According to The Knot, formal weddings decreased by 16 percent in 2017 because couples booked nontraditional venues such as barns, historic homes and wineries instead. What is it about nontraditional venues that make couples want to say, “I do?” To get more insight, we turned to Laura Wright, wedding party and event planner at Soiree South & Co., a leading event planning and coordination company. She discussed the trend of nontraditional wedding venues, and why it’s here to stay.
Wedding reception in a barn
Booking the big day at a nontraditional venue that’s more off the beaten path can add some exclusivity to a wedding. Nontraditional venues can add privacy and intimacy, especially if you choose a space like a manor, a private beach or a football field. Nontraditional wedding venues can also offer versatile seating (as opposed to assigned seating at a traditional venue), and that can give guests the opportunity to mingle and meet new people.
If time is of the essence and the couple is interested in having a short engagement, a nontraditional venue can help you achieve the wedding of their dreams in a short amount of time. Traditional venues can be booked up for months or even years because of their popularity.
On the other hand, barns, museums and gardens don’t typically get booked up very quickly, so your clients are more likely to be able to tie the knot in their own timeframe versus just waiting for a perfect venue to have an open time slot. “As wedding planners, we’re able to plan weddings at a variety of venues,” Laura adds. “With a little time and good planning, a wedding or event can take place just about anywhere.”
Wedding reception in a castle
Traditional venues, like conference centers and hotel ballrooms, are typically situated in bustling city settings. Nontraditional venues tend to offer more picturesque scenery due to their locations and interior decor. Barns, wineries and private estates are typically found in more nature-filled settings, whether in a farm or by a lake or vineyard, accompanied by a rustic feel. This can offer couples saying “I do” the opportunity to get more out of their wedding photos. “If you find that perfect place--you don’t have to compete with tacky hotel carpet and stuffy old drapes,” says Laura. “Brides love being able to create the scene of their wedding from the ground up.”
If your bride is more of a free spirit and you want to throw a wedding that’s a little quirky and unique, a nontraditional venue may be the right choice. Many of these venues can serve as a blank canvas that you can decorate how you see fit. “Nontraditional wedding venues are becoming quite popular,” says Laura. “Brides and grooms want something unique for their big day.” Because you don’t have to follow the restrictions of a traditional space, you get to add a little creativity. You are usually allowed more freedom over your food options, decorations, photographer or florist. A nontraditional space can allow you to tailor your wedding to the tastes of your couple.
“Nontraditional venues have personalities that hotel ballrooms and venue halls don’t. These types of buildings and venues allow a bride's theme and decor to fit in easier. You're usually allowed more freedom over food options, decorations, photographers or florists. A nontraditional space can allow you to tailor the wedding to the tastes of your clients," explains Laura.
Wedding ceremony by a lake
Conference centers, hotel ballrooms and other traditional spaces can come at a hefty price. That’s why nontraditional venues are typically more affordable, depending on where the couple wants to get married, of course. If you’re looking for areas of your budget to pull back on, an out-of-the-box venue for a wedding is something to consider. Venues that won’t break the bank typically include spots like restaurants, public parks or libraries.
Holly Edwards is Gather's content marketing specialist. She works on blog posts, social media content, and thought leadership pieces that help restaurants and other venues streamline their planning process and host successful events.