Choosing Your Wedding Location – Unique Venues

wedding at zoo

Photo from Brenda’s Blog

Thinking outside the box can potentially save you money on your wedding. If you’re open to it, consider holding your wedding in a location other than a church, synagogue, hotel or restaurant. Places like a vineyard, zoo, historic site, forest, country club, art gallery, museum or even a library have all made for stunning wedding settings.  And if you have a location that makes you go ‘wow’ just walking into it, guess what? You can save yourself a fair bit o’ dough on the decoration.

There are some considerations to keep in mind, however, that may drive the budget up. When looking at possible locations, ask the following…
Site Fee – is there a site fee? More than likely, there is and it could be steep. Country clubs are usually pretty pricey as are other exclusive settings. My sister had her wedding at a historic 12th Century Tudor manor in England, for example. It was the most unique setting but the site fee was $8,000. And that didn’t even include chair covers. She spent over half of her budget on the site fee and then struggled with every other aspect of the wedding. My advice is to keep everything in balance. If the spot is beautiful but the site fee is out of your reach, see if there is a lower fee for just the ceremony and then have the reception elsewhere.
Restrictions – many locations will have a number of rules, regulations and restrictions, especially historic sites or places with an element of risk, such as a zoo. Find out what you can and cannot do up front so there are no disappointing surprises. For instance, real candles are often a big no-no, so you’ll need to look into the more costly fake battery operated ones if you want a soft glow.
Approved Vendors – many locations have a limited list of vendors they will allow on the premises. Find out up front who they are and what their price ranges are as they may be more than what you were planning on. And if you have your heart set on working with a particular vendor who is not on the list, you may have to look elsewhere if the location will not approve them.

This wedding at the Boston Library is just so stunning. I can imagine being a guest – what a blast! Having the entire library to yourselves for eating, drinking, dancing and singing bad disco songs at the top of your lungs and not getting ‘shushed’? Priceless!

Boston Public LIbrary wedding

The room itself is incredibly impressive so trying to compete with this grandeur with a lot of decor would be like gilding the lilly. If you look carefully, the dinner tables are actually study desks. They simply added in runners and some simple yet elegant floral arrangements. Et voila! A beautifully stunning reception without breaking the bank.
An ‘out of the box’ location can create an electric atmosphere that charges your wedding with a wonderful energy, where guests are as giddy as school kids about to start summer vacation. Get creative and have fun. Find a place that means something to you and go with it, be it in the midst of a row of zinfandel grapes or against the backdrop of lions lounging in trees.

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