Outdoor Wedding Reception Places

Backyard, Barn or Boat!

There are literally endless options for budget outdoor wedding reception places and the only limit is your own imagination.

Each outdoor wedding location option has its own wow and uniqueness factor, while still having the capability to stay within your budget. You just have to use your own creativity and imagination to make your vision come to life.

You will find that locations that aren’t primarily deemed a “wedding” venue will almost always be much cheaper than any place that makes weddings and wedding receptions a primary focus. Unique and budget friendly is the name of the game here girls!

wedding-reception-places - pool

Whether your preference is outdoor or indoor wedding reception places, there are two very important factors that will dictate the type of venue you choose for your reception, so keep them in mind as you are shopping around for sites.

The Guest List: If you are inviting 75 but the Botanical Gardens charges for a minimum of 100 guests, that’s not going to be the most budget friendly option for you. Either scrounge up another 25 people you can invite (KIDDING!) or keep shopping around for other wedding reception places.

The Style and Theme: Regal or Rustic? Trendy or Traditional? Depending on your desired wedding day “feel”, you will either be drawn to, or away from, certain wedding reception place options.

With these 2 things in mind, take a look at these ideas to see if any strike your fancy for your perfect cheap wedding place!

Amphitheater - Another really unique venue that you can transform into whatever you like. An open-air venue typically used for spectator sports, concerts, or theatrical performances – an amphitheater can either be natural or man-made. It’s availability and “busy season” will most likely determine if this location will be an affordable wedding reception place choice or not, so make sure to do your research.

wedding reception places - arboretumArboretum - A collection of trees that is essentially a wooded version of a botanical garden, can provide a beautiful backdrop for your reception. This is a location that isn’t likely to have a lot of scheduled special events, so you could strike a fantastic deal on this as your wedding reception place. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest check out these arboretums or for you Minnesota gals, take a look at this list. For you Southerners make sure to check out the Dallas arboretums and N. Carolina arboretums. There are many across the US so google it to see if there is one in your area.

wedding reception placesBackyard - Your own or someone else’s, this can be a perfect spot for a wedding reception place. Outdoor events tend to need less decoration because of the natural setting so you should save some money in that area, but remember you will be bringing in all your vendors independently – including rentals such as chairs, tables, linens, etc. – and will also have to prepare for inclement weather. Tents can be very expensive but if you plan ahead, you might be able to get a good deal on one. Same goes for all your rentals. There is no reason why this can’t be the perfect budget friendly wedding receptionplace for you if you research and plan carefully.

Barn - Rustic Elegance! This is one of my most favorite ideas for cheap wedding reception places. So many things can be done with this outdoor venue the possibilities are endless. It can be the perfect spot for a casual summer afternoon BBQ gathering or a whimsical fall evening soirée. The choice is yours!

wedding reception places - barn

cheap wedding places - beach
Beach/Seaside Resort - One of the most popular places to get married these days is on the beach. Beaches are the main draw for destination weddings, which are becoming wildly popular as they tend to be naturally less expensive because the guest list is generally a lot smaller. And as you know, trimming your guest list is the “easiest” way to shave big bucks off your bottom line.


wedding reception places - paddlewheelBoat/Paddlewheel - How much fun would a Cocktail/Dinner Reception cruise on a lake, river, or Caribbean sea be?!

Since paddle wheelers and boats are already equipped for events such as weekend tours and “booze cruises”, typically the only fee charged is the price per person, which includes tables, chairs, silverware, linens, etc., etc. So no extra rental fees here!

Botanical Gardens – One of the best things about having your wedding at a botanical garden is the lack of decoration you will need to concern yourself with. There is natural beauty and splendor at every turn, so at the most, you might need some candles or very small arrangements on tables. Since decorations and flowers can be one of the biggest budget busters, being able to eliminate that expense might be reason enough alone for you to choose this natural wonder as your wedding reception place.

wedding reception places - botanical garden

wedding reception places - courtyardCourtyard – Lots of old homes and hotels (mainly in historic cities) have beautiful courtyards that would be a perfect spot for yourwedding reception place. Another big plus is the lack of décor needed as they are normally filled with charm, elegance, and sometimes a large fountain! Try to find one that has hosted a wedding before, to make sure they have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.

