Photo: Chad Fahnestock Photography
Some couples dream about having a fairy tale wedding at a sprawling estate or a lavish country club. Others want a rustic wedding in an old church or barn.
Some couples have their heart set on throwing an urban chic wedding in their favorite city.
Gone are the days of throwing the wedding your parents want you to have.
Today, it’s all about doing what YOU want and making your wedding your own.
More and more couples are scrapping the idea of the traditional wedding in favor of one with an industrial vibe.
An urban setting. Chic decor. A blend of masculine and feminine elements. The industrial chic wedding isn’t a fleeting trend — couples from the east coast to the west coast are embracing it with open arms.
If you’re getting ready to plan your urban-inspired wedding, here are the elements that nail the industrial-style wedding vibe.
What is Industrial Chic?
Photo: Elevate Photography
What exactly is industrial chic? You may not know the term, but you definitely know the look.
The industrial chic aesthetic mixes specific architectural elements. It's a combination of features like exposed brick, exposed pipes, over-sized windows, and hardwood or concrete floors.
Think about what an old Brooklyn warehouse or Denver factory looks like — that’s the industrial part. Add elegant accents, purposeful lighting, and modern elements — that’s how you make it chic.
It’s neither masculine nor feminine. It can be casual or formal. It’s all about blending different textures and materials to create a vintage-meets-modern look. When it’s done right, it makes for a fabulous backdrop for a memorable wedding!
An Industrial Chic Wedding Needs an Industrial Space
Photo: Colorado Wedding Productions
The easiest way to pull off this look is to find an industrial venue. What exactly does that look like?
Some might call an industrial chic venue a “raw” space.
It’s not so much about what it contains … it’s more about what it doesn’t.
An industrial wedding venue does not have wall-to-wall patterned carpets like the ones you see in country club dining rooms. The floors will be hardwood or concrete.
It does not have voluminous, gathered drapes with pleated valances and ornate tie-backs. It’s more likely that you’ll have large windows with no coverings at all.
It looks nothing like Versailles — there won’t be ornate accents or gilded candelabra wall sconces. While it may have a slightly retro feel, it certainly doesn’t look traditional or colonial — don’t expect to see any crown molding or wainscoting.
In an industrial space, less is always more.
To pull off this wedding vibe, look for a venue that feels like an old warehouse, brewery, or book-binding facility.
When you visit the space, close your eyes. Can you imagine men and women working hard on vintage machinery? That’s the vibe you want!
If all you can imagine is debutantes dancing in ball gowns, you’re not in an industrial chic space.
Looking for the perfect industrial wedding venue?
Check out Mile High Station!
Elements of an Industrial Chic Wedding
Photo: Libbie Holmes Photography
What does industrial wedding decor look like? We have some ideas.
Throwing an industrial chic wedding offers endless possibilities!
If you really want to nail this aesthetic, these are the elements you’ll want to keep in mind:
Set the Tone With Your Wedding Invitations
Your invitations are a chance to give your guests a sneak peek at your wedding style. If you’re going with an industrial chic wedding, your invitations should reflect that.
Opt for recycled paper or matte paper instead of glossy paper. Skip the traditional calligraphy in favor of clean, modern fonts. Instead of embossing your invitations with flowers, incorporate some old-time architectural illustrations.
Your color scheme alone can make a basic invitation look more industrial.
Ditch the bright pop colors and accents (fuchsia pink is NOT industrial). Think metallic accents in shades of pewter or copper against a neutral background, such as white, black, grey, or brown.
It’s All About the Lighting
Photo: Elevate Photography
An industrial wedding venue can be just as romantic as a castle or a grand estate. The best way to set a romantic mood is with the right lighting.
Elegant chandeliers provide the perfect contrast against stark elements such as exposed brick and visible duct-work. They can be glam and glitzy or simple and understated, as long as they include plenty of soft white light bulbs. A few chandeliers alone can add instant glamour and drama to your reception space.
Fairy lights and string lights with exposed bulbs also pair well with this aesthetic. You can string them in rows from the ceiling or drape them from windows to create a whimsical ambiance and a gorgeous backdrop for photos.
If there’s any type of lighting that captures the essence of the industrial vibe, it’s the Edison bulb. Suspend them as pendants from the ceiling or string them in rows against a wall.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the candles! Mercury glass votives, metal tealight holders, and pillar candles can add a stylish look to your table settings.
Photo: Elevate Photography
No matter what type of vibe you’re going for, wedding flowers are a must. That doesn’t mean you need to have those generic rose arrangements we’ve all seen a thousand times.
Skip the roses in favor of something a bit more modern, like calla lilies or orchids.
Not a big fan of flowers? That’s okay too. Natural greenery makes a fabulous alternative.
Flowers and greenery are the perfect way to add soft contrast to the architectural elements of an industrial event space.
