unique wedding venues

Photo from cariberry via photopin cc

Do you and your fiancé turn up your nose at the idea of a traditional hotel wedding? And does the idea of a church wedding bore both of you to death?

If so, then you're what most people like to call a "non-traditional" couple.

For you, the tried-and-true venue just isn't going to cut it. It's not unique enough for your vision of your wedding day. After all, you only get married once, right? Why waste the day in a setting others always default to?

We couldn't agree more. And because we're in the business, we've put a list together of some of the most unique wedding venues you could ever dream of.  Seriously, some of these get a little wacky.

Check out this list for inspiration when you just can't find anything but those snore-worthy chapels and hotel ballrooms:

1. Performance Venues

Perfect for the couple who loves the arts, performance venues bring your wedding to life with dramatic flair.

Consider your local opera houses, symphony halls, or theaters (not the big-screen kind, though these could work if you're really into movies). Many of these host private events on a regular basis, and can easily help you get your big day set up there.

Since they're unique wedding venues to choose from, it's also more likely you'll get your chosen date reserved!

Performance Wedding Venues

Photo from Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

2. National Parks

Yes, you can get married in a national park if that's your thing.

Most parks allow ceremonies in various locations within their boundaries; check out the National Parks Service website for  more details on the park you're interested in.

Keep in mind, these venues tend to have lots of permits and requirements attached, such as limited guest attendance and little-to-no decorations allowed. So make sure you do your research before choosing this venue option.

National Parks: Wedding Venues

Photo from Emery Co Photo via photopin cc

3. Other Natural Settings

National parks still too cliche for you?

If you're a big fan of the outdoors, consider a natural setting that will provide that extra "wow" factor you're looking for.

For example, you could fly to Alaska and get married on a glacier, or get married on your local mountaintop. Even more niche and unique wedding venues would be settings like volcanoes or caves!

Natural Setting Wedding Venues

Photo from framboise via photopin cc

4. Zoos or Animal Parks

Can't afford to travel to Africa for that safari wedding you were hoping for?

Don't worry about it; look into your local zoo or animal park instead. These venues are usually open to private events and can give you that exotic, animal-filled vibe you were hoping for.

You may even get to feed a giraffe after you say "I do."

unique wedding venues

Photo from cariberry via photopin cc

5. Favorite Buildings/Architecture

Though hotels and churches are of course buildings, think way outside box here.

We're talking unique wedding venues in architecture you won't ever forget. You might have a favorite location in mind, like that adorable wood bridge over the local stream, or even the towering Seattle Space Needle.

The only limit here is the location's rules and restrictions on events. Otherwise, don't assume that you can't get married in the Empire State Building!

Favorite Buildings/Architecture for a Wedding Venue

Photo from Several seconds via photopin cc

6. Museums, Art Galleries, or Libraries

Not a fan of the performance-based, artsy venues? You've got a few more options, then.

Your local museums, art galleries, or libraries are likely beautiful options for getting married in. You might even consider having a destination wedding to get married at a larger museum, like the Smithsonian, for example.

Keep in mind that you'll likely be given an event space, and visitors will still be admitted to the location because it is a public setting. If you don't mind being on display yourself, these are some great venue options!

How about a Museum, Art Gallery, or a Library for your Wedding Venue

Photo from SarahBanana.ix via photopin cc

7. Estates/Mansions

Yes, we know -- we're biased on this one.

Estate weddings and mansion weddings are making a big impact in the world of unique wedding venues. In fact, the Wall Street Journal just talked about how these locations are sought after because of their luxury and, well, uniqueness.

Look for an estate or mansion in your area with our estate locator, and start planning away.

Wedding Venues at Private Estates or Mansions

Photo by Estate Weddings and Events

8. Public Events

Not every couple wants their wedding to be a private affair.

If you're the kind of couple who wants the world to know your love, consider getting married at a public event. This could be anything from a "day in the park" to conventions to carnivals/state fairs. Or you can think even bigger; 33 couples got married at the Grammys this year!

Follow all local laws, and make sure that your nuptials won't be considered intrusive by the event's organizers or police force before you move forward with your plans.

Public Event Spaces for Wedding Venues

Photo from kevin dooley via photopin cc

9. Historical Buildings

Even though the U.S. of A. isn't that old of a country, we still have some beautiful old buildings.

No matter where you are in the U.S., it's likely there's a historical building in your area that's full of nostalgia and beauty all of its own. You can look at your state capitol, court buildings, historical houses, or even renovated hotels. Check the National Register of Historic Places.

Having a wedding here will definitely be memorable compared to getting married in another Hilton.

non-traditional wedding venues

Photo from Sean Molin Photography via photopin cc

10. Castles

Want to take things up a notch from an estate or mansion? Try a castle.

Castles can be found around the world, and are elegant and grand options if you're looking for unique wedding venues. There are even castles in the U.S. you can choose from if you don't want to go all the way to Ireland or Germany, for example.

Plus, if you're a big fan of fairytale-themed weddings, this is the perfect setting for that!

Castle Wedding Venues

Photo via Venuelust

11. Amusement/Theme Parks

Yep, some people like getting married in theme parks.

Disneyland, Six Flags, Cedar Point, and many other amusement parks are unique wedding venues for the couple who loves feeling like a kid all over again. And sometimes that's the vibe you want at your wedding, anyway, the celebratory, "let's have fun on the roller coaster" type.

This is also a great option if you want your guests to have a full vacation after your wedding day, as they can stay in the area and have a few extra days of fun to themselves!

Amusement/Theme Parks Wedding Venues

Photo from Express Monorail via photopin cc

12. Ships

Ever thought about getting married on the sea, instead of next to it?

If so, it's anchors away for you, because you could get married on a ship. Cruises can often hold wedding ceremonies, or you can opt for stationary ships like the Queen Mary in San Diego or even a pirate ship like the Black Raven in Florida!

Historically, ship captains were deigned to perform wedding ceremonies, so even though you're following in a long-standing tradition, your venue will be anything but.

Ship Wedding Venues

Photo from Kevin Labianco via photopin cc

13. Gardens

Don't overlook that last outdoor option if you're a nature fan: gardens.

Flower gardens, topiary gardens, botanical gardens, and even sculpture gardens make excellent settings for a classy wedding day. Though a bit more traditional than some of these other venues, garden ceremonies aren't the default option for the majority of couples today, so you still have the corner on the market.

Plus, they come mostly pre-decorated, which can reduce your stress.

Garden Wedding Venues

Photo from Estate Weddings and Events

14. Extremes

Last but not least are those unique wedding venues that aren't necessarily venues.

These "locations" are the kind the couple chooses because they're so extreme, no ordinary couple would ever think of them. For example, you could get married while skydiving, climbing Mount Everest, or floating in a space station.

Your only limitation here is what you can realistically afford and do. Otherwise, the sky's the limit (literally).

Extreme Wedding Venues: skydiving, climbing Mount Everest, or floating in a space station

Photo from alwaysmnky via photopin cc

Your Turn...

There's no reason to have a "normal" wedding in a hotel or church when all of these unique wedding venues are available to you. And 20 years from now, when you look back at your photos, you're guaranteed to still feel satisfied with your wedding location.

How many hotel ballroom or church couples can say that?

Which of these unique wedding venues was your favorite, and why?