When it comes to preparing for a wedding, a bride may have had the entire event planned out since her childhood, or might have no idea where to start. But no matter where she sits on the spectrum, nearly every bride winds up in the same situation at some point: anxious and frazzled about the event. And one of the first pieces of the wedding puzzle to put in place is finding the perfect venue. Once the location is set, booking the caterer, photographer and other services becomes much easier. But finding the right wedding venue can be the biggest challenge. It needs to fit your budget, time frame, overall vision, and not be one of those run-of-the-mill picks.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re all about the secluded and under-the-radar wedding sites. But there’s also something adventurous and alluring about getting hitched in a locale that is incredibly fun and unexpected, and has a little history behind it. From a romantic vineyard in Tuscany to an architectural gem of a museum in Saint Petersburg, read on as we pin down some of the most creative spots to tie the knot. Whether you’re actually looking for a wedding venue or are just curious about what’s out there, we’ve got you covered. If only choosing a partner was so easy!
Take Me to Church Where: Basilica di San Marco, Italy
Chapel of Dreams
Not everyone chooses to get married in a chapel, but for those who do, there is no shortage of options. Whether you want a religious ceremony in an eccentric spot or something driven by divine inspiration, these stunning chapels are as impressive as their architectural pedigrees.
This 1800s-style, off-white landmark in Venice is a picture-perfect option for the couple looking for something a little more historical and classic in an urban environment. Basilica di San Marco’s stunning surroundings – just look at those marble-clad walls and over 8,000 square metres of luminous gold mosaics – it will charm your guests as they enjoy the ceremony and bless the couple. And if you’re looking to have a sit-down affair, the cathedral church can accommodate 100 guests for a nuptial Mass. Bonus: The basilica is one of the most famous attractions in Venice, so you’re likely to be noticed by tourists from all corners of the world.
Raw Appeal Where: Callao Cave Chapel, Philippines
Sure, choosing a cave for your nuptials is an unexpected move, but the decision makes plenty of sense, especially if you want to create a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your would-be. Located in Barangays Magdalo and Quibal in the municipality of Peñablanca, the chapel is carved into the rock and the altar is made up of stunning natural formations. Beautiful grounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean surround the cave. It is ideal for your post-ceremony photo-ops. Meanwhile, your guests will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Tuguegarao, which just so happens to look gorgeous in every season.
Magnificent Milwaukee Where: Milwaukee Art Museum, United States
For Culture Vultures
Do you and your architecture-loving partner enjoy nothing more than wandering around a museum? Why not consider one for your wedding? In addition to being treasure troves of fine art or historical artefacts, they often have large, spectacular spaces in which to host an event. You never know, you might even get a private tour of the exhibits. You might think it’s one thing to pick an iconic site for a tour, but entirely different to choose one for your big day when you have to please your family and ensure great food and service. Fret not: we’ve selected three great venues that are memorable, unique and will most certainly wow your guests.
Getting married amongst ruins might not sound interesting at first, but we bet you’ll quickly change your mind once you see the remains of Domkirkeodden in Hamar. As the name suggests, Cathedral Ruins in Hamar or Hamar Cathedral was once a cathedral. But in 1567 during the Nordic Seven Years’ War, it was besieged by the Swedish army and razed to the ground. More than 400 years later, in 1998, Kjell Lund built a protective structure to conserve the remains and transformed the cathedral with glass framework and steel plates. Historic elements in the 1200 building include simple stone paving, soaring ceilings with a pointy top, and a gorgeous view of the full city skyline. And if you want to go really big, the romantic venue – which is now a part of the Hedmark Museum – can seat up to 300 for dinner.
Whimsical Dreamland Where: Domkirkeodden, Norway
Pic: THE ESSENCE OF THE GOOD LIFE
This splendid building in Wisconsin, known for its iconic Quadracci Pavilion sculpture, also features the Baumgartner Terrace that offers the perfect blank canvas for a cocktail party. Minimalists will immediately take to the museum’s stark, urban space; its 5,100 square feet includes Windhover Hall, both the Schroeder and Baumgartner Gallerias, the Quadracci Suite, the Northwestern Mutual Room, the Lubar Auditorium, Café Calatrava, Cudahy Gardens and grand views of downtown. But even if you have more ornate sensibilities, it’ll be fun realising the raw potential of this massive place, which has seating capacity for more than 800 people. Tying the knot at the Milwaukee Art Museum will no doubt cost a pretty penny, but it will be memorable for you and your guests.
