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If you aren’t looking for a traditional wedding venue – in fact, you actually prefer something really quirky and cool that fits your unique personality, these off-the-beaten-path wedding destinations might offer just the right idea for you.
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In a Hot-Air Balloon - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Can you imagine getting married while soaring towards the clouds against the bright blue backdrop of New Mexico’s sunny skies, as hundreds of colorful balloons float alongside you? Talk about unique! While you can have your wedding in a hot-air balloon at just about any time during the year, by planning the ceremony sometime during the first two weeks of October, your private balloon can be launched directly from the Balloon Fiesta field where it will drift among hundreds of others making for some of the most amazing wedding photos you’ll ever see. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival offers complete wedding packages, including options for catering, photography, invitations and just about anything else you need.
Bridal Cave - Camdenton, Missouri
Stalactites make for the ultimate wedding décor, so if you like exploring caves, getting married in one could make for the ultimate ceremony, but you don’t want to choose just any old cave – the aptly named Bridal Cave in the Ozarks of Missouri is perfect! It’s been named one of the most scenic in the entire nation and features giant columns, massive draperies and delicate soda straws throughout. Native American legend has it that the first couple married here back in the early 1800s after the Osage tribe discovered its beauty hidden in Thunder Mountain. Since then, more than 3,000 couples have said their vows here. The cave’s chapel can accommodate up to 50 guests. You can choose to have recorded pipe organ music, a photographer, floral arrangements and other options too.
On a Glacier - Juneau, Alaska
For brides and grooms that love the great outdoors, there are few better places to get married in the U.S. than in the wilderness of Alaska. Its picturesque capital of Juneau is nestled between Mount Juneau, Mount Roberts and the Gastineau Channel in the southeast region of the state. The downtown is a maze of narrow streets lined with a mix of new structures, old storefronts and charming 19th-century homes left over from the town’s early gold mining days, while the waterfront is bustling with fishing boats, cruise ships and floatplanes. Making it an even more adventurous destination is the fact that it can only be reached by plane or boat.
Just a short drive from town is Mendenhall Glacier, one of the 38 major glaciers that extend from the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield. If getting married on a glacier sounds like your kind of thing, Pearson’s Pond Luxury Inn and Adventure Spa helps couples arrange to have to their ceremony right on top of one of them. Fly in via helicopter, donning a wintry gown – long, flowing caps and white fur jackets and hats are popular attire for brides here, according to the inn’s owner, Maryann Ray. After the wedding, stay for your honeymoon to enjoy whale watching and other wildlife viewing, glacier cruises, hiking and much more.
Next to a Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
If you’ve got a fiery passion for each other, getting married next to a volcano makes perfect sense. At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, couples say their vows with the Kilauea Caldera as the backdrop – the caldera is part of a live volcano that comes complete with plumes of lava that splash against the sky. Ali`i Garden in Volcano Village is located right next to the park and is the only authorized wedding officiant that is licensed under its commercial use permit program. The organization also offers professional photography services. If you’re concerned about an eruption halting the ceremony, you should know that while it is an active volcano, there haven’t been eruptions for hundreds of years. After you say your “I dos,” this area also makes a great base for exploring the east side of the Big Island, including its amazing snorkeling and swimming beaches, botanical gardens, waterfalls and more.
If you’re thinking of Vegas, but you really want wild and crazy Vegas, how about getting married on a pirate ship? After all, walking down the plank is a popular joke many grooms hear. While you won’t actually be walking a plank, you will take a stroll over a boardwalk built out of wooden planks when you hop aboard one of the majestic ships that look as if they’ve sailed the high seas of the Caribbean. The ships sit in the Disney-esque cover at the front of the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. While both are more elegant than swashbuckling, it’s definitely like stepping into a fairytale – and, the service is officiated by a captain.
Treehouse Point in Issaquah, Washington
If you love walks through the forest or enjoyed playing in treehouses as a kid, why not tie the knot in a treehouse? Treehouse Point, nestled in a beautiful, lush forest just a half hour’s drive from Seattle offers the chance to say your vows in the trees with the sounds of the river providing the music. Not only can you have a unique ceremony here, but you also get to wake up in your very own treehouse too. While you may want to stay tucked up inside, if you decide to venture out you’ll find lots to do in the area nearby, including dining at Salish Lodge, & Spa, which serves up delicious Northwest cuisine using seasonal ingredients and indigenous cooking techniques at its on-site restaurant The Attic, as well as offering beautiful views of Snoqualmie Falls and Snoqualmie River.
