Weddings at Funeral Homes in the US: Examples & How They Work

Updated

Weddings are one of the most exciting days of most peoples’ lives. You finally get to say “I do” to the love of your life and begin a new life together. When it comes to wedding planning, one of the biggest questions for many brides-to-be is where to tie the knot. Wedding venues are big business with many places costing tens of thousands for a complete package.

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Rather than continue to seek out the same expensive venues, some brides are turning to less traditional event venues. So what is one of the fastest-growing venue locations for weddings? Funeral homes. It might sound odd, and it certainly is untraditional, but you might be surprised to learn just how well it can work to hold your wedding at a funeral home.

Why Are People Getting Married at Funeral Homes?

Once someone gets engaged, they’re typically asked two questions by their friends and family members. First, when will they get married? Second, where will it be? 

When it comes to wedding planning, choosing the best date when most friends and family can attend is the easy part. Choosing the venue takes a lot more work, time, and planning.

The average cost of wedding venues these days is upwards of $10,000. That price tag may not even include all the other extras typically desired such as catering, a DJ, decor, florals, and, of course, the dress that will be worn down the aisle. To avoid spending their entire life savings or going into debt, some brides are starting to look at non-traditional event venues, instead.

Funeral homes across the US used to traditionally consist of an inside parlor where funeral planning took place, a viewing room, and a chapel for services. Today, however, funeral homes are starting to build multi-purpose event halls that they can rent out to the community or individuals for events such as weddings. 

The event halls on funeral home grounds are often just as beautiful or even more so than many wedding venue spots, but might be less expensive, given the setting. They also offer numerous benefits that other wedding venues might charge extra for. Here is a quick breakdown of the benefits that cause some brides to choose a funeral home for their venue.

  • Price: The price of renting the event space at a funeral home might be less than a more traditional wedding or event venue.
  • Location: If you’re getting married in your hometown, the funeral home might be a central location that everyone already knows how to get to. 
  • Discounts: Funeral homes are often connected with area businesses such as hotels, so you might be able to score discounts on hotel rooms if you need to book them for out-of-town guests.
  • Natural beauty: Some funeral homes are located on historic property. Others sit on multiple acres of rolling green hills or are situated toward the outskirts of town where there is plenty of nature surrounding the home. 
  • Physical beauty: Depending on the funeral home, the building itself could easily serve as the backdrop for an outside wedding. Many historic funeral home buildings boast elegant architecture, pristine landscaping, and year-round decor that rivals any traditional wedding venue.
  • Multiple options: You often have the option to hold an outside wedding on the lawn with an inside reception, or an inside wedding and reception. Depending on the weather, having this option could be a serious plus.
  • Plenty of parking: The funeral home is already set up to provide plenty of parking, so that’s one less thing you’ll need to worry about.
  • ADA accessible grounds: Many funeral homes are set up to accommodate ADA accessibility needs including stair-free areas and wheelchair ramps. 
  • All-weather friendly: Many funeral homes have covered porticos to help keep attendees dry during their walk from outside to inside in case of bad weather.
  • Audio/visual equipment already set up: Some event venues charge extra for audio/visual equipment because they need to bring it in and set it up. Most funeral homes have their equipment set up permanently and ready to use. You might be charged to use it, but you’ll likely save money on this line item.

When you look at all these “pros” of holding your wedding at a funeral home, it starts to make a lot of sense!

Examples of Couples Who Got Married a Funeral Home

If you’re thinking about holding your wedding at a funeral home, you wouldn’t be the first to do so. Here are examples of real-life couples who decided to tie the knot at a funeral home.

Chelsea and Barry Lesnick

For Chelsea and Barry, the idea came after Chelsea realized that her family’s funeral home was a perfect event space that could provide separate areas for the ceremony and reception. Thus, the idea of tying the knot at Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center in Mentor, Ohio, was born.

Though Chelsea and her groom-to-be didn’t think anything of it, Barry’s family was initially hesitant. After guiding the family through their plans, hesitation gave way to enthusiasm. Some explanation was needed to family and friends, but their guests were overwhelmingly positive about the experience.