Rustic Romance Where: Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards, USA
Pic: onelove photography
Sip Sip Hooray
If you’re looking for a romantic setting that goes above and beyond the usual, it’s time to take your wine-lover status to the next level by tying the knot in a picture-perfect wine country estate. Not only will you get your wine right from the source, but you’ll also have a chance to recite your vows in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Dramatic mountain views, century-old stone cellars, and the love of your life – these swoon-worthy vineyards are the perfect place to say, “I do!” Cheers!
Vintage, romantic, and rustic: Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards in California is a great option for a couple looking for something a little more classic. Hidden in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains that divide Sonoma and Napa, Chalk Hill can be indoor or outdoor, and seats over 400 guests. This place has got it all: an elevated outdoor space with a view of the estate’s primary vineyards, natural ranchlands, and the gorgeous Russian River Valley. It is indoor spaces are the perfect blend of modern and rustic, and offer a stunning view of the tranquil rock wall fountain through the French doors.
A Great Pair Where: Villa Baroncino, Italy
Pic: Villa Baroncino
For those who think the key to a good wedding is to keep the booze flowing, there may be no better venue than a luxury winery, right? A hidden gem with an intriguing historical background, Villa Baroncino was originally built in 1797 and hosted the town hall of the borough of Baroncino-Tuoro. The two buildings–Villa Vittoria and Villa Adele – include a three-storey dwelling with nine apartments and two swimming pools, all of which have given new life to this restored winery. The property produces different varieties of grapes along with different types of red and white wines and Prosecco, so even the pickiest wine aficionados will be satisfied. Inside, the modern decor and professional staff help set an elegant tone. All you have to do is fill the reception area, which can accommodate up to 140 guests for a sit-down dinner, and be careful not to spill the wine on your dress!
True Romance Where: New York Public Library, United States
Nothing goes better with romance than an actual romantic story. If you and your better half are lovers of literature, there are many private and public libraries that offer a perfect space for your special day. Whether you’re hoping for a touch of tattered covers or want to be surrounded by classics, these three libraries are bound to impress you and the love interest in the epic story of your life. We can dream, right?
You might recognise this impressive landmark from the Sex and the City movie; it’s where Mr. Big leaves Carrie at the altar. But it’s also the place of many a grand real wedding, too. The rich history and beaux-arts architecture of this New York landmark make it an instant choice for a memorable location. And if you’re after a great photo shoot, the building’s original details, including towering staircase, awe-inspiring reading room, dramatic dome roof, and mosaic floors, make for an incredibly picturesque backdrop. It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking to go all-out on your literary journey, this is it. There’s a reason our dear Carrie was dead-set on getting married here.
Beautiful Bodleian Where: The Bodleian Library, United Kingdom
Pic: Ross & Ross Food
A wedding is about celebrating a shared history together, and what better way to celebrate than in an historic library from the 1600s? Guests might be surprised that you’re hosting your big day at a university, but this quirky space with room for an intimate seated dinner, will charm them instantly. Architecture buffs will also appreciate the Divinity School, Convocation House and the Chancellor’s Court. They’re full of dramatic archways, ornate ceilings, dark wood furnishings and, of course, nods to their bookish past. The library offers bespoke packages for weddings, with the three rooms able to accommodate 180 guests. As a bonus, guests can visit Duke Humfrey’s Library, and enjoy their champagne while browsing through the books in this historic setting.
Victorian Vows Where: State Library Victoria, Australia
Calling all Instagram-obsessed brides: If you’re looking to bring all those images you’ve saved to life, then the State Library Victoria is the venue for you. Start your celebration before exploring Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery, La Trobe Reading Room, and the other hidden heritage spaces. Decked out with more than two million books lining dramatic shelves and 350,000 manuscripts, photographs, maps and newspapers, this palatial place can accommodate up to 600 guests. With its neoclassical architecture, elaborate entrance, beautiful high ceilings and picturesque ceremony sites, this one’s got it all. Sign us up.