Planning A Wedding: Unique Wedding Reception Location Ideas

Add creativity to a wedding reception by choosing a unique location that enhances the celebration. Tips include questions to ask before choosing a site.

Traditional wedding receptions are held in generic settings such as hotels, clubhouses, church halls, and restaurants. While these locations are easily decorated and serve the purpose well, many couples prefer unique settings that offer flair and character beyond the elegant formality of a wedding. Unusual locations are often attractions themselves and add personality and individuality to a reception, making it a truly memorable event.

Unique Wedding Reception Locations: Special Considerations

Before selecting an unusual location, consider the needs of a wedding reception. Is the site appropriate to the number of guests, and is there ample parking? Are restrooms, kitchen facilities, and changing rooms available? Are permits needed or are there noise level, photography, or alcohol restrictions? If necessary, are there alternatives in case of poor weather? Asking these pertinent questions insures that the location can provide the necessary services for a hassle-free reception.

Additional considerations for unique locations involve the amount of planning the couple must do in advance. Traditional locations often provide basic decorating services or clean up for a nominal fee, and frequently used locations often have on-site wedding coordinators to assist in the planning and execution of a lovely event. Unusual locations, however, may require that the bride and groom coordinate services themselves, which adds considerable stress to their wedding planning. To alleviate this stress, family and friends can assist with the coordination, or the couple may consider hiring a wedding consultant.

Unique Wedding Reception Locations: 20 Unusual Venues

Garden: While garden weddings are nothing new, unique gardens such as botanical preserves, aviaries, rooftop gardens, and bonsai gardens are dramatic and beautiful locations. If the wedding is scheduled in spring or summer, the setting itself provides ample floral decorations that need only minimal embellishment.

Museum: Receptions in museums are literally preserved for posterity. Couples can select an appropriate museum based on their mutual interests, and the venue provides ample entertainment for guests while the bridal party is taking photographs or involved with a receiving line.

Art Gallery: Similar to a museum reception, a gallery is a perfect choice for couples who love art. Many galleries offer large rooms with open spaces, and the collections on the walls create a unique and interesting backdrop for the celebration.

Public Park: Especially in metropolitan areas, a public park is an oasis perfect for a memorable reception. A city skyline in the background is a startling contrast to the natural setting, and parks are often convenient to local hotels and restaurants.

Lighthouse: For a nautical theme, a lighthouse is a dramatic venue. Crashing waves and seascapes provide natural beauty, and the intimate setting is well suited for a small gathering.

Ranch: Couples who wish to tie the knot with western flair may consider a ranch as a reception location. Memorabilia makes perfect decorations, and ranches may even offer accommodations for guests.

Winery: Wine connoisseurs would appreciate a reception at a vineyard or winery. Local vintages add a unique taste to the event, and miniature bottles can be prepared as favors or attendants' gifts.

Yacht: A seafaring reception is possible aboard a rented yacht. A cruise offers spectacular scenery for photographs, with the added bonus that the view changes throughout the event. Yachts can accommodate both small and large receptions.

Orchard: For a unique twist on an outdoor reception, consider an orchard. Whether the trees are in bloom or already bearing fruit, the setting provides natural grace and beauty, and local fruit is perfect to accompany the meal or incorporate into the decorations.

Fairground: A country fair is a rustic and lively setting offering many different attractions for all ages. Fairgrounds are often equipped with large halls and kitchen facilities to accommodate any sized group.

Rental Property: Renting a townhouse or condominium provides an elegant resort setting coupled with the intimacy of a residence. In addition to hosting the reception, the couple or entire wedding party could stay on site so that preparations needn't be rushed and the venue can be enjoyed.

Aquarium: Marine lovers can make a splash with an aquarium reception. Subtle lighting and elegant architecture add to the startling scenery to create a distinct occasion.

Sports Venue: A racetrack, ballpark, or arena can easily be converted to a reception site that highlights a couple's interest in sports and creates a winning event.

Planetarium: No matter what time of day, a planetarium reception is always under the stars. Special arrangements can be made to align the stars to significant events, such as the date of the proposal, first date, or first kiss to add more individuality.

Historical Building: A historical site such as a plantation or vintage home is perfect for a theme wedding that recreates the romance of a bygone era. Often furnished with period pieces, historical buildings need little decoration to create a unique setting.

Barn: For a boot-stomping good time, a barn is a perfect venue. Wide-open spaces and rustic d├ęcor complement a casual or western theme and can accommodate large groups.

Amusement Park: Nothing symbolizes the thrill of marriage better than an amusement park. The wedding party and selected guests may be able to expend their pent-up nerves with a quick roller coaster ride, and the myriad of different attractions offer plenty of excitement for younger guests.

Castle: Every woman feels like a princess on her wedding day, and a castle reception completes that romantic image. Dramatic scenery inspires a fairy tale event that guests will remember happily ever after.

Zoo: Exotic animals and lush scenery make a zoo a creative site for a wedding reception. Guests could tour the zoo, and some locations will provide behind-the-scenes experiences for an additional fee.

Movie Studio: A movie studio or set can recreate any setting for a wedding reception, even famous locations such as timeless love scenes or familiar television backdrops. Multiple sets could be combined to represent the couple's favorite scenes or Hollywood moments.

Choosing an unusual wedding reception location allows a couple to infuse the very setting of their event with character, personality, and individuality. Unique venues can complement the couple's interests or introduce a new interest for them to share. Whether the reception is a morning brunch in an art gallery, an afternoon tea in an orchard, or an evening banquet in a castle, a unique location creates an unforgettable event that will be cherished for a lifetime.

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