Where We Wed | A History of Wedding Venues | Anything But Gray Events

The wedding planning process used to be much clear cut. Well, maybe there were just less options to be had! Either way, over the years and where couples are looking to tie the knot has gone from the traditional to the “lofty”.

I know this because my mother has been in the Wedding/Hospitality Industry for the last 20 years. Through the 90’s, I was here little helper. I learned everything I know from my Momma! As I child I would help her on smaller events and now that she is semi-retired, she is my assistant. Oh how the tables turn! We are a dynamic duo.

I know from her experience there used to be just a few options of where people would get married. It usually was very dependent on what you family had in mind. Parents = Money = Control.

#1 – Church or Temple
Yep, this was probably the most common way people would say “I Do” from the mid 1850’s to 1960’s. Using religious venues are a cost effective way to walk down the aisle for young couples who wanted to go a traditional route. Small personal touches are permitted like programs, kippot, pew decorations, family chuppahs and flowers. But for the most part though, the beauty of the venue is allowed to shine through without the need for extra adornment.

Fun Factoid
In 1976 over half of marriages were religious ceremonies in religious venues. By 2011, less than 30% of marriages were religious marriages – the lowest percentage on record.

#2- Family Homes/Backyards
Both my grandparents and parents did it this way. My mom even cooked all the food for her own wedding. Crazy!! Using a home ties into family and tradition without being necessarily religious. Weddings at private homes can be lovely, but they can have many hidden costs that couples are not prepared for. Unlike a traditional wedding venue or hall, you have to rent EVERYTHING. These costs add up fast. Permitting is sometimes also a factor. That being said, you get a much more organic and homespun feeling creating a wedding with the DIY help of all your loving family members and creative friends. Just make sure you get enough toilet paper for 150 guests!

#3- Banquet Halls/Banquet Halls
These pre-fab locations really boomed in the late 1980’s and 90’s. All the glitz and glam of a huge wedding but for the fraction on the cost. People might hate me for saying this but essentially they are weddings in a box. These venues are the easiest and most stress free way of putting on a wedding in my opinion. You normally have to use their in house caterer, get to choose from 3 linen colors and have a short list of remaining “preferred” vendors to choose from. It’s the In and Out Burger theory. Less choices makes a better product. I tend to agree for the most part. The great thing about using a Banquet Hall Space for a wedding is that so much of the decoration and ambiance is already there for you (if you like it). I love Noor in Pasadena because it has a refined and elegant look that would fit almost any wedding style.

#4- Lofts/Warehouses/Converted Properties  
et’s head into the 2000’s shall we? We usher in the era of the offbeat space! Pinterest obsessed couples these days flock to spaces that used to be livery barns, old warehouses and converted lofts. Why do you ask? Because they are “different” and offer the chance to create something from nothing. Why is this so appealing? The Millennial Couple is a new bred all their own. I have mixed feelings about loft spaces. On one hand they are super fun and on another they can be daunting. The key for me as a coordinator is to find one that fits the number of guests you have attending your wedding. Many lofts could easily seat 600 people comfortably. If you are having 80 of your closest family and friends at your wedding, this space is going to feel like an enormous cave that is sucking you in alive. It often takes much more out of the budget than couples think to rent items/furniture to decorate a loft spaces. $$$! I love 440 Seaton in Downtown LA. It’s a blank slate for creative couples to go crazy with!

Whatever type of venue you go with for your big day, make it one that you LOVE. You should walk into a wedding venue and both know in your guts that it’s the right one for you as a couple. Like a little bird, it should sing to you and make you smile.

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