6 Tips for Saving Money on Your Wedding Venue (Fox6 Segment)

Save money on your wedding

Looking to save money on your wedding reception? Here are 6 tips!
Photo by Reminisce Studio

We were asked to be on FOX6 News to talk wedding venues and provide some thoughts on cutting costs when selecting your wedding reception location. Check out our segment and this article for six tips to help you reduce your wedding venue expenses.


1. Narrowed, but Open Date Availability

Milwaukee Wedding Costs

Reception at The Milwaukee Hilton Downtown – Photo by Craig John Photography

One of the first things you will do when getting engaged is choose a date. For most couples, the venue is the first thing booked for your wedding. Consider having multiple date options within a preferred month to allow you flexibility when deciding between multiple venues.

2. Reduce / Limit Your Guest List

Save money on your Milwaukee wedding

Wedding at Milwaukee’s Villa Terrace – Photo by Reminisce Studio

When factoring in wedding costs, your guest count has the most impact on the overall cost of your wedding. On average, account for $50 – $100 additional cost for each guest in attendance, depending on the meals, drinks and desserts offered. Additionally, smaller capacity venues can have lower minimums. Most couples spend 50% – 70% of their total budget on the reception.

3. Determine Your Budget

Saving money on your milwaukee wedding

Wedding reception at Harley Davidson Museum’s Chrome – Photo by JBe Photography / Cake by Eat Cake

This can be the most difficult thing to consider when starting your wedding planning. If you are working within a budget, determine what aspects of your wedding that are most important to you, then plan to spend the more money in these areas. Most couples focus on the venue, food, photography and entertainment as taking up the majority of their budget.

Do consider contacting a Milwaukee wedding planner. While they are an additional cost, they can help you determine if your budget is not only feasible, but help you stay within it, once set.

Also check out our cost breakdown articles featuring real Milwaukee weddings from $5K – $106K. If your family is helping to cover the costs, forward these articles to them, they’ll appreciate the info as well.

4. Off Season / Off Day Wedding Reception

Milwaukee Wedding Costs

Wedding reception at Turner Hall Ballroom – Photo by Tres Jolie Photo

Save money on your wedding reception and venue costs by having your wedding during off season (November – April) or off days of the week (Sunday – Thursday). Not all venues offer seasonal discounts but it doesn’t hurt to ask if their minimums or rental fees are reduced.

5. Separate Dinner and Reception Guest List

Intercontinental Hotel Wedding

A wedding reception at Downtown’s Intercontinental Hotel. Photo by Front Room Photography

Want to reduce your food and drink cost, but having trouble reducing your guest list? Consider having an intimate ceremony followed by dinner with your closest friends and family.

Once that’s over, invite the rest of your friends to your reception that starts later in the evening with some great entertainment, dancing, drinks, and late night snacks. From couples we’ve chatted with who have done this, it worked out great and kept guests happy.

6. Remember the Details Increase Costs

Pritzlaff Building Wedding

Pritzlaff Building reception. Photo by Andy Stenz

The wedding details can be oh so fun and really make your wedding unique. Keep in mind though that the cost of details can add up quickly and break your budget. Here are a few things to remember regarding your wedding venue and reception:

  • Outside Rentals – Remember for some venues you need to rent tables, chairs, and linens, among other things. Be sure to ask your venue what outside rentals you are responsible for.
  • Gratuity, Service Costs and Tax – These costs are often above and beyond the purchase price. Be sure to ask your venue and/or caterer what they charge.
  • Alcohol Offerings – Alcohol is a large reception expense. Don’t feel obligated to offer everything, such as the champagne toast.
  • Centerpieces – Love flowers, but having trouble limiting your options? Consider dedicating a central focal point at your reception, such as a sweetheart table, and go all out and limiting the decor on your guest tables. Another option is to vary small centerpieces with larger, more elaborate pieces on your guest tables to reduce your overall cost.
Sweetheart Table Milwaukee

Sweetheart Table and Chairs featured via the FOX6 News May 5th Segment. Designed by Evenement Planning; Floral by Jane Kelly Floral



  1. Jocelyn Black says:

    I like your tip on limiting the guest list. Especially if you are serving a dinner the guest list really drives the price. I think that while it is important to include everyone you can you shouldn’t feel pressured to invite everyone especially if you are on a budget. Thanks for all the tips.

  2. McKayla Strauss says:

    I actually didn’t realize that there’s an off season in terms of weddings. I can see how asking about discounts during that off season could pay off! My sister is actually planning a wedding within that time frame, so I’ll have to tell her to ask about that as she starts calling venues.

  3. Judy Wilson says:

    I recently got engaged, so now we’re trying to pick out a wedding venue. It’s good to know different ways my fiance and I can save money on a venue. Your tip to schedule our wedding during an off season is helpful. We were considering having a June wedding, but now I’m thinking we should push it back to January instead. Thanks for the tips!