This can take a lot of money so here are various ideas to think about when finding the perfect place for yours. On this one it is hard to say that one way or another will always be cheaper as that varies a lot from place to place. A good idea is to not be set on just one place but be willing to look around as see what special place there is in your community that doesn't cost a lot to use. Here are some ideas:
- A church building. It seems from what I have heard and have seen, if you are a member often you don't have to pay anything. That makes it very economical! Also a lot of times you can have your ceremony and reception there which makes life easier and saves you money. Another advantage is that church building usually looks nice and is set up well for a wedding so you don't have to do a ton of decorating or renting of chairs, etc. In our case the church where we went was not large enough so we ended up renting another one. I called quite a few places and was told a wide variety of prices up to around $500. We ended up with one that worked very well and after we got our cleaning deposit back it cost just $50.
- A park. I think the price here can vary a lot too but it can be very economical. It is also usually very beautiful. An advantage is that you don't need to do a lot of decorating as it has a natural beauty also it is quite likely that it would be fine to have a reception there as well. Disadvantages would be the weather factor. Outdoor weddings can be really screwed up if it should rain. (Though I have seen many outdoor weddings and so far at none of them have we had to sit through a rain storm or go to another location.) Do be sure to always have a back up plan. Another disadvantage is the the possibility of having to rent chairs. Be sure to count that cost in when choosing your location.
- A museum, or other historical location. I have heard that old mansions or schools or things like that can be a neat and economical place for a wedding.
- A backyard. My sister Martha got married in my parents back yard and it was beautiful (That is the spot I would have chosen as well but we decided to get married in December and thought that might be a little chilly! :-). They were able to borrow chairs from the church so that wasn't an additional cost. My husbands sister also chose a backyard ~ one of a friend. It was very pretty as well. There was a small group and it felt very personal and fun.
- A town hall. I have not seen these used for a wedding (though it could work just fine) but some friends have used these for their receptions. Town halls in our area are very reasonable to rent. They already have tables and chairs available.
- A barn. A friend has a neat old barn that they have been cleaning up, they recently had a party there and made me think that would be a rather fun spot for a reception. You could have a wedding there to if you wanted too. The decorating of a spot like that could be very fun and economical.
- Restaurant, Hotel or Country club. I don't know if this should go on an economical list but I guess it never hurts to check. :-)
- A Zoo. I have never seen this but have heard of it. For an animal lover this could be perfect.
- On a beach. This makes for some beautiful pictures. I think a lot of times these are short and sweet and they make everybody stand up (thus no need to rent chairs)
- On a big boat. I think this would be cool if you live near a big body of water (or even at the headwaters of the Mississippi there is a touring boat). I don't know that this would be cheap or would work for a very large group but you can always check.
- A campground or resort. This could be very handy with places for guests to stay as well as a pretty outdoors and a place to have a reception.
- With Digital cameras becoming common I have seen lots and lots of people take a huge interest in photography. I have many friends that have become quite good at it. That said I am sure you probably do as well and there probably a few of them that would love to take pictures at your wedding. Having non professionals take the pictures is definitely and option but you do want to have a plan of action, don't just ask everybody to take some pictures and then send them to you. Here are some things that I recommend.
- Appoint a head photographer. Don't just have a bunch of people trying to be in charge and then get pictures with the people in them looking every which way.
- Do have more than one photographer though and several cameras. I think it is a good idea for the posed pictures to have 2 cameras that take turns (so that everybody looks at one camera at a time). This is to make sure that even if something happens to one camera (and things do happen) you still have the pictures. Also have somebody going around getting lots of candid shots. Sometimes these can be even more enjoyed than that regular pictures.
- Have a list of the pictures you want. (with the names of people in each one and then any fun posing ideas) Go through this list with the photographer before the wedding. Have an organized person (that also hopefully knows most of the people) be in charge of getting the people rounded up for each picture. My advice is to start with a large group (like the whole family) and then slowly pull people out (and release them!) until you are left with you and your parents.
2. Hire somebody that isn't necessarily a professional but enjoys photography as a fun side job. Be sure that you have seen some of their work first though. We did this and were able to get nice pictures for a very nice price!
3. Hire a professional for the posed pictures and have friends take pictures of everything else.
4. For neat looking picture albums you could get a photo book made. Snapfish and other places have them for not that much money and your picture is printed right on the page and the pictures can be in all different sizes from using up the whole page to have around 9 pictures on one page. I got one done for my wedding flower business and I found it to be very neat. I think it would be very neat for your wedding album. Google photo books and you will find quite a selection to choose from.
- An old car. If you have a friend who has an old collectors car, that could be a very fun way to leave your wedding. The friend could be your chauffeur to take you to your home or wherever you need to go to get your car.
- A horse and buggy or sleigh. If a friend has one of these that would be very nice. They are also available to rent. Check around to see if you can find a horse club near you, they could probably give you names of people who could help.
- A boat.If you wedding or reception is near a lake a boat would be a fun way to leave. In our area there are lots of lakes and lots of boats so getting one would be no problem at all.
- Think creatively: I think a bicycle built for two would be pretty cute (The bride might need to do some changing first!), I have heard of using a school bus, a motorcycle, a snowmobile....
I still hope to talk about flowers, decorations, favors, gifts and more, so come back soon!
I would love to hear your ideas and what worked for you on the topics above!