What to Watch Out For With Historic Wedding Venues

When you’re searching for a wedding venue, there are so many choose from! Different styles, different locations, different vibes. And each with their own unique qualities, pros and cons.

One of my favorites are historic wedding venues. Why?

Because they come with a history.

Julia Morgan Ballroom historic wedding venue San Francisco wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: VAS Photo)

The idea that this house, castle, building, grounds, museum, etc… has a past gives it character. It’s like the idea of taking old family rings and making them new. Or borrowing a friend’s veil for your wedding.

Someone else (or many someone elses) lived in this place or threw parties here or just loved it.

It not only makes the wedding venue interesting, but gives it a feeling that a newer venue just doesn’t have.

But, historic wedding venues (like all wedding venues) have their own special intricacies that you have to be aware of.

These can be considered cons for some and will make it a non-viable venue. And for others, it can just make planning your wedding trickier.

4 Things to Watch Out For With Historic Wedding Venues

#1 – Rules and Restrictions

With great history, comes great restrictions…

Yes, ala Spiderman, with historic wedding venues comes lots of rules and restrictions. Now, to be fair, other types of venues also have rules and restrictions. But with historic wedding venues, the list increases.

It’s mainly because they want to preserve the history and the character of the building, space and grounds. So that others can appreciate and enjoy it too.

And since it’s an older space, it can be a little more fragile.

So, there are lots of rules. Rules around decor, music, photography, which vendors you can use, timing restrictions, access restrictions and more.

Make sure you understand and are comfortable with the rules before you sign on the dotted line.

#2 – Old School Features

Stairs at the Headlands Center for the Arts a historical wedding venue in Marin by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

Historic wedding venues are well, historic. Which means many times they are not updated or ADA compliant.

So, what does that mean? No elevators. No ramps. And grandma or grandpa may have a hard time getting around.

It also means potentially poor sewage and a bathroom issue requiring you to rent bathrooms.

It could also mean poor lighting and/or poor heating. Or a slew of other things that come with an older building.

Now some of these things may be updated, but likely not everything. Remember, with historic venues they want to preserve the original look and character and sometimes things can’t be changed.

So, make sure you’re aware of these features (or the lack thereof) and what you’d need to do in order to accomodate for it.

#3 – Loading In and Out

Destination wedding Hawaii venue Lanikuhonua Private Estate
(Photo credit: What a Day! Photography)

Your vendors will need to set up prior to your wedding and breakdown afterwards. And what dictates the set up and breakdown is the actual venue.

So, given #2 above, loading in and out may be tricky. And what I mean by tricky is either it’s not as straightforward or will require more work.

For example, if there are only stairs, that makes it harder to move furniture in and onto the 3rd floor. If they can’t pull up to the front to unload, then they’ll need to carry everything farther.

Depending on the construction of the building or the grounds, set up and breakdown can be much harder and take much longer than a “normal” venue.

And will cost you much more in labor.

So, keep that in mind as you’re making a decision.

#4 – Power

Of all the things to be aware of with historic wedding venues, this is the granddaddy. With historic buildings comes historic power.

Yes, we’re using Spiderman again. But no joke, power can be a HUGE issue with historic wedding venues.

There are only so many circuits and because the building is old, it can only handle so much.

Which means if you have lighting along with a band and a DJ, a photobooth, coffee, etc…you may blow a fuse.

And that… is kind of a wedding downer. No bueno.

This is not something you’ll totally be able to plan for when you pick the venue as you won’t yet know all the details yet. But, make sure you have a good team to help you (including a kick ass wedding planner).

They’ll be able to troubleshoot and figure out how to make everything work (so you don’t have to).

Thinking about having your wedding at a historic wedding venue? Or just want some help finding the perfect venue? We got you! Contact us today and let’s chat!

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