Once upon a time, meeting halls and ballrooms were the most obvious locations for wedding receptions. Not anymore. Today’s venues often have a deeper meaning. This contributes toward making your wedding memories even more special. Any area with a large enough space is a contender, so think creatively.
As a bonus, these venues are often cheaper than the traditional alternatives. But not always. Many times, they will require extras that the all-inclusive locations do not. For that reason, it’s important to include all expenses when comparing costs.
Some locations will need equipment to make them event ready. Consider if you will need any of the following:
Porta Potties, tables and chairs, tents, electric generators, insurance, permits, security, extra vendor fees, additional rentals.
Also, if yours is a location that does not usually host catered events, do an informal walkthrough as part of the planning process. Mentally go through the steps of setting up for the reception and focus on the services you need for each stage. Check for adequate electrical outlets, sinks with water, refrigeration, etc.
Now that you’re prepared to compare, what are your different options? Here are 76 ideas ranging from wholly unorthodox to more commonplace:
Places with Significant Meaning to You
Your wedding is one of the most personal events in your life as a couple. Infuse it with even more meaning by choosing a location with special significance.
1. Movie theater, 2. Restaurant, 3. Where you met
Your own home or that of family or a friend may be the perfect solution for your wedding. There is no rental cost! Here are some options.
4. Backyard, 5. Barn, 6. Field, 7. Houseboat, 8. Vacation or second home
Also, consider renting a privately-owned location. Sometimes the owner may already do this.
To check Airbnb, first search your location for spaces accommodating 16 guests or more (the max number Airbnb lists). Then refine the search by choosing “Suitable for Events.” This option is currently listed under “More Filters, House Rules.” Each host will explain their arrangements in the listing.
9. Loft or apartment, 10. Mansion or estate, 11. The rooftop of a large building, 12. Yacht
Hobby Related Places
What better way to highlight your hobby than having the reception at a related location.
13. Airplane hangar, 14. Art studio, 15. Baseball stadium, 16. Bowling alley, 17. Campground, 18. Casino, 19. Golf course, 20. Gym, 21. Library, 22. Horse stables, 23. Hunting cabin, 24. Motorcycle dealership, 25. Photography studio, 26. Pool hall, 27. Racetrack, 28. Ski lodge, 29. Tennis court
Nature has crafted some of the most interesting places to have a wedding. Here are some considerations.
30. Canyon or valley, 31. Cave, 32. Lake or river shore, 33. Mountain, 34. Natural landmark, 35. Woods or forest
Business Owned Locations
Certain businesses can provide an interesting backdrop for a wedding. Some will welcome the extra business related to a private event.
36. Amusement park, 37. Brewery, 38. Company office, 39. Concert hall, 40. Theater, 41. Resort, 42. Retreat center, 43. Vineyard, 44. Warehouse, 45. Winery, 46. Festival
Government Owned Facilities
City, county, or federal facilities are often able to rent out space for private events. Explore these possibilities.
47. City hall, 48. Community center, 49. Current federal or city building, 50. Lighthouse
Membership DOES have its privileges. So if you belong to a club, went to college, or work in a specialized profession, consider these.
51. Forest preserve, 52. Monument, 53. National, state, city, or county park, 54. Public gardens, 55. Restored federal or city building, 56. Church, 57. Clubhouse, 58. Fraternal organization meeting place
Choosing a venue with a lot of visual appeal can add value in two ways. You may save money on decorations, plus gain interesting photo opportunities.
59. Fire station, 60. Police station, 61. Sorority or fraternity house, 62. Union hall, 63. University, 64. Veteran’s hall, 65. Aquarium, 66. Art gallery, 67. Beach, 68. Botanical Garden, 69. Castle, 70. Festival, 71. Garden, 72. Historical site (National Registry of Historic Places is here, 73. Manmade landmark, 74. Museum–art, history, science, 75. Old cathedral, 76. Zoo
If you are having your wedding at a unique venue or have more ideas, comment on the blog post below.