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

posted 4 years ago in Venue
Post # 16
3434 posts
Sugar bee

We used a sort-of DIY venue.  They provided chairs and tables but we brought in the caterer, booze, and were in charge of all set up and tear down. Thankfully the caterers handled the tear down/clean up.  But leading up to the wedding I was super worried about everything working out.  My nature is to worry but it still sucked.  Looking back, I would have loved to have just shown up at some golf course where everything is all done.

Post # 17
352 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

m3lim3lo:  Nay. 

Fiance and I loved the idea of a remote outdoor wedding but the just the thought of the logistics of it made me want to pull my hair out. On top of that, I didn’t want to use a porta potty in my wedding dress. No matter how “luxurious” (yes, it appears there are luxurious bathroom trailers you can rent), the fact still remains that I will be in a porta potty. We ended up going with an all-inclusive venue and so far I couldn’t be happier.

The weddings I’ve been too that have been completely DIY tended to be fun if it wasn’t really treated like a wedding, but instead more like a informal party. So if you end up going with this option I would keep everything on the lighter/informal side. 🙂

Post # 18
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016 - World\'s Fair Pavilion

Our venue is a Mediterranean-style pavilion at a public park and does have permanent toilets and lights, but nothing else. Fortunately for us, the catering company we’re using is less than a mile away and can cook everything in their kitchens, and we have two wedding planners to coordinate the many rental items we need.

DIY venues can be awesome blank slates and present less up-front costs, but I don’t think they’re necessarily less expensive. Once you add up tables, chairs, lighting, and everything else that may come with a more inclusive venue, you probably wind up about the same cost-wise. Unless you’re having a small wedding or very long engagement, I think the key is to work with a wedding planner who won’t miss any of the details and who can coordinate all your vendors.

Post # 19
4037 posts
Honey bee

My friend’s daughter fell in love with a blank-slate venue. I don’t know the cost to rent the venue, but the MOB told me it was $90+ per person for the food, and $50+ per person for all the rentals. (I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was over $150 per person, for just for those two things). That didn’t include the cake, alcohol, centerpieces, etc.

Post # 20
1570 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

m3lim3lo:  Hello, fellow Washingtonian! I would vote nay on the bring everything venue. In my experience as an engaged lady and as a bridesmaid, it is prohibitively expensive and stressful to have to bring in everything.


Do you mind sharing what the venues are?

Post # 21
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

We used a DIY-ish venue – awesome building in a great part of Seattle with a rooftop decks and SOME furniture, but we had to bring in all the food, alcohol, tables/chairs and special lighting, etc. 

For us it ended up working out because one of the things we found with a lot of the full-service places was that you had to use a particular caterer or pay the venue to bartend.  We were able to purchase our own alcohol, pay our caterer to serve it, and rent all of the dishware/glasses from the caterer.  We rented tables/chairs separately, had a lighting company, and a live band.  The planning was a little more complicated, but in the ended we really did get exactly what we wanted.

We definitely lucked out because the location was so great, the weather was perfect on that particular day to enjoy the rooftop deck, and even without all of our lovely touches the venue was still pretty nice to look at. We did a LOT of shopping around and price comparison with all our vendors, but probably no more than most people do.

Post # 22
62 posts
Worker bee

I am thinking of doing this too, and I’m currently trying to weigh up the cost of a venue where you provide everything vs a venue where everything is provided for you.  Our likely venue is a hall which has a kitchen, bathrooms, and possibly tables & chairs, but everything else will need to be provided.  If it didn’t have kitchen facilities I think it would just be too hard.  I am hoping that this will mean we can save money as we can choose where to get everything and whether we rent or buy things, and have more say in how much we’re willing to pay. 

I am worried about how it will all come together, and making sure we’re able to get everything we need.  We have a wedding stylist to provide chair coverings, table centrepieces etc but I will need to find out the extent of what they can provide – eg tablecloths, table settings, glassware etc.  The biggest worry is organising the catering.  

Post # 23
952 posts
Busy bee

I have one of these venues. 

It is a private home but they rent it out for weddings pretty much every weekend of the year – so they are pros at this. They are very hands off (which is a bit shocking) so anything goes. But EVERYTHING has to be done by us. 

