The wedding venue is often a top priority for couples, and it's also one of the biggest expenses. The average cost to have your ceremony at a church is $500 (which may seem fairly reasonable until you add in the cost of the reception site on top of it). And remember: This is just the cost of the space itself. Presumably, you'll want to decorate it, throw in an officiant and some guests and add some music to the mix.
Long gone are the days when people celebrated in the church reception hall. Now, you can have your reception almost anywhere -- but the setting of a lifetime will come with a hefty price tag. Want to hold your reception at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City? You can, starting at $235 per person, or $35,000 for a wedding of 150 guests. A four-hour reception at Walt Disney World starts at around $10,000, and even a local historic home may charge as much as $5,000. Venue costs soar even higher during peak wedding season, which runs from May to October.
While costs vary dramatically, the average couple spends more than $12,000 for the reception venue, which often doesn't include extras like valet parking or decor.