Image Credit: Britt Reints, http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmandevin/

11 Free/Cheap Wedding Venues (with counterpoints)

Image Credit: Britt Reints, http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmandevin/

Image Credit: Britt Reints, http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmandevin/

Guest list more or less sorted, the next big step is identifying a venue. With a budget less than many people spend on flower centerpieces, we’ll need to be creative. Here’s some of what we’ve come up with so far:

  1. Local parks charge a $75 fee for any area other than their specifically designated wedding areas. Pro: Bbeautiful, simple, easy to book. Cons: Rain potential, figuring out chairs, bathrooms. City Park charges professional photographers an add’l $50.
  2. City Park also rents out picnic pavilion areas for a couple of hundred bucks. Pro: Bathroom, food areas. Amplified music allowed, easy setup & cleanup. Easy public transportation options. Cons: The pavilions themselves aren’t that attractive.
  3. Some Bed & Breakfast locations in town seem to be open to the idea of letting us use their lawn/courtyard/reception areas if we fully book the house. So asking folks who would be getting a hotel anyway to pay the same place for perfectly nice digs gets us a free venue. Cons: None of them advertise this policy, so it’s a lot of cold-calling. Many are small.
  4. Vacation rentals are of dubious legality here, but many owners seem to be up for whatever/don’t care/are used to people throwing parties there. Cons: That same lax attitude is a little nerve-wracking… will they feel the same way on the day? What if they get shut down in the interim?
  5. As a synagogue member, looks like I could get this for free or a small donation. Cons: The rabbi would perform the service- and D is a staunch athiest who doesn’t want any mention of God in the service. Unclear if we could run late into evening.
  6. An acquaintance has a giant, beautiful mansion, overlooking the park, filled with art we both love. Toying with asking her to host. Con: Being in someone’s home is a lot of responsibility, particularly when they’re not so close that they’d otherwise be invited.
  7. A curator friend has art gallery hookups. Cons: she suggests that many will be too small, and you can’t predict what will be showing ten months out.
  8. A non-permitted, wildcat event in the French Quarter is legal… sort of a flash mob wedding. Cons: Makes chairs & bathrooms even more complicated, and it’s hard to explain what we’re doing/where to be to a group of 60-100.
  9. Just like B&B’s, sounds like some restaurants would be willing to host for free if we buy out the place… Cons: There’s only one vegan spot in town we’d trust, and they’re probably out of our price range.
  10. Mardi Gras Parade Krewes pretty much all have float/staging areas. I know Den of Muses gets used for Fringe Fest, who to contact?
  11. Elks, Mooses, Rotary, Masons… these guys all have nice halls. Cons: all ugly, and in the suburbs…

I think the takeaway is that no matter what, we can have a beautiful wedding without spending a ton of money on some plastic reception hall. It’s gonna take some friends, some luck, and maybe some umbrellas with a good return policy (just in case), but feeling optimistic.