Someone Else’s Wedding: Art Factory in Paterson, NJ
Weddings make you think about doing things you never thought you would do.
Like get married in New Jersey.
Nick and I decided pretty early on that we wanted to find a large industrial space to hold our wedding. It made a lot of sense for us- as people who installed a laser cutter in our apartment and have more chunks of lumber than furniture, I couldn’t exactly see us getting married in a country club or a fancy hotel, or really, anywhere that’s nice and clean and not a complete project. It had to be a factory.
The Northeast, and obviously, NYC, is full of huge industrial complexes. Unfortunately for us, the past 5 years has seen a lot of city couples wanting to get married in similar space, so the options within the city limits are expensive and constantly booked. So we expanded our search.
I came across the Art Factory on Google, and despite the fact that it’s located in Paterson, NJ (which Urban Dictionary entries describe as “one of the most ghetto cities in the United States” and a “stinking, crack infested, deteriorating northern Jersey cesspool”), it caught my eye. We made a trip out there in early April to check it out.
Ok, so despite the fact that the city is less than idyllic, the Art Factory is pretty great. While in a previous life, it served as a textile mill, it’s now run by a genial, enthusiastic, mobster-ish dude with slick hair, and is home to a huge number of artist studios and gallery spaces. The most appealing part is the versatility and ability to customize. There are about 16 different spaces available for event rental, ranging in size from about 1,000 sq ft to over 17,000 sq ft.
And it’s affordable. For example, one of our favorite spaces at the Art Factory, the Linen Gallery, is $1800 to rent for a saturday. It’s 10,000 sq ft, which could easily hold upwards of 600 people. Easily. Guess how much similar spaces in Brooklyn would cost for a Saturday rental? Oh, only about 8-10 times as much (that’s not an exaggeration).
I also was quite taken with some of the more unique vestigial traits of the converted factory, such as the way the building was just built right into the mountain. That means that there are several ground-floor spaces where one wall of the room is just the mountain face. It’s pretty amazing. The ground floor also features some cool vaults, holdovers from the pre-OSHA days, when the factory would just fill these super-reinforced vaults with extremely flammable fibers and hope for the best. But now they make great event spaces. Maybe just don’t light any candles.
Ultimately, we decided against the Art Factory for our wedding- we found a different space we love, and I was definitely not ready to hear, “By the power vested in me by the State of New Jersey…” But for the sake of this very cool complex and the struggling city around it, I hope that the Art Factory doesn’t remain a secret for long. Nothing excites me more than potential, and the Art Factory has it in spades.
*** Photography by Nick
Do you know what happened after your beautiful wedding? I contacted the Art Factory and they said they “don’t do” events like weddings…no explanation. I was so confused since I saw your post among others. Any ideas? Thanks.
Wow! No idea! We didn’t get married there, so the last contact we had was in spring of 2014- but I saw an Art Factory wedding on another blog (maybe Ruffled? or GWS?) in the last couple of months. That’s so weird! Maybe they decided it wasn’t worth the hassle- which is too bad, because it really is such a cool spot!
Sorry- I’m half asleep. I just realized you said you DID NOT get married here. Embarrassing. Any chance you could recommend a place LIKE this since you said you found somewhere else near by, though not in NJ.
No problem! Not embarrassing at all.
We got married at the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center and had a great experience. It was way cheaper than the other similar industrial-space options that we looked into- if you’re interested at seeing it in action, you can check out our photographer’s blog post (http://5weststudios.com/blog/kasia-and-nick-at-dye-works-gallery/)!
Something that I really liked about Garnerville was the very pretty creek area along the back of the property- we unfortunately didn’t get to use it as planned due to constant rain on our wedding day.
Another cool space is the Pocketbook Factory- it’s in Hudson, so it was just a little too far for us and a little more than we wanted to spend. But it’s owned by the same people who do the Metropolitan Building in Queens, so it’s got access to all the cool props.
Good luck! I hope you find something awesome!!
I’m so sad to hear that the Art Factory said they didn’t do weddings! (The city of Paterson has also shut down the Art Factory for the time being, so they may not be around for weddings in the future anyway.) I am also looking at large industrial spaces for our wedding, and I thought the Art Factory would be perfect. But, my fiancee’s family is from the Garnerville area, so now I’m really interested in the Garnerville Center and I’d love to know more details if you don’t mind sharing. (Feel free to e-mail me too!)
P.S. I’ve been poking around quite bit and I think our aesthetic is similar (to quote you, “Overly Ambitious and Difficult to Execute”). I love some of your ideas so much, I wish I had thought of them first!
Woah, what’s going on with that place (Art Factory)? Very sketchy.
I’ll definitely send you an email when I get a chance! If you already have family in the area, it sounds like it could be a perfect fit!
Thanks for stopping by and good luck with planning! You’ll hear from me soon.
Currently the art factory is “shut down” by the city for larger events due to safety violations and owed back taxes- this was actually my venue and I’m devastated we cant’ be married there. Trying to find an industrial space that’s logistically feasible to have a wedding is surprisingly VERY difficult. To often industrial starts to weirdly blur with “rustic” and it kills me- I’m many things- rustic isn’t it.
I’ve recently gotten engaged and stumbled upon your page while venue hunting.. after clicking around I LOVE the photos and feel of the Pocketbook Factory in hudson and can’t seem to find anything passed photos… any idea on their website/phone/contact information?
Are they under a larger name in terms of the warehouse? As I was clicking around, I was brought to the metropolitan house.. which I thought was jenni queens?
Anyway, sorry for blabbering, thanks again!!
You know, I was actually wondering the same thing recently. When we were looking over 2 years ago, I spoke to the guy who did bookings at Metropolitan Building (which is in Queens, as you pointed out), and at that time, Pocketbook Factory WAS in their portfolio. They had JUST started doing events there- we didn’t end up visiting it because we decided to stick a little closer to the metro area, but I’ve seen photos from a couple weddings there and it always looks gorgeous. A while ago, I was trying to send my friend the link, but it had disappeared from the Metropolitan Building website, and now it’s seemingly nowhere to be found! My best suggestion is to still contact Metropolitan Building and see if they have any further info on if they still own it, use it for events, etc…. But good luck! I’m sorry I can’t be of more help!
Hi, loved your wedding pics. Would you be kind enough to furnish me a contact regarding the space at Garnerville? Thank you!