We know that you know about wedding venues like churches, hotels, restaurants, gardens and beaches… but have you considered having your wedding underground, or on the side of a cliff, or under a dinosaur? We've scrounged up some of our favorite alternative wedding venues from weddings past in order to give you all a little inspiration…

Get married IN FUNNY SHOES

If I ever have another wedding, I'm gonna do it up 11th birthday-style, at a Roller rink or Bowling alley!

Get married IN A TREE


Treehouse weddings are an amazing choice for super green couples.


Nerds of the world, get behind this idea: have your wedding at Museums, Art Galleries or Plantariums. Besides, getting married under a dinosaur FTW!

Get married WITH CARNIES

3526050281 16d829e01d alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photography by Harmony Nixon

The photos at amusement park weddings are always incredible.



For a really affordable option, you can't beat your own backyard. And there's no curfew or anyone else telling you what you can and can't do.


Boat weddings are especially good for the non-religious couple, because you can legally get married by a captain! And you can have sea turtles and whales as your bridal party.

Get married LIKE A DIVA

Portraits at the Naro

Have an authentic old Hollywood-style wedding in a movie theatre.

Get married OFF THE MAP

Stephen's Gap (Explore #5)
Photo by Photo courtesy of Nathan Williams

Anyone can get married above ground — try doing it deep below the Earth's surface for a change in a cave wedding.


4920424058 e8868aa538 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photos by Maxwel Lander

Bar weddings are perfect if you wanted to have a kid-free wedding.

Get married WITH GHOSTS

hidden oaks haunted venue alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Haunted venues for the ghost enthusiast, or for those of you who want to pad your guest list with the undead.


State parks weddings are a gorgeous and affordably option. And they're also great for weekend camping weddings.

Get married IN A BLANK SLATE

Walking down the aisle

Lofts or warehouses are an open space just waiting for your wedding transformation… whatever form it takes.

Get married IN THE SKY


Mountain or cliff weddings because “I know that one day Veronica and I are gonna to get married on top of a mountain, and there's going to be flutes playing and trombones and flowers and garlands of fresh herbs. And we will dance till the sun rises.”



For all you Renn Faire geeks getting married at a Renaissance Faire is WAY too perfect.

Get married WITH SHARKS

underwater bride by benja alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photo by Benja Iglesis

Underwater weddings are perfect for divers and water-lovers, and all those who want a SUPER private ceremony. 😉

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Comments on 15 surprising alternative wedding venues

        • Jean, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about the language that appears on Offbeat Bride. The website is a partner to my 2006 book, Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, which is filled with colorful language. The word “fuck” has appeared on the website many, many times since its founding in January of 2007.

          I absolutely respect each readers’ right to find websites and reading material that feel like a good, comfortable fit with their tastes and culture. I’m afraid to say that if you find swearing offensive, Offbeat Bride may not feel like a good fit for you.

          • Hi Ariel,

            Swearing itself is not offensive to me. I am shocked to see it on a professional site, however, as I’ve felt that presenting a professional image is important for a business. I enjoy reading about new, unique, and interesting ideas in the wedding community.

          • Jean, when it’s a professional site dedicated to non-traditional weddings, I think non-traditional language is to be expected. If the language doesn’t feel right to you, that’s fine — but it doesn’t make the site less professional/effective as a business, given our particular market. Just ask our advertisers.

        • “Not professional and a tad offensive” should be the warning tag line on every wedding, post and comment on this site.
          Even when it is professional and generally unoffensive, we’re still just not the sort of company you’d bring to Aunt Agatha’s Saturday afternoon tea.

          • Unless it was a steampunk tea. With strippers. And cocktails. And rock climbing. And muppets. And and and…

        • I didn’t know the reference, but still I wasn’t shocked by the use of this word. When I come to offbeatbride I know it’s like meeting great friends for an afternoon talk, so sometimes f*** words slip it’s absolutely not a big deal, just like it wouldn’t be “offensive” amongst friends. As for calling it “not professional” I think the successful business Ariel has created speaks for itself regarding her complete professionalism!

        • The sort of professionalism that would never say “fuck” isn’t one I value. Basically because it’s about grasping class aspiration. The whole prohibition of Carlin’s seven dirty words is about the middle class frantically emulating how it thinks the upper class acts. It’s right there in the term “vulgar language”; vulgar means “what the commoners do”.

          • I did. Basically I changed right after the ceremony and photos out of my (gorgeous) proper shoes.

            My pregnant shotgun wedding feet couldn’t take even 1.5″ heels for another. Damn. Second.

            So it was awesome, plus everyone got to see my blue toenail polish. 😀

  1. Love. This. Post. I can check off four out of 15 of them, so I think this is my new wedding bucket list!

  2. LOVE the unique wedding venue idea! We are getting married at a ZOO! Our cocktail hour is spent in one of the exhbits. In fact, we skimped on almost everything else in our wedding so we could get a cool beans venue. (Incidentally, first choice was, in fact, under a dinosaur, but that was waaaaaaay expensive).

    • Celeste, yours & Jason’s wedding certainly deserved its being featured! I loved working with the two of you. What a great wedding and cool venue!

  3. …”I’m on a boat and, its going fast and…I’ve got a nautical themed pashmina aftan…i’m the king of the world on a boat like Leo…”
    Yup. This post rocks, and so does that song!!!

  4. I just wanted to say, for the record, this is my favorite Offbeat Bride post. Every single part of it. All of it. ALL.

