How Much Will Your Wedding Venue Cost in 2018?

According to countless quotes provided by the many types of wedding venues listed on Decidionationwide within the last 12 months, couples in the United States can expect to pay an average of $4,787 for their receptionvenue, which is roughly and average of 15.4% of their 2018 total wedding budget. In terms of cost, thisgenerally ranks number 2 in terms of cost behind hiring a wedding caterer and ahead of buying a wedding ring. See a complete list of what couples have spent of wedding services here.

Renting a reception facility or venue (along with its associated costs) is beyond a doubt one of the more expensive costs that couples have to budget for when planning their wedding. Factors that will affect exactly how much you should budget for this expense would include the type of reception facility you are looking to rent, what kind of food and beverages you plan to serve, what kind of rentals will be needed (such as chairs, tables, décor, linens, etc. You should also include the various fees, taxes, and tips that will be added to the final cost when planning your budget. Depending what city and state you live, these ancillary costs may add between 10% and 30% to the final amount you are quoted for.

2018 City and State Averages

The city and state you live in will very much affect how much you can expect to pay to rent your reception facility. Shown below are the average costs couples have spent on wedding venues over the past 9-12 months. How does your area compare?*NOTE: The amounts appearing below are updated throughout the year.

The Average Cost of Wedding Venues by State

StatesAverage Cost
District of Columbia$5,606
New Hampshire$5,050
New Jersey$6,280
New Mexico$3,800
New York$5,672
North Carolina$4,240
North Dakota$3,849
Rhode Island$5,231
South Carolina$4,393
South Dakota$3,632
West Virginia$3,892

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No matter what the function or when, the friendly events pros at The Country Abbey will have our innovative banquet venues ready to go and just the way you want.


What is Included?

Being that this is one of the most important items on your wedding list, you should pay special attention in the planning and budgeting process so costs don’t spiral out of control. Being realistic about what you can afford will help you determine the type of venue you want, whether you can serve items likelobster tails and filet as an entrée dish or will prefer a buffet station, and whether renting items like wall dècor and chair covers are a necessity or not.

The venue you will host your event at will usually be responsible for much of your reception expenses. For example, higher end facilities will tend to provide comprehensive services and premium offerings such as serving hors d’ouevres and cocktails before being seated, entertainment such as a string trio or piano player, plated main dishes, etc. Options generally available to host your event can include but not be limited to:

  • Banquet Hall

  • Hotel/Resort

  • Country Club or Private Golf Course

  • Restaurant

  • Unique Location (such as a Museum, Private Mansion, Historic Building, etc)

  • Outdoors Location such as a park, farm or gardens

  • Yacht or Boat

Most couples nowadays still opt for holding their wedding reception at a traditional type venue such as local banquet halls, ballrooms in hotels or resorts, or banquet rooms in nicer restaurants in private country clubs. However, trends show that more and more couples nowadays are breaking away from these traditional settings and are instead choosing more alternative venues that reflect their own individual tastes. These options can include outdoor locations such as farms, wineries and public gardens, urban locations like city rooftops, historic buildings and public museums, and unique locations such as yachts and even breweries!

There is unquestionably an unlimited variety of facilities to choose from, but there also can be a wide difference in what each type of venue will charge. From an intimate gathering in a public beach or park, to an extravagant affair at a high end resort, there are several elements that will ultimately dictate what the ultimate price will be. These elements include:

  • Wedding Venue Fees: Charges to host your event at a particular facility can range from zero (from private backyards to hotels that make their money on the food and liquor), to many thousands of dollars (such as private locations that do not provide catering in house). These fees include things like overhead, insurance, rentals, personnel, administration, and security.

    Knowing this fee will help you determine if you will be better off at a higher quality venue while bringing your own catering service and alcohol, or renting a more moderate facility that will be all inclusive. If your budget is on the lower end you would ideally find somewhere that charges less in fees that also allows you to bring your own food.

  • Food and Drinks: Many facilities and halls will demand that all food and beverages be provided by the facility itself, while other venues that do not have adequate kitchens to serve banquets will leave it up to the wedding couple to bring their own caterer, party rental company, and anyother outside vendors needed to serve the event. It will be up to your research and negotiating skills to see how much money you’ll save by either renting a location that doesn’t allow outside food/beverages, or by sourcing your venue, catering, and rentals separately.

    Remember that as there is no standard way for venues to price items, a couple needs to be knowledgeable in comparing what they will be getting in return for what they are being billed for. For example, take the costly subject of alcohol some reception facilities will permit customers to bring their own, some will bill for each guest that is drinking a flat amount per hour, and others will keep track of the types and amount of alcohol ordered and bill for however much was consumed.

  • Higher Demand Hours and Dates: One of the most important factors that will affect how much a wedding venue will charge to host your reception will depend on how popular that day is, and the difference in costs can be dramatic! Having your wedding on a Saturday night during a peak wedding season date for your specific area can triple the cost of your venue rental fees.

