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Nothing will make your day standout easier than a unique venue. The space that holds your celebration is the foundation for all the other fussed-over wedding details. But venues are also often the most stressful and expensive part of the planning equation. 

How can you be different while still in budget? We asked weddings expert Cara Davis. Davis, the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot, gave us four interesting venue tips.

1. A Different Outdoors
City parks are cheap and sometimes free for wedding receptions, but rentals to make it work might get costly. Try your local agricultural center instead, which boasts bountiful gardens, and more than likely facilities, kitchen, tables and chairs.

2. Be a Good Sport
Sporting venues like stadiums, ice rinks and even bowling alleys can give your day a fun feel. Don't count out the traditional golf courses -- these country clubs often have multiple wedding packages with all-inclusive rates that can save you money overall.

3. Express Yourself
You've seen one hotel ballroom, you've seen them all. Couples today want to express their individuality in venues that are unexpected -- like a historic library, museums and art galleries. Tia Smith of Colorado Springs chose to get married in an historical museum downtown that used to be the city courthouse. The ceremony was in an old courtroom (complete with judge's bench and jury box). "We just loved the character of the room and the building," she said. "Also, the venue ended up costing less than most of the churches we were looking at."

4. Rural & Romantic
Those who are willing to travel outside a metropolitan area may score a better deal. Farms, plantations and even conference and retreat centers usually have flexible spaces and affordable rental packages.

Thanks Cara! Overall, when space hunting, the key is you and your soon-to-be husband. Start by examining your passions, hobbies and favorite places. Then, think beyond the ballroom. 

 Get more out-of-the-box venue ideas


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