Ballrooms and beachfronts used to reign supreme when it came to wedding venues, but that's hardly the case anymore. If you're tired of the standard hotel reception, are bored by the tradition of a chapel ceremony, or hate the unreliable weather of a beach wedding, fear not; alternative options are on the rise.
More hotels and resorts are upping the ante by catering to the bride in search of something nontraditional, providing unique venues that blow ballrooms away or coordinating vendors, services, and suggestions for nearby local landmarks. Want a zen-like feel? Opt for a Thai house spa to channel your inner yogi. Have an eco-friendly conscience? Tie the knot at a sustainable farm retreat, with fresh farm-to-table service. If you're all about the locale, look for a resort set in an adventurous environment—like a desert or tropical jungle.
Part of the reason alternative venues are so ubiquitous these days is in large thanks due to sites like Splacer, which aggregates event spaces around the world (use them to find your industrial warehouse, museum, or library reception!), or Home Away and Airbnb. You might know the last two as vacation rental sites, but did you know that they're also the perfect place for you to find your dream venue?
Hail historic charm in an English country home or an Italian villa or be a true indie bride and tie the knot at camping grounds. Of course, if the listing doesn't specifically state anything about weddings, you'll want to first inquire with the host about your intentions for renting the place and get approval. If you're lucky, he or she may know how to work some wedding magic by having the perfect vendor connections and offering some coordination assistance. Seriously—you can get married practically anywhere these days. We've rounded up 15 nontraditional choices across the globe that will have you saying "I do!"
A Former Monastery
History comes alive at the Butley Priory in Suffolk, England, a 14th-century Augustinian monastery. Stone vaulted arches, grand fireplaces, and cathedral ceilings sweep the space with English romance. Hold your ceremony and reception inside the great hall and drawing room or outside across the sprawling eight acres. This Airbnb has a specific wedding package, including a bridal suite and a wedding coordinator, for up to 200 guests. All you need is Mr. Darcy.
Thai House Spa
Thailand, meet the Caribbean. Zemi Beach House in Anguilla's Zemi Thai House Spa—an authentic 300-year-old Thai house, transported from Thailand to Anguilla in the 1980s—makes for one blissful and tranquil wedding venue. Receptions are arranged outdoors on the Thai House Spa Deck, featuring a small vitality pool and serene views of Anguilla's world-famous Shoal Bay Beach. Seriously, what's better than two worlds in one?
An Italian Villa
Wine lovers, skip the standard vineyard and opt for an antique and noble villa right outside Montepulciano, Italy, in Tuscany. This beauty is owned by a local winemaker who produces Nobile di Montepulciano. Say "I do" on the lawn's Italian garden, hold cocktail hour next to the private pool, and dine alfresco under the trees. The inside is just as beautiful, restructured while maintaining the building's historic charm. The owner will also help set up a personal wine tour for a fun weekend activity. Now, that's the real deal.
Bookworm brides will appreciate getting married at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the former residence of the famed novelist in Key West, Florida. Historic and tropical, the property's perfectly manicured gardens are a beautiful choice for a celebration. Host your nuptials during the day to soak in the lush greenery, and hold your reception by night to dance under the stars.
Bohemian brides will find magic in Belle Tents Camping in Davidstow, United Kingdom, where six tents in a field sit in their own heavenly gardened area of lush shrubs and scented flowers. Rent out the campsite for an intimate reception and celebrate around the campfire underneath a starry sky. The owners are musicians, so newlyweds just might be able to persuade them to sing a song or two for their celebration soundtrack.
Tropical Rain Forest
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and a 1,100-acre tropical rain forest, Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica boasts a lush garden for intimate ceremonies as well as an expansive 6,698-yard golf course for larger gatherings, made up of five rain-forest microclimates and exotic native plants. And how sweet is this—the property features a "Love Boat" in its lobby where couples can place poems and love letters into glass bottles to be hung on the boat. Other perks? A resident cigar roller, rain-forest-inspired treatments at Sibo Spa & Retreat, five dining venues to choose from, and a network of pools and swim-up bars.
