Here's How Much Couples Spend on Their Wedding Reception Venue
If you're recently engaged, you may already be focused on the all-important step of booking your venue and locking down a wedding date. After all, finding a place to say "I do" is one of the first (and most expensive) decisions couples will often make during the wedding planning process. If you find yourself wondering, "How much do wedding venues really cost?" here's the answer. To help you figure out how much to allocate for your venue, we're revealing the national average wedding venue cost.
According to an internal study of over 15,000 couples who wed last year, the average cost of a wedding venue in 2021 was $10,700 out of a total spend of $34,000—a slight increase from the 2019 average of $10,500. This means couples devoted 30 percent of their overall budget to their locations, and most deemed it a worthy expense with nearly 90 percent of all respondents booking a professional wedding venue for their celebration. Given the average price for a wedding venue, it's one of the most important decisions for couples. In fact, our survey reveals that to-be-weds named venue, guest count and location as the top three most important aspects when finalizing their wedding budget.
It's important to note that this number is a national average and depends on many factors—especially add-ons. Some wedding venue prices offer all-inclusive packages with catering, rentals, linens, wedding cake, on-site event planners, insurance, entertainment, décor or cleaning fees. These additions will make for an easier planning process for you, though they may come at a higher cost. It's always best to talk through all potential options with your vendors to make the best decisions for your wedding day.
One of the biggest factors to influence the average wedding venue cost is location. In 2021, outdoor wedding venues were more popular than ever due to COVID safety guidance. Over 58% of couples hosted their wedding ceremony outdoors, and 21% had outdoor receptions. In fact, 17% of couples modified their ceremony and/or reception site from indoors to outdoors due to COVID protocols.
The most popular type of wedding reception venue in 2021 was a banquet hall, with 20 percent of those respondents exchanging vows in this type of venue. Another 18 percent said "I do" at a farm, barn or ranch venue, and 12% of couples married at a historic home or building.
The average price of a wedding venue rose in 2020 and 2021. While the cost had previously remained steady at $9,000 since 2017, this increase indicates couples' desires to give guests a full experience rather than a simple party. When planning their wedding, 73 percent of respondents said the most important factor was that their loved ones were well accommodated and they enjoyed the celebration. Our data also showed a rise in guest entertainment—43 percent of couples included "extras" like photo booths, fireworks or performers to give their guests a memorable evening. In order to provide an unforgettable celebration, couples are willing to spend more on their reception venue to secure a place that will support their vision. Because of this, the average wedding venue cost saw an increase in 2020 and 2021.
Despite the cost increase, there are several ways to save money on your wedding venue. If you can be flexible on your wedding date (both day of the week and time of year), you'll likely encounter lower rates. Many event spaces offer lower rates if you host a weekday wedding or one that takes place during the off season (winter, in most parts of the country). Also, the number of guests you invite has a big impact on your wedding budget—the more people, the more money you'll spend. Trimming your guest list can mean huge savings. And while working with a wedding planner may be an additional expense, they can help you make smart decisions and save money in the long run.
Once you've selected your perfect wedding venue, be sure to read through your venue contract carefully to make sure you're aware of any additional costs or service charges (cake cutting and corkage fees are common ones).
No matter where you end up choosing to host your big day, your venue rental likely going to take up a good portion of your budget. Not to worry though—with the help of The Knot Budget Tool and our comprehensive list of vendors, you'll be able to book the wedding venue of your dreams.