Wedding Venues With Flexible Rules: Do They Exist?

Wedding venues come in all shapes, sizes and styles. But the one thing they all have in common are rules.

Now rules in general are not all that fun, right? I mean no one really likes rules.

But rules are useful.

They help control the situation and keep things functioning in a respectful, orderly, safe and fair manner.

Like waiting your turn in line at the coffee shop, amusement park or bathroom. Or needing to have all your documentation ready when you go through customs. Or not allowing bikes on a pedestrian path.

And like rules in everyday life, wedding venue rules are also useful.

Wedding venue rules help control how events take place on a property.

Because they need some form of control in order to make sure their property is taken care of.

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

Think about it from the wedding venue point of view for a moment…

They potentially do a wedding every weekend (or more).

They have hundreds of people coming in and out (both guests and vendors).

There’s tents, tables, chairs, music, flowers, food, drinks, dancing, drunk people, trash…

It’s A LOT.

And so they have to control how that works otherwise their venue will end up just completely trashed.

Having to spend money to fix something or having to close because their property is damaged hurts their profitability.

So, wedding venue rules are necessary to make sure only normal wear and tear occurs.

They are really a preventative measure.

So that they can continue to provide a beautiful and functional space for every couple.

Wedding Venue Rules And Where They Come From

So you know why wedding venue rules exist. Now, let’s talk about what they are and where they come from.

So, first, wedding venue rules can consist of many different things and here are a few common examples:

  • How many hours the event can be
  • What time the event has to end and what time it’s allowed to begin
  • How you can use their spaces
  • Music requirements both indoors and outdoors
  • Decor requirements both indoors and outdoors
  • Use of candles
  • Use of confetti, birdseed or petals
  • Setup and breakdown timing and location
  • Which vendors you can hire
  • What kinds of rentals you can bring in
  • How trash works
  • How power works
  • Alcohol requirements
  • What happens in the case of inclement weather
  • How parking works
  • Liability insurance requirements

Now every wedding venue’s rules will differ because every wedding venue is different.

And they each will have their own concerns.

Historic buildings and museum venues will have concerns around damage. Private estates will have concerns around neighbors, noise and traffic. Resorts and hotels will have concerns about other guests. Outdoor venues will have concerns about their grass.

So each wedding venue’s rules will be centered around what protects their particular property.

And how they create their rules is based on a variety of things.

A rule many times will be created because of a situation that occurred at a recent wedding.

Something they don’t want to happen again. Like a drunk groomsman who got into fight.

Or it’s something preventative because they heard a story about a bad situation happening at another venue. Like a caterer who didn’t clean up after themselves and the leftover food attracted rats.

Or it’s something that just tends to work well for the weddings and couples who hire the venue. Like allowing couples to BYOB as long as they use the venue’s bartenders.

Or it could just be rules that have to fit within the city, county or state’s rules. Like outside noise curfews or serving of alcohol.

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter where the rule stems from. It’s just important that you understand there are rules and they can cover everything from music and decor to timing to how much power you can use.

How To Find Wedding Venues with Flexible Rules

Guests enjoying themselves at a dinner wedding reception in Tahoe at the mountain private retreat The Hideout in Kirkwood by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Anita Martin)

So, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering what’s the point of talking about wedding venue rules?

The first is so you’re aware that they exist, why they exist and what you might come across. So that you’re prepared as you search for wedding venues.

But secondly, it’s important to understand if you’re looking for wedding venues with flexible rules.

So, what do I mean by flexible rules? Isn’t a rule, a rule?

Yes, a rule is a rule. But sometimes a rule can be bent.

Or in some cases, there is no rule at all.

And this really depends on the venue itself. Because as we’ve covered, every wedding venue has different rules.

The question is, what rules are you looking to bend or not have at all?

For most of my couples, curfew and noise restrictions is an area where they’re looking for flexibility. Because they want to be able to party as long as they want.