Look through any industrial chic wedding board on Pinterest and you’ll see many geometric shapes. The hard edges of triangles, rectangles, and octagons just seem to pair nicely with industrial wedding themes.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate some geometric designs into your wedding:
Say Your “I Dos” Under a Geometric Arch
Your wedding arch doesn’t have to be a semi-circle. A triangle, hexagon, or octagon will give your ceremony a more industrial look.
A geometric arch makes a bold statement during your nuptials and sets the mood for your entire day. You can decorate it with greenery, drape it with flowers, or wrap it with lights.
We’ve seen DIY wedding arches made of everything from wood to copper pipes. This is a great chance to get creative. If you want to say your vows against a one-of-a-kind ceremony backdrop, this is the way to go.
Hang Shapes from the Ceiling or on the Wall
Metal circles, pyramids, and triangles make great hanging decorations.
You can embellish them with greenery or flowers to soften them or leave them as is to create a mesmerizing design.
Decorate Your Tables with Geometric Accents
You can also add geometric elements to your tablescapes and centerpieces.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match different shapes together — the more dimension and texture you create, the more interesting it will be.
Wooden floors and wooden elements almost always play a role in industrial chic designs. However, wood alone gives off a purely rustic vibe; to add that industrial flair, you’ll need to include some metal accents as well.
There’s nothing more industrial than metal. In fact, of all the materials you’ll find in an industrial space, metal is the most important one. It is super easy to add metallic elements into your big day.
Metal table numbers, metal candleholders, metal tealights, dining chairs, and signage. There are endless ways to incorporate metallic details into your wedding reception.
Don’t be afraid to mix different colored metals. Pewter, copper, brass, nickel … they’re all neutrals you can mix and match!
Ready to book your industrial wedding space? Contact us today!
Photo: From The Hip
Too much wood looks rustic. Too much metal can look stark. Too much concrete can feel hard and cold. However, combine them all together and you have one chic, industrial space!
By mixing several materials and textures into your theme, you’ll be able to create depth and dimension in your reception space.
So get creative. Combine lights with flowers and metal accents with wood details. Remember: your individual elements don’t need to match, but they do need to coordinate.
Not sure if you have the skills to mix and match all of the necessary elements together? Don’t worry — that’s what wedding planners are for!
Skip the Chair Covers
In an industrial chic wedding, less is more, especially when it comes to chairs.
There’s no need to cover your chairs with slipcovers. Instead, choose metal chairs or wooden chairs that have a vintage quality of their own. They’ll play well against the bare bones of the space and provide some much-needed contrast.
Tablecloths are optional. A draped white tablecloth always looks clean and chic. As long as your chairs aren’t covered by a swath of fabric, your tables can be.
Don’t like the look of tablecloths? You can use table linens, place settings, and centerpieces to make them look rich and full.
Get Creative With Fabric
Photo: Mike Larson
Like flowers and ambient lighting, a little bit of fabric can add depth, texture, and drama to an industrial space.
Dress your wedding arch with soft layers of chiffon. Hang some sheer layers from the ceiling above your dance floor. Drape a wide piece from the ceiling to the floor to create a soft, romantic backdrop for photos.
As with all the elements of your industrial chic wedding, stick to a neutral color palette in shades of white, grey, ivory, and brown. Neutrals look elegant paired with a variety of wood textures and metallic accents.
Make Sure Your Photographer Captures Unique Photos
You’re probably going to put much thought and effort (and a good amount of money) into planning your wedding day. Make sure your photographer gets tons of photos of you around the venue — including outside.
Get bridal party and couples’ photos on the front steps, against a brick wall, or strolling through the parking lot. If there’s a metal stairway or a fire escape outside, make use of it.
Unless you have your heart set on a particular photographer, hire one who partners with your venue on a regular basis. They’ll be familiar with the space and will know which spots make for the best photos!
Have Fun With Your Food
Photo: Elevate Photography
Your wedding dinner is a personal choice. We’re not here to tell you what to serve or how to serve it. However, you should know this: an industrial chic wedding offers a variety of options that a traditional ballroom wedding does not.
If you want a classic three-course meal, go for it. If you want your wedding to feel more like a fun celebration than a traditional affair, opt for stations and passed hors d’oeuvres instead.
A ballroom wedding might lend itself to a classic buffet or a sit-down dinner; but an open, industrial space offers much more versatility.
When it comes to your wedding cake, don’t feel like you need to have a traditional, three-tiered wedding cake. Cupcakes, gourmet donuts, or even handmade ice cream sandwiches make great alternatives for desserts.
A perfect industrial wedding requires you to find a certain type of balance.
The first step is to find an industrial event space, then start adding in the chic elements.
Metal accents. Geometric decor. Draped fabric. A bold wedding arch or altar. Mixed materials. Flowers and greenery. Ambient lighting.
Combine your wedding decor and industrial elements in the right way and your wedding will be one that your guests never forget!
For more chic wedding ideas and other event inspirations, check out the Mile High Station Blog!