Affordable Venue Alternatives

Six Suggestions for Ballrooms on a Budget

Hooray – you are engaged! Now, the search is seriously on. Besides setting the date, finding the venue will likely be your first big planning priority, and probably, the most stressful. Since every bride wants her wedding to be a perfect reflection of her personal style, be it classic, contemporary or romantic, it is important to find a room that just “fits.” However, venues that meet those requirements cost money – lots of it – and often, are just more than a couple can afford. Banquet halls and boutique hotels are seldom cheap, especially when they mandate the use of an expensive on site caterer. So, where is a girl to go? Read on for six venue suggestions that could very well lead to a ballroom on a budget.

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Many colleges and universities have both meeting space and student centers that can be reserved for a minimal cost. These rooms, though sometimes lacking a little in style, often have built-in electronic equipment, and even sound systems, perfect for your Ipod plug-in. Additionally, some facilities may also have a dedicated culinary department that that can offer inexpensive food options for your special day.

Community Centers

Almost every community in the country, be it a big city or a tiny town, has a center available for its seniors, students or the public at large. Many of these facilities, in addition to their indoor pools and aerobics programs, provide reservable meeting rooms complete with tables and chairs. Because of their reasonable rental fees, they can be great contenders for the couple on a budget, despite their distinct chlorine smell and of course, the sound of splashing.


Libraries can be lovely venues; just think of Sarah Jessica Parker and “Sex and the City.” Although seldom as spectacular as the one in New York, they can still be charming, historic, and most importantly, cheap. Just be careful though, to find out about any open flame, food or beverage restrictions that may be in place to protect the books. There will be no refund of your damage deposit if you ruin a first edition of War and Peace during your wedding.


The local Elks or Masonic lodge may just be the perfect place for your wedding. Most come   complete with a formal dining room and a full kitchen, and sometimes, even a stocked bar. The clubs’ actual meeting rooms also tend to be quite elaborate, with paintings, platforms and even rows of seats suitable for the ceremony. Rates for the rental can vary, but are usually less for members of the lodge and their immediate family and friends.


Any city, state or national park has the potential to be a nice wedding venue. Their great landscaping, lush greenery, and/or magnificent views make for marvelous ceremony backdrops, and their onsite pavilions, complete with picnic tables, can be cute reception tents. However, to secure your special spot for the day, it may be necessary to obtain a one-time park permit at a nominal fee. This will grant you and your guests exclusive access to the area, and prevent the casual public from crashing your wedding.


Is your favorite local bar or restaurant the right location for your wedding? With its neighborhood charm and cheerful décor (not to mention its china, flatware and free linens), it definitely could be. Many bars and restaurants have private rooms that can be booked for just this sort of event, and dedicated wairstaff that will work to ensure that everyone is happy. Best of all, these services are standard practice, so the price will likely be little more than the usual tab.

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