Wedding Venue Ideas on a Budget

When it comes to finding an inexpensive venue for a wedding ceremony and reception, there are so many potential locations to consider.

As a lover of the outdoors, I was very much hoping to have an outdoor ceremony. Finding a location to do that, however, was more of a challenge than I’d anticipated.

When searching for wedding venue ideas on a budget, here are four tips that might make the job easier:

Outdoor Weddings Need Research But Can Be Free (Or Very Cheap)

penetang museum

Often, sections of parks can be reserved for private ceremonies by calling the Town or City Office. Sometimes the service is free, and other times a nominal payment is requested.

Depending on the number of people expected to attend, it’s important to keep in mind that you may need to bring in your own chairs for guests, which does bring a cost of its own.

Museums, heritage sites and other local attractions also often have outdoor areas for rent…or even indoor facilities.

Initially my fiancé and I planned to get married in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a halfway point between our two families.

We’ve since changed our plans and will be getting married near his hometown.

After a lot of searching, we found the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum grounds available to rent for wedding ceremonies.

The picturesque museum site beside the water includes chairs and a band shell, was less than $200, and is definitely our dream location.

Churches Are Generally Free (Or By Donation)


If you’re planning on a church wedding, you may not have to pay for the venue at all.

If you already attend a specific church regularly, using it for your wedding is often complimentary for members of the church.

And, if you have a long-time relationship with the pastor, he may act as your officiant without charging as well.

But, even if you’ve never attended a particular church before, payment is often made as a donation rather than a set amount.

Being able to give an amount that you feel is appropriate can take a lot of pressure off when picking a venue.

Just keep in mind that churches do operate almost exclusively on donations, so try to choose an amount that’s affordable, yet still fair!

Special Relationships May Offer Special Savings

red barn

If family members have certain occupations, you may be able to get discounts on certain wedding or reception venues.

Having a veteran in the family often means that a Legion can be rented for substantially less than the usual price.

If you have a farmer in the family, decorating an old barn with twinkling lights, picnic tables and flowers can create a gorgeous rustic reception venue.

And, if you know a university student, you may be able to rent a local university room at a lower rate.

A discounted Legion hall was almost our reception venue, but we wanted to organize the bar ourselves and couldn’t do so at that particular location.

Instead, we rented the reception room at Brian Orser Hall, the local arena and sports centre.

The cost was a little higher but we decided the extra price was worthwhile for the flexibility we gained.

All-in-One Locations Are Usually Pricey But Save Time

penetang legion

Some venues, including resorts, hotels and restaurants, may offer an all-in-one package that includes a ceremony location, a reception location, catering and bartending for a package price.

While there is definitely a time-saving advantage to these package deals, the overall cost is usually higher as a result.

A beautiful waterfront venue that we considered for our ceremony offered just such an all-in-one style package. The total cost for about 100 people would have been around $5000, our entire wedding budget.

On the plus side, that cost included all the dinnerware, table linens and cutlery, the boardwalk ceremony and indoor venue rental, catered dinner, a catered midnight lunch and a bartender offering a cash bar.

But, we still would have had to pay for entertainment, decorations, dessert, the wedding party clothes and flowers.

In the end, we would have been way over budget going this route.

But, for those with a little extra money to spend and not as much time, an all-in-one venue might be a perfect choice.


In our case, the number one key to finding those perfect venues was lots and lots of research.

Jeremy brainstormed locations he knew had been used in the past, I searched online to see what the price and capacity of nearby locations were and both of us searched for past weddings in the area to see what locations were popular.

It was this combined effort that led to us discovering the museum.

Finding wedding venue ideas on a budget might take some extra time and effort, but once that perfect location is confirmed, all the rest of the planning is just a little bit easier!

4 thoughts on “Wedding Venue Ideas on a Budget”

    1. It was a steal, Angela! Our reception venue would have been under $200 too, but since we wanted to do our own bar…. Even so, it’s under $300, so for less than $500 we got two locations we love. I’ll take it! Lol

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