    If you live in an area where there are an abundance of venues that would be considered similar in type, then the fact that they are interchangeable gives you the ability to negotiate harder for a lower price. Supply and demand factors work in your favor more in this case rather than if you are looking at a more unique type venue that does not have such competition.

    Another example of how supply and demand affect wedding pricing is through the weather in your local area. If the weather, climate, and temperature is generally agreeable in a given area, then ‘wedding season’ will be spread out over a longer period of time, which will in turn lower demand and costs related to a wedding. If the wedding will occur in an area with more pronounced seasons, then the rush by couples to have their weddings on those few months that the wedding is agreeable gives facilities the ability to charge premium pricing for those months. Conversely, a couple living in those same areas can benefit from this imbalance by simply having their wedding during a month that is less in demand, which will result in substantial savings because of the lack of competition.

  • Fees, Fees, Fees: Couples that are working with their chosen location on finalizing their contract should always ask for an ITEMIZED LIST of what isand is not included in the final cost, what the facility is required to provide, what items will have to be sourced by an outside caterer or party rental vendor, and a breakdown of what gratuities, fees, and taxes will get added to the total amount due.

Key Points to remember:

  • In 2018, the average cost for a wedding venue is 15.4% of a couple’s total budget, which is currently around $4,787 for the average US couple.

  • Factors that will affect your final cost include the venue fees, food and drinks, and rental items. Facility costs also can vary based on venue requirements, peak vs off peak demand, gratuities and taxes.

  • When you’re comparing venues, make sure you’re thinking about all the potential costs you’ll pay to get what you want, and get an ITEMIZED LIST of what is and what is not included for each option.

Tips on Saving Money on Your Wedding Venue

As renting a wedding facility will take up much of a couple’s wedding budget, it’s worth exploring your options on how best to save money and trim costs. When you find several places that match your taste and are within budget then it’s off to get a sense for what is possible by visiting each location in person. You’ll also be able to see how receptive each space is to working with you to lower the cost to fit your budget.

Whether you only plan to provide a simple buffet meal for your guests with no alcohol, or you plan to pull out all the stops with a designated hour for cocktails, full bar with premium liquor all night, plated 4-course dinner with lobster and filet mignon, extra desserts, and champagne, there are always ways to save money! Here are some tips on doing just that:

  • One of the easiest ways to save on your venue is by having your wedding on an off-peak month. The months from April to Octoberare responsible for over 75% of all weddings, so just avoiding those months when demand is low will ensure that venues are hungry for business. Higher demand wedding season in your area will result in you paying hundreds to thousands of dollars more.

  • Trimming your guest list isn’t easy but will result in saving hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on how much you plan to spend per person.

  • Avoiding Saturdays will result in instant savings. Pretty much any day other than Saturday evening will be cheaper.

  • Find a venue that doesn’t require you to use their vendors. With a bit of research you’ll end up finding dj’s, photographers,videographers, and other vendors you’re happier with and will charge far less money.

  • Consider having your wedding around a holiday, rental demand for those days is lowest.

  • Hosting your ceremony at the same place as your reception will allow you to save quite a bit on fees. As a bonus, your guests will also appreciate less driving, traffic, and parking.

  • Rent bigger tables so you’ll use fewer centerpieces and tablecloths. It all adds up.

  • Consider university campus facilities or public parks. If you know anybody who works at a university, park, or other fabulous place, it only takes a quick call to see if they can secure that location for you.

  • Rent your venue at an earlier time of day when the facility will otherwise be unused, such as a weekend brunch.You will also be able to save on your catering by having your ceremony earlier in the day then serving either a champagne brunchor finger food and appetizers to your guests.

  • Having your reception at a nice restaurant means you will only have to buy food and alcohol. The room itself and everything within it such as tables, decorations, chairs, linens, dishes, glasses and silverware, staffing, and more are all included.

  • You’ll pay less in food costs by limiting menu choices to a few select items. For example, limiting to 3-5 finger foods as appetizers, beer and wine for liquor, and limiting your entrees and side items to two items each will likely end up saving you plenty per guest.

  • Choose a venue that doesn't need much additional rentals or decor to look great.

  • If you need to provide your own catering from an outside vendor, check out your favorite local restaurants to see if they can serve some of their signature dishes to your guests.

  • Even if you have the cash, take advantage of a credit card with good points and pay it off immediately while getting hundreds of dollars back.

  • Instead of renting, purchase smaller items such as tableware, tablecloths, and even floral centerpieces used from Costco or Michaels then resell them used on eBay or Craigslist afterwards.

Remember that a little legwork and an open mind can save you a considerable amount of money on your wedding venue, often thousands of dollars. Do your research and don’t be afraid to negotiate with your reception facility to get the best deal!