Over the years, Wow Event Hire have helped countless couples deck out the local rugby club, sports hall, and cow-sheds on family farms (yes, really!) for their big day. Yes, the cost of these venues is considerably lower than most wedding venue hot-spots which will be their main attraction, but there are lots of other appealing factors too. Ensuring the venue is safe as well as exciting.

Often, the venue will allow you to bring in your own catering and possibly even some of your own booze as well. They also tend to have pretty cheap bar prices themselves, which will help you keep your budget in check, give you the freedom to have your preferred catering vendors and, most importantly, keep your guests happy on the day of the wedding with a good supply of food and booze.

Rachael Puric, Owner of Mini Peas, says: "Wedding and party planning doesn't need to be expensive or stressful. There are simple things you can do to ensure you stay on or under budget. One way is to provide your own finger foods, such as fruit platters, cheese and crackers or veggies and dip that are filling and cheap."

So, the booze and food is ticked off the list. Now, how the heck do you make a big empty hall covered with sports memorabilia and basketball hoops hanging off the wall look like and warm and inviting space? This is essential when you’re soon to be hosting your nearest and dearest on one of the most important days of your life.

Karina Sousa from White Impact mentions that "space is a tool to play with and decorate. If you have trees, work with trees and leaves, if you have white walls make them special and not boring.

Karina advises thinking bout the following:

  • Space - what surrounds you? Have a good look, see what points you can get inspiration from.
  • When will the party occur? Day or night - important to deciding colors and lights
  • What type of party would you like to offer your guests?
  • Dress code - special for places like beach or mountain or everything that is exposed to nature."

Fortunately, the money-saving points mentioned earlier in this article comes in very handy here. Now is the time to spend that big chunk you’ve saved on the venue hire and splash it on wedding décor. This will literally transform your venue into your very own bespoke space and get your wedding venue picture perfect.

Draping a wedding venue

Wedding venue draping

This is a big one! Draping is where you will see the biggest transformation with your wedding venue, and it will be the starting point that you build the vision of your wedding from. You are essentially creating a ‘blank page’ by white washing the walls to create a marquee effect, and this will cover up any dated wallpaper, 1970s printed curtains or walls covered in sporting imagery! This will also take up the biggest chunk of your budget, but it is well worth it. Get this bit right and the rest will just be finishing touches.

Simone Truter, Events Director at Dreamtime Special Events, says: "Weddings are amazing fun to organise, but they can also be the most stressful events to arrange. This is because you are taking someone else's dream and trying to bring it to life. It is a huge responsibility to ensure that you get every detail right.

"We love using draping, as this is an easy and fairly cost effective way to hide ugly walls, or to bring the space in, especially if a room is too big. Combine this with uplighters with filter colours splashing onto the white draping and it immediately gives the room a completely different ambiance."

The majority of cost for draping is the labour and equipment required for the install and removal, rather than the actual draping itself. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as ‘hanging some fabric on the walls’ (if only!).

As most venues do not allow us to come in and nail hooks all around their walls, a freestanding frame structure is required for the drapes to be hung from. Welcome to the term ‘Pipe and Drape’.

When installing drape in a venue, the cost varies from space to space. When contacting companies for quotes, you will find that they will more than likely request dimensions and photos of the space you are looking to drape, as this will allow for a rough estimate to be provided. If the initial estimate sounds within budget and you are happy to proceed further, a site visit will be essential to carry out full measurements, check access and discuss your ideas in more detail before providing a full quote.

There are many contributing factors that will be taken into account when quoting for draping your venue. The main ones being below:

Dimensions and floor plan - In one respect this is straightforward; the bigger the space the more equipment needed. This is alongside a longer install/removal time and more members of staff being required, resulting in a higher price. However, this isn’t always the case! The pipe and drapes frame is telescopic, so one section can be extended to cover a space of up to 3m. So, if the space is a simple square with nice straight wall runs, the pipe and drape frame sections can be used to the maximum length therefore using less overall.