Nothing quite says refined bucolic charm like the Catskills of upstate New York. This gorgeous barn near Hudson embodies the romance of the region, with stunning sunset views to boot. The package, for $8,000, includes a neighboring farmhouse for your bridal suite, use of vintage farm tables and decor, and additional restrooms. Even better, this won't be the first time the owner has spun some wedding magic. Ask her about all-inclusive wedding coordination services.
An intimate wedding at the Casibari Rock Formation in Aruba is cooler than cool. This unusual monolithic rock formation inexplicably rises up from the desert; no explanation has been found for the presence of these wind-blown boulders. The massive rocks may have trails and steps to get through, but the amazing wedding photo ops with panoramic views of the island are worth it. Hyatt Regency Aruba will help you with a wedding here, catering the reception and working with vendors who can help with decor, live music, and more.
The Prep School
A return to school may not be your first choice for wedded bliss, but you'll feel differently once you take a peek at the Headfort House, a private preparatory school just 45 minutes from Dublin. A magical garden, outdoor ménage, stables, tennis court, and a grand ballroom with seating for up to 120 are just a few of the amazing features in this stunning private space.
Artsy brides, what beats tying the knot among stunning masterpieces? From the gorgeous fresco ceiling of the dining room to the red brocade walls of the music room and ornate decor of the grand salon, there's no shortage of magnificent reception spaces to choose from at Jacquemart Andre Museum in Paris. Its art, complete with Italian sculptures, paintings, and artifacts, is as rich as its history; built in 1869, the museum used to be a mansion. Less known and underrated, this museum is a much less touristy choice than some of its other French competitors.
The Private Hilltop
The Italian hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio is something storybook dreams are made of, and Domus Civita is actually heaven on earth as a restored 14th-century palazzo connected to underground caves (one of which contains a heated pool and Jacuzzi), Etruscan tombs, and a Roman water cistern with more than 300 bottles of wine. The real magic, though, can be found in the cliff garden, which boasts spectacular views and alfresco dining. It's an enchanting place for quiet nuptials; you'll never want to leave.
Medieval style finds paradise at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol in the Dominican Republic, where you can have the tropical wedding of your dreams at its breathtaking castle island suites. The resort offers couples a signature two-bedroom suite set on its own private island, paired with a personalized three-day wedding experience, including a welcome cocktail party for guests and an oceanside ceremony. This venue is also stress-free: AlSol's wedding program allows for highly customizable packages with a wedding team that will curate each and every detail.
An Artist's Loft
Every hipster bride can find her dream venue in this 2,000-square-foot Brooklyn loft. The inside looks like it's straight out of MoMA with contemporary artwork, banjo decor, and an airy vibe—but the outside is even more breathtaking. A 1,000-square-foot deck with skyline views makes for a spectacular rooftop ceremony and celebration, especially if you string up some dazzling fairy lights. With room for up to 60 guests, it's perfect for an intimate affair.
Sustainable Farm Retreat
Find an alternative to the traditional Caribbean beachfront wedding at Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian Hill, a luxury hillside culinary retreat set in the foothills of Mount Liamuiga in St. Kitts. With 400 acres of farmland providing 90 percent of the food at the hotel, this sustainable property offers wedding receptions at various locations, from the farm's center to the deck of the farmhouse's 100-foot pool, with views of the Caribbean Sea and surrounding islands as a backdrop. Your guests can enjoy a true farm-to-table reception featuring the many varieties of fruits and vegetables that grow right on Kittitian Hill.
The lush oasis of Bali has never looked as stunning as it does in the village of Nyuh Kuning of Ubud. A sprawling property with three villas, this Airbnb gem, right next to where Eat Pray Love was filmed, is a paradise of winding rivers and amazing gardens. The hosts have wedding experience, thus serving as your go-to for suppliers in the city, such as florists, DJs, and lighting specialists. It's basically the whole package.