The age-old elopement tale might be standing before a neon altar with a flamboyant Elvis impersonator in the center of the Las Vegas Strip, but travelling for your nuptials is no longer solely for last-minute wedding proposals. Destination weddings have quickly become a top choice for many engaged couples looking to stray from the traditional wedding reception.
If you want a destination wedding location that’s not only unique but also affordable, then walk down the aisle at one of these unusual matrimony venues in the U.S.:
New York minute
It’s no wonder you can find so much personality in the Big Apple - New York City is teeming with just about everything, from fine dining to hole-in-the-wall venues. Some of the city’s most established places are available for rent for wedding receptions, such as the world-famous toy store F.A.O. Schwartz on Fifth Avenue, which lets the bride and groom jump on the life-sized piano popularized by the movie “Big” with human “toy” soldiers. Ramones fans can travel to Rockaway Beach and hold a surf-themed reception at Rockaway Taco, an ocean-side snack stand brimming with margaritas and fish tacos. Meanwhile, Brooklyn couples can stay in Williamsburg and bowl their night away at the expansive warehouse-turned-bowling-alley Brooklyn Bowl.
New England romance
With its wooden areas and colonial charm, New England exudes romance from the tip of Maine to the Long Island Sound. While there’s no shortage of villages with cozy bed and breakfasts in the region, Woodstock, Vt., is often recognized as the area’s most scenic town. Dotted with historic buildings dating back to the 18th century, Woodstock hosts wedding receptions in venues ranging from colonial taverns to 150-year-old farmhouses - perfect for those who always envisioned a special day filled with wooden picnic tables and mason jars. With a population less than 3,500, you’ll be sure to have a wedding weekend all to yourself.
Keep Portland weird
One of Portland’s weirdest spots also doubles as a wedding venue - Voodoo Doughnuts. The popular bakery offers numerous wedding and renewal of vows packages that include both legal and symbolic ceremonies. Say “I do,” then chow down on an array of eclectic doughnuts that combine everything from Fruit Loops to bacon. For a few extra bucks, couples can receive doughnuts with their names on them.
Lone Star nights
If you’ve never taken a trip to the second-largest state in the U.S., now’s your chance. Houston offers engaged couples a slew of unconventional options for officiating your nuptials. With its hacienda-esque architecture and grand Italian villa, the Bell Tower on 34th Street is a luxurious venue for those who want a one-of-a-kind wedding. For die-hard music lovers, the city’s House of Blues is also available for rent, while sports lovers can say “I do” at Minute Maid Park, home of not only the Houston Astros but also the historic Union Station, which features a spacious lobby boasting classic Art Deco design.
Ride on, Vegas
Las Vegas will forever be the ultimate wedding destination, whether you’ve been planning your nuptials for weeks or decided to have a spur of the moment wedding. Instead of the usual Las Vegas wedding chapels, take a ride off the Strip - literally. Party buses are the hottest wedding trend in the U.S., sprouting up in numerous major cities throughout the country. However, no one knows how to party like Vegas does. Several bus companies in Sin City feature wedding packages that not only include cruising down the Strip with an open bar, but also trips to the nearby Valley of Fire State Park and Red Rock Canyon. Hop out, officiate your marriage in the scenic park, and then jump back onto the bus to enjoy the Bellagio water fountain show, the famous Las Vegas Strip marquee and many other of the city’s iconic attractions.