Wedding Planning on a Budget: The Venue {Part3}

by Monique on November 7, 2012 · 0 comments

If you’re looking for a budget wedding venue you’ll need to think creatively, suss out quotes, put your big girl pants on and start asking for discounts like you mean it. Does all that sound a tad daunting?

{Photograph from Chirstie and Mariuss’ Wedding}

Don’t worry darlings, I’ve rounded up the best advice and creative ideas from wedding pros, featured brides and married Oh Darling Days’ friends on Facebook.  Let’s get started…

What’s in this deal?

Don’t fall in love with a venue at first-sight. I found a venue that seemed perfect however, when I went through their package I realised that the venue hire didn’t cover much! Chair covers and even simple white tablecloths had to be hired from them in addition to the venue fee. A few calculations later and the budget wedding venue I liked didn’t fit our budget.

“A budget wedding venue is one that offers many of the services in-house and includes most of the wedding package like tables, chairs, napkins. etc,” says Oh Darling Days’ reader and bride Shana Press.

Is all-inclusive all that?

All inclusive wedding packages don’t always guarantee great quality. I was so taken with our all-inclusive wedding venue that I didn’t inspect simple things like the quality of the tablecloths. On a second visit, I realised that many of the white table cloths, included in our package, had fatty stains. We had no budget left to spend on table linen (fortunately having a wedding blog paid off and we managed to get table linen sponsored from The Tablecloth Hiring Company).

The morale of the story – get your CSI on and inspect the goods included in all inclusive wedding venues.

Restaurant wedding reception

“All inclusive venues are great. You have to bring nothing in – they do it all for you. Better yet, look for venues that are not typical ‘wedding venues’ like restaurants and outdoor venues,” says Kimberley O’Sullivan, featured Oh Darling Days’ bride and the blogger behind The Good Girl’s Guide.

“Restaurants are less likely to have a huge hiring out fee and will only require a minimum drink bill spend,” says Kimberley, who had pretty wedding reception at Jonkershuis restaurant in Groot Constantia.

Another great example of a beautiful restaurant reception is that of Theresa and Josh who had their wedding reception at the Wild Fig restaurant in Observatory/Mowbray.

I recommend looking for restaurants that offer private function rooms so you don’t have to book out the entire restaurant.

Get creative 

It goes without saying that the most popular wedding venues, the ones where the celebs get hitched, are often the most expensive. Now that’s not to say it’s not worth asking for a quote or looking at their off season prices, but you may want to consider some unexpected venues.

“Initially I was horrified that most wedding venues start at R25k and don’t include much,” says Claire Le Grange of Bella Chiara Bridal Accessories who is in the process of planning her own wedding. “With a little hunting around and a clear idea of what we value, my fiancé and I found a stunning venue which speaks to our hearts and for just R5000! There are lots of quirky, pretty and memorable venues available if one is willing to do something a little different.”

An example of an unexpected venue can be seen in Maxine and Michael’s featured wedding, held at Ganzekraal Coastal Resort, a budget-friendly venue in the West Coast owned by municipality. They had a beautiful coastal wedding and that seeming endless West Coast skyline, beaches and Fynbos made for an excellent backdrop for their wedding photos.

Find a scenic town, village or suburb and then look for town halls and community centres that could be a cost effective wedding venue.

Blue sky cathedral

Another budget-friendly wedding venue option is an open air wedding. And let’s face it, a lush green field or a pretty garden won’t require a huge décor spend!

“Outdoor spaces are fantastic for wedding receptions and are normally a lot cheaper,” says photographer Helen du Plessis, “A picnic at your local nature reserve could make for a rather enchanting venue or consider a garden wedding. We all know of someone who has a gorgeous garden.”

Recently I was invited to friends’ open air picnic wedding and it was awesome! They borrowed bales of hay for seating, lay a few picnic blankets on the grass and all the guests mingled easily as we picnicked and marvelled at the pretty garden.

Cut the catering costs 

“Look  for venues that are smaller, cosy and flexible about their menu options allowing you to choose a buffet rather than plated meals,” recommends Annemie Zelda van Niekerk, Wedding Coordinator & Cake Decorator at Pink Sugar Weddings & Cakes, “And ask if you could have wedding cake as dessert to cut down on catering costs.”

Annemie brings up an important point – food is often the most expensive aspect of a wedding. Look at the menu options carefully. Remember, your guests aren’t there for the food alone… and if they are, how did they make the guest list?!

From the menu to the venue, if you want to keep those wedding expenses down keep it simple. After all, less is often more!

Click here to read more Budget Wedding Planning articles

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