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Wedding Reception Ideas You Haven't Thought Of
Written by: Kimmy Foskett

It’s official: wedding season is in season. If you’re engaged, you’re probably using each celebration to help you decide what you want to plan for your special day. Maybe you just went to two Memorial Day celebrations, or maybe early September is when things ramp up for you. Either way, consider the past five weddings you’ve been invited to — how many of those venues were similar to each other? Probably at least three of them. It seems as though everyone is interested in a “look, we’re in a rustic field”-wedding, or a “this is an old mansion that is now exclusively a reception venue”-wedding. This is why unexpected wedding reception ideas are a great idea, especially if they’re done right.

That’s right, unexpected venues are memorable, but they do take additional planning. Don’t just choose to throw your wedding at an arcade because none of your friends have done that yet. Do choose to throw your wedding at an arcade because it means something to you and your partner, it’s visually appealing, and you’re going to deck it out in a lavish way.

The best wedding reception venues both mean something to the couple and delight their guests. Don’t get me wrong, tented backyard parties and hotel weddings can be great, but if you’re looking for a more original idea, here’s some inspiration.

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1. The Warehouse Space
Find an old loft that’s been converted into an event space like Greenpoint Loft in Brooklyn, or think outside the box and rent out a factory-turned-coffeehouse like Anodyne Coffee in Milwaukee. Warehouse spaces are great because they provide you with a lot of space for personalized decor.

2. The Restaurant Or Bar
If you and your partner had a first date at a particularly memorable spot, there’s a case to be made for renting it out. As long as you rent the entire bar or restaurant out, this is a super romantic idea.

3. The Brewery Or Vineyard
Breweries and vineyards are almost always large spaces with a unique look. Plus, they’re used to serving large amounts of alcohol. Just make sure they’re open to having a full bar if that’s what you’re aiming for.

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4. The Christmas Tree Farm
You could get married at an apple orchard, or you could get married on a Christmas tree farm like Trinity Tree Farm in Washington. There’s something magical about being surrounded by little pine trees, even if the rest of your wedding isn’t Christmas-themed.

5. The Theater
There are old theaters and operas that will actually let you rent the stage out for your wedding reception. It’s an incredibly inventive idea, and definitely nothing you’ve been to before. Plus, they’ll probably put your names on the marquee.

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6. The Salt Mine
This is an incredibly specific wedding idea, and I think it only really exists at “Wieliczka” Salt Mine in Poland, but the visuals are stunning. If you have Polish ties and a large budget, check this out.

7. The Boat
If you’re a pair who loves the open seas, consider a cruise around your city for your wedding reception. Or, better yet, find a barge bar or restaurant to rent out for a party on the water where no one can get seasick.

8. The Museum
For the cultured, classy pair: investigate your local options for hosting your wedding at a museum. Whether you’re into modern art, or something more specific like ice cream, museums are a gorgeous backdrop for your special day.

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9. The National Park
From Arches to Yosemite, you can absolutely get married in a national park. This idea is picture perfect for the outdoorsy couple, and your guests won’t hate the views either.

10. The Botanical Garden
Botanical gardens are quite possibly the ultimate wedding venue for a summer’s day. They are truly showplaces of nature, and they’re more interesting to look at than a field. Highly recommend.

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11. The Summer Camp
Your guests will love this idea, because going back to sleepaway camp as an adult is an actual dream. From decking out cabins to to s’mores at night, a camp-themed wedding at a place that means something to you or your partner is too sweet to pass up.

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