Different Types of Wedding Venues to Consider
Where should you get married? This post explores 25 different types of wedding venues to consider for your big day!
When you imagine your wedding day, where do you picture celebrating with your guests? Do you envision an elegant ballroom filled with family and friends? Or do you see yourself and your love tucked away in the mountains with a small group of those closest to you? Do you picture traveling to a new locale for your celebration? Or do you want to celebrate at home or even at a sleepaway camp that holds meaning to your story?
Choosing the space that will serve as your wedding venue is about deciding on a location (obviously!) But, it’s also about leaning into the vision you have in your mind for your wedding day. IE the vibe, look, and overall experience you want to offer to your guests. (Need help defining your wedding vision? Check out Chapter 1 of my book, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer.)
The search for a venue does not need to feel exhaustive. To introduce you to potential spaces that may not have crossed your mind, we thought we would pull together a special list of wedding venue options. Below, you will find 25 wedding venues ranging from traditional to experiential, destination to elopement and more for you to investigate in your own area.
ELOPEMENT + INTIMATE WEDDING VENUES:
When you think about eloping, city hall likely comes to mind! These locations are typically located in urban areas or cities. They are often housed in beautiful historic buildings that are wonderful for pre-vow or post-vow photos. The cost is also very budget-friendly because there typically is not a cost beyond the price of a marriage license.
Cons: Most city hall locations cannot accommodate many guests. Your guest list will need to be very small (likely under 10 people). The other thing to keep in mind is the day of the week. Most locations are only open during the week, so you will want to be on board with a weekday celebration.
If you’re envisioning a relaxed outdoor affair, consider a park! You can opt for a local or National Park, but you will want to double check to make sure you do not need a permit (and apply for one if you do!). Many town parks have spaces you can reserve with picnic tables and covered patios, which can definitely work for reception seating if you wish to do more than only recite your vows.
Cons: Make sure there is a plan B in place in case rain is in the forecast. And don’t forget to apply for a permit if you need one.
If you’re planning an intimate wedding or elopement followed by a meal with loved ones, consider a restaurant as a reception venues option! Many restaurants have private rooms for parties that would be perfect for a wedding, the food will certainly be delicious, and the feel will likely be very cozy.
Cons: You may not have privacy. You will either be dining in a private room or a larger table within the main area of the restaurant. Because of this, traditional dances (and dancing in general) will likely be off the table.
You can stay close to home or venture further away, and renting a vacation home is a great option if you’re imagining spending a weekend with your favorite people. Consider visiting the mountains and staying in a cabin or rent a home at the beach. We also know of many couples who have opted for an Airbnb! The best part? Your wedding transforms from a low-key day into many days of fun. Plus, you can explore a new location together!
Cons: Because you will want to spend quality time with your loved ones, you will want to make sure everyone is on board for a weekend of fun rather than a single day. Although it’s more of a commitment for your guests, we think the results and time spent together are 100% worth the investment!
TRADITIONAL WEDDING VENUES:
The most traditional wedding venue is definitely a banquet hall. They are a draw because many offer budget friendly options to couples, and there’s almost always plenty of space for a potentially larger guest list. Sometimes halls even have caterers that are preferred or even considered in-house vendors.
Cons: Banquet halls are used for a variety of purposes, so the feel likely won’t be overly elegant or formal. But with the right decor, you can customize the space to make it suit your style!
If you’re planning a preppy or classic wedding day, consider a country club. Almost every club has banquet spaces, which means there will be plenty of space available for a wedding. Plus, most clubs have catering on-site!
Cons: Country clubs are often a bit more formal, and sometimes they can only be used by members.
Hosting your wedding at a hotel will offer an ease you may not have known you wanted to experience. Plan to get ready at the hotel where you will celebrate during your reception, and you can even look into getting married in another space on-site. You won’t have to worry about the weather, and banquet rooms can be transformed into spaces for small or large parties without issue.
Cons: Hotels always have a specific style, so you will want to consider the décor when choosing the hotel as your wedding venue.
House of Worship*:
Did you know you can host a celebration at a house of worship? Many locations have spaces within them where gatherings are frequently held. These spaces are a wonderful option if you’re searching for a spot that’s dual-purpose and also friendly to your budget.
Cons: Sometimes the gathering rooms are really raw and not so formal. They might be gymnasiums or even located in the basement, so keep that in mind. There may also be limitations on the entertainment and catering allowed on-site, so make sure you’re in the know.
