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Cheap or Free Wedding Venues to Consider for Your Big Day

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Are you looking for a cheap or free wedding venue? Consider thinking outside the box — check out these unique and affordable ideas!

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Choosing a venue is one of the key points of your wedding plans. However, for those who are on a budget, finding a beautiful wedding venue that is still affordable can be a daunting task.

If you’d like to have an affordable wedding and are in need of a venue that fits your budget, you’re in the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss cheap and free wedding venues that are perfect for couples who want to have their big day on a small budget. 

Most of these options are raw spaces, so you’ll likely need to budget to hire some key vendors such as a wedding planner, caterer, and perhaps a bartender, depending on the style of event you plan to throw.

There are many options to consider, so hopefully find one that fits your needs within this list. Keep reading for more information!

1. Outdoor spaces like parks, gardens, and beaches 

If you’re looking for a space that needs minimal decorations to make it look beautiful, outdoor spaces can be great cheap (or sometimes even free) wedding venues. Outdoor settings offer a naturally beautiful backdrop and plenty of space for guests to gather.

Be sure to check with your local park or beach if they allow weddings, as some do not permit them. You may also need to get a permit or license if you plan on having the ceremony and reception outdoors. Another option is to have the ceremony outdoors and the reception in a nearby indoor venue.

If you’re looking for an outdoor space that’s already furnished with some items you’ll need for your ceremony or reception, consider renting a garden or park pavilion. These spaces can often be rented at a cheap price, and they may even come with picnic tables, benches, and sometimes even adequate coverage in case of inclement weather.

2. Historic buildings or landmarks 

Many historic buildings or landmarks offer cheap or free wedding venues. These spaces often come with beautiful architecture and interesting history. Be sure to do your research before booking, as not all historical locations allow weddings. You’ll also want to make sure there is enough space for your guests. If you’re looking for a cheap and unique venue, this could be a great option.

3. Churches or other religious venues

Churches and other religious spaces can make for an affordable wedding venue. They offer a beautiful setting and often come with built-in decorations. Be sure to check with your chosen venue about their policies on weddings. Some churches do not allow secular ceremonies, for example. If you’re looking for a traditional ceremony space, a religious venue could be a perfect choice.

It’s especially handy if your church has a gym or community space that could be used for your reception so you don’t have to rent an additional venue. As a bonus, some churches have on-site coordinators who can help with keeping your day-of schedule on track.

4. Local community centers

Community centers can be great cheap or free wedding venues. They often have large spaces that can accommodate a lot of guests. Additionally, community centers often come with catering services, which can help keep your costs down. 

Be sure to check with your local community center about their policies on weddings. Some centers do not permit weddings in their facilities. If you’re looking for a cheap and convenient venue, this could be a great option.

5. Cafes, restaurants, and bars

Restaurants can be great wedding venues for couples who want a classy and elegant wedding without having to spend a lot of money. Using a restaurant as your wedding venue offers a beautiful setting and plenty of space for guests. Look for a restaurant that has a covered patio or terrace dining area that you could use for an outdoor reception for a chic dinner party vibe. 

Often when you book a restaurant for your reception, you’ll only be paying for food and drinks for your guests, rather than the rental of the space itself. Many restaurants won’t need added decorations if the decor is to your liking, and they make wonderful settings for an intimate dinner. Just be sure to book your restaurant early, as spaces can fill up quickly!

6. Homes of friends or family members who are willing to host your wedding reception

If your friends and family have ample space at home, whether indoors or outdoors, you might just have a free wedding venue on your hands. If you can avoid a site rental fee, it can save you a lot of money. You may be able to have the ceremony in one location and reception at someone’s house if they don’t have enough room for both events at once.

Just remember that you’ll likely need to bring in a lot of the other aspects that are often included in an all-inclusive traditional venue. From renting tables, linens, dishware, and more, sometimes it’s not exactly cheap to host a wedding at home. Do your research and crunch the numbers to get the full picture before you make a decision.

7. The courthouse

If you’re looking for a cheap and simple wedding, the courthouse could be a great option. You can have your wedding at your local city hall and plan your reception elsewhere. Getting married at the courthouse allows you to exchange your vows without any fuss or expense. This is a great option for couples who want a quick and easy wedding ceremony. You typically don’t pay a venue fee for a courthouse wedding, so it’s essentially free with the cost of your marriage license!

Just be sure to check with your local town hall about their policies on weddings. Most courthouses do not allow receptions to take place there, so you’ll need to have the after-party somewhere else. Seek out an affordable option for a reception space out of the remaining suggestions on this list! 

8. Airbnb or Vacation rental

Airbnb or vacation rentals can serve as a cheap wedding venue for couples who want to get married in a comfortable setting. This is a fabulous option if you rent a large home that can house some of your guests for a wedding weekend! 

You can rent out the home to host both your ceremony and reception if there is enough space. You could even host a rehearsal dinner there the night before your wedding! Since you’re renting the space for accommodations, you won’t be paying an additional site fee. So essentially, your wedding venue would basically be free because it is included in the cost of your stay. Just be sure to check with your chosen location about their policies on weddings before booking anything! 

9. Libraries 

Libraries make for great cheap wedding venues for couples who want to get married in a unique location. If you and your fiance are bibliophiles, perhaps you want to get married among the rows of books in a library. You may even be able to rent out the space for an event just by offering a donation to the library, which can be significantly less than the cost of a traditional venue fee.

