So you just got engaged – congratulations! Let the wedding planning begin!
Typically the first big decision couples have to make when planning their wedding is deciding on their venue. The venue sets the tone for the day and everything is built on this foundation.
Wedding planning is exciting and fun but can also feel overwhelming and often can have moments of sticker shock. Finding a venue in the city can often make it more costly but there are some surprisingly affordable Philadelphia wedding venues.
When comparing venues, things can get confusing quickly! There are many factors that go into the cost of booking a wedding venue and venues often package things differently. This can make it more difficult to compare side by side what you are actually getting. It’s important that you know exactly what is included and what your options are. Asking the right questions can help you decipher the various costs of booking your venue and help you find the most cost-effective way to have the Philadelphia wedding you have been dreaming of!
Here are some of the main factors that come into play for venue costs. These variables can drastically affect the total price you will ultimately pay for your venue.
Pricing can fluctuate depending on what time of year your wedding is. Peak wedding season in Philadelphia will be more expensive (September October, June, July) and you may find discounted pricing in the offseason (December January February). The day of the week that you choose may also affect the pricing, Fridays and Sunday can sometimes be less costly than a prime Saturday. Try opting for a lower cost day if you want to trim down the price.
Some venues have in-house catering, some have exclusive catering, some have a list of caterers you need to choose from and some allow you to bring in the caterer of your choice. It’s important of course to know this upfront as food and alcohol are a big portion of wedding day costs. Pricing listed on some websites may be space only so make sure you a clear on what is included. There are usually tiered menu options so you can decide on which option works best for your budget. For example, a sit-down 3-course meal on a Saturday will likely be more expensive than a Sunday brunch buffet. There are so many options when it comes to food. Every couple has different priorities for the wedding day. My advice is to think about what is most important for you and put your money there. A foodie couple may decide to go above and beyond for their wedding day and create a culinary dream for guests and or a couple may opt to bring in a few food trucks. Both are amazing options it’s really all about what makes you happy and fits in your budget!
What size event are you planning? The number of guests will also be a big determining factor in the cost of your day. Definitely check out the minimum and maximum guest count allowed for the venues you are looking into. Sometimes venues have larger spaces for bigger events but may also offer smaller spaces for more intimate gatherings or micro weddings. Some couples choose to cut back on the number of guests and indulge in other parts of the day, while for other couples having all the people there is the priority, and maybe they choose to go with a competitively priced food option to balance it out.
There are often additional venue costs that you may not be thinking of right away but are definitely worth asking about. Here are a few: tables and chairs, linens, silverware, glassware and mixers. Sometimes these items may be included in a package by the venue or by an outside caterer but it’s important to know if it’s included or a separate fee and who is providing these. There can also be upgrade options for different linins or chairs etc so definitely see what your options are. Uplighting, dancefloor, tent, coat check, parking are all things that may be offered by some venues, or other times it may be a caterer or DJ or an additional vendor. Ask the questions and do a little research for the most economical options that fit your vision.
Venue set up and clean up is another question to ask about when browsing venues and talking with the coordinators. Will there be venue staff onsite for set up and breakdown? Will there be a day-of coordinator available on your wedding day? These are helpful to know when putting together the overall picture of the flow of your day.
Eat, drink, and be merry!
The cost of alcohol on a wedding day can be pricy. It is important to understand what options are available and then select what works best for your wedding day. Cost is usually dependant on how many guests, how many hours of open bar, and what is being served (top shelve, house, or wine and beer). Venues may automatically include a service charge to the bar revenues and liquor tax. Always ask about taxes, tips, service charges, and fees. Some venues are BYOB too. This can be an economical option for being able to offer your favorite alcoholic beverages at a reasonable cost. Planning on doing toasts during the reception? You may want to consider adding champagne toasts which is typically an additional fee.
Are you just doing reception there or the whole shebang at the venue including getting ready, ceremony, cocktail, and reception? How far ahead can setup start? Also important to know what spaces you are able to use. Some venues may have areas that are still open to the public or in use for other events so it’s good to know ahead of time which spaces will be reserved just for you. Also, some venues may have restrictions on how late you are allowed to stay due to local ordinances, so if you plan on dancing the night away, definitely ask. Historic venues may have other restrictions in order to preserve the space. Looking at the big picture will help you make discussions that strike the balance of being easy on your budget without cutting corners and be able to enjoy the splurges that are most important to you on your big day.
