Frankly, if you're attending a wedding where there's absolutely no chance of somebody falling into a body of water by accident, it's not worth going. What's life without a little aquatic danger? My wife certainly takes this attitude, and had selected a boat for our wedding venue before we could even make a list of alternatives to visit. The views from the boat as it sailed down the river Thames were enough to convince her that it was the perfect venue for the reception, and I agreed. For us, beautiful natural surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere were paramount considerations for our event, and the French Brothers Boat we ended up hiring in Windsor fitted perfectly with our requirements.
When selecting a venue, it can be difficult to veer from traditional expectations, and many people stick with the usual suspects. While it's not a bad idea to book a hotel or country club for your reception – they are experts and will know how to coordinate your event seamlessly – you may want to consider the fact that there are other options.
Yes, you heard me right - *other options*! Now, if you and your fiancée are a pair of super alternative cool modern kooky cats (or just massive weirdos), there are plenty of places that will give your event a bit of extra flavour. So, don’t be a square, daddyo – here are some ideas for something a bit different...
Aquariums aren't only for awkward first dates, primary school science trips and distracting unruly children, they can also be the ideal spot for your wedding. The combination of the haunting quality of the lights on the water and the fluid movements of the fish in their tanks create the perfect backdrop for a romantic event. And, brides, remember – blue really complements white. Major aquariums, such as Sea Life in London or the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, are accustomed to hosting events for large parties and will be able to help you plan the catering and structure for your day.
There really are plenty more fish in the sea, right? Sorry for the terrible joke, but if you book an aquarium as your venue of choice, you need to expect more where that came from.
2. Ice Hotel
I know I said we were moving away from hotels, but this one ought to be an exception to the rule. Some people have ice sculptures at their wedding, but not so many have their ceremony and reception inside an ice sculpture. Well, if this has always been your dream (and why wouldn’t it?), it's time to book the Ice Hotel in Sweden. Having your wedding there would be like getting married inside a huge Fox's Glacier Mint – although more romantic, and less sticky. And colder.
The Ice Hotel is reborn every year when the Torne River is frozen again, providing the hotel with the fundamental material for its architecture. Once the structure is in place, artists step in and turn the structure into a veritable arctic palace – making this venue not only a hotel, but also a genuinely unique piece of art. You don't get more attention to detail than that!
3. Haunted Castle
The 'haunted' part is, of course, optional with this one (but you would be missing out) - there are other castles. However, for the edgy, the thrill seekers, and the altogether morbid, a haunted castle, such as Tutbury in Staffordshire, could be the place for you.
Imagine this: it's midnight. You and your guests are milling around vast, verdant grounds, bathing in the light of hundreds of flickering lanterns. A stone-walled Norman castle looms, backlit, behind you, and above you, the stars are visible, twinkling merrily. Yes, there may be a few ghostly disembodied spirits here and there, and the flaming torches surrounding the ceremony may require a few health and safety forms to be filled in, but who really minds in the end? William the Conqueror didn't let this sort of thing stop him, and neither should you.
Giraffes never get boring. That's a fact you can take to the bank. Neither do meerkats, penguins or tigers. It is a surprising, but little-known fact that zoos provide the perfect atmosphere for a wedding – light hearted, fun and atmospheric, with plenty for the guests to see while they're waiting for the next round of Pimms.
Having performed at a wedding at London Zoo myself, I can personally attest to the enjoyable experience for guests. While we had plenty of time to see the animals and explore, the zoo also provided a comfortable and elegantly presented pavilion for dining, which was positioned right beside the 'Australian Outback' enclosure. As we watched the kangaroos and the sun set on the horizon, we forgot we were in NW1 and, for a moment, we were transported to the other side of the world. It's an experience worth having.
We also saw meerkats. You can't go wrong with meerkats.
So, the first ever wedding to take place in space hasn't actually happened yet...but let's face it, it's only a matter of time. Can you really know the person you are marrying before you've seen them in zero gravity conditions? I think we all know the answer to that.
While a wedding actually in outer space might not be possible at this point, if infinity and beyond is your 'bag', you could get married at the National Space Station in Leicester. Their Planetarium and space-themed exhibition could provide essentially the same experience, with gravity included and no need for a weird space suit.
If outerspace, the 11th Century and...Sweden aren't your cup of tea, I can assure you that there are many more options out there. From rollercoaster weddings to karate themed nuptials, there is a wedding venue to suit practically every taste and interest. And, believe me, when your guests are trying to make small talk with lots of strangers, they'll thank you for the talking points...they really will.
An Easy Option...
However, if you've decided that the traditional route is for you, but you're looking for something out-of-the-ordinary to add charm and colour to your day, why not consider booking an award- winning pickpocket, magician and sleight of hand professional? Booking fun and engaging entertainment for your guests can really help inject some extra energy to the day, making your event stand out in the memories of your guests for years to come.
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Notable venue mentions: Dracula's Castle, a Subterranean Lake, Vegas, Underwater, and round your nan's house.