The Real Costs of a Wedding Venue
What are the two most expensive words in the dictionary? ‘I do’ of course! With the average British wedding reaching an all-time high at £30,355 it’s important to keep an eye on your wedding budget. One of the first things you look to book and can also be one of the most expensive things is the venue, be it a teepee venue or a country house.
The Wedding Venue Budget
As the main location for your big day, it can be no surprise that wedding venue hire is usually the greatest expense for a wedding, usually accounting for roughly a fifth of all costs. Of course this will vary depending on the venue, location and also a number of variables, such as number of guests, food choices, corkage fees, drink and exclusivity costs etc.
With couples spending anything between £10,000 and £30,000 on their wedding day, we feature wedding venues starting from £1,000 up to £6,000 as a starting price.
What are your wedding goals?
But first, it’s important to sit down as a couple and decide on the type of wedding you want. Wedding venues and prices can vary dramatically, depending on your needs.
Do you want a casual low-key affair, or a large celebration with no holding back? Are you looking to cater to a large group of extended family and friends, or keep it small with a close and intimate group? Perhaps you want to go abroad, or try an unusual venue, such as a barn or castle. All venues vary in price, and with each venue are variables such as decor, hiring certain items and then food and drink.
These are all important questions to consider before moving on to the next exciting stage.
Wedding Venue Hire Costs
The cost of a venue can vary dramatically with wedding venue prices ranging from hundreds into the thousands. Typically though, the average wedding venue cost is around £4,300.
Once you have decided on your final list, ask the wedding co-ordinator for a wedding venue quote and price, with a full breakdown of costs. It’s important to look at the overall cost for what you get – since some cheaper venues might literally just be providing the backdrop without any food or drink. Therefore, not all wedding venue quotes can be compared like for like.
Additionally, some wedding venues offer all-inclusive packages, while others offer bronze, silver and gold packages for you to pick and choose from.
Below are some of the key considerations that may or may not be included in your wedding venue hire, but will need to be accounted in some form:
- Hiring of a venue – a wedding venue quote should always cover the cost of hire of the venue itself. If you’re hiring a hotel with a restaurant for instance, be clear on what areas are open to the public, and which remain private for your use. Some wedding venues will offer you the option to hire the entire location for your private use, however expect this to come at a premium. Be sure to ask for set up and finish times as well, and if there’s any specific limitations. For instance, some venues insist on no late music after 11pm, others have a no-child policy after 6pm.
- Food and drink – if your quote includes the cost of food and drink, then that’s one large parts of the day taken care of. This is usually one of the other biggest costs in wedding prices. A typical wedding breakfast should cover three-courses and may include a glass of prosecco or champagne, or alternatively you may be offered a glass of something fizzy upon arrival. If there is a minimum spend then try to calculate how much maybe needed. If you’re planning to bring alcohol in yourselves, ask for a corkage fee. You may find that this works out cheaper in the long run.
- Canapés – some wedding venue prices include canapés and snacks. If this isn’t included, you will need to consider a pick-me-up for late night revellers. This doesn’t have to be fancy, usually finger food is a winner!
- Venue Decor – some venues include hire of seat decorations, up lighting and table decorations as part of the cost of wedding venue hire. This sometimes extends to a free sound system, usually linking up to a phone with music on. They may recommend suppliers for decorations too, however bear in mind the additional costs for this.
- Accommodation – if your chosen wedding venue offers accommodation, you may be able to negotiate a discount for guests, if this isn’t already included.
- Supplier discount – sometimes wedding venue hire includes discounts with certain preferred suppliers. For this reason, it’s useful to attend open days for your wedding venue, where you can get to meet suppliers first hand.
What isn’t included?
Although all wedding venue prices and packages vary, as a general rule most will not include; photography or a videographer, private transfers in between venues, flowers, a free bar or live music. If you are looking at inclusive wedding packages then again make sure you understand everything that is included and what isn’t.
It’s best to clarify these requirements with your wedding co-ordinator in advance, so you are clear on what additional costs you may need to budget for.
How to find a Wedding Venue on a Budget
Regardless of your wedding budget, there are many ways to have your wedding cake and still eat it! If costs for your preferred wedding venue are prohibitive, there’s a few smart ways to bring costs down without having to find a cheaper and more affordable venue.
First consider opting for a mid-week wedding, or a date out of peak-season such as November or January, where demand is lower. This can dramatically slash wedding reception prices by up to 20%, which could be spent on the honeymoon or elsewhere.
If you love a venue but it is out of your budget, then watch out for special offers or late space availability, this can happen if a booked date is cancelled late on and it suddenly becomes available. Large discounts can be had as a venue looks to fill this date, so check out for offers and late space discounts.
Another cost-cutting strategy is to have a later wedding, in order to minimise the amount of food and drink you have to cater to. Not all wedding venues offer half-day hire, but it’s worth asking if you’re looking at ways to save on budget. You may also want to consider a wedding buffet which tends to be a cheaper option, and serve your wedding cake for dessert.
As a final option to keep your budget in line, without compromising your wedding venue, think about reducing head count. Perhaps there are some guests that could just be invited to the evening celebrations instead, or maybe you could both agree to not inviting work colleagues.
Tip: Create a wedding spreadsheet for your venues allowing you to get quotes, comparing them all in terms of cost as well as what is included for each.
Budgeting for Your Perfect Wedding Venue
One of the first things many engaged couples do when beginning to think about planning their wedding is to discuss venues. However, how do you even begin in choosing your perfect wedding venue? There is a lot to consider and time and thought should be put into ensuring the venue you choose is perfect for your wedding and for you.
Choosing your perfect wedding venue can seem like a daunting task, one that can cause stress and difficult decisions; however, with a few top tips it can be made that little bit easier.
Choosing a wedding venue is a two person job and the thoughts of both bride and groom should be considered. Communicate well and share ideas as to what type of wedding venue you have in mind; after all, the possibilities are endless.
It is important to firstly decide on a budget for your wedding venue. Not all wedding venues will be a viable option for everyone and by deciding on a strict budget can narrow down your options and highlight your realistic choices.
Before choosing your perfect wedding venue ensure you have a rough idea of how many guests you will expecting at the ceremony. Large halls and churches are great for those who are expecting a large number of guests and small, low capacity intimate wedding venues are perfect for those who are hoping to keep the guest numbers down; however, problems can arise if your wedding venue doesn’t accommodate for the number of people you hope to invite.
Some couples have an idea of a wedding date before a venue is booked; an anniversary, birthday or special day for example. However, remember that not all venues will be available so before deciding on a venue and being disappointed that the date isn’t available, ask around to see where is free on your requested date.
Think about your guests and whether or not your chosen wedding venue is a good choice for them. Though the final decision should be based on the wants of the bride and groom, guests are an important part of any wedding. For example, a wedding venue in the middle of nowhere may not be somewhere guests can get to easily without incurring large travel costs and a wedding venue in a city centre without hotels nearby may be an issue for those travelling from far afield.
Finding your Venue
Start the search by using our wedding venue finder, here you can browse wedding venues on style and location and also quickly see their starting prices. Download our venue checklist and print if off when you go to view venues, making it quick and easy to collect and jot down important information.
The venue is your starting point and foundation for your wedding, take your time to look at different options, find your style and focus on what is important to you.