It’s time to finally choose your wedding venue, but you already know the typical ballroom or hotel set-up isn’t for you. So, what are your options? Luckily, there are so many unique and amazing spaces out there that finding a non-traditional wedding venue that speaks to you isn’t nearly as hard as you’d think it would be.
What are the pros of a non-traditional wedding?
More people are realizing that they want their wedding to be a true reflection of their relationship and what they like rather than an event designed to meet the expectations of other people. A non-traditional wedding venue has a lot of great perks, including:
- Potentially lower cost
- More flexibility with scheduling
- A truer reflection of your personality (like the ability to take the party outdoors!)
Indoors or outdoors, simple or extravagant, we’ve come up with some of the best alternative wedding venues that speak to you and your partner’s interests and unique preferences.
Non-Traditional Wedding Venue Ideas
In your backyard
You can keep it simple and sweet, or go all out with the decorations.
My friends Ben + Luke held a super sweet and intimate backyard elopement at their own home in Minnesota! It was a great way to celebrate in their new house together, and invite their closest friends and family to cherish the moment with them.
A private rental home or a family member’s home
For those who want an intimate, unique vibe, this is a great option! Just make sure you check with the owner of the rental home to ensure it’s event-friendly.
Luckily, VRBO does have a great feature to help with this by filtering for properties that allow events.
On a boat, ship, or catamaran
Tie the knot and set sail on your new adventure as a married couple!
Renee + Preston had access to a large family boat, and eloped to a private island in the Bahamas. It was just the kind of water-focused elopement they dreamed of.
The great thing about this idea is that you can opt for a small rental for a group of guests, use one you already have access to through a friend/family member, or go all out and stay on a larger ship with lots of activities and amenities.
On a dock/pier by a lake
We love the idea of weddings at West Shore Cafe on Lake Tahoe.
The best part about the Tahoe area is that you can not only get married on the shore of the lake, but also head out onto the water easily, like on this vintage boat rental!
Sarah + Ryan said their vows on a dock on another lake nearby, and then sailed out at sunset for one amazing evening with their family together.
In the ocean
Yes, we said in! Underwater photos, anyone?
This option is ideal for water lovers who are extremely comfortable in the water, especially around wildlife. Renee + Preston eloped in the Bahamas and we got some amazing underwater portraits, including some photos with sting rays!
In a local, state, or national park
Who needs a ballroom when you can have mountains, rivers, valleys, and rock formations?
Whether you live near a county/state park you already love, or you dream of visiting a national park for your elopement you’ve never been to, there are thousands of great outdoor options for a completely non-traditional wedding day.
In a cave or cavern
Add a bit of mystery and drama to your ceremony by saying your vows among the stalactites and stalagmites.
At an orchard or farm
At a winery or vineyard
Sip and savor your first moments as a married couple at a romantic spot in California’s wine country. And there are plenty of vineyard venues to choose from — you can’t go wrong.
At the foot of a waterfall
Nothing says non-traditional wedding venue like a misty, magical backdrop. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite waterfalls if you need inspiration.
In an airplane hangar
This is the perfect wedding destination for aviation aficionados!
At a brewery or distillery
Just imagine string lights over a gorgeous patio as you say cheers to a lifetime of love.
At a castle or estate
In a botanical garden
Like stepping straight into a fairytale, this non-traditional wedding venue offers incredible florals and a serene ambiance. Check out our list of top botanical garden wedding venues in the US if you need help choosing one.
At a lighthouse
Couples with a special connection to the sea (or those who are history buffs) might enjoy a unique lighthouse wedding.
At an all-inclusive resort
Looking to minimize stress? There are lots of all-inclusive wedding packages out there wrapped in a done-for-you bow.
In a treehouse
For a wedding that captures the spirit of wonder and adventure, getting married up in the treetops is at the top of the list. Somewhere like Treehouse Point in Washington would be a fantastic alternative wedding venue option!
At an art gallery
Soaring ceilings and spectacular works of art make a gallery a wonderful and unique place, to dance, dine, and say “I do”.
At a campground
No frills, no stuffy venues, no problem. Getting married in the great outdoors and celebrating under the stars is perfect for couples who want to keep things intimate and simple.
In a greenhouse
Plant lovers will appreciate the outdoorsy feel of a greenhouse and the fact that they don’t have to worry about the weather cooperating.
In an abandoned ghost town
For rich history, rustic backdrops, and an otherworldly feel, a ghost town like Eldorado Canyon in Nelson, Nevada is a perfect pick.
In a library
Libraries are full of stories, and your love story could be one of them! Begin your new chapter as a married couple in one of the most impressive and elegant alternative wedding venues.
Where you had your first date or where you first met
Nothing like a meaningful spot to bring the relationship full circle!
Important Planning Tips for Non-traditional Wedding Venues
There are some considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when planning your wedding at an alternative wedding venue. You may need to bring your own food and drinks, arrange for seating and other decor rentals, and lighting/sound systems. Depending on the location, you may also need a special permit or insurance.
There may be a little extra work involved, but choosing a non-traditional wedding venue can be less costly, more unique, and more authentic to you as a couple.
Need an adventurous wedding photo + video team to capture your big day?
Skyewater Photo + Film is a photography and videography team based in Washington that specializes in destination weddings and adventure elopements. We love getting to know you and your loved ones better and capturing every moment of your wedding celebration.
Whether you’re looking for a meaningful wedding video or an adventurous elopement photographer, contact Skyewater Photo + Film for your big day!