DESTINATION WEDDING VENUES:
Bed & Breakfast:
If you’re planning to celebrate your wedding day with a smaller group but would still like to travel to a new location, consider a bed and breakfast. You will likely need to rent out the full space for a weekend, but that only makes it more fun! Knowing the entire facility is filled with your closest family and friends is so special. Plus, bed and breakfasts are oftentimes located in quaint towns, which are always fun to explore.
Cons: You will need to keep your guest list on the smaller side. Bed and breakfasts are usually not very large, but that only helps to keep the atmosphere more intimate. Also, keep room guarantees in mind. Often, they will want to have confirmation that your event will be able to completely buy out their space.
If you love nautical style, think about getting married on a boat! You can opt for a small boat or tie the knot on a much larger vessel. Either way, spending the day on the water will be a treat!
Cons: Depending on the size of boat you choose to board for your wedding, you may need to limit your guest count. Also, make sure your guests know the boat will be moving in case anyone needs to take precautions against seasickness.
Tying the knot at a resort in a beautiful destination is the quintessential way to celebrate a destination wedding. Plan to welcome your guests with an intimate and relaxed dinner the night before your celebration. Then recite your vows with a beautiful backdrop and celebrate with your friends and family long into the night. Many of your guests will treat your wedding like a vacation, and they should!
Cons: The biggest con with a destination wedding is the fact that it’s a destination. Guests will need to consider flights and transportation, plus food, lodging, and any additional activities they may want to enjoy while they’re there. There is a higher cost associated with destination weddings, so keep that in mind while you plan.
EXPERIENCE WEDDING VENUES:
If your city has an aquarium, the space likely welcomes couples and their guests for weddings! Imagine fish and marine life swimming past while you dine and dance in front of the tanks. It’s a complete experience, and one your guests won’t soon forget!
Cons: The con of an aquarium wedding is also the draw – the animals! The aquarium’s team may have more specific guidelines for you to follow in order to keep the animals safe, but the benefits seem to outweigh any changes you may need to make in our opinion.
If you’re planning a wedding that you hope will be both timeless and elegant or if you’re drawn to vintage style, you may want to consider marrying in a historic mansion or home. Big cities, in particular, tend to have quite a few, and they also usually have both indoor and outdoor locations available.
Cons: Sometimes the cost to celebrate at a historic home or mansion can be higher, so keep that in mind. Also, because of the historic nature of the space, many mansions and homes are particular about the vendors they approved to work at their properties.
Libraries, especially those that are older, often have stunning architecture. Plus, many were originally designed with open spaces, including lofty foyers spanning several stories. These spaces are perfect for those who love to read (obviously!), and they’re also wonderful for those hoping to celebrate in a city, in particular, in a location that’s more unique while still having classic style.
Cons: The cost to celebrate in a library may be higher, and there may also be times of year when you cannot host a wedding due to the library’s need to place importance on other events.
Museum / Gallery:
Many museums welcome weddings and other events because it enables them to welcome even more guests to their spaces. The benefit for couples is having the ability to offer your guests a true experience. When you choose to celebrate at a museum, often the museum will leave exhibits open for everyone to enjoy. It’s a great option for couples who don’t think their guests will spend tons of time on the dance floor because there’s a clear secondary activity that still feels unique and fun.
Cons: The cost to celebrate at a museum can be higher, and you will also need to host your wedding within the museum’s parameters. This means your event will have very defined times for set up, breakdown, ceremony, and reception because most (if not all) of the wedding will need to occur outside of the museum’s operational hours.
If you and your love are sports fans, look into celebrating at a stadium! Both professional and college sports stadiums are typically very open to hosting events, so you definitely have options. Plus, the spaces for events at these types of venues tend to be large and spacious. Photos on the field are definitely a distinct possibility too!
Cons: The biggest con about celebrating at a stadium is you will need to host your wedding outside of when the team will need to use the stadium. If you’re set on getting married in a specific season, make sure it’s not the same time of year when your favorite team plays.
Both theatres and concert halls offer spaces for weddings, especially those that have been converted or restored. Either is wonderful for a musical or concert buff because certain live venues enable you to celebrate on the stage. Plus, they’re built for large gatherings!
Cons: If you’re considering a venue that still hosts live events, you will need to work around their current set of bookings. Also, keep an open mind about your room’s layout. Theatres and concert halls are largely non-traditional, so your tables, chairs, and band or DJ may need to go in a spot you may not have considered in order to make the space work well.
Consider looking into hosting your wedding at the zoo in your city, and don’t be surprised when the team welcomes you to tie the knot. Many zoos do, in fact, host events. Sometimes they have dedicated event spaces, while other zoos may suggest celebrating near certain exhibits. Like an aquarium, the main draw at a zoo is the animals!
