Staying Within Your Wedding Budget: Venue

Well, it’s officially been {almost} a year since our wedding day! I have decided to reflect back on our wedding day with a series titled, “How to stay within your Wedding Budget when it’s less than $20,000”! Welcome back for part seven of this series! This will be the final post for this series!

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My dad gave me a very strict budget. My sister had gotten married two and a half years before me, and he wanted me to stay within the same budget as her. My dad set a budget for each category of my wedding. He was not going to go over that budget, and it was a pretty low budget compared to other weddings in the DFW area. I was determined to stick to it though, and worked really hard to stay within the budget! My dad budgeted pretty much every category possible, but I was allowed to move money from category to category. So if I overspent in one category but underspent in another, it was ok!

When planning a wedding in the DFW area, it is very hard to stay within a budget that is under $17,000! My budget was $16,519. The average cost of a wedding in Dallas is $28,810. That means I had about $12,291 less dollars than the average bride in the DFW area. However, I was determined to stretch this money as far as it would go, and that I did! Therefore, I want to help any other brides who might appreciate the tips and tricks!

Here is a breakdown of my budget:

Category Budgeted Amount Amount Spent
 Invitations/Envelopes/Stamps 400 262.50
Wedding Dress 1700  1595.50
Photographer 1500  1515.50
Videographer 1300  1150.15
Wedding Cake (Bride’s Cake)  575  535.00
 DJ 600  975.00
Flowers  700  289.75
Alterations  150  200.00
 Shoes  54  54.00
Hotel Rooms  700  710.00
 Wedding Ring for Matthew  400  85.00
Chapel & Reception 300
 Security  210
Wedding Coordinator 375
 Venue Rental 955
Food 6000
Bar 600  650.00
Lights in Reception Not Budgeted
Grand Total: Budgeted: $16519 Spent:

Topics that were previously discussed will be linked in the above chart!

Today I am going to combine all the different pieces of the VENUE together!
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Chapel & Reception/Security/Wedding Coordinator/Venue Rental/Food

Why yes, I did just lump five categories into one! Why you might ask? Because my amazing venue lumped everything into one! I looked at so many venues before choosing mine. Every other one was so expensive just to rent the venue, and that didn’t include security, wedding coordinator, or food. I was convinced that I would never find a place I could afford. I had even looked into getting married at a family friend’s ranch and renting all the tables/chairs that I would need. (Thankfully, we didn’t have to do that. It would have been a beautiful idea… but then it snowed… ALOT… two days before our wedding. That ranch would have been a mess!)

Anyway, my biggest tip to brides regarding venue: Book an all inclusive wedding venue!

I couldn’t be happier with mine. I got married at Cross Creek Ranch (formally Swingin’ D Ranch) in Parker, Texas. I could go on for days about how amazing this venue was!! First off, it was $1,000 to rent the ceremony site. We opted to get married outside under their beautiful bungalow. However, the snow ruined those plans. We still got married outside, but it was under an awning they had. It was not what we originally planned, but still beautiful. When I arrived at my rehearsal the day before and realized I wouldn’t be able to get married in the planned location, I almost had a panic attack. However, their wonderful wedding coordinator Heather (who was also included in the price!), gently guided me to the covered awning, explained how beautiful it would be, and eased all my fears. And it was still beautiful, see?

 

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. So while $1000 for the chapel fee was way more than my budgeted $300, it still all worked out. Because I had also budgeted $955 for the reception rental, $300 for the wedding coordinator, $200 for security, and $6000 for the food…. and all of that was wrapped up into one neat and tiny total- 6894. They got the total based on the number of guests. The first 100 guests were a certain number, and then each guest after that was a certain price. After our final RSVPs came in, our total landed at 6,894. This put me only $139 over budget for the venue costs. However, if your rememember, I had only spent $290 of my $700 flower budget… and this venue cost included flowers for the ceremony as well as the reception! So I just moved $139 over from my flower budget and was good to go and still below budget!

Many brides get nervous when food is included in their venue because what if they don’t like the food offered? Well, that’s another reason that Cross Creek Ranch is amazing! They cater the food from local restaurants- and we loved all of the restaurants they offered! It was so tough to pick one! We ended up choosing Rudy’s BBQ, and it was delicious!

So in summary, the best way to stay below budget on your venue is to do the following:

  1. Rent a venue that is all inclusive. It will save you so much!
  2. Rent a venue that caters food from other restaurants instead of making their own. It is cheaper for you because they usually stick to the restaurant’s prices.
  3. Rent a venue that has both a chapel and reception venue. It is usually cheaper to do both in one. (Unless of course you find a church that lets you get married for free, and then you rent a reception venue elsewhere.)
  4. Research venues before committing to one. Try not to fall in love with one you see online before you know the prices. It isn’t worth blowing your budget just to get married at a certain place– if you do your research, you will more than likely be able to find a similar location for way cheaper!

My biggest tip for finding a venue in your budget is to go all inclusive. I would have never afforded my wedding otherwise. The original place I wanted to get married was $8,000just to rent the venue. That didn’t include anything else! But Cross Creek included everything I could have ever imagined, and beyond that they were amazing to work with. AMAZING. Heather was my wedding coordinator and made the whole day run so, so smoothly. They really made it my dream wedding!!

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I am so sad that this series is drawing to a close! I hope that it has helped some brides stick to their budget. I was able to stick to my budget using these tips, and I was so under budget that I was even able to splurge for $300 garden lighting at my reception!

Here is a breakdown of my final costs:

Category Budgeted Amount Amount Spent
 Invitations/Envelopes/Stamps 400 262.50
Wedding Dress 1700  1595.50
Photographer 1500  1515.50
Videographer 1300  1150.15
Wedding Cake (Bride’s Cake)  575  535.00
 DJ 600  975.00
Flowers  700  289.75
Alterations  150  200.00
 Shoes  54  54.00
Hotel Rooms  700  710.00
 Wedding Ring for Matthew  400  85.00
Chapel & Reception 300  1000
 Security  210  Included in Venue Cost
Wedding Coordinator 375  Included in Venue Cost
 Venue Rental 955  Included in Venue Cost
Food 6000  6894
Bar 600  650.00
Lights in Reception Not Budgeted  300
Grand Total: Budgeted: $16519 Spent: 16,216.40

As you can see, even after splurging on the lights at the reception, we were under budget! I couldn’t believe that not only did I stick to my budget, but I was $302 under budget! It is almost unheard of to have a wedding in DFW for that price.

I hope that this series has helped some of you stick to your wedding budget. If you’re planning your wedding or already have planned your wedding, what are some tips that you used to help you save money? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Happy wedding planning!!
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