Small Wedding Venues: Say “I Do” at an Art Gallery

Art Gallery Wedding Peabody Essex MuseumAre you an artsy type? Why not have your wedding reception at an art gallery?

A few years ago, art gallery weddings were about as fringe as Mohawk hairdos. But as popularity of more personalized and intimate weddings has risen, so has the need for unique venues. Art galleries across North America have quickly caught on and many are now marketing themselves as ideal places to hold a wedding reception.

Both large and small galleries offer rental space for weddings – and many offer full blown wedding packages. If you are more the DIY type, there are plenty of galleries that will let you ‘have at it’ for your wedding day.

Christian and Elizabeth found a gallery near their hometown that was a perfect spot for their 64-guest Christmas-themed reception.

“I am very big into the arts,” says Elizabeth.

The Historic Arts Centre of Tolland in Tolland, CT is not just a home to some great local art, the building itself is a feast for the eyes.

“The museum was unbelievable the first time we walked into it. It has huge windows … the tin ceiling was spectacular and also original to the building. The wood floors were perfect for dancing and the two huge colonial chandeliers were the perfect centerpiece for the room,” says Elizabeth. “To top it off, there was art from local artists throughout the building. Many of the pieces were landscapes of the towns we grew up in.”

Elizabeth says the cost of renting the space was only $500. However, the couple had to handle all of the reception essentials like chair, table and linen rentals. They also decorated the venue themselves – which was easy because of the Christmas theme.

“The night before my wedding we had our rehearsal dinner at the art gallery. My wedding party, parents and Christian’s aunt and uncle all worked together to decorate the hall. We had pizza, beer and goodies as well as Christmas music to make it a fun atmosphere,” she says. “Aside from catering and flowers, we did everything ourselves. I believe that is one of the reasons my wedding was so special. I knew exactly the amount of effort that went into everything.”

Elizabeth says that prior to dinner, guests toured the gallery space, canapés and cocktails in hand.

“People really enjoyed it … It added a personal touch. A few of the guests were even inquiring about purchasing some pieces,” she says.

If you are looking for art gallery space to have your reception, contact local art galleries to see if they are available. Even if a gallery doesn’t advertise rental space for weddings, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not open to the idea.

Some questions to ask:

· How many guests can the venue accommodate?
· How many washrooms are there?
· Do you supply tables, chairs and linens?
· What about a caterer?
· Is alcohol allowed?
· Can we have music? What about a live band?
· Will guests be allowed to tour the venue? What if they want to make a purchase?
· How many hours are included in the rental?
· Is there ample parking?
· Are there any limitations on decorating the venue?
· Do you have pictures of past weddings held at the gallery?

Photo: Peabody Essex Museum – East India Square Salem, MA

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