These past few days I’ve spoken about the three different types of venues that we have in LA:
1. Hotels or All-inclusive venues
2. Unique or Off-site venues
3. Non-traditional venues
Non-traditional venues are the Holy Grail for a bride to find: they are awesome spaces whose owners don’t know the going rate in LA for site rentals and don’t know that they’re sitting on a gold mine. I once was about to do a wedding at an insanely awesome loft in downtown LA and was told that the rental was $1,000. After I picked myself up off the floor I asked if we were the first wedding they were going to have there? They asked me how I knew? Then I laughed. Today, that loft charges $6,000.
Know that in order for a property owner to rent their space out, they have to hire a full time site manager to manage the thousands of inquiries that are coming in throughout the year. A property owner, if they have any other job at all, cannot do this enormous job themselves. In order to pay this full-time person and make a profit, they have to charge a certain amount.
But! The Non-traditional venue owner doesn’t know any of the above. YET. They just happen to own a cool space and a resourceful bride finds them and asks what they’d charge for having their wedding there? The property owner thinks “how hard can one day be?” and will then process through the learning curve to answer that question for himself. There is a joke amongst wedding industry professionals that says you can tell how many years we’ve been in business by the number of clauses we have on our contract.
So, the property owner then becomes the default site manager/wedding coordinator because they don’t know any better, and when the wedding comes and goes, the wear and tear on their property is so heavy (furniture soiled by wine or burned by candles, glass broken, plumbing backed up, etc) and the amount of sheer time that the property owner spent with the bride & groom working through this maze blind with them has left them frazzled and exhausted.
Weddings at your own home fall into this category of Non-traditional venues, because chances are it’s the first event of this magnitude that will happen there. Many things such as plumbing are never thought of until it is too late. The Third fastest thing that kills a party is a major plumbing mishap (First: cops showing up. Second: crappy DJ)
Pricing of Non-traditional venues
and that, my friends, is the beauty of finding one.
PROS of Non-traditional venues
- The rental fee, or lack thereof
- The fact that none of your friends have attended a wedding there
- The lack of rules (“fire permit? what’s that?”)
CONS of Non-traditional venues
- You don’t have a site manager or a caterer that knows the space in an event flow kind of way and can say: “great idea, but it won’t work and here’s why….”
- The lack of a contract that can harm you. One bride I know visited her non-traditional venue not long before her wedding and found that they had knocked down walls and completely changed the layout of the space.
- The lack of rules can harm you in that you may not know what the sound ordinances are. Remember what I said the first thing is that kills a party? Imagine the cops breaking up your wedding reception ala a college kegger.
And these, ladies and gentlemen, are the three types of wedding venues you have to choose from. They all have their own PRO/CON list and there’s no right or wrong about any of them. It’s what’s right or you, your fiance, and your families. Happy venue hunting!