NEW YORK (MoneyTalksNews)—The average wedding costs about $27,800, according to a recent study by TheKnot.com. That includes everything: the dress, catering, photographer and — one of the largest expenses – the venue.
A quick poll of my recently wed friends found they paid anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 for their wedding spots, and that’s not even on the high end of possibilities. But you don’t need to spend nearly that much.
In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers a number of wedding locations that are much less expensive (or even free). Check it out and then read on for more suggestions.
Let’s hash out a full list of beautiful, memorable and inexpensive wedding spots.
1. Local, state and national parks
If you want an outdoor wedding, check out your local parks. They might have a pretty gazebo or a beautiful pond perfect for wedding snapshots. If you find a spot you like, contact your local parks department about permits and rules; most have them.
Many state and national parks also allow weddings. For example, the National Park Service says the fee for a permit to get married in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado costs $150. How cool would it be to get married with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop? You can find information on more than 400 national parks at the National Park Foundation website.
Public beaches are a cheap alternative to the private beaches owned by hotel chains. Just make sure you know the rules and apply for the proper permits in advance. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National List of Beaches can help you narrow down the perfect spot.
3. University campuses
Universities have churches, ballrooms and reception centers they usually rent out for special events like weddings. They’re available to the public, and many can accommodate wedding parties of 100 or more. They’re often cheaper than other spots. For example, the University of Louisville’s Shelby Campus charges $750 for a party room and $1,200 for a ballroom.