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Tax-Deductible Weddings, Part 1

This article was written by in Family and Life. 6 comments.


We’re entering the peak wedding season, it seems.

Ever since I got engaged earlier this year, I’ve been bombarded by sales pitches from every angle. They’re certainly tricky. They come disguised in several colors of tulle, bearing elegantly inscribed messages to remind me that I only live once and want my special day to be perfect.

Perfect, of course, translates to premium, as in every upgrade on the already mile-high price list. If you’re a frugal sort, it’s almost enough to make you fall out of love with the idea completely.

For my fiance and myself, our special day will only be perfect if we can have all our family and friends join us without incurring additional debt. The perfect wedding should be the start of our perfect life together, where we can actually afford our bills and monthly expenses. So I’ve been searching relentlessly for information to plan an affordable event to remember which still reflects our beliefs and way of life as ethical consumers.

Luckily, my search has revealed that there’s a great way to save on money while still supporting causes we believe in: finding tax-deductible wedding expenses.

The Venue
I’ve learned that the reception is typically the most costly part of the wedding, comprising about half of the total cost, according to theknot.com. This estimate includes the cost of the venue, catering food and service, alcohol and beverages, wedding cake and parking.

If you choose to have your reception at a site owned by an approved nonprofit organization, your site fees may be tax-deductible, as the cost can be considered a donation to support the upkeep of the facility. This applies to a number of historic landmarks and homes, museums, even nature centers.

I’ll share a few local spots I discovered:

Prallsville Mill, a rustic, historic mill in Stockton, NJ, holds up to 150 guests.
Tax-Deductible Facility Fee: $1,850

Honey Hollow Barn, the nature center for the Bucks County Audubon Society, is a lovely stone barn with exposed beams in desirable New Hope, PA and holds up to 75 guests.
Tax-Deductible Facility Fee: $2,500 for a Saturday wedding

Things to Know
You must obtain a statement from the nonprofit organization which states the amount of your contribution. Goods and services recieved must be deducted from this, if applicable.

For church rentals, although only your accountant can tell you about any other applicable rentals, any amount beyond what is considered to be the fair market value of the rental is tax-deductible. You may be able to deduct gifts paid to clergy as well.

In order to claim these deductions, you will need to itemize them using Schedule A.

Know of any more great, tax-deductible spots for a wedding reception? Post them in the comments!

My next entry will feature more tax-deductible wedding savings ideas.

Image Credit: babasteve

Updated June 18, 2014 and originally published April 24, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Along with her partner, Sasha owns and manage six residential rental units. Sasha endeavors to support the causes and organizations she believes in through more conscientious spending practices. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar F2O

I attended a reception at Honey Hollow Barn this past December and was very impressed. Beautiful place.

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avatar Damien Vu

My fiancee and I are in the same position. We want to have a small wedding that will have the least impact on the planet and our wallets, but we’d also like to have our close friends and family there. One thing that we are doing is to refuse any and all gifts. Instead, we’re giving our guest a choice of donating cash to a couple of charities we support or donating cash to our “future home” fund.

Thanks for the tip. We’re getting married in Golden Gate park in SF. I think that’ll qualify.

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avatar Adfecto

Great idea! Unfortunately it is about 2 years too late for my wife and my wedding. We had our rehearsal dinner at a downtown museum that is a non-profit. It seems like we missed out on a great potential tax deduction. I need to keep this in mind for the future and share it with some of my friends.

From March-June I have been invited to 4 weddings (all out of town, one in the Bahamas), one wedding shower, and 2 bachelor parties (which also involve travel). It is a crazy (and expensive) time even for those of us who aren’t the bride and groom.

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avatar Mrs. Micah

I believe this can also work if the church doesn’t charge a fee but asks for a donation. The one I was married in was kind enough to let me use it for “free” even though I wasn’t a member, but they did request a donation.

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avatar Brad Chmielewski

Thanks for the great tip, this didn’t even cross our minds. We are looking into the Nature Museum here in Chicago.

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avatar LAMoneyGuy

Our alma mater’s marching band performed at our wedding. They asked for a fee (not cheap), but it was a tax-deductible contribution. So, when you are planning your entertainment, consider student groups or other non-profit organizations.

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