While traditional church or backyard weddings are certainly lovely, there is a strong trend towards using alternative venues for weddings. Places such as a park, castle, farm or other location that have meaning for the couple are becoming increasingly popular. If you are planning a wedding, consider having your ceremony are one of these somewhat unconventional locales.
There’s just something romantic about sand on your feet and the gentle lapping of the waves hitting the beach. You don’t have to live in Florida or California to enjoy a beach wedding. Great Lakes and East Coast beaches are equally appealing. You can even create a romantic ceremony at the edge of a lake.
Beach weddings also have the advantage of being more casual, a big plus for that bride and groom who don’t particularly like getting dressed up in formal wear.
If you enjoy the rustic charm of the outdoors, consider a farm setting for your wedding. Some farms rent their properties for special events. Plus, there are farm-themed wedding venues with converted barns, petting zoos for the little ones and plenty of woods and pasture that make great settings for your wedding photos.
Your guests will likely appreciate not having to go out and buy a new dress or suit if you opt for a farm wedding. The dress code and the reception menu is casual and fun.
Castles aren’t just for royalty. Many cities have historic mansions or other elegant homes that you can rent for your wedding venue. You can even find some castle ruins for that eclectic outdoor wedding. A castle makes a great setting for that fantasy Disney wedding.
Most of America’s 400 national parks allow couples to host their wedding ceremony within the park. It’s important to plan early and you’ll need to apply for a permit. That keeps the park from being overrun with wedding parties on any given day. If you’ll be having your reception at the park also, be sure to review the park rules and regulations before you book your caterer. Some parks have strict limits to what you can and cannot bring into the park.
National parks that make a particularly lovely backdrop for a wedding include Yosemite National Park in California, Big Bend National Park in Texas, Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Renting a room in a museum for your wedding is another great alternative venue, especially if you and your spouse-to-be are art lovers. Most museums will limit your party to a specific room or section and most have rigid rules about where you can serve food and beverages. However, getting married at a museum means you have automatic decorations and your guests will have something interesting to do while you are having your wedding pictures taken.
Country weddings have a lot of appeal. Head out to a beautiful field to enjoy the sunshine, rustic charm and … alpacas?
Dragonfly Alpacas is a Maryland ranch that’s home to several of these friendly, fuzzy Peruvian creatures. The venue specializes in down-home, intimate settings and offers event space from May through November, for up to 130 guests. The grounds are filled with lush gardens, charming ponds, a farmhouse dating back to 1910 and other beautiful scenery. Just make sure one of the farm’s gentle denizens doesn’t steal the show!
If you’re like most fiancees, you take your partner’s breath away. But you’ve probably never considered handing them a SCUBA tank to make up for it.
Over the years, the Georgia Aquarium has hosted several weddings. Couples love to pose with for photos with colorful fish, curious octopi and other underwater creatures. But in 2016, Justin and Crystal Reynolds proposed something unusual to the aquarium’s staff: a wedding at the bottom of the 6.3 million gallon Ocean Voyager habitat.
The aquarium gave the go-ahead, and the couple married underwater, with breathing gear and heavy weights to keep Crystal’s tiara from floating away. Why share your first dance surrounded by party guests when you can have manta rays on your dance floor, instead?
You probably don’t associate bowling alleys with high-class events. But Pinstripes is different. This chain owns businesses in some of America’s most upper-crust neighborhoods and offers bocce and a full high-end bistro experience, in addition to bowling.
Pinstripes hosts many events, including weddings, private meetings and other parties. They’re dedicated to the idea that upper-class dining and entertainment don’t have to be stuffy or dull. Besides, what could be better than getting a strike in a wedding gown?
You can’t board a starship for your wedding. (Elon Musk is still working on it.) So why not something a little closer to home? If you’re a Trekkie, a Star Trek-themed wedding is a dream come true.
There’s no out-of-the-box plan for a Star Trek wedding, so you’ll have to do like Gerald and Stormy Milewski did and improvise. A fan convention is a great setting, and of course Starfleet uniforms are a must. The show’s epic, sweeping music themes make great music to walk down the aisle to, and a creative baker can put together a retro-future cake for you. Just make sure the bar’s stocked with plenty of Romulan ale, and any pon farr duels should take place off the dance floor.
No, not on Niagara Falls. Anyone can do that. Getting hitched underneath the famous falls takes daring, a real delight for optics — and, of course, a willingness to get a little wet. Jim and Pam from “The Office” did it, and you can, too!
Maid of the Mist is a company that will wed any Canadian citizens (sorry, Americans) who book a wedding trip on one of their eponymous cruise ships. Rev. MacQuarrie and the ship he works on have brought countless intrepid couples beneath this thundering waterfall to take their vows. He’ll help you take the plunge, too.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to art museums, car museums, botanical gardens, toy museums and even quirky venues like quilt museums also make fun and memorable venues.
If you’re looking to make your wedding stand out from other ceremonies you’ve attending recently, consider having your wedding at a non-traditional venue, such as a park, castle or beach. You’ll be creating memories not only for you and your spouse, but for your friends and family as well.
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