In or Above the Grand Canyon, Arizona
If you love the southwestern scenery but want to get away from the bright lights of Vegas, Papillon Grand Helicopters will pick you up from your hotel on the Strip in a limo before flying you out via helicopter to the Grand Canyon where you’ll descend 4,000 feet into the massive hole, passing sheer rock formations formed from the Colorado River millions of years ago before saying your vows next to the river. You can also say your “I dos” on top of Tower Butte, a 5,000-foot rock formation that can’t be reached by car or by foot or enjoy one of the many outdoor adventures in the Grand Canyon before returning to Las Vegas to enjoy the city that never sleeps.
On a Roller Coaster - Coney Island, New York
If you thought those photos of couples getting married on the Cyclone Roller Coaster on Coney Island were a joke, they most definitely aren’t. A number of coaster enthusiasts and nostalgic New Yorker couples do this every year – they say getting married on a roller coaster is a great way to prepare yourself for the inevitable ups and downs. For the ride of your life, you can book the coaster, invite up to 24 people, and arrange to have the ceremony before noon – when the ride officially opens up to the public. The wedding party is crammed into 12 cars, followed by the newlyweds’ first spin on the Cyclone. Then, everyone gets to indulge in funnel cakes and foot-long hot dogs.
In a Shark Tank at Long Island Aquarium - Long Island, New York
You might be surprised to find that more and more couples are making the decision to have their weddings at aquariums – and some, are even choosing to wed inside a shark tank. If you’re both experienced divers, why not embrace your love of the underwater world by tying the knot surrounded by sharks instead of humans? You can do just that at Long Island Aquarium by donning helmets that enable underwater breathing and communication as well as custom-created wet suits – white for her and black for him. You’ll step inside a steel cage and be lowered into the 120,000-gallon shark tank, using microphones to say your vows to the officiant and guests on the surface above as nurse sharks, sand sharks, giant grouper and eels swim about.
Voodoo Doughnut - Portland, Oregon
Oregonians have been lining up around the block to get into downtown Portland’s VooDoo Doughnut for over a decade now. And, ever since the word got out about this very unique shop where toppings include things like Froot Loops, Cap’n Crunch cereal and real bacon, people come from all over the world just to get a taste of doughnuts like the Old Dirty Bastard, which is covered in chocolate frosting, Oreos and peanut butter. If you’re a big fan of the place, you might even want to get married here. Voodoo offers equally unconventional ceremonies, from nonbinding “intentional commitments” to the “Whole Shebang,” which includes an in-house Universal Life minister coffee and doughnuts, as well as round-trip airfare.
On the Titanic - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Titanic fans who plan their wedding in February can get married on the Titanic – well, of course, not the original ship, that may not work so well considering that it’s sitting at the bottom of the ocean. But, it’s almost like the real thing at the Titanic Museum Attraction in the heart of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Ceremonies are held on the magnificent Grand Staircase – it’s an exact replica of the original and just like the one Rose and Jack ascended in the legendary movie directed by James Cameron. A ceremony here is the ultimate in beauty and elegance as well as providing a perfect opportunity to dress up in Gilded Age attire. “Captain Smith,” the white-bearded helmsman of the “unsinkable ship,” will bless your union and reception can be held in the First Class Dining Room, complete with costumed waiters serving authentic Titanic dishes like poached salmon with mousseline sauce and Waldorf pudding, on replica gold-plated china.
Underwater - Trang, Thailand
Another great option for a Valentine’s Day ceremony is to get married under the sea – perhaps even dressed up like the characters from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” to complete the unforgettable experience. The weddings take place just once a year, with couples standing nearly 40 feet under the water’s surface on a white, sandy sea bed to say their vows. Around 30 couples from Thailand and across the globe take part in the special group ceremony in the clear waters of the Andaman Sea in Trang. Betrothed divers enjoy a parade through the streets of the town, engaging in traditional Thai celebrations on the beach, before taking a dip to complete the formalities underwater.
