Figuring out which venues will and won't work for you early on will save you a lot of stress.

By Helen Sondag
August 19, 2019

Planning a wedding is a lot of work, and this is true no matter where it will be held. While nontraditional venues usually mean more freedom at a lower fee, tying the knot at one can come at a cost in other ways. We're talking about the time and energy it takes to transform a nontraditional space into a working event venue. Here are some red flags to look out for when determining whether or not your dream wedding location is worth the extra effort.

Related: How to Make a Popular Wedding Venue Feel Like Your Own

The contract is restrictive or the venue owner is difficult.

"For us, it is always a deal breaker when there is a venue owner that is really hard to work with, uncooperative, or excessive in their demands, requirements, or restrictions in a contract," says Merryl Brown, president and creative director of Merryl Brown Events. This could be anything from unreasonable noise ordinances and curfews to limitations on décor or setup time. "A primary appeal of working at an unconventional venue is to have more flexibility, more opportunity for creativity, and the ability to choose your vendor team," Brown adds. "Without these elements, the cost and downside can often outweigh the upside. Also, be sure that the venue contract is clear and that you understand what you can and can't do before moving forward with any venue that does not typically do events."

Your location is really remote.

We're talking dangerously so. Yes, a mountaintop overlooking the ocean is unlike any setting you've ever seen, and that crumbling castle tucked deep in the woods is impossibly romantic, but there is such a thing as being too hard to reach. "While we're strong believers in having whatever type of wedding your heart desires, just don't put anyone at unnecessary risk to do so," says Jenna Miller, creative director of Here Comes the Guide. "For example, if your wedding 'venue' of choice is in a remote location that involves a flight, a bus ride, a water taxi, and a trek up a mountain to get there, then say hello to liability issues and goodbye to half your guest list."

The add-ons are adding up.

When you book a unique wedding venue, you often have to factor the cost of renting things like tables and chairs and even kitchen equipment and portable restrooms into the budget. Those amenities are not included as they are in working event spaces. "We're also strong believers that your wedding shouldn't put you deep into debt," Miller adds. "That's no way to start out married life! If you love a raw space venue but the cost of bringing everything in is going to bust your budget entirely, that's a deal breaker. With so many wedding venue choices and price points out there, you're sure to find one that fits both your style and your budget."

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