Tips for Brides: What does a wedding venue really cost?

GUEST BLOGGER: Amanda Wright | Planner/Coordiator at The Atlanta National Golf Club

Andria Lavine Photography_Premier Atlanta Wedding Photographer_Atlanta National Golf Club_Guest Blogger-Amanda Wright

What does a wedding venue really cost?

Most brides have been planning and dreaming about their special day for many years.  One of the first thing most brides do is look for a venue and is an important aspect of your wedding and/or reception because it sets a tone for your celebration. And, while some brides have a realistic understanding of what a wedding costs, most do not.

Representing a venue, I have experienced many brides walking through the door with many dreams of their perfect wedding day only to be disheartened because budget and dreams don’t coincide. This post is not to deter you from what you have fantasized about your whole life but to provide clarity on what a wedding venue really costs. With that said, it is most important to understand what venues offer in terms of service, in-house catering, bar, and other amenities.

Overall venue fees

An inexpensive venue usually translates into one offering the bare minimum when it comes to food and beverage items and even service. For example, if a venue offers a $5,000.00 all-inclusive [ceremony & reception] package for 100 people, you may have limited bar options (usually beer and wine only). And if you exceed the one hundred person count, there are likely additional charges that can range anywhere from $25.00 and $65.00 a person, or more.

Something to consider  – the best type of venue for you may be one that has food and beverage service.  Why? Because when bringing in outside vendors, they usually cost more verses utilizing the onsite services that the venue has to offer.

Location. Location. Location.

A downtown venue may cost anywhere from $3,500.00 to $4,500.00 on a Saturday evening, while traveling outside of the city to a country club or antebellum style house can range between $1,000.00 and $2,500.00.

“Day of” planner

This could be a cost conscious consideration. Event planners can start at $500.00 or more for their services, so having your wedding/reception at a venue that offers an onsite coordinator can save you money and time. The venue’s onsite planner/coordinator is also a great resource for customizing your menu and bar and will present a proposal based on the realistic budget that you have set for yourself; not including your dress, tux, flowers, centerpieces, cake, and other miscellaneous wedding expenses.

Other cost conscious items to consider while researching venues and planning your day:  

How much are you willing to spend on flowers?  Flowers arrangements can be grand or they can be simple, they can also be your largest cost aside from your food and bar.  If you have a limited budget, it may be a wise choice to only purchase bouquets for yourself and bridesmaids [as well as boutonnieres for grooms, groomsmen, and honored elders] – opting to use china or candle centerpieces. Some venues will even provide you with their centerpieces at no cost.

What will it cost to rent chairs and linen?  Yet another important thing you may consider while choosing a venue is that will include tables, chairs and linen, especially if you are on a budget.  A lot of brides love the look of Chiavari Chairs but can incur an additional cost upwards of $6.50 to $8.50 a chair.

How much will you budget for your cake?  Although cakes are a tradition at wedding receptions they can get very expensive, especially when considering a high-end cake designer. A great alternative is Publix for wedding cakes – they are inexpensive and can be argued, taste just a good as your $800.00+ designer cakes.  Besides, once it’s cut and sliced, it’s simply a memory captured in your photographs.

Keep these pointers in mind when you plan your wedding and you may even have a little extra cash to go toward your honeymoon!

Amanda Wright is an is an onsite planner/coordinator at the Atlanta National Golf Club in Milton, Georgia. For more information about planning your event at Atlanta National, she can be reached at 770.407.1413 or via email at


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