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If you’re the type of couple who is looking for something a little, or a lot, different than your typical wedding ceremony, these somewhat crazy but awesomely unforgettable places may make the perfect place for saying your “I dos.”
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Burning Man, Black Rock City, Nevada
As one of the world’s most extreme musical festivals, it stands to reason that Burning Man also makes for one of the more extreme wedding venues. If you’re both into it, this legendary event in Black Rock City may be the obvious place to tie the knot. While the unpredictable desert can be a strange venue for a wedding ceremony, the couples who’ve wedded here in the past tend to reflect on the event rather fondly, and most insist that it was the ideal spot for them. This is where, once a year, the week-long event transforms the usually desolate landscape into a utopian society and the state’s fifth largest city, with a population of roughly 50,000 and growing. It’s been described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance that allow all inhibitions to be left left at the gates before entering the five-mile wide camp that sits within a prehistoric lake known as the playa. Weddings happen all around the playa, but some camps are specifically dedicated to hosting them. The Two Lanterns camp advertises weddings “for any beings, with all the trimmings, including rings, veils, top hat and certificate.” Saying your vows in this alien-like landscape as you’re surrounded by art installations while cutting-edge music fills the air, is certainly unforgettable.
Hotel de Glace Ice Chapel, Quebec City, Quebec
Hotel de Glace is renowned for its icy cold luxury, where guests have their pick of 44 rooms and suites, and all of the furniture is entirely made of ice and snow, including the beds. The actual bed consists of blocks of ice, but it has a solid wood base, comfortable mattress and silky soft sheets, a faux-fur throw and a pillow. If it gets too chilly, thermal sleeping bags are available to keep you warm. The hotel’s chapel, where temperatures hover around 25 degrees, also happens to be a popular spot for a wedding ceremony. You’ll find iced champagne, two ice glasses, and, for your guests, ice benches draped in animal skins. If figuring out what to wear in this chilly albeit stunning glistening palace is preventing you from living out this fantasy, the good news is that designer Corinne Markey has created the Marie-Ange Collection just for brides who wed here. The gowns are floor-length, have fur-trimmed hoods, a warm and fuzzy lining and thick white capes.
Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, Oregon
In Portland, both visitors and locals regularly line up around the block just to get into a doughnut shop, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill facility. This is downtown’s funky Voodoo Doughnut, where toppings include Cap’n Crunch and Froot Loops cereal, maple-glazed bacon, and Tang, and devoted fans can enjoy an equally unconventional wedding. There are a menu of ceremony options, including everything from a non-binding commitment ceremony to the “Whole Shebang,” which includes round-trip airfare, a hotel, coffee, doughnuts and a Universal Life Minister.
Winery Ruins at Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen, California
The incredibly romantic, historic stone winery ruins at Jack London State Historic Park offer a unique but ideal backdrop for a wedding. You and your guests will be surrounded by the beautiful Sonoma hills, vineyards and picturesque woodlands. When the fog rolls in, you might think that you were saying your “I dos” in the Scottish highlands, it adds such a mystical ambiance to what could easily be imagined as a landscape dotted with crumbling castles. The historic 19th-century ruins of the Kohler and Frohling winery serve as an open air courtyard and popular setting for many couples who are seeking a truly-one-of-a-kind setting with rustic elegance and charm.
Nelson Ghost Town, Nevada
Located an hour from the Las Vegas Strip and surrounded by Joshua trees, Nelson was once one of the best known mining towns in the West. Back in 1775, the town that was here was called El Dorado by the Spaniards who made the first discoveries of gold in the area that’s now referred to as El Dorado Canyon. A century later, it was swamped with prospectors and lawlessness. Today, Nelson is considered a “living ghost town,” where many believe the resonance of its former unruly population can still be felt echoing through the canyon walls. It also still hosts a number of old barns, rusted-out vehicles, gas pumps and a saloon that provide lots of character and make for especially interesting photographs for weddings and other events. Wedding planners and officiants say their clients love eloping here just because it’s so different.
Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau Alaska
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are few better spots to wed than in the wilds of Alaska. And just a short drive from the capital city of Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier, one of the 38 major glaciers that extend from the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield, has become an increasing popular place for exchanging vows. Couples can actually hold their ceremony right on top of the glacier after being flown in by helicopter. Brides typically wear wintry gowns with white fur jackets, hats, and cozy, flowing capes to stay warm, and of course, everyone else will need to bundle up too. Being surrounding by such breathtaking scenery is worth having to fend off a little chill, however, and afterward, everyone can enjoy more unforgettable experiences like whale watching, cruises, fishing, hiking and more.
Bridal Caves, Camdenton, Missouri
If you like the underground, why not get married in a cave? Bridal Caves in the Missouri Ozark is aptly named and hosts ceremonies for those who’d like to be surrounded by stalactites when tying the knot. After all, they make for some pretty spectacular, naturally sparkling decor. Acclaimed as one of the most scenic caves in the country, it also includes lots of massive columns and draperies, along with delicate soda straws. Native American legend tells that in the early 1800’s, a couple was the first to be wed here, and since then, over three thousand others have said their vows in this very cave. Bridal Cave also offers a photographer, floral arrangements and recorded pipe organ music.
Shark Tank, Long Island Aquarium, New York
If you’re afraid of sharks, getting wed in a shark tank is probably not your idea of a beautiful ceremony. But, if you and your beloved are shark fans, and experienced divers, getting hitched right inside a shark tank may be just for you. Atlantis Marine World on Long Island, also known as the Long Island Aquarium, offers the opportunity to embrace your love of each other, and the underwater world, by being surrounded by sharks rather than humans. You’ll don helmets that enable underwater breathing and communication, along with custom-created wet suits – white for her and black for him. When it’s time, you’ll step inside the steel cage and be lowered into the 120,000 gallon shark tank. Microphones are used to say your vows to the officiant as well as your guests above the surface.
Marymoor Dog Park, Redmond, Washington
More and more couples have been choosing to include their four-legged best friends in their wedding ceremony, and if you’re a dog lover that would like that option too, there may be no better spot in the Seattle area than Marymoor Park’s “doggie heaven.” This beautiful dog park just across Lake Washington in Redmond will allow you to include just about as many canine guests as you’d like – and you may have a few uninvited stragglers too, so be sure to bring plenty of treats to go around.
Cypress Cove Nudist Resort & Spa, Kissimmee, Florida
Nude weddings have also become increasing popular as of late. In fact, there is even a nudist notary – Caroline Hawkins – who performs multiple clothing optional weddings every year in Florida, including at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee. Brides save big, both monetarily and on stress, as there is no need to worry about the dress. Instead brides and grooms wear only their birthday suits and say their “I dos” on the shores of picturesque Lake Taho underneath a decorated arch. Once they’re hitched, the couple and their guests often head to the Cheeks Bar and Grill for nude dancing and dining.