One of the most important things to do on your wedding day (besides the dress!) is the wedding venue. And, one of the hardest things to plan is, of course, the wedding venue. Many popular wedding venues are booked at least a year in advance and sometimes even longer.
It can be frustrating to find that the place you wanted isn’t available that day. That leaves you with a few options. You can choose a different wedding date based on venue availability, or you can research other wedding venues that may be available. Luckily, if you go for a more unique wedding venue idea, there’s a better chance of availability.
The other thing to keep in mind when choosing a wedding venue is the size of your wedding. You don’t want a small wedding to feel too sparse in a large banquet space, nor do you want your large wedding to be packed.
To help you with your planning, this list of the best wedding venues includes both popular choices and those that are a little less traditional, budget wedding venues and those that require splurging. You may find that there is a wedding venue you never thought of before that is just perfect for your theme, style, size or interests.
Traditional wedding venues
Of course, a church is the most traditional and affordable of all wedding venues. Although the reception is usually held in the basement or another large church hall, you can also opt for the cemetery to have an outdoor wedding. If the weather turns sour, you can always head inside.
2. Banquet Hall
A traditional banquet hall is always at the top of the list of wedding venues. Most rooms are large and can accommodate a long guest list. However, you can usually find smaller venues that work well for medium-sized weddings. The halls generally offer beautiful spaces that have plenty of services to facilitate wedding planning.
3. Rustic barn
Old barns are now a very popular choice for hosting wedding receptions. That doesn’t mean weeding out animals to make room for wedding guests! Many old barns have been converted into beautifully dressed banquet halls. A weathered barn is the perfect venue idea if you are planning a rustic wedding.
Related: Top 10 Classic and New Wedding Traditions to Consider
Similar to banquet halls, country clubs also offer plenty of space for large weddings and include many services to ensure a perfect day. Whether you enjoy the beautifully manicured lawns or the elegant interior spaces, you can be sure the surroundings will be stunning.
5. Grand Hotel
A large hotel will have plenty of banquet halls available for any size wedding. Many of them already have great decorations and usually offer all-inclusive wedding packages. The best part is that you don’t even have to leave the hotel after the wedding. You and your guests can stay there in the rooms.
6. Favorite Restaurant
If you and your future spouse have a favorite restaurant that you like to go to, it can become a perfect wedding venue for a smaller, more intimate wedding. Make sure your menu includes your favorite starters!
outdoor wedding venues
The farms offer a beautiful outdoor space with vast hills and fields. It can be especially affordable if a family member or friend lives on a farm and lets you use the space for free. If you’re worried about bad weather ruining your outdoor wedding, check to see if there’s a clean pole barn or other outbuilding that could be used in this case.
8. Family Court
For a smaller wedding, a garden space may suffice. Depending on the setting, you may be able to enjoy some nice landscaping so you don’t have to add a lot of extra decorations.
Related: Say “yes” to these 50 tiny backyard wedding ideas that will kick any ceremony up a notch
Beach weddings are very popular and can be inexpensive wedding venues, although you can also opt for an all-inclusive beach wedding! The atmosphere makes such a romantic setting.
10. Local Park
You can find parks almost everywhere. And, if you don’t have access to a pretty backyard, a local park might just be the perfect wedding venue.
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11. Apple orchard/pumpkin patch
If you’re having a fall wedding, would it be cool to hold your wedding in an apple orchard or pumpkin patch? It would create a memorable mood and a great opportunity for unique wedding favors!
Related: Saying “yes” with a small crew? Here are 30 fun and affordable tips for a courthouse wedding
12. Outer roof
Many buildings in different cities have roof terraces. Restaurants or renovated warehouses usually rent out their rooftops for weddings, but you can also check out lofts or apartments in your area. If you know someone who lives there, you may be able to rent the space for less.
Charter a luxury yacht for your wedding and let the captain take you and your party on a romantic cruise. There are many sizes of yachts for weddings and some can accommodate up to 350 people.
Marinas offer plenty of banquet space indoors with beautiful views of the water and boats outdoors.
If you live in an area near vineyards, they make a beautiful setting for a wedding. Many of them offer beautiful spaces both indoors and outdoors.
16. Botanical Garden
A botanical garden is one way to “go green” on your special day! These spaces are full of fresh beauty that will make the perfect setting as a wedding venue.
Unique wedding venues
Like a hotel, you can also rent banquet space in a casino and have hotel rooms for you and your guests.
Old mansions rent out ballrooms or smaller venues to accommodate many different sizes of weddings.
For a wedding worthy of a fairy tale, book your wedding in a real castle. Whether you’re heading out of the country or staying home, this will be an event that all of your guests will be talking about for years to come. It would be like a dream come true!
Museums offer plenty of space with a variety of settings to go with your interests or theme. Whether it is a dinosaur museum or an art museum, everything can provide you with the setting that suits you.
Whether you want to spend time with the animals or not, there are such beautiful gardens in most zoos that would make a perfect place to exchange nuptials.
Schools of all sizes provide spaces for weddings. Most universities have large banquet halls ideal for large parties. However, even small schools will have a gymnasium or auditorium that could be used. If you met your sweetheart at a high school, you might want to go back there for your wedding space.
Historic libraries in big cities have a breathtaking atmosphere that is perfect for everyone, but would be especially nice for a couple who love literature.
A cinema auditorium could be a perfect stage for your ceremony and there is plenty of space in the hall afterwards for the reception.
Related: Ask Carrie: Five Ways to Keep Your Wedding Budget on Track
25. Converted Warehouse
Warehouses converted into banquet spaces are filled with fun industrial style. Open ducts, brick walls and exposed metal are just some of the elements that will give your wedding a unique style.
26. Art Gallery
No matter what size wedding you are planning, an art gallery should have spaces of varying sizes. The environment adds an elegant touch that doesn’t really need any other decorations.
A brasserie is a fun option for a small wedding and they usually have open spaces for dancing and outdoor patios.
Then here are the best wedding planning tips!