These Philadelphia venues are worth checking out. They each have unique qualities and beautiful spaces to gather and celebrate and are surprisingly affordable!
This historic Inn is located in Wissahickon Park in Philadelphia with a beautiful outdoor ceremony location and a tented patio for the reception. They offer in-house catering through their restaurant on-site. Perfect spot for nature lovers!
Address: Valley Green Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Phone Number: (215) 247-1730
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology could be a venue for your wedding day! Inside, Pepper Hall is majestic with its high ceilings and marble floors and just through the wooden doors, it opens onto Warden Garden. The Egypt Lower Gallery and The Egypt Upper Gallery offer a unique space for receptions. There are outdoor options as well, including the Warden Garden, Stoner Courtyard, Mosaic Hall and Courtyard and Rooftop Terrace.
Location: 3260 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone Number: 215.898.4000
This is not your typical venue. It is truly an oasis just outside the city away from the hustle and bustle. The grounds at Morris Arboretum are quite impressive with 92 acres of enchanting gardens that are all yours on your wedding day! There is a beautiful space for an outside ceremony and a tented area for the reception.
Fun Fact: Ask about their “Out On A Limb treehouse” feature for cocktail hour!
Location: 100 E Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Phone Number:(215) 247-5777
This beautiful venue is nestled in West Fairmount Park in Philadelphia and boasts a lovely outside garden area for the ceremony, a tented reception area that can hold up to 300, and a smaller barn option that can host up to 80 guests.
Fun Fact: The site fees for Ridgeland Mansion are tax-deductible and go directly to the Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia in support of their mission.
Location: 4100 Chamounix Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone Number: (215) 224-1800
Location: 1900 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Phone Number: (215) 389-1776
Historic and welcoming, this Philadelphia venue is right in the city and has a beautiful private garden space that lends itself to ceremonies. Colonial Dames can host small gatherings of 10 to 50 guests in some of the downstairs rooms or up to 120 guests for a reception in the ballroom. Full of charm, this venue doesn’t require much in the way of decorating, which allows you to save money on the coats of flowers the decor. They do not have in-house catering, but they do offer an extensive catering list. You are also allowed to bring in caterers who are not on the list. Colonial Dames BYOB.
Fun Fact: The Colonial Dames is an active Womes Society with the mission of education preservation
Location: 1630 Latimer St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone Number: (215) 735-6737
Want to be right in the heart of Philadelphia just off Rittenhouse Square? This venue exudes elegance. Stotesbury Mansion is a historic landmark that has many original features. They allow the use of the first three floors including the ballroom with stunning chandeliers and ornate decoration that will dazzle you with its 1870’s charm.
Location: 1923 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone Number: (215) 567-2910
This venue is found in the Society Hill District area of Philadelphia and was built in 1765. The rental allows you and your guests to dine in the mansion-museum as well as the private 18th-century garden just outside. This venue is ideal for smaller events as the upstairs ballroom maxes out at 50 guests and the outside garden could host up to 100 if you added on the tent option.
Fun Fact: Click to take a virtual tour right now!
Location: 244 S 3rd St #3811, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone Number: (215) 627-0364
This botanical garden venue features gorgeous gardens and is a good fit for a couple that loves nature. Bartram’s Garden can host up to 300 and you have a choice of inside or outside ceremony. There are so many pretty spots for photos!
Fun Fact: Events at Bartram’s Garden help to fund the John Bartram Association’s mission to support this national landmark and care for the environment.
Location: 5400 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone Number: (215) 622-8195
The Moshulu is a boat wedding venue docked on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. How cool is that? If you are looking for something different, put this on your list. This location offers beautiful water views and in-house catering. They also offer not only space for ceremonies but also ceremonies for an additional cost. They can accommodate parties of 25 all the way up to 1,000 people!
Fun Fact: The Moshulu is the largest and oldest square-rigged sailing ship in the world that is still afloat.
Address: Moshulu, 401 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone Number: 215-923-2500