Danessa and Billy Castrodale

Unlike the previous couple, Danessa and Billy’s parents didn’t own a funeral home. Rather, they looked at their options and decided that the local funeral home’s Community Life Center event venue in Indianapolis would fit what they were looking for. What did they like about it?

  • The venue was perfectly aligned with their budget
  • The price was less than half of what area wedding venues charged
  • The building was beautiful and there was plenty of natural beauty
  • It was a central location that all their friends and family could easily get to
  • They could have an outside wedding and an inside reception

Family and friends were positive about the event and enjoyed the beautiful setting they chose. 

Danessa and Billy weren’t the only ones to think their venue choice was a good idea. The Community Life Center still had fifty other weddings to host after the Castrodales’ weekend.

Tips for Getting Married at a Funeral Home

Are you starting to think long and hard about getting married at a funeral home? Here are a few tips for planning your special day.

Talk to your significant other

Where to plan your wedding should probably be discussed with your significant other. You may have the perfect funeral home in mind, but they might be completely weirded out by the idea. Or, they could have cultural or religious objections to beginning your new life in a place where death occurs.

Though many people are becoming much more death positive and may not mind your venue of choice, it’s still important to discuss it and be sure that there are no major objections.

Talk to your families (if applicable)

Is your or your significant other’s family helping plan or pay for the wedding? Though parental involvement is starting to become less of a trend due to the older average marrying age, it could be worth a sit-down with your family.

Discuss the pros and cons of getting married at a funeral home, and try to get everyone on the same page before signing contracts and promising an initial payment for the venue.

Find the right funeral home

Finding a funeral home might not be as simple as it sounds. To find the right venue, you need to do some figuring. Ask and answer the following questions.

  • How much is your total budget?
  • How much can you spend on a venue?
  • Do you want to get married outside or inside?
  • Do you want an outside or inside reception?
  • How many people are you inviting?
  • Will you hire your own caterer or choose the venue’s caterer?
  • What are your priorities? Architecture? Scenery? Inside space? ADA accessibility? 

You can start calling funeral homes that offer event space once you’ve answered the above questions. 

Why is it important to answer those questions before you start looking for a venue? Each funeral home is different, and you might encounter some funeral homes that rent out their space for more than your budget allows. Some places may have outdoor-only or indoor-only event spaces. Finally, some funeral homes may not have enough space if you expect a particularly large crowd at your wedding.

Ask important questions

Once you’ve narrowed your venue down and you start having serious conversations with the owner about holding your wedding there, it’s important to ask several more questions. The funeral home may be within budget and have enough space to hold everyone, but you’re not done yet. Ask these questions to inform your final decision.

  • Have they hosted non-funeral events before? How many? What were they? 
  • Do they have experience hosting weddings?
  • Do they have pictures of non-funeral events they hosted to show you?
  • Do they have testimonies/reviews from non-funeral event attendees they can provide?
  • Is there a sound/lighting tech available for the event?
  • If they have their own catering, can you sample/try the food before committing?
  • Are they fully insured? (Funeral homes should be, but it’s always good to check.)

Make sure their answers to these questions are to your satisfaction before making the final decision.

Make Your Special Day Yours

No matter where you plan to hold your wedding, you should ultimately decide on a space that fits your budget and what you and your significant other are looking for in a venue. If you decide that the local funeral home with its gorgeous architecture, beautiful event space, natural scenery, and budget-friendly price is the place for you, go for it! Your friends and family will support you, see the beauty in your special day, and cheer you on no matter where you tie the knot.


Sources:

  1. Buxton, Ryan. “Why This Couple Got Married In a Funeral Home.” Weddings, Huff Post, 28 July 2015. Huffpost.com.
  2. “Funeral homes Are the Hottest New Wedding Venue.” Living, New York Post, 17 July 2015. Nypost.com.
  3. Istomina, Valeriya. “Average Cost of Wedding Venues: The Ultimate Guide.” Wedding Planning, Wedding Forward, 31 December 2021. Weddingforward.com.

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