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Transforming Out-of-the-Box Venues | Interview with David Price of DEP Creative | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

When planning your dream wedding, there are endless possibilities for venues! And some of them are a little more out-of-the-box than others. Today we interview David Price of DEP Creative, and he is here to help you reach your venue’s full potential! Even if your venue is a little “unconventional”, David has design tips and tricks for elevating your space to be the ultimate show-stopper! From bingo halls to gymnasiums, having the right vendors and vision can make any space into a beautiful backdrop for your big day!

Tips for transforming non-traditional venues for your wedding: interview with David Price of DEP Creative on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

Meet David.

I’m the owner and creative director of DEP Creative, which has been around for about three years now. I also introduced Elleroy Linens about six months ago, which is a custom high end linen company rental company out of Rhode Island. But I’ve been in the business since 1988. 

I am so happy to have you sitting in front of me again. You were on one of our previous episodes (see it here!) and you’re here now to share more tips for our listeners. 

So, you get engaged – and you’re ready to plan your wedding. How does a couple take their venue space and make it customized to themselves? Where do they begin?

I think you have to start with the kind of wedding that you want to have. Is it formal? Is it casual or a fun party? You gotta figure out your style. Then, if you’re not looking at a wedding venue style (like a Rosecliff bride, an Ocean Cliff bride), then you might be looking for something really unique. There’s so many venues out there. It’s a blank slate that you can hire people to help you decorate or help you do it yourself. 

Right now, barns are really hot. A lot of places have barns or other out of the box options. These can be less costly but you have to think about all the decor you have to put in it to make it a usable spot. 

You just hit the nail on the head. I think there’s two paths that someone can take – the wedding venues, here locally we have mansions, country clubs, you name it. And you also have the out of the box scenarios like a personal residence. It could be a rented Air BNB, a local hall, or something else.  

But if you know what you can do with that space, then you can definitely think outside the box and start picking places that aren’t cookie cutter. So you have to think about the kind of event and venue you want. 

Especially if you go to a venue that is not a wedding venue. You have to really be willing to educate the people at that space because they don’t do big events like that all the time. For example, I did an event at a VFW Hall and I said I’m bringing in tables. They didn’t understand it but I wanted round tables for nicer linens – not their 8’ long tables. But you have to be really careful not to insult the venues either. 

You also need to think about when you’re able to come in and doing your decorations. 

Does it limit what you can do as far as decor goes? 

It depends on if you’re doing yourself or if you’re going to hire someone and accompany the things that they need to do, especially a site inspection. Those inspections help you determine if the style that you want is possible in every site. There’s a lot of things you can do in a non-traditional space but you have to be smart about it! 

Sometimes this is really hard for people who don’t have a creative mind to understand what they can do. And sometimes it’s not. 

I think when you start looking at venues, you gotta keep an open mind. I’ve had a lot of brides saying, I can’t go there because I had my junior prom there. Well, you got to step into it with a different thought process. You’re not the same age and you can’t rule things out until you clear your mind. 

We do weddings all the time at the same venue two days in a row. They always look so different with each wedding. 

Anything’s possible if you have a big vision and you start planning. 

Okay, so step one, have a vision and figure out what you want, right?

Right. Think about if it’s a sit down dinner. Or a clambake? Maybe it’s a buffet or stations. Are you just looking for a great party? Or are you into the first dance and the bridesmaid speech and the mother father’s dance, all that process? All that stuff takes space. Or if it’s just a big party, and you just want to have hors d’oeuvres and an open bar and lots of dancing, that’s different. Your vision of the day will help you choose your venue. 

So, step two is thinking about what to do with a space and understand what you can do?

Yes. Figure out how many people and what your budget is. That’s the downside of everything! How do you want to use your budget? Is your space more important, or is your food? Do you want this band or a 12 piece orchestra? All of those things matter. 

You want to dance? You need a rock and roll band. Are you a foodie? Have that 6-course dinner, but do it with a small group of people! But you have to have a real conversation with your groom, your bride, the parents,  and figure out: what is the final goal of the day?  You have to really think about what you want. For you. The whole feel of the wedding. 

