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Blog by guest blogger Alice Robertson
A wedding day is among one of the most important days of a couple’s life and while the main
focus is the union between two individuals, there’s no doubt that the actual reception is top of
mind for many Americans. Case in point, a recent study revealed that the average cost of a
wedding reached an all-time high in 2016 — $35,329 — while the guest count dropped. The
reason being is that couples want to enhance guest experience by adding bells and whistles
such as fireworks, photo booths, live musical performances and games.
Whether or not you you choose to invest a lion’s share of cash should not change the fact that
you can still have a memorable wedding — especially if you choose a unique venue. While not
all-exclusive places come with a low price tag, they are likely to have built-in entertainment and
natural beauty that rivals rental decor, so you’ll be saving money in other areas. Before
choosing your dream venue, there are a few pertinent details to keep in mind.
Things To Consider
● Logistics: This includes everything from the time of the year (will your venue have
ample heating or air conditioning?), distance (do you expect guests to drive far or fly?),
budget, size/number of guests and date — most venues book up quickly, so choose a
location as soon as possible.
● Pre-Visit: Visit your venue at the exact time of the day (and season, if possible) you plan
on having your wedding and reception. This will help you determine what type of lighting
and heating/air will be needed, as well as potential noise or obstructions that will need to
● Commitment Level: It’s likely that a unique venue will require outside rentals to include
a caterer, tables and chairs, table settings and extra lighting. This extra layer requires
extreme organization and extra costs, so keep that in mind before signing on the dotted
line, so you don’t go over your budget.
Destination-Based: Whether it’s on the beach in Mexico or in a villa in Tuscany, destination
weddings are definitely in favor of the couple and guests alike. You’ll probably want to choose a
date that falls during a period when the weather is favorable — not hurricane season, for
example. If you can swing it, visit the location beforehand so there aren’t any surprises. It’s also
an opportunity to meet with all of your vendors in person. Keep in mind that it’s likely that all of
your friends and family won’t be able to attend, so you may want to have a small reception
(even something casual at home) before or after the actual wedding.
A Beautiful Backyard: Home weddings are personable, intimate, and family focused — but
that doesn’t mean they can’t have the same level of class as a celebration at a traditional venue.
Enhance the space with a DIY arbor or pergola — the average cost is $3,506 — lighting in the
trees and a tent in case of bad weather.
On A Boat: Many major cities have dinner boats that are a one-stop-shop reception venue.
Food and beverage are taken care of on the boat and there’s already a built-in dance floor, so
all you have to do is handle the entertainment. There’s no need to go overboard with decor as
guests are likely to be mesmerized with the view.
At A Sports Stadium: From baseball to football to hockey, several stadiums across the country
can be rented for weddings. Keep in mind it’s likely that you’ll have to use an in-house catering
service, but all-inclusive packages can make the planning process easier. You may even want
to keep it casual by offering traditional stadium food to keep with the theme.
No matter what type of venue you choose, there are many details that need to be checked off
your list. Consider hiring a full-time or day-of planner to help you stay organized and on track.
Despite the stress, take some time out once in a while to enjoy the moment as it will be over
before you know it.