Waddington Alley

Waddington Alley
Waddington Alley, Downtown Victoria | At just $200/day, this 520 sqft space can accommodate 50 guests and boasts a small kitchen so you can get your catering on. Bonus that it’s in a very trendy and historic neighbourhood.

Waddington Alley

Waddington Alley
Waddington Alley, Downtown Victoria | At just $200/day, this 520 sqft space can accommodate 50 guests and boasts a small kitchen so you can get your catering on. Bonus that it’s in a very trendy and historic neighbourhood.

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RF Studios, Steveston Richmond | Photography studios have the built-in asset of having well-lit, white spaces for your photography. With a loading bay to get large items inside, you could really transform this 3000 sqft space. 250 guests, $600/day

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Propaganda Coffee – Chinatown Vancouver | The openness and contemporary touches here are exquisite. The 1600 sqft space can host 50 people, starting at $400/day, but you have to be out by midnight, or poof! You turn into a coffee bean.

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Oko – Gastown Vancouver | This brick-walled beauty has over 3500 sqft of space and while the floor reminds us of our elementary school gym, it’s definitely got an industrial flair. Oko can host 300 guests for $1000/day

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Donnelly Hospitality Space – Downtown Vancouver | You could host a really amazing 40’s themed wedding in this 4200 sqft space. Rental starts at $1500/day, but Donnelly offers additional services including food, drink and staffing.

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Ed’s Daily A Commissary – Downtown Eastside Vancouver | The massive open kitchen at this café will attract foodie couples because the possibilities are endless. With 1300 sqft of industrial-chic space, guests will not leave hungry. Inquire for pricing.

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West 7 Studios – Mount Pleasant Vancouver | This warehouse-style studio is bare bones, but that’s what makes it so great. With 2000 sqft to transform, you could liven the space up with some gorgeous floral suspensions from their rafters. Inquire for price

Click through to see some of our favourite spots currently listed on thisopenspace

If you’re anything like us, you spend an absurd amount of time on Pinterest each week, scouring the posts for inspiration for your upcoming nuptials. Here in B.C. we’re lucky to have countless options when it comes to wedding venues, but finding that specific, perfect from your soul to your toes, space to transform for one of the largest events you may ever plan—that can be tricky to find.

Ellen Janscht, head of marketing at thisopenspace says they think people all over the world (and in Vancouver) have just incredible ideas. We couldn’t agree more. With the right venue for a wedding, whether it’s for 10 or for 200 people, couples here have some brilliant ideas.

thisopenspace collects local short-term rentals in one place, so you can browse and be inspired for your big day. Here are some pro tips to help make selecting a venue and planning your wedding a little bit easier.

Find the right price

This goes for any kind of venue rental, but having a budget and sticking to it is important. On thisopenspace, “you can definitely book out a space for $8,000 but you can also find a space for considerably less,” says Jantsch. The really brilliant part of this is that you may find a space that is under budget, leaving you with more to spend on décor, florals, music or food.

Think About Extras

One thing to be wary of when booking an unconventional space, is the necessity to plan for the extras. Unlike a hotel, golf course, or any other traditional wedding venue, when booking a space through thisopenspace, you may have to consider the extras, like a wetbar, A/V for your DJ and music, lighting (if the existing lighting doesn’t fit your mood), staging area or kitchen.

According to Jantsch there’s a whole spectrum of listings on their site, and with that comes an array of how much hosts offer in terms of planning for music, food, and even bathroom accessibility. Hosts may provide planning services, but some spaces are blank canvases where you have to bring everything in. “You really have to consider how much planning you want to do as an individual,” says Jantsch. While every detail can be organized yourself, those details can be time-consuming.

When it comes to securing permits like a liquor license, Jantsch recommends a three-month window. “That’s a huge runway,” she says. “But why add unnecessary stress in case a license doesn’t come through? It leaves enough of a window to work out a contingency plan.”

Online vs Face-time

We don’t need to tell you that people live on their phones these days. You see it everywhere you go. Everything from the browsing to the confirmation, to the planning of details can be done online through thisopenspace’s online messaging portal. “But we do step in, especially if a guest is feeling anxious or nervous or wants our feedback,” Jantsch tells Real Weddings.

Most of the communication is between the host and the couple (or planner). Hosts are responsible for helping to organize the events, answering couples’ questions. You’ll often see a string of messages that go on and on like an IM chat, with questions like ‘How many bathrooms are there? Is the venue wheelchair accessible? Do I need a permit? Do you have a catering list you’d recommend?’ “And our hosts are always there to walk a guest through it,” says Jantsch.

And if you prefer some face-time to ease any worry about the process, just ask. “Our hosts are rockstars,” says Jantsch, which is a comforting thought if you’re planning an outside-the-box event.

Know the Restrictions

The spaces listed on thisopenspace are required to list restrictions in their description. “Weddings are pretty universally accepted,” says Jantsch, but it’s worth reading a space’s description to avoid time wasted.

When you’re booking a space, there’s also some other things to keep in mind. City bylaws regarding liquor licenses, crowd-control, noise and hours could affect how late and how loud you can celebrate. If you want your wedding to go on till 4 am, confirm that the venue is ok with it. The host will know best what’s permitted on their property.

Room to Grow

While thisopenspace got its start in Vancouver, it’s expanded to Toronto and Brooklyn as well. The listings are not restricted to these major cities, however, so if you’re looking for a unique space in Victoria, Steveston or North Vancouver, take a peek around the site.

And thisopenspace has major plans to expand over the next few years. “Now that we have our new custom platform up and running, expanding to new areas, within Canada as well as across the United States is definitely on our roadmap,” Jantsch tells Real Weddings. The company receives a lot of referrals from their host community, but they also do outreach. “We get so excited about finding those hidden gems that would take someone going door to door a ton of effort.”

Venue Trends

There’s a mix of spaces available to rent on thisopenspace, from art studios, to boutiques, to yoga studios; but the industrial warehouse setting is still very popular. “They’re not overly fancy,” says Jantsch. “They create such a rustic vibe that you can really transform. And I feel like people are really drawn to that.”

But the real trend, according to Jantsch, is not just the physical space itself. “As a community we seem to be shifting to creating these really intimate experiences that are about engagement, interacting with the people you love and care about, and the community and life that you want to build,” she tells Real Weddings. “And the ability to find a space that feels like you, feels like your partner, feels like the people that you love and care about, is the ultimate reward.”