Tips for transforming non-traditional venues for your wedding: interview with David Price of DEP Creative on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

What’s the next thing for somebody who is thinking about what they can do with this space? For someone who doesn’t even know what to do? Or like you said, someone who hires you –  this is what you’re going to do with them.

I think if it’s a really empty space and you want to transform it, don’t DIY it. You don’t have a lot of time, or energy and on your big day, you’ll be spending your time doing that. Hire a professional – it just takes the stress off of you. There’s a lot of professionals out there who can work within any budget. 

There are so many things that can go wrong. If you have to set aside some type of budget for someone to execute your idea whether you are going to DIY it or have someone execute that. 

So you hire a professional, and then tell them about your vision for your location – the gym, the restaurant, the barn. They then take over bringing your vision to life, right?

We definitely come in and help with the logistics. Can you come in the day before? Can you come in two days before? Can you remove things? You have to talk with whoever’s in charge about what you can’t do. You gotta be respectful of the place. Because if you’re not respectful to the place, then anything you want to do, they’re gonna say no. You have to ask if they can handle it. 

Are they having a fish fry the night before they’re doing their annual Easter egg hunt on that Sunday afterwards? You have to ask all those correct questions. It’s not just the design aspect of it. It’s the logistics, and that’s something you don’t want to have to do on your wedding day.

What about lighting? What’s the deal with that for non-venue locations? 

Sometimes lighting is more important than decor. Honestly if the space does not have all the proper lighting – and I’m not just talking decorative lighting, I am talking safety lighting, you need to think about that. Where are people parking? How dark is it from the parking spots to the barn or the location? Little white lights will be your friend. Especially now that the LEDs, which take up less power, allow you to do lots of different unique lighting. 

So for someone with a larger budget, and they walk into a space that’s non conventional, you’re saying that sometimes lighting is more important than even the decor. So you would suggest they talk to a lighting company? 

Definitely talk to the lighting company because you still want the same feel and you’ll have to find the right company. There’s a company I work with a lot and they have a lot of equipment, but they also have someone on staff who understands weddings and social events. It’s not a rock and roll show. 

What are some other things that people need to think about when they are walking into their space and trying to think about how to maximize it? 

They need to think about if the space is big enough for everything they want. The other aspect of it is, is there a space for a caterer? Is there a back in the business as well as a front space? You need space for people to park their trucks or cook the food. So you need space for your guests, the cooking staff, the band stuff, and a green room. If you’re big dancers, you need a big dance floor. It has to hold the chairs and tables and the space to dance. There’s lots of things to think about when you do events, something that a non-wedding related venue, or space or has never done before. So, I recommend  that you have a planner, or designer or production person, if you really take that direction. 

Of course, you can also just keep it simple. There’s nothing wrong with having a simple wedding, because it’s about the ceremony. It’s about the commitment. And that’s something that sometimes people forget, and they forget why they’re having this wedding.

Tips for transforming non-traditional venues for your wedding: interview with David Price of DEP Creative on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

I really want to get into some examples. Maybe you can tell our listeners who have a smaller budget where they can cut corners, but have a beautiful space. Or also talk about if you have a more generous budget and some creative things you’ve seen. 

Before we get into that, I want to just make one more comment about using an event space that is not a wedding venue.  If you do that, make sure you have the right other professionals involved – that you have a caterer who is an off-site caterer. 

Anyway, there’s lots of ways to save money. First is if you have your ceremony and reception both in the same space. 

Why is that?

Buildings charge a fee, the transportation back and forth between the church and venue can add up, and if you’re getting married in a Catholic ceremony, they don’t necessarily let you pick the time of your service. But if you’re married at 2pm and your reception isn’t until 6, you have to entertain your guests. 

What else can you do if your budget is a little tight?

Find a florist designer who can go on the fly – not doing anything until the night before. You can use the same flowers inside and outside, with different vessels. The florist would be able to order the flowers and then decide what works best inside and outside for your day. You’re giving them the chance to be creative and expressive. 

