Wedding venues can take a huge chunk out of your wedding budget, and once those big-budget expenses land on your plate, it can be difficult to calm the calculator clicking away in your mind. The awesome thing about weddings is that there tons of creative ways to save money if you and your soon-to-be spouse are up for a little negotiating and creative thinking. Whether you choose to elope or hire a wedding planner with fearless negotiating skills, there are plenty of opportunities to save your budget.


1. Elope: Looking to save BIG on your venue? A venue becomes practically unnecessary when you decide to elope. All you need is your intended, an officiant, a photographer to capture the moment and a great outfit. Sure, you may get some slack from your family and friends, but your wedding day should reflect you as a couple, and not a pocketbook deep in debt. (Photo via Jenneke Storm)


2. Keep It a Secret: If eloping is out of the question, keep your intentions a secret — at least at first. Let the venue think you’re planning a birthday party or corporate event for 50 people, and see what costs they come back with. Sometimes venues will jack up prices at the mention of “wedding.” Of course, you’ll have to tell them you’re planning a wedding eventually, but let them show you their standard costs first. (Photo via Maria Lamb)


3. Shop Around: If keeping it a secret didn’t bring a better cost to the table, shop around. Don’t fall in love with the first venue you see. Set up multiple venue visits and ask for a detailed list of costs from each. If you fall in love with a venue, don’t be afraid to negotiate and see if they wiggle on the pricing after seeing their competition’s price tag. (Photo via Itsy Belle)


4. Inclusive Venues: Find a venue that includes simple linens, seating, tables and even catering in their cost. Keeping it simple can save you time and money, but be careful — sometimes a venue will decide to charge a premium price because of these offerings. Make sure you or your wedding planner do your diligence and get quotes for the same products from other vendors. (Photo via The Merry Thought)


5. Limit the Number of Hours: Limit the number of hours you’ll reserve at the venue. Host a one-hour ceremony and a two-hour dinner at the venue, then hit up a local bar or a downtown area with your wedding party. You’ll find that some of your guests are ready to go home, and you’ll be able to party the night away with a local band and a smaller group. (Photo via Brian Tropiano)


6. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast: Booking a bed and breakfast can save you money on lodging costs as well as venue costs. Many bed and breakfasts have grounds large enough to accommodate a wedding party and are small enough that you can book each room on site. Plus, someone will make your breakfast in the morning. So many wins! (Photo via Donal Skehan)


7. Choose a Non-Wedding Venue: Choosing a venue for your wedding that isn’t the first space to pop up when you search in your area will usually be more affordable than the most popular picks. Consider digging a little deeper, asking restaurants in the area and even googling “corporate event spaces” to see beautiful spaces that are available for large parties. (Photo via Paige Jones Photography)


8. Limit the Number of Guests: Endless searches and a lack of wedding venues in your dream destination can become frustrating. Keeping your guest count low will open venue options up to you. With a smaller guest list, you’ll find more venues are willing to accommodate and offer their grounds. (Photo via Lauren Louise Photography)


9. Rent a House: Rent a house or have your ceremony in a family/friend’s home. When deciding to rent a house, always ask the property manager if a wedding is allowed to be held on the grounds. We recently held a wedding at a private residence, and it was large enough to house the bridal party and provide prep area for everyone from the bride to the caterer. (Photo via Lauren Louise Photography)


10. Off Season: Find out when your destination’s busy season is and have your wedding right before or right after. You’ll see a significant drop in prices the further out of season you go. For instance, Florida’s season starts right around November and ends around April. Try to plan for an outdoor October wedding or a wedding indoors during the summer months. (Photo via Kate Ignatowski)

How do you plan to save money on your wedding venue?