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5 Things You Want for Your Wedding That Your Venue Might Not Allow

Find out why some of your must-haves are off limits.

Contributing Writer
anne and staton wedding candles
Photography by: Jen Fariello Photography

After a couple has committed to a wedding venue, the last thing they want to hear is "no" in response to any of their ceremony or reception ideas. In actuality though, it's not at all uncommon for brides and grooms to run into resistance over what may seem like the smallest of details. Here, wedding professionals share the five most common big-day requests that many venues have to shut down and why. Spoiler alert: They're not trying to ruin your fun!

 

Related: Questions You Should Ask While Touring Wedding Venues

 

Candles

Couples who envision a candlelit ceremony or reception are often in for a surprise when they bring the idea up with their venues. "Real candles are probably the number one detail most venues have to 'no' to," says Brian Worley, Director of Design for BOLD Design based in Atlanta, Georgia. Many venues don't allow open flames or have a strict limit on the number and presentation of candles if they'll let you have them. But a restriction on actual flames doesn't mean you can't get the look you want. The pro notes that LED battery-operated candles have been made to look more realistic and come in eco-friendly rechargeable versions. "You can now get tapered, battery-operated candles, and floating candles that look like the real thing," he adds. 

 

Sparklers and Fireworks

Venues sometimes ban these illuminated send-offs due to safety concerns, namely that stray sparks that could land in hair, on gowns, or drop onto dry grass or brush on the property. Lindsey Nickel of Lovely Day Events in Napa, California, suggests replacing sparklers with fiber optic wands and glow sticks. "You still get the fun and the light, just without the safety concerns," Nickel says. Similarly, the ability to shoot off fireworks varies from location to location, and often depends on things like proximity to other structures, town ordinances, and permits. Your venue may be shutting down your idea of a late-night display for legal reasons.

 

Confetti, Rice, and Petals

While they're certainly pretty, confetti, rice, and even rose petals can be a nightmare to clean up, which is why these post-ceremony toss items often land on the "no" list. Tiffany Hayden of Detailed. Weddings and Events in Los Angeles—a wedding coordinator who's a bride-to-be herself—offers a mess-free alternative that she's using at her own nuptials. "Instead of flowers or confetti, our flower girls will have bubble guns," she says.

 

Hanging Greenery

In love with the idea of a hanging greenery installation, but your venue says there's no feasible way to suspend one at your reception? Plan for an elevated arrangement instead, says Michelle Edgemont of Michelle Edgemont Design in New York City. "We did a 24-foot wide and 5-foot tall elevated arrangement over the long head table. It was held up by gold iron stands and gave the same effect as if it was hanging from the ceiling," she explains.

 

Moving or Rearranging Art Work or Furniture

If there's a piece of art or furniture in your venue that feels disruptive of your overall vision, but your venue can't move it, one solution is to set up a freestanding curtain to cover the item. Worley suggests using pipe and an weighted stands to hang a curtain, then use this as a backdrop for your escort card station or your wedding cake.