Many libraries have beautiful architecture with high ceilings which make them perfect for any type of event like your ceremony! Exchange your vows in the romance section and raise a toast next to stacks of cookbooks for a unique and meaningful celebration of your love (of each other and the written word.)

10. Museums

Museums are great wedding venues for couples who want a creative wedding location. This is also a great option if you’re looking for something different than the typical banquet hall or country club venue!

Couples can rent out museum space as their wedding venue for a modern, classy vibe. They are great for cocktail-style receptions, and often have great halls that allow space for seated dinners among beautiful artwork, meaning there is little need for decorations that would compete with the art. Museums are typically less expensive than wedding halls and have a unique feel that can make your wedding stand out from others.

indoor cheap at home wedding venue free

11. Aquariums

Aquariums are unique wedding venues that are perfect for water-loving couples looking to get married in a unique indoor location. Enquire with your local aquariums to find out if they offer wedding packages. Imagine exchanging your vows next to a huge shark tank for the adrenaline junkie. 

Many aquariums have high ceilings which can make them feel extra elegant. perfect for any type of event like your ceremony!

12.  Boats

If you love the idea of an outdoor wedding but want something a bit different, perhaps you’d consider getting married on board a boat! 

Boats are great wedding venues because the couple can have their ceremony on land or out at sea. The size of the boat you need will obviously depend on the size of your guest list, but sailboats or small yachts are great for intimate weddings. Even better if you happen to have a friend or family member who owns one!

13. Schools

Getting married at a school can be a great option for couples who met during their younger years. Schools often have ample space indoors and outdoors that could be used for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Many schools also have unique architecture which can make for some great wedding photos!

Whether you’re able to utilize a school gym or a room at the campus of your university alma mater, it would make a lovely personal detail to celebrate your special day in a place that is meaningful to you! And who knows, you might just be able to utilize some portions of the property for free as a non-traditional wedding venue.

14. Campground

One of the most unique wedding venues you can choose is a campground wedding venue. Campgrounds offer couples and their guests a rustic and natural setting for their wedding day that is unforgettable. Not to mention, camping accommodations are often much cheaper than traditional hotels! 

You could lean heavily into the camping theme and swap your wedding cake for a s’mores bar and serve your cocktail hour libations in cute thermoses! If you’re looking for a cheap outdoor wedding venue with a bit of personality, consider a campground.

15. Theaters

If you are looking for something memorable and different, then check out the local theaters in your area. There might just be one or two close by that are available to be rented for events. A great thing about theaters is that there are ample restrooms for any size crowd, so you don’t have to worry about bringing in any rentals. 

Theaters are great wedding venues for couples who have a flair for the dramatic arts and want to get married in an indoor location. Often, theaters are decorated nicely and include interesting lighting options to personalize the feel of your event.

16. Barns and Farms

Another unique wedding venue option is to host a farm wedding. Farms offer couples and their guests a rustic vibe and natural setting for their wedding day. Check out local farms in your area to see if they allow events. Some farm owners may be willing to rent their property for the use of an event.  

If a certain farm or barn is a popular location for weddings in your area, consider opting for a weekday wedding date to get your dream wedding at a lower cost than a prime season Saturday.

Finding Cheap Wedding Venues Near You

If you’re on the lookout for budget-friendly wedding venues that match your location and wallet, a simple Google search can work wonders. Using keywords like “cheap wedding venues near me” or “affordable wedding venues in [Your Location]” can unveil numerous options tailored to your area.

Google’s search results display a range of potential free and cheap venues near to you with essential details such as prices, reviews, and addresses.

For a more targeted search, try using specific terms like ” cheap outdoor wedding venues near me,” “historic wedding venues in [Your City],” or “cheap places to get married in [Your State].” These refined searches can reveal hidden gems that better match your envisioned wedding style or location preferences.

While Google searches are a helpful starting point, remember that even though budget can be a factor, as a bride, you want your big day to be special! Make sure you research and personally visit your prospective choices of venues. That way, you can see them in real life (because often pictures can be misleading!) and check that they align with your expectations, fit within your budget constraints, and meet all your event needs before making any final decisions.

Cheap and Free Wedding Venues: Conclusion

Remember that many traditional wedding venue costs are higher because they include amenities and items that you’ll need to host an event. Don’t forget to consider rental items such as chairs, tables, linens, tableware, and potentially a tent in case of inclement weather at an outdoor location.

There are many cheap or free wedding venues available to couples on a budget that can accommodate your needs. So feel free to skip the golf course, grand ballroom, or mansion and consider some outside-the-box options for your dream wedding. Be sure to do your research before booking, as not all locations allow weddings. These options can help you have the beautiful wedding you always dreamed of without breaking the bank.

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Are you looking for a cheap or free wedding venue? Check out these unique and affordable ideas!
Are you looking for a cheap or free wedding venue? Check out these unique and affordable ideas!
Are you looking for a cheap or free wedding venue? Check out these unique and affordable ideas!

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Jessica Bishop is the founder of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com, and has worked in various areas and roles within the wedding industry since 2007. She is the author of the best-selling book,The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer and also hosts The Bouquet Toss Wedding Planning Podcast. Jessica's expert wedding advice and savvy savings tips have been featured by Good Morning America, COSMOPOLITAN, Glamour, and more.