An Offbeat Way to Save on Weddings: Tomb With a View

I’ve written a number of stories about how to save on weddings, including a piece on why the “average cost” of $18,000 is total bunk. Readers have also sent me a range of terrific ideas for reasonable nuptials. But no one suggested the truly unique angle featured in a recent story in The Indianapolis Star: getting married at a funeral home.


Community Life Center in Indianapolis has 99 weddings booked this year and has already blocked out weekend events in 2012. It’s got a chapel, and apparently holding a wedding reception there is cheaper than a banquet hall. The space offers marble floors, stone pillars, sweeping staircases and crystal chandeliers indoors, as well as photo ops in the gardens outdoors (if you don’t mind the view of the tombs and gravestones).


A bride interviewed by the Indy Star initially considered the outdoor courtyard, but decided against it. “I was worried that people who would come would be creeped out,” she said. “I was worried that when taking pictures, (the cemetery) would be in the background.” A cemetery official countered with the story of another bride who wanted to be married near her grandmother’s grave. “It was very meaningful to the family,” he said.


Meanwhile, the Associated Press had a story on a Michigan couple who married and held their reception  in a funeral home — but in this case, the groom was a funeral director. Some guests initially balked at the invite, until they were assured that no caskets or corpses would be near the festivities.


I chose an offbeat venue for my own wedding; we had the reception in a girls’ school in New York City (actually, Lady Gaga’s alma mater). It was built in 1918 as one of the largest private homes in Manhattan; when the school purchased the building in 1934 it left the ballroom intact to rent out for functions. (It was actually a budget-saving choice; we rented the space and then had a friend cater the dinner, which was cooked at another friend’s restaurant near the school. My husband had to buy 200 chickens in the meat-packing district the day before the wedding, but that’s a story for another post.)


Would you be willing to hold a wedding reception in a funeral home to save money? Any savings tips for engaged couples?

Laura Rowley