Booking your wedding venue is arguably the most important planning decision you’ll ever have to make. The venue sets the tone for your entire day. It’s truly the foundation your celebration will be built upon. Fortunately, these days, there are an abundance of gorgeous wedding venues to explore + choose from. Hotel ballrooms aren’t the only options out there for couples to select. We now have renovated barns, industrial spaces, rooftops, nature centers, etc. The world is your oyster, right?!
With all that excitement does come some serious planning. Non-traditional wedding venues (even the coolest ones) do require thorough research + questioning. No two venues are a like; and this applies to their inclusions, amenities + regulations. Having that said, we’ve asked several industry professionals for their input on the matter, so you can move forward with the best (most educated) decision for your big day!
Here are 7 things to consider before booking a non-traditional wedding venue – from the experts themselves!
The Nitty Gritty
photo by Sposto Photography
1. “History. Knowing what kind of events have taken place at your non-traditional venue will help you understand how your wedding can be pulled off without a hitch. Check out Yelp or Google Reviews if there are any, and do some research on the proprietors of the venue, so there are no surprises when it comes to the type of people you will be partnering with.” – Steve Robertson, CEO, Eventective.com
2. “Zoning rules. Often, proprietors of non-traditional venues are not even cognizant of local zoning and fire code rules. Make sure that you know that the number of your wedding guests and how you are planning to celebrate meet the rules of the local municipality. Things like handicap accessibility and fire exits can also be things that are not of primary importance to a non-traditional venue, but should be important to you!” – Steve Robertson, CEO, Eventective.com
History in the Making
photo by Jose Villa Photography
3. “Non-traditional wedding venues can be the perfect backdrop for your wedding day, setting up picturesque photos and lasting memories that leave guests talking. Industrial venues can create scenes that create timeless scenes. Consider highlight historic architecture and let the venue tell your story.” – Joel Lippman, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hutton Brickyards
photo by Amber Gress Photography
4. “When booking a traditional ballroom space for your wedding, it’s almost hard to get creative and do something that’s never been done before. Frankly, they all end up looking the same! Non-traditional venues always lend themselves more event creativity. Think about having an entirely blank canvas to build out your dream wedding from scratch and make it uniquely yours. Plus, there’s an element of historic charm that you just can’t quite pass up” – Sarah Silicato, Event Coordinator, Vanderwende Acres
Rules of Engagement
photo by Amber Gress Photography
5. “Some venues provide the space only: we’re talking 4 walls, a ceiling, and the floor. This means you’ll have to essentially build your event from the ground up, bringing in everything from tables and chairs to generators, heaters, kitchen equipment, and even portable restrooms! This could lead to extra expenses that may not have been included in your original budget.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director, Here Comes the Guide
6. “If your location of choice doesn’t typically host weddings, there may be a few extra restrictions like possible noise ordinances, an earlier-than-desirable curfew, décor limitations, or minimal time for setup. You may also need to purchase your own liability insurance, or a permit to get married there. Check with your site contact on the logistics, or hire a wedding planner that can do all the research for you!” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director, Here Comes the Guide
Shed Some Light
photo by xoxo, molly jane
7. “Many unorthodox venues like barns and warehouses may have terrible lighting and no heat or air conditioning. Make sure to do your site visit during not only the time of day your wedding will take place, but if possible, also around the same time of year. You’ll want to gauge what the lighting and temperature will be like so you can plan accordingly by bringing in your own special event lighting, heating lamps, or AC units.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director, Here Comes the Guide
Speaking of unorthodox…have you ever considered having your wedding at a rad Airbnb?!