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Considering Budget Outdoor Wedding Options

5 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Budget Weddings

The cost of renting some outdoor sites for a wedding can rival a fancy reception hall. But there are certainly budget options for outdoor weddings, too. Because rates, restrictions, and policies differ greatly from site to site, do some research to find out whether a location suits your needs.

Public parks usually offer the lowest rental rates — sometimes as low as $25, which may be refundable if you clean up afterward. And many parks have pavilions or enclosed spaces, so you can shelter yourselves and your guests from the elements. Rates vary depending on the season and day of the week, so do your homework before selecting a site.

Check out these sources for ideas and information about reservation policies and rates:

  • Your local parks and recreation department for municipal parks, gardens, and other facilities

  • Your state parks department for properties owned by the state

  • The administrative office of any National Park Service sites you may be interested in

    Many national parks allow wedding ceremonies, but most require permits and nonrefundable deposits. Policies and procedures vary from park to park, too, so be sure to call the specific site to get current information.

  • Your local convention or visitor’s bureau, which is useful for information about private and not-for-profit sites

  • Any local historic sites, which often offer their grounds and gardens for weddings

  • Libraries, community theaters, and museums

When you call site offices, ask whether they have any permit requirements (and the fees associated with permits). Be sure to ask about restrictions, too, such as noise limits, maximum number of people, and “clearing out” times. Some sites charge clean-up fees, and some charge extra if you want to reserve the site for a rehearsal. Remember to ask about restroom and parking facilities; you don’t want the unexpected expense of arranging transportation or portable toilets for your guests.

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