But, sometimes it’s being able to bring an outside caterer in because food is really important. Or being able to have a very specific band flown in from another part of the country.

And many times it’s being able to have complete control over a property like with a resort wedding buyout. So that they can take over the space and do a customized set up and activities.

Depending on what you’re looking for will dictate what types of venues you should be looking at.

But, I need to be brutally honest here… most wedding venues are NOT flexible.

And it’s not their fault, it’s just what they have to do to protect themselves.

But you have to know that going into venue searching because more often than not you’ll be told no. And that can get discouraging really fast.

But, I’m here to tell you, don’t be discouraged!

There are those diamonds in the rough.

Wedding venues with flexible rules do exist, I promise! It’s just a matter of finding them.

So how do you find them?

Sunset in the desert in Utah at the Under Canvas Lake Powell Grand Staircase resort and wedding venue by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

Wedding venues with flexible rules tend to have the following characteristics:

1) The venue is remote

So the more remote a wedding venue is, the more flexibility you typically have. And when I say remote, most times this means no residential or commercial neighbors for miles.

But it could also mean that the venue is cliffside or on the top of a mountain. Or it could mean that the venue and event space is separated and/or contained.

Which really just means that by being remote, you won’t be bothering anyone else. And by not bothering anyone else, they can give you flexibility to do things other wedding venues can’t.

2) The venue is smaller and family run

When you aren’t dealing with a big corporation, you just have less rules. It’s like the difference between a big company and a start up.

There’s more flexibility with a smaller, family run wedding venue because they make their own rules and can bend more easily. They’re not answering to anyone but themselves.

And because they’re more of a mom and pop type operation, making a change is also easier.

3) The venue is newer

Many times newer wedding venues are also more flexible because they’re still just trying to figure out their rules.

Rules tend to grow over time (they don’t decrease). So if you find a wedding venue that hasn’t been around long, you can bend those not yet set in stone rules.

They’re more willing to try things because they’re still figuring out what works for them. You’re in a sense, a trial run for them and with that lack of experience they trade flexibility.

4) The venue is high end

If you have the budget, going with a high end wedding venue will also gain you flexibility.

As we all know, money can open doors and bend rules. This is just the world we live in.

But beyond that, high end wedding venues are also more flexible because they’re used to the demands of higher end clientele. And higher end clientele always want flexibility.

What to do if you can’t find a wedding venue with flexible rules

Wedding reception tablescape with candles and tropical garland centerpiece at a Anguilla Caribbean wedding reception at Straw Hat restaurant by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Savanah Loftus)

Even though those diamonds in the rough exist, you may not find one you like. Or you may not find one in the location you want to be in. Both are very possible scenarios.

If this is the case, there’s one thing you can try to do and that’s negotiate.

But, here’s the key: You have to understand what their concerns are given the rule you want to bend.

Because if you understand what they’re worried about, then you can discuss how to make them comfortable.

If it’s a noise issue, maybe you rent out all the hotel rooms near that event space. If it’s a staffing issue, maybe you discuss a bringing in a guest chef where you still utilize their staff. Or if it’s a decor issue, you purchase liability insurance and have them approve the vendor and setup plan.

Not every rule can be bent, but some can with a little negotiation and empathy.

If you can figure out a solution that makes them comfortable, then a venue can be convinced to allow you some wiggle room.

And that wiggle room may be all you need to create the wedding you’re looking for.

One important note to keep in mind: Typically with this solution will come some additional expense on your part. You have to know what that flexibility is worth to you before you dive into the negotiation.

Wedding venue rules are both common and necessary. But if you’re looking for wedding venues with flexible rules, you’ll be looking for a special kind of venue.

Use these tips and they’ll help you find the right wedding venue for you.

And of course, we’re here to help!

We’d be thrilled to be your wedding venue matchmaker. Contact us today and we’ll help you find the right wedding venue for you.

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