When people think of unconventional DIY wedding venues, they often think of rural weddings — backyard weddings, barn weddings, farm weddings, and the like. But through my work as a mentor helping couples keep their DIY weddings on track, I'm also seeing couples booking wedding venues that are very different than the rustic venues so often associated with DIY weddings.
There are many unique places and organizations that are opening their doors to couples looking for the perfect spot to hold their DIY wedding — and it's not just idyllic farms. But what are these hidden gem wedding venues, and how do you find them?
Many of the more urban and suburban DIY wedding venues are cultural and historical properties that are renting out their space for events. Like their rustic DIY venue counterparts, they often provide couples with a lot of flexibility to make their own wedding planning decisions. Whether you decide to DIY your whole wedding or just a couple parts of it, it's the flexibility that makes DIY venues such a great idea for couples looking to have a one-of-a-kind wedding.
The Roger Williams Botanical Center in Rhode Island provides an incredibly unique, greenhouse backdrop for a wedding in Providence — a city that is wonderful for couples looking to have an urban wedding without all the crowds that come with New York or Boston.
Then there is The Mill at Chase Aviary in Salt Lake City, where guests can view engaging exhibits of rare birds in addition to taking in the ambiance of the historic mill.
Or there is The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, Massachusetts, which gives guests the opportunity to walk around the industrial museum, and gives a wedding reception a one-of-a-kind touch.
Once you start looking, you realize there are DIY wedding venues to be found pretty much everywhere. Here are some tips for finding your own unique wedding venue when searching online:
1. Include "event rental" in your Google search
When you're searching for DIY wedding venues, it's always a good idea to include "event rental" in your Google search. Why? Well, many DIY venues aren't primarily wedding venues, or don't come up first in the Google search rankings when "wedding" is used as a search term. By including "event rental" when looking online you automatically broaden your search from the start, and help those lesser-known venues rise to the top of your search results.
2. Search for lots of different types of buildings
Love birds at the Tracy Aviary; photo provided by Michael Tallman Photography.
Any building that has space for a large group is a potential fit — so get creative with the types of buildings you search for. For instance, words like these may help you unearth something truly special: event center, cultural center, center for the arts, historic property, industrial space, museum, art gallery, train depot, theater, non-profit, botanical gardens, etc.
I've seen DIY wedding venue rentals in all of these categories, so it's worth doing a separate search with each of these terms to see what turns up in your area.
3. Use descriptors that are synonymous with "DIY"
The Roger Williams Botanical Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
Not too many venues put "DIY" on their website, but there are lots of other similar descriptors to "DIY" that these venues do use on their websites for their event rentals, which will make it easier for you to find them. Instead of "DIY" try "flexible," "affordable," "inexpensive," "public," "creative," "unique," and "community."
Remember, when you're searching for a nontraditional venue, you want to think outside the box. This will help you come up with unique combinations of search terms that will help lead you to the perfectly one-of-a-kind venue. The key is to be patient, and be willing to dig deep to unearth that venue that will be the absolute best fit for you, your partner, and your wedding day vision.