6 of the Most Unexpected (But Awesome) Wedding Venues in the U.S.
You're going to get married and maybe want the ceremony to take place in a location that's a little more imaginative or creative than a nice church, garden or country club. So let's take a look at some venues that are a bit more unique and usual—maybe, in some cases, even little bizarre. Let the romance begin!
Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota
Time really flies when it comes to Mall of America (MOA), which seems like it opened just a few years ago, as the largest shopping mall in the Western Hemisphere. Well, it has been 25 years since its emergence on the world-shopping scene and in that time, nearly 8,000 couples have been married at the mall—in its chapel and at unique venues such as on the mall’s roller coaster. You can even be married under water in full scuba gear in the Mall’s Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium or in a structure made entirely of ice. If you’d like for you and your wedding party to arrive at the ‘altar’ via the longest indoor zip line in the world, well, that can be arranged. Let your imagination run wild at MOA. (Read on for marriage advice even happy couples could use.)
Edgar Allan Poe House, Baltimore
It’s always time for raven mania in Baltimore, thanks to Edgar Allan Poe who began his illustrious career in the city as one of America’s most revered authors. The city’s NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens, takes its name from Poe’s poem “The Raven” and the home where he wrote some of his earliest works is now a museum, which is suitable for small weddings. It’s closed during the winter so if you are really set on a Poe -themed wedding you can always get married at Westminster Hall Burying Ground and Catacombs—Poe’s final resting place. This architectural gem is perfect for weddings and receptions—located in downtown Baltimore. And, depending on your budget, you can also check out the wedding venues at M&T Bank Stadium—home of the Baltimore Ravens. In a skybox there, you can get a bird’s eye view of any real ravens that may be flying by or playing on the field. Wherever you decide to get married, don’t register for these impractical gifts.
Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City
This historic bar in New York City’s West Village is also America’s newest National Monument. It is considered to be the beginning point, in 1969, of the modern LGBTQ movement and may also, depending on availability, be the site of weddings, receptions, and celebrations. All are welcome at Stonewall, where pride runs deep and rainbows begin.
’21’ Club, New York City
The U.S. is still a patchwork of wicky wacky laws when it comes to the sale and consumption of alcohol. From 1920 to 1933, alcohol was totally prohibited via the 18th Amendment, arguably not the most popular bill ever passed. It was a relief to many when the 21st Amendment came along in 1933, which repealed the 18th Amendment. During Prohibition imbibers had to sneak around and resort to speakeasies—this was the Roaring Twenties at its peak. New York’s famed ’21’ Club, just a few steps off 5th Avenue, is one of the most famous of these historic watering holes still in existence. Weddings and receptions are legendary at ’21’ and venues include the ‘secret’ original speakeasy room down in the basement wine cellar, which is suitable for small weddings and celebrations. There are many other options for weddings and receptions at ’21’, from spaces that can handle 30-40 guests on up larger rooms that can entertain several hundred guests.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, The Big Island of Hawai’i
Some like it hot. If you and your friends are the type who enjoy staring at a lava lamp for long periods of time, why not opt for the real thing? Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, just south of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawai’i is probably the only park in the world where one may be married amidst the glow of a volcano. Here mounts Kilauea and Mauna Loa have been providing live excitement for many years. Weddings and receptions are allowed within the park’s boundaries but a permit must be secured. Here’s everything you need to know before you book that trip to Hawaii.
Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
Dating back to 1733, Savannah today is one of America’s most charming, hospitable and beautiful cities. Let’s give thanks that General William Sherman didn’t burn it down during the Civil War on his March to the Sea. The city had a major spotlight trained on it in 1994 when John Berendt’s runaway bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was published. (It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 216 weeks!) Fans of the book will recall his wonderful descriptions of Bonaventure Cemetery and how this gorgeous place has figured in the social fabric Savannah. Couples are welcome to be married in the cemetery but, since there is a no-alcohol rule on the grounds, you may want to scout around for other options for your reception that will allow champagne toasts, dancing, and dining. All weddings must be approved by the City of Savannah Department of Cemeteries. Tip: If you’d like to be married in the cemetery on Halloween—book early. (Here are all those tricky wedding dress codes, decoded.)