KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The average wedding in America costs $35,000, according to a 2016 study by theknot.com. That price includes everything – the dress, catering, photographer – and one of the largest expenses is the venue. However, there are some affordable wedding venue options out there.
If you want an outdoor wedding, check out a local, state or federal park. They might have a pretty gazebo a beautiful pond or a gorgeous mountain perfect for wedding snapshots. If you find a spot you like, contact your local parks department about permits and rules. Most have them. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park allows weddings on it’s property. For information go their website.
How about getting married at the University of Tennessee Arboretum? The pastoral landscapes and romantic vistas stretching across the rolling hills at the UT Arboretum can create a serene, picturesque setting for your wedding ceremony. The prices for off-season and even peak season, of which we’re in the middle, are relatively inexpensive. But you have to plan ahead.
Want to save 100 percent on the cost of your wedding venue? Walk down the aisle in your own backyard. Host your own wedding, and you’ll have total control of everything. Just make sure the city where you live doesn’t require permits for large outdoor weddings before the big day. If you don’t have the space, ask a friend if you can borrow their yard for the evening.
If you’re planning a smaller wedding, you might find a great deal at a local restaurant. Many have banquet or private rooms you can book for the evening. Some spots may also let you host your wedding while the restaurant is closed, providing more privacy.
From East Tennessee you would have to drive a long way, but public beaches are a cheap alternative to the private beaches owned by hotel chains. Just make sure you know the rules and apply for the proper permits in advance. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National List of Beaches can help you narrow down the perfect spot.