One of the biggest things to get right for your wedding day (besides the dress!) is the wedding venue. And, one of the hardest things to get scheduled is, of course, the wedding venue. Many popular wedding venues are booked out at least a year in advance and sometimes even longer.
It can be frustrating to find out that the place you wanted is not available on your day. This leaves you with a couple of options. You can choose a different wedding date based on the venue’s availability, or you can search for other wedding venues that might be available. Luckily though, if you go with a more unique wedding venue idea, there is a better chance for 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 and you also don’t want your large wedding to be bursting at the seams.
To help with your planning, this list of the best wedding venues includes both popular choices and those that are a bit more non-traditional, cheap wedding venues and those that require some 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 typically held in the basement or another large room of the church, you could also opt for the churchyard to hold an outdoor wedding. If the weather turns sour, you could always head inside.
2. Banquet Hall
A traditional banquet hall is still at the top of the go-to list for wedding venues. Most halls are large and can accommodate a big guest list. However, you can usually find smaller halls as well that work well for medium size weddings. The halls typically offer beautiful spaces that have a lot of services to make wedding planning easy.
3. Rustic Barn
Old barns are now a very popular choice to hold wedding receptions. This doesn’t mean clearing out the animals to make room for wedding guests! Plenty of old barns have been converted to banquet areas that are beautifully dressed up. 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
4. Country Club
Similar to banquet halls, country clubs also offer plenty of space for big weddings and include many services to ensure a perfect day. Whether you take advantage of the beautifully manicured lawns or the stylish indoor spaces, you can rest easy that the environment will be beautiful.
5. Large Hotel
A large hotel will have plenty of banquet rooms available for any size wedding. Many of them have grand decorations already 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 in the rooms there.
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 entrees!
Outdoor Wedding Venues
Farms offer a beautiful outdoor space with spacious rolling hills and fields. It can be especially affordable if a family member or friend lives on a farm and allows you to use the space for free. If you fear the risk of inclement weather ruining your outdoor wedding, check to see if there is a clean pole barn or other outbuilding that could be used in that event.
8. Family Backyard
For a smaller wedding, a backyard space might be all you need. Depending on the setting, you may be able to take advantage of pretty landscaping so that you don’t need to add a lot of additional decorations.
Related: Say ‘I Do’ To These 50 Small Backyard Wedding Ideas That Take Any Ceremony Up A Notch
Beach weddings are quite popular and can be inexpensive wedding venues—although you can opt for an all-inclusive beach destination wedding as well! The atmosphere makes such a romantic setting.
10. Local Park
You can find parks almost anywhere. And, if you don’t have access to a pretty backyard, a local park might just be the perfect venue for the wedding.
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11. Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Patch
If you are having a fall wedding, how cool would it be to hold your wedding at an apple orchard or pumpkin patch? This would provide a memorable ambiance and a great opportunity for some unique wedding favors!
Related: Saying ‘I Do’ With A Small Crew? Here are 30 Fun, Affordable Tips For A Courthouse Wedding
12. Outdoor Rooftop
Many buildings throughout various cities have rooftop decks. Restaurants or renovated warehouses will typically rent out their rooftops for weddings, but you may also want to check out lofts or apartments in your area. If you know of someone living in one, you may be able to rent out the space for less money.
Rent out a luxury yacht for your wedding and let the captain take you and your party for a romantic cruise. There are many different sizes of yachts for wedding venues and some can hold as many as 350 people.
Marinas offer plenty of banquet space inside with beautiful views of water and boats outside.
If you live in an area that is close to vineyards, they make a beautiful setting for a wedding. Many of them offer beautiful spaces both inside and outside.
16. Botanical Gardens
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 out banquet space in a casino and have hotel rooms available for you and your guests.
Old mansions rent out ballrooms or smaller rooms to accommodate many different sizes of weddings.
For a fairytale-like wedding, book your wedding at a real-life castle. Whether you go out of the country or stay in your own, this will be an event all of your guests will be talking about for years. It would be like a dream come true!
Museums offer lots of space with a variety of backdrops to go with your interests or theme. Anything from a dinosaur museum to an art museum could offer the right setting for you.
Whether you want to hang out with the animals or not, there are such beautiful garden areas in most zoos that would make a perfect place to exchange nuptials.
Schools of all sizes offer spaces for weddings. Most universities will have large banquet rooms that are perfect for large parties. However, even smaller schools will have a gymnasium or auditorium that could be used. If you met your sweetheart at a high school, you may want to go back there for your wedding space.
Large city historic libraries have a breathtaking atmosphere that is perfect for anyone—but would be especially nice for a couple who enjoys literature.
24. Movie Theater
A movie theater auditorium could be a perfect stage for your ceremony plus there is plenty of lobby space afterward for the reception.
Related: Ask Carrie: Five Ways to Keep Your Wedding Budget On Track
25. Converted Warehouse
Warehouses that are converted to banquet spaces are filled with fun industrial-type styling. Open ductwork, brick walls and exposed metal are just a few of the elements to give your wedding a unique style.
26. Art Gallery
Whatever size of wedding you are planning, an art gallery should have various sizes of spaces available. The environment adds an elegant touch that doesn’t really need any other decorations.
A brewery is a fun option for a smaller wedding and they usually have open spaces for dancing and outdoor patios as well.
Next up, here are the best wedding planning tips!