Destination weddings continue to rise in popularity, and although tropical beach and scenic mountain weddings are incredible, some couples are taking the unconventional approach. With so many couples tying the knot — according to Trip Savvy, an average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the U.S. annually — an unusual destination can help make a wedding truly unique.
Las Vegas, the home of adrenaline-pumping fun and lively entertainment, is one of the most popular locations for outside-the-box weddings. Adrenaline junkies can choose to either take the plunge on the New York, New York Roller Coaster or say “I do” before jumping from a plane at over 120mph on a skydiving excursion.
These ceremony alternatives will bring out the child in you. Did you dream of being a princess and having a fairytale wedding? You can do this at Belvedere Castle in New York. Maybe you’re thinking back to the days where you wished you had your own treehouse to play in. Now, you can get married in one in Washington.
For the non-traditional couple looking for a unique ceremony, this list of unexpected wedding venues may help provide some inspiration.
Couples will be delighted to know that they can rent the USS North Carolina or the onshore Battleship Park for their wedding. “The Fantail (back of the ship) is perfect for partying under the stars and affords an excellent view of downtown Wilmington,” theknot.com explains. “And the buffet table sits nicely under the 16-inch guns.”
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Couples with a knack for speed and racing can book a ceremony for up to 200 guests at Watkins Glen International, home to road racing of nearly every class, including the World Cup Championship, NASCAR and more. The wedding party can get in on the fun too; rent an instructional or competitive course with experts of the track. This is a unique experience for everyone.
Enjoy 360-degree views of the Santa Monica Mountains while saying your vows. Your wedding will be held on a private estate upon the Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards. The Tuscan villa is popular for receptions. According to Brides magazine, “this beautiful venue has plenty to offer at the end of the evening. Equipped with a master bedroom, as well as a few cozy guest suites, a spectacular infinity pool, towering fireplace, and a large chef's kitchen.”
Wide-open desert spaces and sparkling star-filled skies will make your wedding in Death Valley National Park one to remember. Consider The Oasis as your wedding venue; it’s only two hours away from the Las Vegas Strip and features 66 rooms, an old-style swimming pool, rooftop terrace and luscious gardens, according to weddingwire.com.
The happiest day of your life should be celebrated in one of the most magical places on Earth, Disneyland. Choose from two wedding options via disneyweddings.com: the Wishes Collection and Escape Collection. The Wishes Collection provides you with a personal wedding coordinator who helps you to customize your wedding with your own unique special touches for as many guests as you please. The Escape Collection also offers you your own wedding coordinator, four outdoor venues and a more intimate celebration with up to 20 guests.
Las Vegas, Nevada, is known as the wedding capital of the United States for a reason. “Grab your beau and head to the world-famous A Little White Wedding Chapel for an experience with the King himself (or someone who looks a lot like him if you squint),” Dom Scarlett, chief editor at TravelPirates says. “Ride through on a vintage pink Cadillac, enjoy being serenaded by their in-house Elvis impersonator and ride off into the sunset with the one you love. There are packages available for every budget, so you can splurge or save on your big day.”
“Imagine the wedding photos for your ceremony on top of a beautiful Alaskan glacier,” Scarlett says. “Alaska Adventures Juneau offers multiple options for our explorers out there. We hope your wedding garments are warm enough for your big day, but we're sure your love for each other will help a little.”
Las Vegas is a popular place to get married, but couples can also choose to be whisked away from Sin City via helicopter for a wedding in a breathtaking natural setting. One company, Maverick Helicopters, offers packages that fly couples to places like Valley of Fire State Park and even the inside of the Grand Canyon for their ceremony — after an included limo ride from their hotel to a helipad on the Strip, of course. The pilot serves as tour guide while the pair flies over sites like Hoover Dam, Lake Las Vegas, Fortification Hill and Lake Mead on the way to their nuptials, and the return trip offers the now-married lovebirds spectacular airborne views of glitzy Vegas.
Many people choose Hawaii as their location for their destination wedding because of its gorgeous scenery — beaches, sunshine and golden sand. But for some of the more adventurous couples, getting married on a volcano sounds more appealing. The National Park Service says that with a permit, couples are allowed to get married almost anywhere they want in the park. Guests staying overnight will find accommodations at the Volcano House Hotel.