  5. Stupid landlocked wedding, I wanna get married on a boat! I am however getting married in my “flippie-floppies” irl simply because the thought of heels at my wedding makes me want to commit genocide.

    • Second that! I started my wedding in adorable purple suede pumps, and ended my wedding in my old black El Cheapo flip flops that I wore with my sweatpants to the venue that morning. Comfort rules, so go with what will let you walk, dance, and twirl. I wanted to wear flip flops from the beginning, but was talked out of it (My friends: Flip flops? At your wedding? IN JANUARY? Are you crazy?). Looking back, I could’ve saved myself some cash and some pain if I’d just gone with the flip flops from the beginning like I wanted to.

  6. We were going to get married under the dino, but geez was it expensive! Then we wanted the Queen Mary, but upon Googling “Queen Mary Weddings” we wanted something with more personality… so we traded both ideas for a car museum. The mister is a mechanic and I used to restore old trucks with my grandpa. Offbeat location of perfection: secured!

  7. In my capacity as a ships hand you would be surprised how often that is the song I sing while tidying up the rigging and sail covers at the end of a voyage. It really gets across that “queen ofthe world” feeling.

  8. I love this post! So fun to see a review of the awesome venues that have been posted before in wedding profiles. I would like to comment on one thing though: Just because someone is captain of a boat does not mean they can marry you. They have to have a license to legally marry people. I believe most captains of commercial cruise ships and touristy ferry boats (like Maid of the Mist at Niagra falls)have the license anyway, but double-check before you book so you’re not surprised/disappointed.

    • Yep. My wedding is the one featured in this post, and the captain was also an ordained minister. I think the captain being allowed to marry you only applies in international waters or something weird like that.

  9. YES!
    I’m getting married on a BEACH motherfucker!
    And all my guests are poppin’ on two BOATS to get there.

    Friggin love you offbeat megan…

  10. Our honeymoon was on a boat, motherfuckas, and the song was sung. Every. Day.

  11. i think it’s safe to say, no matter where, Offbeat Brides always get married LIKE A BOSS.

  12. We talked about having a boat wedding. I wanted to at least have our rehearsal dinner on a evening cruise on Town Lake here in Austin but I have this tiny little problem called motion sickness as does have half of his immediate family. haha Risking half the wedding party throwing up during dinner might not be my brightest idea. haha

  13. We chose a bookstore run by a charity group! Socially-conscious nerd venue, check!

  14. This post should be the main page now. It’s a perfect summary of all things OBB. 😀

    As much as I love our wedding plans and our venue especially I sometimes wish we’d done something crazier. Last night we were talking about what we’d do with an infinate budget and came up with a music festival wedding. Tons of cool bands playing, food vans, carnival rides, peeps camping on site and for the headline act we get married on stage. 😀

    Also I’ve always wondered how underwater ceremonies actually work considering you’re supposed to say and write stuff to get legally married. Do they do the legal bit above the surface just before/after or is there some way to do it underwater?

  15. Just when I think I’m done with “I’m on a boat,” it returns.

    I remember so many of these weddings from the last few years of OBB! How many years should one wait before having a big anniversary party? These make me want to plan a fantastic party.

    • NONE! Our first anniversary party was probably the biggest party we’ve ever thrown! Now, admittedly it wasn’t fancy; it was just a standard house party. The point remains, however, that while the 5s and 10s may be traditional celebration points, if you have the budget then go ahead and boogie. No one is going to complain!

  16. This came at about the right time. I’ve been freaking out about venues all week.

  17. This was just what I needed yesterday. Checking out an art gallery tonight!

  18. Everytime I see that Maxwel Lander photo, with her laying on the bar, I just *swoon*, that wedding had such artistic looking photos…and on a side note, I wish I had stalked my local museum for the planetarium wedding I wanted, but they said it was a “no go”…I’m sure I could have pressured them some more….sigh…ah well, in a grove will just have to do! 😀

  19. I am getting married in September (JP style!), and having the reception at AN AMUSEMENT PARK. Skeeball, rollercoasters, hot dogs, and my brother and his pals playing bluegrass music while everyone eats and plays games FTW!

  20. Loved this post! It totally reminded me of something I had forgotten: REALLY really early in the planning of our wedding, my fiance had stressed that he’d always wanted his wedding to be on a raft as the raft went slowly down a river, with all the guests on the shore as we go by or on a bridge as we go under it. Apparantly he saw it in a movie, but he could never remember what it was. I never thought it was especially feasible, and we’ll be getting married in a Barn at a park, but remembering how enthused he was about the idea makes me smile.

  21. I wanted to get married in the dinosaur section of our museum, but my fiance vetoed that right quick. I’m a little more off beat than he is…

  22. That cave wedding photo is stunning!!!! How fun. We are getting married in an old theater. I love these!

  23. We are getting married on a 1812 privateer ship replica. We are renting the ship for 3 hours so we can do a harbor cruise, having appetizers dockside before the cruise and a nice dinner after at an awesome place right next door. Very relaxed, cruise/resort/hawaiian clothing.
    No suits.ties or heels allowed 🙂

  24. i would love to read more about some of these ideas,each link i click..cave wedding…tree house wedding,etc..goes to a screen page that says Onoz, cant find your page..anyone know how to locate the content?

    • Since the post is two years old, link rot set in. We sometimes update our tag names. I’ve fixed the links, so click away! 🙂

  25. I wish the “favorite comment roundup” had been around when this post was published. Man. So many winners.

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