You want the wedding of your dreams, but you also have to fit it within your budget!
One of the first questions a bride asks is how much a wedding venue costs. Unfortunately, there’s not very good guidance on how to price wedding venues in Maine. For example, TheKnot famously posts on the average cost of U.S. weddings. According to these figures, the average wedding venue will run you $14,788. But in the same post, they state that the average cost of the ceremony site is $2089 and the transportation is $792. So does that mean you should expect to pay $17,669 if the venue includes the ceremony site? The post also states that the average catering cost is $273 per person. But is this on TOP of that hefty $14,788 venue fee?
Then, according to CostofWedding.com, the cost of a wedding venue ranges from $2721 to $7256, the cost of food service ranges from $3578 to $9542, the cost of bar service ranges from $1784 to $4756, the cost of event rentals ranges from $1289 to $3438, and the cost of the honeymoon suite ranges from $232 to $618. So if your wedding venue is all-inclusive, does that mean you should budget between $9604 and $25,610?
And why are weddings so expensive in the first place? Here’s an explanation from a groom’s perspective.
Luckily, Maine wedding venues are a little less expensive than the national average, which is partly why Maine destination weddings are so popular. Here are some typical Maine wedding venue options:
- Inexpensive wedding venues. Maine wedding venues under $1000 are hard to come by and usually include small banquet halls and dated hotels.
- Unique, luxury, or coastal Maine wedding venues. If you’re looking for a beautiful venue specially suited to your wedding vision, expect to pay between $5000 and $16,000 or more for the venue, not including rentals, food, or bar service. Venues in the luxury market, in particular, will cost from $10,000 to $25,000.
- Maine barn weddings. If you’re looking for a Maine wedding barn, expect to spend between $6000 and $20,000 or more for the venue, but be especially on the lookout for what’s not included. For example, one very beautiful Maine wedding barn has a quoted venue fee of $13,900. This does include accommodations for up to 18 guests but does not include tables, chairs, linens, food, bar service, or any other rentals.
How do you make sense of it all? What will your wedding actually cost? To help you plan an affordable Maine wedding, here are some tips to keep in mind as you compare Maine wedding venues:
1. Instead of asking about a venue’s rental fee, ask for a quote that includes the total cost of your wedding at their venue.
A venue’s quoted “venue fee” can often be very misleading. Some luxury venues charge a relatively low venue fee but require to use their exclusive on-site caterer — that’s where they make their money! For example, one very elegant Portland venue has a quoted venue fee of $1000, but it doesn’t include the required food and beverage minimum that will likely turn into a $25,000 bill whether you have 50 guests or 150.
Instead of relying on the “venue fee,” request a quote or a ballpark figure for the entire cost of your wedding at their venue. Let them know your expected guest count, your preferred wedding date (Saturdays in early Fall tend to be the most expensive), and your preferred amenities. For example, do you want a plated meal, a buffet, or just appetizers? Do you want a cash bar, limited open bar, or full open bar? Focus on the cost of your entire wedding, not just the quoted venue fee.
2. Find out what the venue does not include, as you’ll have to rent or pay extra for these amenities.
Every venue is different and offers different amenities. For example, Maine barn weddings have been a fad for the past few years, and while they’re rustic and beautiful, they often include the fewest amenities. For example, you’ll often have to rent a tent, all the tables and chairs, the lighting, dance floor… even the portapotties! At Portland venues, parking is a major problem so you may decide to rent trolley service for your guests to the distant parking lot!
Ask the venue which of the following items are included in their wedding packages:
- Ceremony site and rehearsal site
- Cocktail hour and bar service
- Dinner, bar service, coffee service, and wedding toast
- Cake cutting and plating
- Tables, chairs, and linens
- Dishes, flatware, glassware, napkins, and other table items
- Dance floor, lighting, and sound equipment
- Wedding party lounge to prepare and relax
- Event insurance
- Day-of venue coordination
- Honeymoon suite and guest accommodations
- Heating or air conditioning in the venue
- Handicap accessibility (if needed)
3. Compare apples to apples.
All that matters is that the total cost of your wedding is within your budget. If one venue is a little more expensive but it includes the chapel and all your rentals, then it might actually cost less than a competing venue. We put together this handy Wedding Planner to help you compare the true cost of wedding venues. Not only will it help you to create a budget, but you’ll be able to compare the total cost of your wedding at different venues.
4. If you like the venue, don’t hesitate to tell them your budget.
They’ll know pretty quickly whether they can work within your budget. You don’t have to be overly specific, but at least give the venue an idea. It will save you lots of time by focusing only on those venues that you can afford.
5. Tour several venues before making a decision.
Venues look and feel different when seen in person, instead of just online. If a venue looks like it might be a good fit, go see it! Not only will you get a chance to picture your wedding there, but you’ll be able to meet and chat with the manager. By taking the time to share your wedding vision, the manager will have a much better idea of what it will cost and whether it will fit within your budget.
6. Have fun!
Touring venues can be lots of fun. Remember that choosing your wedding venue is the single most important part of your wedding planning. This will be the setting for those amazing photos you and your spouse will enjoy for years to come.
We hope this has been helpful in breaking down the cost of Maine wedding venues. At the Agora Grand Wedding Castle, we offer all-inclusive packages as well as a la carte options for couples on a budget. If you have more questions, we’re happy to answer them personally or on this blog. If you want a quote for an elegant Maine wedding at the Agora Grand, feel free to reach out!