10K budget - need help with venue

Hi Fellow Knotties (?? is that a term??)

I'm kind of at my wits end and hoping someone can help.  We got engaged in May, hoping to have a May 2016 wedding, but we are struggling to find a venue.  I'm starting to get the feeling that I'm just too broke for a wedding (how is 10 THOUSAND dollars not enough money?!  To me that's a LOT!)

To save costs we've decided to keep it all in one place (ceremony/reception) to avoid traveling costs; we've cut flowers and centerpieces...we've cut the guest list...repeatedly...we've cut the DJ (chose to play an iPod instead).  My dress is purchased and NOT coming out of the 10K budget.  Yet STILL we are unable to find a venue.  Do we need to cut alcohol?  Do we need to cut food??  Are we fooling ourselves?  Is it even possible to throw a wedding in or around Pgh with a budget of 10K?  We don't have any more funds and taking a loan is just not an option.

Help!  I'm open to any and all ideas/suggestions.  Any help is appreciated!  I'm ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat.  Its just killing me that I may not have a wedding because 10 THOUSAND dollars isn't enough money... 


Stressed and Depressed Future Bride

Re: 10K budget - need help with venue

  • Deciding on a venue was my absolute least favorite part as well. I know you've said you've cut it, but the number one way to save money is to have a smaller guest list.

    There is a post a few before yours called "Affordable Pittsburgh, PA Reception Venues", and there are a few ideas there.

    If you don't mind traveling a bit, you could look a little out of the city. I was just at a wedding at Anthony's Lakeside Party Center that was beautiful. They did the ceremony and reception in the same room, and they had packages for around $40 per person. I was considering a barn wedding for awhile and looked into Five Pines Barn and Bell's Banquet Hall, both would have been under 10k.

    Also look into fire halls and VFWs. I looked into one Norvelt Roosevelt Hall, which was actually very nice! Most of those are less than 1k to rent, and bringing your own caterer can save you THOUSANDS. Plus, look into having a Friday or Sunday wedding, some vendors give discounts for that!

    Unfortunately, 10k doesn't buy you much glamour, but it certainly can buy you food and a good time for your guests! Stay hopeful!!

    Here are some links to the places I mentioned and a few of the places I considered!
 - This one is 3k to rent, plus catering.

    I know these aren't exactly in Pittsburgh, but hopefully you find them helpful!
  • First, thank you for the reply!  You have been a huge help.  I (we) have basically given up on the idea of being in or in the immediate surrounding area of Pgh, so this is great.  I came across Crystal Room in Butler that I'll be checking into further (25% off Friday weddings!) and I'm going to research the links you gave as well (again BIG thank you!)

    The guest list was hard because he has a pretty big family and I have an even bigger one. We've got it down to 130 and are already anticipating the fallout from the cuts we've made so far.  We're prepared to make more if we can't find anything within our budget/guest list now, but we're really hoping it doesn't come to that.

    Again, thank you so much for responding!  I'm less stressed and feeling hopeful.  I just needed a new direction/focus.  Fingers crossed!
  • You are very welcome! I was in your exact shoes last year. It's just insane what weddings cost. And I completely understand about the guest list...ours is currently sitting at 216 ugh.

    I thought of another one, look at a place called Banquets Unlimited. It has two locations. When I was looking they had packages for around $50 per person, that came with centerpieces and a wedding cake.

    Good luck!! 
  • Definitely try to look outside of Allegheny County as well.  You may not be thinking about it, but Allegheny's tax rates are higher on everything, which will cut into your over all budget.

    My mom got remarried at Bella Serra (near Southpointe right off of 79) 5 years ago, and ended up coming in at about $6,000 for 300 people, including cake, flowers, DJ, food, space, photog, videog, liquor. I know she struggled with quotes from the owner (he changed the price several times), but it worked.  She was open with her options (sunday brunch instead of saturday evening), and that definitely helped. She negotiated with everyone.  Basically, she said "this is my budget, and this is what I want."

    Instead of a cookie table, she did cookie trays and cupcake trees as the centerpieces.  Our family is full of antique-shoppers, so they all lent their cake plates and trays.

    I'm doing a similar thing where my reception/ceremony are at the same location.  The venue also does their own floral/decorating, and they use the ceremony decorations as the centerpieces (Flowers on pedestals or giant vases with floating candles etc) .

    Don't get at all discouraged! The best thing to remember is to be open to alternatives, set a budget, and shop around for vendors.

    A friend of mine got married at the opera house, and they said they came in under $43 a head (even with bride's dress calculated into it).  It was nice, and they still didn't need to skimp too much.  The only downside is they literally had to bring in their own tables, chairs etc.

    I'd also recommend looking into local and county parks.  Some of them have full plumbing and very nice pavilions.  You can also always negotiate with your vendors.  For my shower, my sister told the venue "this is my budget per person," and they priced menu options for us.

    For the photog, consider booking your venue first, then looking to see who is willing to travel there etc. (some will charge you mileage/travel fees).  Also, check about packages and remember that they are also negotiable. 
  • The airport Marriott is supposed to be reasonable and they may be able to work with you to fit your budget.  Some hotel places that have packages including a lot may be able to knock some $ off if you don't do centerpieces/chair covers/one of the dinner courses, etc.

    My friend got married at Days Inn Butler a few years ago.  It was nice.

    St. Pamphilus is a decent place.  I almost chose them.  They supply the NA beverages but you have to supply beer, wine, liquor. 

  • Other venues that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet:

    I think $10k for 130 people is totally doable!  They also say you can expect 15-20% of guests to RSVP no so that will help things as well.  My advice is once you have your venue and food/drink figured out (because those will be your biggest costs), prioritize the remaining items in your budget and that will help guide the remaining decisions!

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • You may also want to check out Arista catering. We're getting married there next weekend. The venue rental fee is around $1,200 and we're paying $43 a person for cocktail hour, a sit down dinner and the cake. You can bring in your own alcohol which helps a lot with costs.!contact/c24vq
  • I just got married at "The Farm on the Ridge" in Hooversville, PA.  I know it's less than $3,000.  It's a little ways from Pittsburgh, but it's a beautiful property.
  • I don't have much advice to give other than you are very smart in having a small budget.  Weddings can cost a ridiculous amount of money and I wish we would have spent less on our April 2015 wedding.  I tried to find ways to cut costs, but didn't try hard enough.  We had our ceremony at Phipps, which I would not have changed for anything.  Our reception was at the Airport Marriott and it was not cheap or inexpensive.  They didn't work with us on a budget, but I didn't really push for it either.  I was not happy while working with the Marriott, so I would avoid that place and not recommend it for anyone.  Everything turned out great, but I'm not sure it was worth the headaches and money.

    I think the first way to cut costs is to have a small wedding and small guest list.  I really wish we would have done this. 1. it saves you money. 2. you get to spend more time with your guests.  We had about 180 guests and I didn't get to talk to more than half of the people there.  If I had known that before getting married, I wouldn't have invited so many people and kept it to just our very large immediate family. 

    It's great to see that people have given you suggestions of places because picking the venues is the hardest and most important part, after all, that's where you spend most of your money.

    Best of luck!
  • amarie688 said:
    Other venues that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet:

    I think $10k for 130 people is totally doable!  They also say you can expect 15-20% of guests to RSVP no so that will help things as well.  My advice is once you have your venue and food/drink figured out (because those will be your biggest costs), prioritize the remaining items in your budget and that will help guide the remaining decisions!

    No, you cannot expect that so no, that won't help.  You should always plan for 100% attendance, and need to be able to host everyone invited, both physically (enough space) and financially.

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