First off, what does raw space even mean? Think lofts, warehouses, restored buildings with inherent creativity and history. But beyond the venue's aesthetic, the term raw space applies toward the way you'll be planning the wedding. You're booking the venue for exactly just that - the space. And then you get to truly bring your vision to life by hiring outside vendors of your choosing. Raw space wedding venues like the Green Building and 501 Union are blank slates for total creative freedom to let your personalities shine.They're not going to be your standard all-inclusive ballroom catering hall. They're going to be a very hands-on experience for someone who finds joy in building something from scratch.
Planning in a raw space is one of the best opportunities to create a personalized and unique experience. You can truly make it your own and stay honest to your love story. But having that much free reign can be hard to navigate at times, so we consulted the event coordinators at Starling on Bond for their top tips for planning in a raw space.
1. BE AWARE OF YOUR BUDGET
It is imperative that you are really honest about your budget. Unlike a full service venue, you will need to bring in everything from cutlery to glasses to every table linen. Most clients are caught off guard when they realize how quickly stemware for 130 people will cost you when you have a 6 hour bar! It’s easy to focus on the main components such as a caterer, photographer, and band. What a lot of people forget about are staffing costs, rentals, valet, etc. Don’t let this scare you. Raw spaces are often so beautiful on their own that you save a lot of money on decor!
2. PERSONALIZE YOUR DECOR
Your wedding doesn't have to look like a Pinterest board to be perfect. One of the main appeals of a raw space is that you can make your wedding uniquely you so go for it. Start visualizing your ideal wedding and think of all the ways you can incorporate your love story into the decor. Anything is possible in a raw space!
3. MAKE THE MOST OF THE SPACE
Make sure that you are utilizing every inch of the space for maximum guest comfort and functionality. There are some amazing programs out there for creating floor plans such as All Seated for couples to use. Check with your venue to see what they use for floor planning. If there are high ceilings, what can you do to take advantage of all that vertical space? Which brings us to our next point...
4. SET THE MOOD WITH LIGHTING
Event lighting is often overlooked but can add so much to the mood of the night. There is nothing like having twinkling bistro lights hanging above your guests as they eat and dance. That being said, if you put in any lighting make sure that you also install a dimmer. Nothing can interfere with a dance party like an overly bright room.
5. BE PREPARED TO MANAGE ALL THE COGS
A raw space has so many components that go into making your dream wedding day happen. It's like a well-oiled machine with lots of cogs that need to be running smoothly. Hire a coordinator to assist you! You focus on the fun parts like making all the DIY elements, and let a coordinator worry about how everything’s going to be set up and broken down. You want someone who is on your team to make sure that everything is going smoothly so you can fully enjoy your wedding.