Imagine soaring through the sky over Letchworth State Park in upstate New York and capturing views of waterfalls, gorges, and scenery. You can do this on an unforgettable hot air balloon ride — a quintessential way to say “I do.” Balloons Over Letchworth can accommodate up to nine passengers in its largest ride basket, as well as another five passengers in another large balloon — making up a total party of 14 for a mid-air ceremony. The family-owned Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures in Franklin, Tennessee, offers similar wedding packages, also set in the air above hidden lakes and rolling hills.
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When many people think of Las Vegas weddings, they think of sparkle and glam. You may be surprised to know that the city is a perfect departure point for weddings at a nearby gold mine. Couples say their vows in a peaceful mine location among antiques and scenic beauty.
How much do you love doughnuts? “The world-famous Voodoo Doughnuts offers complete wedding packages are multiple locations around the country,” Scarlett says. “You can have a small ceremony in their original Portland, Oregon, location (and get special doughnuts made for the happy couple), or have a whole shindig in Eugene, Denver or Austin. It's the perfect place for the quirky couple.”
April Pignataro and Michael Curry took their vows in the shark tank at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, New York. They were let down in a steel cage into a tank to exchange their vows. “Inside they were surrounded by sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, moray eels and a massive Queensland grouper,” NBC New York said.
Yes, it’s crazy, but it has been done. A couple exchanged their wedding vows on a Southwest Airlines flight. “Renee and Michael (whose last names are unknown) boarded a flight from Las Vegas to Baltimore decked in wedding attire — she wearing a white gown with a sparkly belt and a veil, and he a tux,” according to Yahoo Lifestyle. “With 45 minutes remaining in the five-hour trip, the couple rose from their seats and headed toward opposite ends of the plane.” With the passengers as witnesses and the pilot as their officiant, this was a memorable day for everyone.
Adrenaline junkies, take the plunge on this thrilling ride. Yes, you can actually get married on the ride! As soon as you say “I Do” the roller coaster whisks you off on a 67mph journey through the casino’s re-creation of the New York skyline. According to bridalville.com, there are designated times for ceremonies and the prices vary from $600 to $700.
What could be better than saying, “I do!” as you fly 2,000 feet above one of America’s most beautiful, awe-inspiring icons — Niagara Falls. Rainbow Air Helicopter Tours offers several exhilarating aerial wedding packages that allow you to tie the knot as you glide and dip over the majestic falls — no passport required! And, just think: You’ll already be in the “Honeymoon Capital of the World,” so you might as well stick around and explore the heart-melting natural wonders that await you there as newlyweds. Spend the day sipping away along the Niagara Wine Trail before sharing an intimate dinner at the famous Top of the Falls restaurant, which offers panoramic views of Horseshoe Falls through floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor dining decks. Then book a couples massage at the luxurious Seneca Niagara Casino & Resort. And don’t leave town before heading to the Visitor’s Center for your complimentary “We Honeymooned in Niagara Falls USA” certificate — a keepsake you’ll treasure forever.
“Feel like a movie star on your special day with a wedding at the Paramount Pictures Studios,” Scarlett says. “Your special day can take place within a number of the movie lots (how many people can say they've been married in the middle of a New York street?). We're sure these events are pricey, but you can bet no one else you know will be able to top a wedding here.”
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“Hit the skies on your big day and start your lives together with a thrill that'll make most people's knees weak,” Scarlett says. “Vegas Extreme Skydiving offers wedding packages that include everything you need — from a special "skydiving preacher" and Champagne to a DVD video of your jump (that will hopefully last longer than your marriage). Say your vows and moments later you'll be headed to the ground at over 120 mph.”
“Live out your childhood with a wedding in a treehouse. Treehouse Point in Washington offers a scenic backdrop for your big day, with lush greenery and the sounds of the nearby river,” Scarlett says. “There are multiple treehouses to choose from, so you can find the perfect one for your big day.” Your wedding at TreeHouse Point also includes overnight lodging for up to 18 people.
Lost River Cave is home to the only underground boat cruise in Kentucky. Lost River Cave boasts one of the largest cave openings in the US, flanked by a babbling waterfall, with a smooth rock floor and cool, covered area perfect for weddings. Couples will enter through a narrow passageway into a cathedral-like cavern, or visitors can get married at the Riverwalk under the canopy of trees and host their reception just steps away in the cave opening, set up cute with twinkling fairy lights, white linen and a vintage chandelier. For more inspiration on wedding venue locations, visit the most romantic place in your state.
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