Seven Creative Locales for Your Civil Wedding Ceremony

by: Michael Kabel

You're planning your wedding according to all of you and your fiancé's interests and passions. Shouldn't the place you get married reflect everything you want from your perfect day?

There's the traditional locales of your home and the city courthouse, but for modern civil wedding receptions - which show each bride and groom's own taste and style – stretching your imagination to find something new and original makes the best option for taking your wedding into a whole new atmosphere.

These seven new locales are just to get your mind started working, or you can use them verbatim. Many will have wedding plans and rental packages already available, while some might require special permission.

In a national park

Perfect for an outdoors wedding, getting married amid the spectacle of a national park gives your ceremony a majesty of scale that you can't get anywhere indoors. Most parks have hotels and restaurants directly adjacent to their grounds, so the rehearsal dinner, reception and lodging are simple to coordinate.

You'll have to make inquiries with federal parks officials about holding events on the site, including making reservations during peak park times.

The local historic mansion

Why not get married in complete luxury? It's a little-known fact that the country is peppered with historic and expansive mansions built during the opulence of the Victorian Era through the 1920's. Look through the local historic registry for ideas, or visit our guide to American Palaces published here: /collections/american-palaces.

Many such "palaces" have wedding packages available to the public. Some need reservations and deposits secured months in advance.

At the zoo

Perfect for animal lovers, getting married at the local zoo can involve a ceremony surrounded by your favorite wild animals. Depending on the time of year, the zoo's landscaping will make a fantastic outdoor backdrop for your ceremony, ranging from the tropical to the nautical. The downside is that zoo space limitations might limit the number of guests you can invite.

At an amusement park

You've probably heard how some people get married on a roller coasters – it's been know to happen! Amusement parks are great locations to get everyone having a good time.

The same facilities used to host birthday parties and family reunions are a cinch to accommodate your reception needs, and you can get married on the ground or while riding our favorite attraction.

On a boat

If you live near the water, getting married while taking a leisurely cruise symbolizes the beginning of your new "voyage" into matrimony. It also lets guests take a fun afternoon trip while they enjoy your celebration. You can coordinate this idea with a nautical theme or simply festoon the charter boat with traditional wedding decorations.

In a train station or in a train

Many American train stations are true architectural landmarks and wonders of their time for art and elegance. Setting your wedding ceremony in the gallery or mezzanine of such a station connects it the romance or 19th Century America while providing a fascinating backdrop that will amaze your guests. You can also board a train for your honeymoon directly from the ceremony!

In an art gallery

Many modern art galleries depend on funding from special events to meet their operating budget. Getting married in a gallery both benefits them and gives you a beautiful wedding aesthetic. You may also be able to hold the reception there as well, saving you money and the guests transportation time.