would be so on trend and bohemian.
Ranch or farm weddings are wildly popular right now (and have been a staple in the South for years).
One reason is that many people in rural areas have access to a ranch or farm that they can use as a wedding venue for free!
I mean, think of all that rustic gorgeousness and vintage charm!
Be sure that the barn or area won't also be hosting any large animals and that you will have access to the basics – restrooms, plumbing, and electricity.
I think that a ranch or farm wedding is utterly delightful and pretty.
Sure, some libraries host fancy events and weddings for a fee but most libraries in smaller counties and towns don't so they'd probably be thrilled to host yours.
See about getting married after hours or maybe even in a garden outside.
If it's not too big of a wedding, you'll probably get the venue for free (or a modest tax deductible donation).
This would be a prime spot for librarians or bookworms to get married in.
Double check that you'll have access to restrooms and won't have to worry about your noise level.
I think that a wedding at a library would be so cool and hipstery.