helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

I mentioned in my last post that we’d already booked our venue, and that it was the only one on our radar. This is mostly true. Originally when we got engaged, we had planned to be married in my hometown in the midwest. I wanted to get married in the church I grew up in. Some unexpected circumstances arose, and it ended up being impossible to have the wedding there, so we switched gears completely and started planning an East coast wedding. Having a wedding here in Maryland where we live meant that our venue was a no-brainer: we’d get married on the campus of the college we both attended, where we met and lived for three years together.

The college is incredibly important to us, and it will be very symbolic and special for us to unite our lives there. The ceremony will take place in the building where we had music classes, dramatic performances, holiday events, and dance parties. Our ceremony will take place in the college dining hall, where we ate two or three meals a day for four years.

A ton of our friends went to school with us, so it’s a convenient location for many. Getting married on the campus also made things a lot easier logistically, since we can have both the ceremony and the reception in buildings a mere few hundred feet apart, eliminating the need for transportation.

It doesn’t hurt that the campus is gorgeous, historic (the building our ceremony will be in was built in 1726), and lush in the summer, with beautifully decorated interior rooms, and lots of places for pictures.

The school happens to be right smack in the middle of adorable, historic downtown Annapolis, which is a great area for guests from out of town to explore. We’re setting up a hotel block at a chain of local inns within walking distance of the wedding venue, and tons of downtown attractions, which will let our guests be self-sufficient in the city without renting cars.

Getting married at our school makes a lot of sense for us, and helps to keep things simple, but is it a financially savvy move? Yes and no. Annapolis is expensive. According to costofwedding.com, on average, couples that live in or travel to Annapolis spend between $24,314 and $40,524 total on their weddings. But the average couple we are not. Although we had really hoped to find a place that didn’t charge for just the venue (church, park), we ultimately decided that the price was worth it for all the other areas that it allowed us to save on.

Of course, the alumni discount doesn’t hurt, and getting married on a college campus offers a veritable plethora of opportunities for cheap labor. We plan at the very least to hire a student to be our bartender, and if we need anyone to shuttle people to and from airports or the rehearsal dinner site, there’ll be plenty of students willing to help out for a few twenties.

Plus, we’re allowed to have the rooms for the entire day, so we can do as much set-up as we want, and we don’t have to worry about time limits. They also include really nice tables and chairs, so no rentals to worry about.

One downside to the venue is that we have to use their caterer. We’re allowed to do our own drinks, dessert, and decor, but the catering has to be done by them. I’m meeting with the caterer soon, so I’ll be sure to report back on all the ways I’m planning to save money even with a pre-decided caterer not of my choosing, and whether they’re effective or not…

Budget breakdown for venues:

Ceremony building: $460
Reception building: $760
Total venue cost: $1220

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