One of the first steps in the wedding planning process is finding the perfect venue to exchanged vows with your loved ones. For many of the more than 2 million people that get married each year, the church setting is the obvious choice. However, a traditional religious institute is not always the locale that every husband or wife to be had dreamed of.
According to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, just 39% of married young adults reported that their weddings took place in a church or other place of worship. Instead of going to the chapel, many of these couples sought out different options to start this next chapter of their lives.
If you are engaged and seeking a romantic option for the ceremony outside of the church, these four alternatives might be worth exploring.
If you are looking to simplify the ceremony-planning process, a courthouse wedding might be the right option for you and your spouse to be. If this is the venue you select, keep in mind that each state has different requirements for these civil ceremonies. For example, your state may require that you get a marriage license for a courthouse wedding, just like you would need for a church ceremony, while others will require you to bring at least one witness with you.
1. The Courthouse:
2. A yacht: Getting married on a yacht can be a beautiful ceremony setting for couples who love or live near the water. With a yacht as your location, you’ll often have a beautiful backdrop for exchanging vows. Many yacht companies will help you plan the ceremony, so the process isn’t a heavy lift. And as a bonus, when you get married on a yacht you can easily transition to a fun and unique setting for the celebration after.
3. The Backyard:
The COVID-19 pandemic has made backyard or at-home wedding more popular than ever. Not only does this venue tend to be significantly less expensive than churches or other ceremony settings, but it is also a completely customizable space that allows you and your husband or wife to create the wedding of your dreams no matter the budget. If you don’t have the perfect backyard to host a wedding, don’t fret, there are plenty of ways to make it happen. For example, more and more couples are renting an Airbnb to host their backyard nuptials.
4. A Library:
If you and your fiancé are a lover of books or opulent surroundings, one of the major libraries in one of the country’s biggest cities may be the perfect venue option. Some of the libraries that will host your wedding include the George Peabody Library in Baltimore, the James J. Hill Center in St. Paul, Minn., the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, and the Daughters of the American Revolution National Headquarters Library in Washington, D.C.
6. A Zoo:
If you love animals and are willing to put up with the smells and sounds, a zoo wedding could be the alternative to the church ceremony you are looking for. The San Diego Zoo, Saint Louis Zoo, Bronx Zoo, and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are just some of the options you have for these wild weddings.
If you’re engaged, exploring non-traditional venue options may help give you and your fiancé the wedding you’ve always dreamed of.
Find more wedding tips in our archives.
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