This is when it gets complicated, though. If there are alcoves, doorways, bar area, or booth seating attached to walls, then the frame needs to be adjusted to fit that bespoke space i.e. more frame sections needed. All of this equals time, which in turn equals money and will add to the overall cost.

Access to room – This is important! As you are now beginning to see, draping is a time-consuming installation, so access to the venue 2 hours before your guests arrive just isn’t feasible! As a rule, we require access to the venue a full day before the wedding and the same the day after for the removal (everything that goes up must come down!). When working in the wedding industry, time is the most valuable tool we have if there are any issues during installation. By doing an installation on the morning of the wedding, time is severely limited and we simply do not want to take the risk as you get married once and we only have one chance to get this perfect for you on your day.

Level of design – Straight wall runs of white marquee style drapes offer an elegant and simple white walled effect. However, you may decide that you want to incorporate fairy lighting behind the dance floor. Alternatively, you may fancy having an intricate feature wall behind your top table or a flower wall backdrop for photos. The lists of design options are endless and will all contribute to the final cost.

Wedding venue decorated by Wow Event Hire

Wedding venue lighting

Emily Canton, a creative/lifestyle blogger for Something By Emily advises "If you want to create a great atmosphere for your wedding, lighting is key; particularly for an evening wedding or reception. Moody lighting, such as candles or exposed edison bulbs, can create warmth and romance and look incredible in photos.

If you invest time in planning the design of your chosen wedding space, a wedding can have ambience and plenty of pinterest-worthy accents, without breaking the bank."

"If a room is lacking from natural light, adding a white light will brighten up the space, while switching this up to bright colours for the evening party will give you another transformation from day to night." - Matt Antonio, Head Of Operations for Digital Eagles

Furniture and all the extras!

Now you’ve got the draping and lighting sorted for your wedding, we can build upon this to get you the individual style you’re looking for. Furniture is a great way to achieve this.

Another bonus with having a low-key venue is that you’ll have the freedom to ditch their chairs and hire in exactly what you want, whether this is vintage lime-wash Chiavari chairs or modern ice Cheltenham chairs. You might even want to replace it all with informal chill out furniture!

To get the most out of your budget, Rebecca Reid, writer of the For Every Hen blog, adds: "One of my favourite go-to party hacks when hosting an event is the following; borrow rather than buy. You would be surprised by the items your friends and family have either stored away or have around their house that are perfect for your occasion! Think anything from tables and chairs, to wine glasses, bunting and paper lanterns. Water features can be rented for a reasonable price and can add that shot of star quality to the venue.

"If no-one has what you're after? Take a look at your local op-shops before buying new - they are full of beautiful treasures!"

Holly Gunns from Sweet Heart Cart suggests "adding bespoke extras to the space. They offer their unique Sweet Cart that can come with colour coordinated sweet jars, candy bags and scoops. Alternativley a Sweet Ferris Wheel, Ferrero Rocher Heart or a 4ft Led Love Letter could also add that special touch."

Emily Canon, a Creative and Lifestyle Blogger at Something By Emily, adds: "In the last five years, I have planned 5 weddings, one for for each of my four sisters and my own wedding only 3 months ago. Each of our weddings had a unique theme and venue but were equally beautiful.

"If you invest time in planning the design of your chosen wedding space, a wedding can have ambiance and plenty of pinterest-worthy accents without breaking the bank.

"Most important is lighting, particularly for an evening wedding or reception. Moody lighting, such as candles or exposed edison bulbs, can create warmth and romance and look incredible in photos." advises Paul Solicari, who knows a thing or two about dark places.

"Secondly, think about those magic photo moments, such as the cake cutting, or spontaneous interactions on the bridal table. While it can get expensive decking out an entire venue in flowers, if luscious greenery and fl owers are carefully placed in those key locations, your space can look luxurious without spending excessively. Something Sonny of Just Win Marketing agrees on, " This is a once in a lifetime event and you should have it as perfect as possible, for posterity and happy memories"

The options are endless but the point we’re making here is; don’t let the exterior put you off, as it’s what’s on the inside that counts. With companies like Wow Event Hire, we can help make the inside look just like that Pinterest board you’ve been adding to all year!