Our venue is 2.5 hours away from where we live. But the venue rental is for 3 days (most of the venues around here were the same price and the rental was only 12 hours). This is THE singular deciding factor in our venue!! If this hadn’t been the case we would never have considered it. 

We are renting a u-haul, packing it on Thursday and driving out there Thursday evening. Our rental starts at 9am on Friday. All day friday we are setting up the lighting and doing the flowers. The rehersal dinner is at 4pm. 

Saturday is the wedding and reception – Yay!! 

Sunday we are doing a BBQ and pool party from 10 to 3. Then we have to pack and leave by 6pm. 

My parents, siblings, and my sister’s husband, along with the groom, his brother, and his best friend are all very aware of the fact that they have to install and de-install lighting (as in 20 foot latters) the day before and the day after our wedding. 

Did we save money? Yes. There tends to be an expectation in Southern CA to spend a minimum of $50k. We are having all three events – Rehearsal, Wedding, and day after party – all for a little under $30k. 

BUT (and this is a huge BUT!) – I have 2 degrees in art, I can build anything from an altar to furniture, and I’ve been sewing since I was 11, and I have a garage that I can use as both a staging area and storage for all the items that I have to keep between now and the wedding (and believe me, it s a full on inventory!). I also work full time in logistics management and all day long I handle complex installations and de-installations for public lands as well as private homes. 

Also my Fiance works professionally in the entertainment world and has access to professional quality make up artists, sound equipment, camera equipment, and the people who manage this. We are getting MASSIVE discounts on several of our vendors, and we’re still hovering close to $30k. That’s with discounts??? This sh*t ain’t cheap! 

Is it worth the stress? No. If I had it to do over again I would pick a different a venue. I think anytime you need a moving van for your own wedding, you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. 

Can I handle it? Yes, but the stress is very real!. Without a doublt the WORST thing to DIY has been lighting. Don’t do it!!! Classic Party Rentals wanted to charge me $2000 for lighitng rental and install. I decided to save the money. Instead I’m spening about $500 on lighing (and I can sell it after the wedding) but it has been the BIGGEST nightmare to try to anticipate the lighting needs. And I’m marrying a man who handles lighting and sound!! If we’re having these issues, then multiply it by 10 for someone who doesn’t do this stuff for a living! 

So if you really want to do this be VERY realistic about the amount of time it’s going to take. I drastically under-estimated it and like I said, I do major logistics for a living. 

Good luck! 

Post # 24
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Nay- we ended up being stuck with a DIY bring everything venue and it was super stressful. And our venue had tables and chairs and electricity and bathrooms but our rental fees were astronomical to bring in ovens and kitchen equipment, plates, forks, glasses, bar equipment like ice buckets, tablecloths even though we had some of our own we bout and provided but had to spend hours ironing out the seams from them being shipped folded.. Well you just don’t realize how many things catering halls have that you hvae to rent. I mean you even have to bring int aluminum foil and cooking tools for the kitchen and garbage bags, it’s just insane. We had to bring a million things to the venue the day before including soda and stuff that was way more expensive through the caterer. bottom line is that is was stressful and even though we DIY a lot including centerpieces and stuff, it still cost us more than other places that had everything. 

Post # 25
7059 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

It really depends on the person and budget, honestly. My venue was like this, although it included tables & chairs we still rented chairs because the provided ones were ugly. Every other aspect, aside from tables, we had to bring in. I’m a wedding vendor, so I obviously knew what to expect and have endless contacts within the industry, and I had a wedding planner. That being said, for someone who isn’t well versed in wedding-world it can be a lot of hassle and not worth it.

If you go this route, #1 right off that bat I’d get a wedding planner. So many aspects to this kind of wedding people don’t even think about….permits, setup, breakdown, etc. There are times when it can be cheaper because you can shop around, but MOST people find that the minimal cost difference isn’t worth the insane amounts of hassle. 

That’s not to say it can’t be an amazing and gorgeous wedding, some of my favorite weddings I’ve photographed have been at completely empty venues where they’ve come in and transformed it. The reality is that is can be expensive and most people gt stressed keeping up with so many different vendors and details.

Post # 26
6827 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I wouldn’t do it–by the time you pay to DIY everything the savings (if there are any) likely aren’t enough to make it worth all the work and stress of handling everything including toilets yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your day–there will still be plenty for you to do, I promise. 

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