(Closed) Yay/Nay: DIY venues? (as in, bring EVERYTHING in yourself)

posted 4 years ago in Venue
Post # 2
2664 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Nay! The worst wedding I ever went too was one where the hosts just rented the venue. The setting was beautiful but the whole day was a shambles, I don’t even know where to begin! Let’s just say it’s an immense amount of work and the hosting families were stretched far beyond their means. If you can afford a venue that provides staff, drinks, catering and toilet roll then I’d pick that one without a doubt!

Post # 3
1295 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Honestly, it totally depends on you, your family, and your guests and what their wedding style is. I have two family friends are who big into “pitch in and let’s do it” attitudes, they did very low key affairs on venue-only locations and they had friendors for everything. They days were both really fun because the whole event was laid back and felt very much like a family affair So no, they weren’t *perfect* and things did go wrong but the bride and groom and families were having so much fun and were so relaxed about the bumps along the way that nobody worried about it.

If you want a seamless affair that feels like a wedding at a full-service venue only you want it outside — it’s A LOT harder and it’s EXPENSIVE. If you don’t like the idea of stressing over setting up tables, decoration, coordinating vendors, etc while also needing ot get ready for the day…either don’t do it or be prepared to shell out $$$ to get a wedding planner and responsible & professional vendors that can take care of everything themselves.

I’m doing the DIY approach, albeit in the backyard of a house rather then a rented out venue, and it’s more expensive then many of the full-service venues we looked at. Rentals for the tent, tables, chairs, flatware, dance floor, lighting, power, toilets, etc is now at about $7,500. It can be done cheaper (and it can be done a hell of a lot more expensive) but probably not really for less then 5k especially if you need to hire a generator (which is often 500 – 1k min depending on capacity load you’ll need). I’m also spending another $3k or so on a wedding planner who will also handle all day-of the set up and coordination of vendors (if I just wanted day of assistance it would have been more like $1,200-$1,500). 

I love outdoor weddings and couldn’t imagine anything else for me, so I was willing to go ahead. Plus I made room in the budget to afford the wedding planner — I’m planning from abroad so I needed somebody locally throghout the planning process PLUS I knew I didn’t want to deal with everything the day of. But many brides do it all themselves, but they pay for it in stress rather then $$. So it’s a trade-off.

Be honest with yourself on how you envision your day, but don’t do the outdoor venue because it’s “cheaper”…but it probably won’t be much cheaper. Do it because you really want an outdoor wedding in a lovely location and it’s worth the hassle to you. If that statement isn’t correct….go with the full service option.


Post # 4
471 posts
Helper bee

I love the idea of a “from scratch wedding” but it doesn’t sound worth the trouble to me…  I started with just renting a space and bringing everything in and was soooooooooooooo stressed! I switched to a place that has and does everything and it was one of the best decisions I ever made lol I was able to enjoy the day and literally had zero stress…  I liked that there was no burden on my family to help with anything and they could just enjoy themselves… It was heavenly 🙂 

Post # 5
210 posts
Helper bee

I actually think venues that include everything are a better deal. Renting just a space means you have to think about renting chairs, tables, spoons. That adds up quickly! And to me, it’s not worth the trouble. The last thing I wanted to worry on my day is set up and break down. Unless you plan on hiring a wedding coordinator to do everything, Id pick a full service venue. 

Post # 6
2709 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

A cousin of mine had a bare venue and aside from the stress, it ended up costing them considerably more by the time they’d rented everything. So much easier to go with a venue which provides it all.

Post # 7
194 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I was looking at a venue that it was a lot of DIY, not as much as the one you describe, but I would have had to supply the food, decor, cake, linens, etc. My Fiance and I decided it would have costed as much or possibly more than the venue we ultimately decided on. And I felt it wasn’t worth the stress of having to do it all the day of the wedding and having to coordinate everything. That’s just how I felt. 

Post # 8
925 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island

From the research I’d done, the bare venues would have ended up costing us so much more and would have necessitated me taking more time off work to make sure all the crap we’d have to bring in got there on time and was set up properly.  Or I would have had to hire a wedding planner like full time for the week before the wedding to do setup.

IMO venues that include everything  (or at least, at a minimum, venue space, tables, chairs, tables, linens, silverware, glassware, etc.) are a much better value and much less of a headache.

Post # 9
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I think DIY weddings can be really nice and money saving,  but you have to be exceptionally well organised and have lots of time to plan to get it right.  I also think it can end up being as expensive (or more) than an all inclusive venue if you aren’t careful – the basic rental costs are appealing but once you start to add up toilets, tables, chairs, crockery,  linens, glassware, marquee,  services for the caterers, waiting staff, the increased amount of decoration required it suddenly isn’t a ‘cheap’ option.

I looked into a dry hire venue for my wedding but ended up with a lovely all inclusive manor house hotel because it is so much less hassle and cheaper.  

Post # 10
1919 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

m3lim3lo:  Wedding planning can get stressful on it’s own with a “full service” venue…. I would vote “nay” on the DIY venue… why add that large level of stress. You will more than likely spend MORE for the DIY venue then your max budget venue.


Post # 11
1182 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

We were considering a couple of DIY venues, but ultimately decided the minimal coat savings would not be worth all the stress.  You don’t really think about it at the time, but having to rent everything really adds up, and you might not save anything at all in the end.  You also might have to hire a wedding planner to cut down on the stress and make everything flow well.

We ended up going with an all-inclusive venue that was at the max of our budget, where we only need to provide photographer, DJ, centerpieces, and alcohol. The venue also comes with an event coordinator.  It’s already such a weight of my shoulders that I won’t have to be worrying about every little thing.  DIY venues can be good if you are very picky and have a specific vision in mind, but they are not worth the possible extra cost and stress IMO.

Post # 12
1401 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Which venue do you LIKE better? 

We went with a mostly DIY venue (it did have toilets!) 🙂 and I absolutely loved it. That said, the rental fee was $6,000 and probably 10-12% of our total expenditure. We needed staff, tables and chairs, linens, china, portable ovens and stoves for the caterer to cook on site.

It is not a cheap proposition! 

ETA photos!

Blank venue (another event cleaning up)

 Our reception

Post # 13
2251 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

A DIY  venue will cost you so much more than the already set up one. Just calculate the cost of rentals from  napkins to human staff,  and you’ll see that it’s insane amount of hassle and stress. You will need a event planner. Also porta- potties are NOT romantic! Plus no electricity?  That sounds awful,  honestly. 

Post # 14
8504 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

m3lim3lo:  if you go DIY route I would still hire staff to set everything up, not try to DIY it yourself. Our venue was a a museum and it came with nothing besides the space – we had to bring in furniture, ovens, dishes, lighting, sound, EVERYTHING. And it was awesome because I got to be super picky and get exactly what I wanted. However it was not cheap that’s for sure. 

As for the toilet situation, my best friend had a backyard wedding for 200 people so they rented trailer bathrooms (i.e. flushing toilets and running sinks) and they were just fine. Definitely don’t get regular construction site port-a-potties though. 

Post # 15
354 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

I’ve always wanted to do everything myself (but of a control freak) but I’ve heard horror stories about how it can end up costing much more 

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