Cons: Just like an aquarium, a zoo and its staff will likely have more stringent guidelines in place for you to follow. But, everything they note is meant to keep the animals safe!
GARDEN WEDDING VENUES:
If you're looking at a wedding venue that feels different than typical types of venues, something that embraces nature can really enhance your experience.
You cannot choose a more quintessential garden venue than a greenhouse! There are always plenty of flowers and plants in bloom inside, plus some greenhouses offer indoor locations for both ceremonies and receptions. The outside is typically equally as nice!
Cons: Greenhouses are beautiful, but they need to remain at a specific temperature in order for the plants and blooms inside to continue to flourish. This is important if you’re opting to host your wedding during the summer when temperatures can soar or during the winter when heat is key.
The most personal location you can welcome your guests to on your wedding day is your home or a home belonging to a family member or friend. Plan to pitch a tent and bring in a complete team of wedding vendors. There’s also plenty you can do to make your individual style come alive!
Cons: The cost to host a wedding at home can be more budget friendly if you keep your event’s scope in check. However, oftentimes the cost to host your wedding at home is the same as or even more than a venue. Everything must be brought in, including things like restrooms and power, which adds to the cost. Plus, the property may need a bit of time to recover post-wedding from having cars, trucks, and more feet than usual riding and walking on the grass.
NICHE WEDDING VENUES:
When considering different types of wedding venues, choosing something very niche specific could yield cost-savings and creativity!
If you have a rustic theme or style in mind, a barn should definitely be on your list. However, we’re seeing more and more barns cropping up that have modern style, which we love. Barns are wonderful because they’re typically located outside of cities, and the style of the barn adds plenty to the atmosphere and aesthetic of any event. Plus, barns are often large, which is great for bigger guest lists.
Cons: Traditionally, your style needs to be specific when choosing to host your wedding in a barn. If your style leans away from rustic and more toward modern, it may be difficult to find a barn that makes sense. However, rest assured, they do exist!
Did you grow up attending summer camp? Did you and your partner meet at camp? Return and celebrate on the camp’s grounds! Because camps are used to gatherings, space is almost never an issue. Plus, some camps enjoy welcoming wedding guests and parties for complete weekends of fun. Also, did we mention camps are in beautiful locations? It’s a whole package!
Cons: Camps are typically located in more remote areas, so you will want to talk further with your vendor teams. It’s normal for professionals to charge a travel fee in order to work in areas far away from home, so keep the potential for additional fees in mind.
While alcohol or beer may not be made in real time while you’re celebrating, distilleries and beer gardens still offer a completely unique experience. Their style tends to be more modern and industrial, plus, the alcohol and beer produced on-site is always on the menu. You can easily theme your wedding around this type of location!
Cons: Although distilleries and beer gardens are typically spacious, sometimes they prefer to host smaller events. So, keep that in mind! Another seemingly obvious but important thing to note is to make sure you like the alcohol made by or at the location. You don’t want to feel inclined to drink something you don’t even like!
Warehouses are often empty, which means there is an endless amount of opportunities to transform the space. With drape, flowers, signs, and more, you can create the vision you have in mind, and your guests will certainly enjoy everything created while they’re enjoying dinner and dancing. The size of the space is also a benefit: host both your ceremony and reception onsite!
Cons: The more details and professionals needed to make a space come alive always adds to the cost of an event. But, if you’re willing to spend more to have a design reflect your vision, it may be worth it.
We could never create a list of wedding venues and not include wineries! Vineyards are typically located in beautiful spots outside of cities, and they also always home to beautiful natural light (a key ingredient for the grapes to flourish). Many wineries have additional venue spaces on-site, and guests can also plan to stop by the day before or after to taste the wines offered by the winery.
Cons: Weddings at wineries can be higher in cost because their locations are typically large and beautiful. Plus, you’ll want to research when the vineyard is in full bloom. You don’t want to plan your entire wedding with a vision of beautiful vines in the background only to learn they’ll be dormant or covered on your wedding day.
*Denotes venues that are known to be more budget friendly. Keep in mind that any wedding can become more expensive as you add more details and vendors to your wedding and theme! With that in mind, these spaces do allow for opportunities to keep costs lower.
Explore different types of wedding venues to find your perfect match!
We hope this list of different types of wedding venues helps you think outside the box and consider the possibilities for your big day!
So, where will you both say, “We do”? Plus, shoot us a DM on Instagram or Facebook to let us know about any venues you’re considering that we may have missed.