5 Perfect Nontraditional Wedding Venues by DIY Wedding Mentor
Backyard and barn wedding venues are definitely the most popular non-traditional wedding venues I see as a wedding coordinator who works solely with DIY couples. Backyards and barns are popular because they make for wonderful non-traditional wedding venues, but did you know there’s a whole other world of offbeat venues out there?
I recently visited the Roger Williams Botanical Center in Providence, Rhode Island and it inspired me to think about new possibilities for non-traditional venues. During the day, the botanical center is a public garden where you’ll find tourists and local school groups exploring everything from the coy pond to the orchid garden.
But in the evening, the space takes on a life of its own and doubles as a wedding venue. Since the property is owned by the city, it’s relatively affordable compared to other venues in the area. And as an added bonus, there’s not much decorating to do because all the flowers create an incredible ambiance that’s magical when lit up at night.
If you’re planning to get married in the Northeastern region of the United States, there are some other spectacular locations that you might not have considered for your wedding day. Besides the Roger Williams Botanical Center, here are a few more suggestions that may help you find the perfect, non-traditional venue. And if you’re getting married in another region, you can contact a local wedding coordinator or search the web to find your own non-traditional wedding space!
Public and Historical Buildings
A great place to start a venue search is by looking for public and historical buildings that can be rented in your area. Like the botanical gardens, many cities and historical societies are renting their properties to couples looking hold their weddings in out-of-the-ordinary spaces. In fact, the Roger Williams Botanical Center is part of a larger city park that also has a historical casino and bandstand on site that can be rented for weddings.
The Casino at Roger Williams Park is a great example of a historical building that can rented for weddings:
Similar to public property rentals, non-profit organizations like museums and theaters frequently allow their spaces to be rented for weddings. What is great about these types of rentals is that even if many of your guests have visited the venue in the past, they likely haven’t experienced the space as a wedding venue, and will enjoy seeing it in a new light. Additionally, your rental fee goes toward supporting a community organization, which is something many of the couples I work with like about renting event space from non-profits.
The Shelburne Museum has many available venues such as the Brick House and atop the Ticonderoga steamship:
I know what you’re thinking – summer camp?! But before you dismiss the idea, this venue is ideal for couples who plan to have a large wedding, but on a budget. Summer camps offer a variety of activities (playing games, swimming, communal meals) and lodging for you and your guests. You can rent it for the weekend and enjoy spending quality time with your loved ones.
If you’re in a colder climate, one thing to keep in mind is that summer camp rentals do book up quickly because they generally only rent for a few weeks each year when camp is not in session.
Camp Ohana is a great example of a summer camp that can be rented for weddings:
Conference and Retreat Center
Much like summer camps, conference and retreat centers allow your guests to gather in one place for an entire weekend together. What’s nice about these rental spaces is that they tend to have more flexibility with rental dates, and are often very experienced with hosting large groups of adults.
Friendly Crossways is a great example of a conference and retreat center that can be rented for weddings:
Private Home Rentals
Everyone knows that sites like AirBnB and Home Away are great for vacation rentals, but did you know there are quite a few properties on them that can be rented for large events? Perusing home rental listings with high guest capacities can be a great way to discover unique wedding venues. Keep in mind though that rental policies from home to home vary incredibly, so make sure to be upfront about the size of your event and ask lots of questions so there are no surprises down the road.
Below are examples of private homes available to be rented for weddings:
Hopefully these non-traditional venue examples have sparked your creative juices! Remember to do some thorough research or hire a wedding coordinator who is experienced in planning weddings in unconventional locales.
About the Author
DIY Wedding Mentor believes in thinking differently about weddings. We believe weddings are best when they are an authentic reflection of you and your values. And we think weddings should be affordable so you and your partner can pursue other important life goals like owning a home, starting a family, and paying off student loan debt. Most importantly, we believe weddings don’t need to be overly orchestrated performances. Weddings are all about love. It’s as simple as that. Caitlin Frauton, the Founder of DIY Wedding Mentor, works personally with DIY couples from all over the United States to help bring their wedding vision to life. She’s a lover of weddings, nature, and keeping it real.