Here's How Much Couples Spend on the Wedding Reception Venue

Plus, we share why the price is on the rise.
by Maddy Sims and Sarah Hanlon

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 27,000 couples who wed last year, the average wedding venue cost in 2019 was $10,500 out of a total spend of $33,900. This means couples devoted 30 percent of their overall budget to their locations, and most deemed it a worthy expense with 92 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 include packages with catering, on-site coordinators, 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. Over half of all couples who married in 2019 opted for an indoor reception site. The most popular choice was a banquet hall with 21 percent of those respondents exchanging vows in this type of venue. Another 12 percent said “I do” in a historical building or home.

Despite the popularity of indoor reception venues, a number of couples (14 percent, to be exact) took it outdoors. In fact, the second most popular wedding reception venue overall in 2019 was a farm, barn or ranch. One in 10 couples married in a backyard or private garden, while three percent opted for a winery or vineyard.

The average price of a wedding venue rose in 2019. 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, 72 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—47 percent of couples included "extras" like photo booths, fireworks or performers to give their guests a memorable evening. (This number is up nine percent from 2018.) 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 a significant increase in 2019.

No matter where you end up choosing to say “I do,” it’s 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.

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