Whether your dream wedding is at an Art Gallery or an Old Theater, the options for indoor wedding reception places are essentially endless.
Remember that the key to your must have wedding venue is not what your budget is made of, but how creative you can get with your research, resourcefulness, and negotiations. As with most everything related to your budget wedding planning, you will find that venues not exclusively or commonly used for weddings will be quite a bit less expensive than ones that are.
For both indoor and outdoor wedding reception places, there are two 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 100 people but the Tea Room at the Ritz only accommodates 75, you either scratch the Ritz off your list, or figure out how to trim down your guest list if the Tea Room is a must have for you.
The Style and Theme: And by theme I don’t mean 80’s or Toga. Are you looking for understated but elegant? Casual but chic? Having a good idea of the type of reception you want to have will either steer you towards, or away from, a particular wedding venue.
With those 2 things in mind, take a look at this list to see if it sparks any inspiration for your budget wedding reception place!
Aquarium - What a super cool, super unique venue. Some aquariums have special reception rooms you might like to utilize, while you may prefer to have the actual reception amongst the sharks and the sea turtles! This is a venue that may or may not have in house catering and other things for you to use such as tables, chairs, etc., so keep in mind what outside catering costs and rental fees would be when figuring out if you can afford to mingle among the manta rays.
Art Gallery - Traditional or trendy, there are many out there to suit your taste and wedding style. This is another wedding reception place that shouldn’t require a lot in the way of decorations as the atmosphere and surroundings provide plenty.
Atrium - A large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or largewindows. Typically atriums are found in office buildings but you can find them in hotels as well. For a daytime wedding they provide tons of natural light and overall can give you the feeling that you are outside. Additionally, their rental fees are usually quite a bit less than any other space in the same building or hotel.
Ballroom - Typically you pay for the pomp and circumstance that goes with a fancy ballroom, but it’s one set price for everything from the chairs to the cheese trays. No extra rental fees here – usually. You might also get a discount on rooms for your honeymoon suite as well as on the guest rooms. And if you are paying for all your guests’ accommodations (this is more common than you might think), the discount alone might be worth signing on the dotted line.
Bed and Breakfast – Quaint, cozy, intimate and certainly not run of the mill are a few ways to describe a wedding at a B&B. The majority of B&Bs are large historic homes, so you have charm, elegance and tradition already setting the mood for your special day.
Boutique Hotel – You typically get most or all of the perks of a regular sized and style hotel, but at a smaller price tag – plus more charm! The one price per head bottom line will still usually apply to boutique hotels as most of them are equipped to host events, wedding receptions included.
Brewery – If your fiancé or even you are big beer buffs, this might be a no-brainer. Depending on the type of brewery, elements of rustic charm spring to mind. I’ve personally been to a rehearsal dinner at a small brewery where such a good time was had (and at a great price!), the bride and groom commented on how they should have considered it for their actual reception.
Clubhouse (Golf, Park, Marina) – Trying to book a clubhouse as yourwedding reception place might require a membership, but that could be worth its weight in gold. If a couple hundred dollar membership saves you a much bigger chunk when it’s all said and done, you might want to consider filling out that new member form. Who cares if you can’t swing a 9 iron to save your life?
Country Club – Same membership rule applies here. Do you homework to find out if joining will be worth the price of admission.
Historic Home – If you are lucky enough to be having your wedding in a city like Savannah, Charleston or New Orleans, you basically have your pick of historic homes for your wedding reception place. However, even if you aren’t considering one of those cities, don’t despair as you are very likely to find historic home options in whatever city you are getting hitched in. Don’t know where to start? Check out the U.S. Historic Home Registry.
Home of Friends and Relatives – If you have a generous friend or relative with a home suitable for the number of guests you are having, don’t be shy about asking them if they would considering hosting your event. This is a great option for a wedding reception place as there wouldn’t be a location rental fee (hopefully! and you can let that be their wedding gift to you. I would also offer to have their house professionally cleaned the day after. My parents hosted my Aunt’s wedding several years ago, on the first day it had snowed in New Orleans in like 10 years. The minister was 4 hours late as were most of the guests due to the weather, but at the end of the day they were able to say their “I Dos” and the reception after was lovely!
Jazz Club or Hall – I wouldn’t have thought of this as a budget blisswedding reception place if I hadn’t actually seen it for myself. Eclectic and funky yet elegant at the same time, it’s an experience unlike no other. And definitely a fantastic option for an affordable wedding reception place as one bride said she paid less than $4,000 total for the actual venue, food (which was fantastic), alcohol (top shelf!), cake, tax and gratuity for 175 guests. That’s $23 a person! Check to see if there are any jazz halls in your city, but take a peek at these for some inspiration.
Rosy’s Jazz Hall
More Rosy’s Jazz Hall
Library – If y’all are book buffs or even if you’re not, an old library is still awedding reception place. I heard about one wedding where the bride incorporated the books into her actual centerpieces (using candles and a few rose stems in short vases) and had minimal other decorations because the ambiance of the historic library provided enough.
Museum – This is one unique option that, depending on the city, may or may not be a realistic wedding reception place. I know in my home city if you want your wedding at the city’s museum it’s a cool $10,000 just to walk in the door. Granted it’s a spectacular event being able to mingle among the Matisses and Monets, but most of us don’t have that kind of cash to spend on just the location, nor do we have the desire to. Remember there are other kinds of museums (History, Nature, etc.) if your City Museum proves to be cost prohibitive, that could be a very budget friendly option for you. They will be lacking the van Goghs, but they certainly won’t be lacking the unique atmosphere and ambiance.
Private/Social Club – You may not have to be a member but will have to have a connection of some sort. Although not considered a typical wedding venue so therefore not charging typical wedding venue prices, do you homework to make sure booking your wedding at a place like this will in fact save you some money.
Restaurant – Maybe you have a favorite that you frequent that will give you a great deal on food and drinks. If not, at the very least keep in mind restaurants don’t charge a room rental fee since you are there eating their food! Even better if they have a courtyard or other outdoor space you can utilize.
Old Theater (Or New) – Another eclectic but unique option to consider as a wedding reception place. One bride had her wedding and reception at the theater where her and her fiancé had their first date, and actually had popcorn handed out with the programs. And of course all the guests needed their invite to get in, which was a movie ticket she made on her computer.
Penthouse or Suite - If your guest list is on the small side, a penthouse or hotel suite might be the perfect reception spot! Typically rooms like that come already decked out with flowers and such, so not only will you get a reception site that is really budget friendly, but it won’t put a dent in your décor budget either. Another great perk, once the reception is over all you have to do is stagger over to the bed and pass out!
University Campus - Lots of university and college campuses have beautiful alumni buildings, faculty clubs, reception halls and even beautiful courtyards, quads or other outdoor spaces for you to utilize for your ceremony, reception, or both. Like a lot of other unique wedding venue options, they are rarely – if ever – advertised so you can probably get it for fantastic deal.