Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now, close your eyes and imagine your wedding day. If you aren’t picturing a chapel ceremony or ballroom reception, you’re not alone! More and more couples are opting out of these traditional venues and diving into less common territory.

One of the perks of throwing caution to the wind? You’ll save money. The wedding industry thrives on selling lavish ideas – castle venues, 5-course dinners, grandiose centerpieces made of diamonds and millions of other details that are not at all necessary. Saying no to a traditional venue will not only cost you less, but will truly put a unique stamp on your wedding day.

The key to landing an unparalleled, special-to-you venue is simple. First, sit down with your partner and brainstorm. What places are significant to you? Are there any memorable locations that epitomize you as a couple?

Second, ask. I can’t stress this enough! Did your fiance propose in the freezer section of the grocery store? Is that aisle your dream venue? Call them. Ask. The idea may seem nutty, but there is no harm in asking and unconventional venues frequently charge far less.

To help get you started, here’s a list of 5 unique wedding venues that will not only spotlight your vision, but quite possibly save you beaucoup bucks as well!

1. Movie Theater

I speak from experience with this one! When my husband and I got engaged, we knew two things for certain. We wanted a secular wedding and we had an extremely limited budget. We wracked our brains, and suddenly our local neighborhood movie theater came to mind. It was where we’d had our first date and many since. It encompassed our love of film, and us as a couple completely. While the theater website had information on the cost of renting the space, it wasn’t crystal clear. I called and shared our idea with the staff and soon realized that our excitement for this venue was contagious. This small, independent theater worked out every detail with us and in the end was only 10% of our budget!

2. Other Performance Venues

Think theaters, halls and other music venues in your area. Many of these places will host private events and are already wired for sound, which is helpful! Consider local college theaters and halls, as well. If you’re an alumni, you may get an added discount!

3. Parks/Gardens

If it’s the right time of year, getting married outside can be absolutely breathtaking. Decor, check! Local parks charge small fees for use of park space, and usually require a permit. It’s as easy as calling your local Parks and Recreation Department and reserving a space. Seating can be as simple as picnic blankets, adding a bit of whimsy to your day. Oftentimes, you can rent chairs or benches directly from the parks department, as well.

4. Restaurants/Breweries/Bars

Do you and your fiance have a favorite restaurant or bar? Are you beer aficionados? Restaurants, breweries and bars are stellar options for an unconventional wedding venue. Again, these places typically host private events and will often have in-house catering options that may be less expensive than a separate catering company. Many breweries and bars work hand in hand with food trucks, which makes for an awesome catering option! You will likely score a deal on alcohol, too. Look into smaller breweries or bars that may have recently opened. Hosting a wedding is great publicity, which will help you with price negotiations!

5. Museums/Libraries

Talk about a place with character! Local museums and libraries are prime spots for a one-of-kind wedding venue. Typically, one room or area will be made available, and decorating may not even be necessary depending on the space. It’s possible that the public will still be allowed in, but that just adds to the experience!

So, if “normal” isn’t for you, think outside the box when it comes to choosing your wedding venue. Getting creative can easily save you money, but more importantly it can help to create a truly original and unforgettable day.

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