Tips for transforming non-traditional venues for your wedding: interview with David Price of DEP Creative on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

Well, what else do you have for us? 

I think the wow factor for me is linens. The cocktail hour can be a completely different feel than the reception, especially if it’s in different areas. For me, linens, flowers, and food are my top priorities. Unique linens if you’re a pattern person. Flowers, like the huge installations that are in the ceiling can be nice – but can also quickly become too much. I think flowers on the head table or by the entrance are great. But, I’d rather have better food than too many flowers! The right linens, the right amount of flowers – I think that the wow factor in a really fabulous wedding is control. You don’t become over the top. 

Once again, I go back to it’s about the wedding. It’s about the ceremony. It’s about the commitment to each other. So I think that a fabulous over the top wedding does not have to be large. It could be the right linen napkin monogrammed, it could be the perfect flowers. It could be your favorite dessert brought in from New York City. All that personalized stuff that makes it really wonderful. 

What about those with a tighter budget? 

We talked about having everything in one space. That’s another thing is to think about your florals being in season because it’s always going to lower the cost. So, talk to your florist and ask what’s in season. Many of them can look at your inspiration photos and tell you what is or isn’t in season – and what could give you a similar feeling. 

What are some trends you’re seeing right now? 

I’m seeing that what’s trending right now is a lot of interior design aspects – especially with cocktail hours. There’s more lounging spaces, not just stand up tables. It’s more like you’re entertaining in your living room. I’m also seeing a lot of round tables and banquet tables with upholstered dining chairs, not just chiavari chairs. I think it helps people spread out and enjoy the space and brings a more calm feeling to your wedding day.  

You talked a little bit about your nephew’s wedding in this episode and the previous one. Can you give us some things that you did for them to make the visuals nicer on their tighter budget? 

My nephew had food stations. We did disposable silverware and plates, but we did all bamboo. So it all looked like it all had a brown tone. The building was very rustic, so I’ll fit in. Even the silverware was disposable, but I preset it on the table like it was real silverware. It was a barbecue theme. So I did real napkins, real cotton napkins because you can’t use 1000s of paper napkins over polyester for a BBQ. I’m not a fan of chair covers, but we did color block the chairs the venue had. 

And then on the higher end a lot of customization, we personalized things like the monogrammed napkins. We also had candles for centerpieces, which can generally help cut down costs. There’s a lot of labor involved in real candles, but LED ones are great! 

Tips for transforming non-traditional venues for your wedding: interview with David Price of DEP Creative on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

Do you have some tips or tricks you can share to help couples use their budget wisely?

Sometimes you get caught up in too much detail. And you don’t need to get into so much detail. When it comes down to it, no one remembers the knife they used at your reception. You have tob be reasonable about yoru thought process. Like bar glassware: for cocktail hour, sure, do the nicer glass. But once you move to your tent, do a basic glass. You’ll have wine glasses out and people wont’ even notice what their drink is in. 

Some people want to do that wow effect throughout the evening. And you can, but do it at the point that you remember – like the big installations that are hanging all night, or the flowers right in the middle of the table. Whatever people are actually going to see and remember. 

Wrap-Up Question

For our listeners, what are some key points that couples should be considering when they’re transforming their space for decor?

I think first, if you’re doing a non-traditional space, or a non-traditional idea or design, you have to bring in some professionals to help you execute it. 

There’s so many great designers out there. What makes the designer better than another designer is logistics. A lot of people can make things pretty, but pretty doesn’t mean that the right correct flow in the tent, or in the building. 

Figure out what’s important to you, and how to divide your budget to get the most important thing.

Tips for transforming non-traditional venues for your wedding: interview with David Price of DEP Creative on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

What We Discussed

How to create the atmosphere you want at a non-vene (6:48)

Lighting non-traditional venues (26:27)

Design insights (32:00)

Wrap-Up Question (1:04:55)

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Find DEP Creative at Website | Instagram 

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