Cruise Ship – Similar to a destination wedding, it’s a vacation/wedding all rolled into one. Depending on the time of year, there are some great deals to be had that will make the overall wedding event affordable, as well as give your guests a possible discount. Do your research and it could be a super affordable wedding reception place/honeymoon/vacation for all involved.

wedding reception places - farmFarm/Ranch – Ditto for rustic elegance and charm just like the barn. However there is a good chance for actual farm like smells, so make sure you scout out the area before hand so that you aren’t smelling cows while eating your cake!

Golf Course – You or your honey love to play golf? Why not say “I do” or even just cut the cake at your favorite hole? If it’s a private course the membership rule will likely come into play for this wedding reception place, but again it could be worth its weight in golf balls if you get a great deal.

wedding reception places - lakeLake – Another outdoor location that needs little to no decoration because of its natural splendor. If there are trees around your chosen area, hanging candle lanterns or stringing lights from the branches might be all that you need in terms of décor.
Nature Center/Conservatory - Another great option that lends itself to providing natural ambiance and décor. Check out this list to find one in your area. U.S. Nature Centers.

wedding reception places - parkPark: National, State, City or Neighborhood – the options are endless. But thankfully your budget doesn’t have to be. I know of some parks that are free, while some are only a couple hundred dollars. Just make sure you have all the proper permits in place for your fabulous nature surrounded event!
Orchard - One of the manywedding reception place options where less is more – less decoration that is. And you might be able to pick accents for your centerpieces right off the trees!

wedding reception places - streetcar
Streetcar (for us Southerners) or Trolley (for everyone else) - Your guest list would have to be fairly small for this wedding reception place, so if it is you’re in luck. How much fun would it be to celebrate your union by cruising up and down in a streetcar! I’ve experienced an alumni event and an engagement party on one – so I know it can be pulled off with great style and elegance.



Summer Camp/Retreat Camp - Did you meet your honey one hot summer between 8th and 9th grade? Or maybe as camp counselors? Or perhaps there is no sentimental connection at all, you would just love to get married in the woods somewhere! Either way, you are sure to get a great deal for a beautiful setting.

Winery/Vineyard - One of my most favorite ideas for a cheap weddingplace, wineries evoke a feeling you might get if you were strolling through the countryside in say, Italy or France. They are getting more popular among brides as a 1st choice ceremony and reception spot, so you will most likely need to book well in advance.

wedding reception places - vineyard

wedding reception places - yachtYacht - A fabulous, luxurious idea for a wedding and you’ll be shocked at how affordable it is. As elegant as a ballroom (if not more so), but much MUCH more affordable. It screams “we spent a fortune” but in reality might be half the price of a typical wedding venue.

wedding reception places - zoo
Zoo - OK so you don’t HAVE to ride the elephant if you have your wedding here, but who wouldn’t want to celebrate with the chimpanzees!! I love LOVE this cheap wedding place idea. A lot of zoos have areas that are wonderfully conducive to elegant gatherings and events. From fancy fund raisers to Earth Day celebrations, I’ve seen it all and the WOW factor was present each time!


Need some more inspiration?
Check out
Charmed Places
Field Trip
Unique Venues
Keep these tips and tricks in mind when seeking out your perfect Outdoor Wedding Reception Place

*“All inclusives” can be great deals but the only way to know is to do a line item by line item comparison to make sure that the expense of all the rentals and possible permits needed (parking, alcohol, food, etc.) for your backyard or beach wedding (an À la carte wedding) doesn’t exceed what it would cost for the all inclusive venue. Remember that along with a possible tent rental, you would have to rent tables, chairs, plates, utensils, linens, (check out BBJLinen ) the list goes on. So it’s crucial you make an apples to apples price comparison to ensure your backyard or barn wedding will be the most budget friendly.

*Do your due diligence and find out about any necessary permits required in order to have your soiree at the beach, park, or backyard. Typically they don’t end up being a large expense, but if you fail to follow proper procedure on even just one permit, the fines that could result will turn your cheap wedding place into a real budget buster.

wedding reception places - outdoor