Not so long ago, not so far away, weddings were a formal affair. Big church, big puffy sleeves, big cake and lots of punch! Crowds of friends and family—with their shoulder pads and feathered bangs—would settle into a traditional, formal room. Think: hotel ballroom, church basement, country club. Someone would surely do the cabbage patch.
Today’s bride and groom seem to flock from tradition and formality to more fun, unique spaces (and less hair spray): mountainsides or valleys, performing arts venues, galleries, museums, bars or historic sites. There are no boundaries.
And arguably the coolest and most modern of venues for a Colorado couple these days? A loft. We like to think of it as “warehouse chic” or “industrial swank.” The loft-like venue is recognized by brick walls, hardwood floors, possibly some exposed duct work and elements of concrete. It’s a bit funky and totally urban, but with the right décor and crowd, a loft space can offer an unforgettable setting for your wedding day.
With that in mind, we scoured the Front Range of Colorado to find some amazing loft-style options.
900 S Pearl St., Denver
When the Wash Park Studio is not being used for photography shoots, it becomes a cool, youthful wedding venue. Here, big windows offer natural light, and the red brick walls, hickory floors and exposed ceiling beams create a contemporary, comfortable and casual vibe. And because it’s not amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Denver, there’s plenty of parking.
Pricing: According to the website, $250 per hour. Four-hour minimum.
Perks: Two bathrooms, fireplace, high-end sound system and an open kitchen, which is perfect for a bar set up. Oh, and there’s a newly finished downstairs with a shuffleboard table.
In the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver
The Studio Loft is a fairly new space within the massive Denver Performing Arts Complex, and it’s partially used as a performance venue for local theater groups. It’s 8,000 square feet with cathedral ceilings, original brick walls and a wood dance floor. There is a smaller are with a bar—complete with rough concrete that contrasts beautifully with contemporary lighting fixtures. It’s a big space, holding nearly 500 people. See more of The Studio Loft here.
Pricing: 350 max seated/ 500+ reception; $7,500-$10,000 F&B minimum (before tax and service); $300-$1,000 rental: includes all tables, chairs, linen (white/black), votives, etc; $300-$700 stewarding: includes all set up and tear down of event space; and plated meals start at $50 per person for 2 course dinner.
Perks: Built in AV: Large screen and projector included in rental cost; full sound system with built in IPOD hookups and can build a stage in space for no additional cost. The location is very convenient as it’s in the heart of Denver—near countless hotels and public transportation. The space is also managed by the folks at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House, so prepare for some delicious goodies and professional staff.
3. McNichols Civic Center Building (pictured above)
144 West Colfax, Denver
I first saw the interior of the McNichols building during a huge installation art exhibit a couple years ago. The ominous structure was built in 1910, when it served as Denver’s first library. More recently, it sat as one giant vacant monstrosity amid more active landmarks: the Capitol building, Denver Art Museum and the Denver Library. Taken over by Arts & Venues Denver, which also oversees Red Rocks, the space has been transformed, opened up and made cool. Each floor—there are three, plus a garden—gives off an industrial vibe with steel beams, concrete and white walls. The three different floors have their own unique personalities and spaces, and there are even historic touches throughout the building, including an old staircase and beautiful tile work.
Pricing: According to the website, Sunday-Thursday before 5pm is $2,500; Thursday 5pm-Saturday is $3,500 for six hours. Fees not included.
Perks: Your rental includes access to 35 round tables and 350 chairs, 15 banquet tables, bride’s room with private restroom and two security staff. In-house speakers covering all floors and wired microphone with stand.
Above the Rio, Mountain Ave., Fort Collins
While The Agave Room is not at all industrial, it is actually a loft. With yellow walls and pretty molding, this space is light and airy and primed for parties. Of course, it sits atop the first ever Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant (a business that started in Fort Collins more than two decades ago and now has numerous locations in Colorado and beyond). Here, tequila flows like water. That may or may not be ideal for your wedding, but it is an excellent room that can be transformed quite easily (I once attended a jazzercise-themed birthday party here).
Perks: Proximity is a perk here; The Rio is a major anchor of downtown Fort Collins, and it’s the nightlife counterpoint. Also, you basically have the famous Rio marg on tap (not literally on tap, but close) for your guests.
2027 Lower Colfax Ave., Denver
I won’t go on and on here because, well, Mile High Station is getting lots of attention these days. And the historic-cum-event space is totally deserving. It’s a very cool venue with lots of personality (it’s the former home to Midwest Steel and Ironworks) and historic charm. Here, you’ll find the old brick exterior walls, I-beam structure and original equipment. Plus, a balcony looks over a large open space that was just made for dancing (well, probably not).
Perks: Cool brick bar and balcony, complimentary parking, historic charm and beautiful lighting fixtures.