After you get hitched, you can explore the islands of Trang – they’re just as magical as their more famous (and more crowded) contemporaries like Phi Phi and Phuket, but these unspoiled isles offer a more tranquil escape that’s ideal for enjoying lots of alone time. The islands are also one of the kingdom’s last refuges of the dugong, the province’s state icon.
The Top of Mount Everest, Nepal
If you don’t just want to feel like you’re on top of the world, but literally be there, then there is no better spot to wed than the top of Mount Everest. The downside is that your ceremony will have to be short – and you’ll need to wear oxygen masks, removing them only to say your vows, but it will certainly be unique. In fact, to date, it seems that just one pair have managed to say to actually tie the knot on the 29,035-foot summit – a Nepalese couple that were part of an expedition that scaled the peak with 45 other climbers in 2005. If that sounds a little too extreme, than perhaps you might consider at base camp – a lot more manageable, though you will have to forgo that perfect bridal hair and makeup.
Haunted Ruins of Tutbury Castle - Burton-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Known as one of the most haunted castles in the United Kingdom, Tutbury Castle also has a fascinating past as one of the important royal castles in England’s history, with its guests including the likes of Henry IV, the Black Prince and Henry VIII. It was also a prison for the tragic and romantic Mary Queen of Scots on four occasions. Its medieval ruins make a perfect spot for ghost hunters who want to get hitched – in fact, it regularly hosts ghost walks and a variety of other spooky events. If that’s your thing, you can even get married here in the “dead of night” with a special midnight ceremony held by torchlight in the grounds with the incredible backdrop of the floodlit Norman Castle ruins underneath the starry sky.
Scott Island, Antarctica
Say you’d travel to the ends of the earth for your husband or wife-to-be? A ceremony in Antarctica will let you prove it, if you think you can brave the extremities. For those that think the wilds of Alaska aren’t nearly wild enough, Scott Island in Antarctica is about as extreme as it gets. The only way to travel to this small, uninhabited island is by helicopter – the nearest inhabited landmass is New Zealand. The island has two small coves with beaches, with the rest surrounded by high cliffs. While it may not be easy to get there and your attire will be anything but fancy formal wear – the upside is that the penguins will be ready to go in their natural tuxedo suits.
Burning Man Festival - Black Rock City, Nevada
As one of the more extreme music festivals in the world, it only makes sense that Burning Man also makes for a very out-of-the-ordinary wedding venue in a unique, alien-like landscape. For many betrothed couples who attend the festival together, it’s the obvious choice for tying the knot in a celebration of the bizarre and decadent as cutting edge music fills the air and art installations provide an unforgettable backdrop. You’ll just need to plan a few weeks in advance to find a wedding officiant to marry you or you can even have a friend that’s attending with you officiate your wedding by getting ordained at the Universal Life Church website. The task, the site boasts, takes just three minutes.
A Ball Park, Baseball Stadiums throughout the U.S.
If you’re die-hard baseball fans, getting married at your favorite baseball stadium might make for your perfect wedding. Maybe the team’s mascot can even be the ring-bearer and guests could throw peanuts instead of rice? Just about every team in major league baseball has used their ballpark to play host to at least one wedding, which means all you have to do is head to your team’s website for information. The St. Louis Cardinals, for example, even offers a variety of wedding packages to choose from. Your attire can be totally traditional, with perhaps the team colors on the inside of the tux or it be as extreme as donning complete team-themed outfits. Instead of the bride walking out to “Here Comes the Bride,” why not “Take Me Out To The Ballgame?” You can be as creative as you like!
Wedding in the Sky, Anywhere
A wedding in the sky can be made possible with the Dinner in the Sky service, which is an amazing alternative to a ceremony in a hot-air balloon, and you can say your vows pretty much 164 feet above ground pretty much anywhere there are 5,000 square feet of secure surface area. That means the sky is literally the limit when it comes to location, perhaps soaring above the breathtaking coastline of Croatia, the Grand Canyon or even a Venetian canal. The ceremony is held in the 20-seat platform that’s hoisted 164 feet into the air, with the bride and groom standing in the middle of the table. Once the couple says their “I dos,” the table is lowered so that the newlyweds can be strapped into the seats to enjoy cocktails and dinner. Some especially daring couples even decide to take the literal plunge afterward – by bungee jumping off the platform.