When it comes to planning your wedding, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is where to host it. Traditional wedding venues, like hotels, banquet halls, and country clubs, have long been the go-to option. However, in recent years, outdoor weddings in tents have gained popularity. Is a tent wedding truly cheaper than a traditional venue? Surprisingly, most times it’s not! Let’s break down the costs and benefits of both options to help you make an informed decision for your special day.
Photo by Jayleigh Flood Photography
Traditional Wedding Venues
Traditional wedding venues offer a wide range of amenities, making them an attractive choice. Here are some of the costs associated with traditional venues:
- Venue Rental: The cost of renting a traditional wedding venue can vary widely depending on the location, time of year, and day of the week. On average, expect to spend several thousand dollars on the venue rental and look out for service charges and taxes.
- Catering: Traditional venues typically require you to use their in-house catering services, which can be costly. Prices per plate can range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on the menu and guest count.
- Decor: Flowers, lighting, and table settings can quickly add up, but if you pick a venue you naturally love without decor, you may be able to go more minimal on decor.
- Entertainment: Hiring a DJ or band for your reception is another expense to consider. Entertainment costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
- Additional Fees: Many traditional venues charge extra fees for things like cake cutting, corkage, and security. These fees can easily add hundreds of dollars to your bill.
- Guest Accommodations: If your venue is in a remote location or a hotel, you may need to cover the cost of guest accommodations, which can be a significant expense.
Tent weddings offer a unique and customizable experience, often at a lower price point. Here’s a breakdown of the costs associated with a tent wedding:
- Tent Rental: The cost of renting a wedding tent can vary based on size, style, and location. However, tent rentals are generally more affordable than traditional venue rentals, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 or more.
- Catering: With a tent wedding, you have more flexibility in choosing your caterer. This can lead to cost savings, as you can select a caterer that fits your budget and preferences. Buffet-style or food truck catering options can be more budget-friendly. Since you’re in a tent though, you’ll have to over rent items like plates, glassware, and napkins which may add up fast.
- Decor: While you’ll need to invest in decor for a tent wedding, you have more control over your budget. You can choose to go all out with decorations or keep it simple, depending on your style and finances. We typically see more couples spend a lot more in this category to make a simple tent feel more formal.
- Entertainment: Similar to catering, you have flexibility in selecting your entertainment. You can hire a live band, DJ, or even create your playlist, potentially saving money. Additional costs may come up if there are certain power requirements.
- Additional fees: Tent weddings allow you to choose the location, but be sure to consider any permit and inspection fees. Tent weddings tends to have more miscellaneous fees arise throughout the planning process such as weather solutions, parking, and trash placement.
- Guest Accommodations: If your tent wedding is in a remote location, you can recommend nearby accommodations for guests, but you aren’t typically responsible for covering their lodging expenses.
So, is a tent wedding cheaper than a traditional venue? It can be, but it depends on your choices and priorities. Generally speaking, we see our couples going over budget more often with tent weddings due to having to bring everything in and plan for extras. A pro of traditional hotel venues is they are often more affordable due to their all inclusive nature.
Whichever option you choose, remember that your wedding day should reflect your love story and be a celebration of your unique journey together. If you’d like some help comparing options and costs in your city, click here to ask one of our virtual wedding planners!