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Explore options with alternative reception sites

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Explore options with alternative reception sites

A wedding can be an expensive endeavor for couples. The cost for a reception venue will vary depending on where the party is held, so couples looking to conserve cash or simply set their party apart can consider some different options.

Instead of booking with the first catering hall they find, couples should comparison shop to find a venue they find affordable and unique to their particular tastes.

A reception venue may charge from less than $100 to several hundred dollars per guest. Couples who opt to do some of the work themselves by renting a space and bringing in their own food or using a private caterer may save a substantial amount of money. In addition, couples who don't mind forgoing a more traditional setting may find more unique locations to hold their reception.

• Farmhouse: For that country appeal, a barn or farmhouse estate can make for the ideal place to hold a casual wedding reception. Farms are typically located on a large piece of land that can easily accommodate a number of guests.

• Botanical gardens: Enjoy the peak foliage of whatever season you are enjoying at the botanical gardens nearest to you. Many gardens offer some sort of wedding package and may contract with an outside caterer to provide everything from sit-down meals to passed appetizers. Couples looking for one-stop-shopping can also combine the ceremony and reception at the gardens for a magical experience amid flowers, trees and more.

• Sports arena: Sports fans may dream of having their wedding on the field of their favorite professional team. Individuals can contact the stadium to find out if they do any private parties. If not, consider a stadium on a more local level, such as a college or high school field. The ambience will be the same, but the more local or smaller venue may be more affordable.

• Oceanside: Where there is a beach, there is the opportunity to have a wedding at the seashore. Beach weddings are usually casual affairs, and couples could have more leeway with regard to food and drinks.

• Clubhouse: For those who live in a condominium or a community managed by a homeowner's association, there may be a clubhouse on the premises. Very often these clubhouses can be rented out for parties. Couples interested in an intimate affair can bring in their own food and have a low-cost reception close to home.

• Castle or estate: Dreaming of a fairy tale wedding? A historical building may make for the perfect backdrop. Certain historical societies may rent out estates and other buildings for weddings. At the very least, couples may be able to have their wedding on the grounds with the impressive home in the background.

• Boat: Dinner cruises frequently depart during peak sightseeing seasons from various locations on the coast. Couples may opt to have their reception aboard a paddle boat or larger cruise liner, and the cost may be on par with a stationary reception venue.

• Amusement park: If you want to get hitched at a favorite amusement park, speak with guest services to determine if they have any accommodations for weddings. Thrill seekers may want to tie the knot and then take a ride on a hair-raising roller coaster. Guests can dine on traditional foods and a mix of carnival treats.

• At home: Couples who really want to save money can opt to get married right at home. Pot luck food and donations of other treats from family members can keep costs down without compromising on the fun factor.

Various reception venues can make for a memorable wedding. Couples can explore their options when a more traditional venue is not necessarily their style.

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An outdoor ceremony and reception at a botanical garden can make for a wedding to remember.