How To Get Married Without a Venue

Updated January 5, 2023
How To Get Married Without a Venue

A ballroom wedding isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many modern couples wonder how to get married without a venue.

Maybe you find traditional venues boring and seek creative alternatives. Maybe the money is tight, and you can’t splurge $10,000 on rent.

Regardless of the reason behind your decision, there’s a wedding venue alternative for every preference, from scenic national parks and beaches to open-air festivals and bars.

However, remember that although outdoor or public spaces aren’t technically venues, they may still have regulations you should follow.

You should also consider the weather, accessibility, decoration, and other practical factors to guarantee your wedding goes smoothly despite the lack of a traditional venue.


Beach is, perhaps, one of the most popular wedding venue alternatives.

Sunny skies, warm sand, saltwater-tinged breeze, a plethora of exotic florals, and a flowy white gown are likely the first images that come to mind when you think of a beach wedding.

Regardless of the season and style, beach weddings always have a unique appeal, creating a relaxed and romantic atmosphere.

Furthermore, a beach plays as a perfect natural backdrop for your wedding pictures. It’s an excellent location for a tropical-themed, bohemian, or whimsical wedding on a warm day.

If you want to get married at the seaside, be mindful of the weather. Don’t schedule your wedding during the storm season, or waves may wash out your ceremony site, and your hair will get messy in no time.

Ideally, you should find a roofed space nearby to allow for sudden weather changes and ensure rain doesn’t ruin the reception food.

When picking a place, ensure that it’s private because a bunch of strangers in swimsuits cheering you up is only fun in theory.

Local Park

A wedding in a local park is a common choice among couples on a budget. It doesn’t require traveling, allows you to spend time outdoors, and lush greenery makes an excellent photo backdrop.

However, a wedding in a public park has multiple pitfalls you should be aware of. Firstly, you may have to obtain a permit to host an event.

Some parks provide paid access, whereas others are ready to accommodate your wedding for free as long as you register in advance. A permit application fee typically ranges from $20 to $200.

Don’t neglect the permits because you don’t want your wedding to be shut down by the police or to receive a fine. Secondly, public parks may have noise and time restrictions which you should research.

Thirdly, bad weather is always a possibility with outdoor weddings, so you should have a plan B like a covered patio or a gazebo. Lastly, research the restroom availability and consider where you will serve food.

If these points and strangers walking around don’t bother you, a public park is a great casual wedding location idea.

Adventurous Location

If you’re both explorers at heart and seek an adrenaline rush, consider getting married in an adventurous location. You may tie the knot in a hot-air balloon, on the top of a mountain, near a volcano, or even underwater.

Such an unusual wedding ceremony is undoubtedly a creative choice, but there are a couple of points to consider. Think whether a wedding officiant, photographer, and your loved ones will be able to get to your desired destination.

Of course, you can get married without anyone present but the wedding officiant and photographer and host a reception in a more accessible place.

Still, finding professionals ready to dive or stand near an active volcano with you can be complicated.

Note that a wedding ceremony in a creative location can be even costlier than in a luxurious venue due to accessibility issues. However, it’s a wonderful idea for couples who think out of the box and want a private ceremony.

Vacation Rental as a Venue

If you can’t find anything to fit your preference among traditional wedding venues, consider hosting your reception in a vacation rental. It’s an excellent choice for both destination and domestic weddings.

A villa with a pool in Hawaii is perfect for a small summer wedding, whereas an exquisite manor house with dozens of rooms is suitable for a sophisticated formal event. It all depends on your preference, guest count, and budget.

Using a spacious vacation rental instead of a wedding venue is also ideal for weekend-long fun.

Your guests can stay in the property instead of renting hotels, and you get unlimited party time, which isn’t the case with traditional venues.

Ensure that the property’s owner doesn’t mind you hosting a wedding. Even if you’re sure that your guests will behave adequately, weddings are typically loud and always leave a mess afterward.

National Park

A wedding in a national park is perfect for nature lovers – think of long trails winding through ancient forests, meditative lakes, waterfalls, breathtaking mountain ranges, and canyon views.

Wedding pictures from a scenic nature site are bound to be wonderful. A national park is a cheap wedding venue alternative, but you will need to obtain a permit to host a party that may cost anywhere from $60 to $300.

Additionally, you need to research the park’s rules and restrictions and ensure that your wedding doesn’t harm the wildlife.

Overall, national parks aren’t the best place for wild partying but are ideal for a quiet, romantic ceremony.

Research the restroom situation and find out the least crowded times and spots. Lastly, ensure all your guests can access your ceremony site.

The good news is that many national parks have spots specially equipped for picnics or events, so you should have no issue with hosting the reception.

Small Wedding in The Backyard

Getting married in the backyard may not seem like the most appealing idea, but it has numerous benefits. It’s an excellent solution for couples with a tight budget or sentimental people wishing to get married where they grew up.

A backyard wedding ceremony requires a worthy backdrop. You may get married surrounded by buoyant florals if your parents or friends have a wonderful garden, but any plain background will do the job with proper decoration.

Perhaps, one of your friends is a great cook and doesn’t mind grilling dinner, but you can also hire a caterer.

Consider seeking the help of a professional designer to transform the backyard into a magical wedding site or draw inspiration online.

Noise and time restrictions aren’t typically an issue with backyard weddings, but you should inform the neighbors in advance.

Perhaps, the only significant drawback of a backyard wedding is the limited guest count. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an excuse not to invite extended family, travel buddies, college pals, and coworkers, here it is.

Open-Air Festival

There’s no better spot for a bohemian wedding than an open-air festival. Maybe you’ve met at a festival or want to tie the knot at your favorite band’s concert. Maybe you simply love the atmosphere of thousands of people having fun, united.

Many popular open-air festivals offer wedding packages, including Burning Man, Electric Forest, and Hangout.

Such packages usually include a secluded ceremony area and a legal officiant. However, you may still need to obtain a marriage license.

Even if your desired festival doesn’t offer wedding packages, you can get married on its grounds.

Bring your own officiant, pick an uncrowded and relatively quiet spot, and tie the knot. Then, go partying without having to worry about reception decoration or a DJ.

Bars, Casinos, & Nightclubs

If you’re both party animals, consider getting married in a bar, casino, or nightclub.

Of course, a crowded Irish pub isn’t a suitable spot for a formal wedding ceremony, but you can always rent out the entire place or use it for the celebration.

Although may consider weddings in Las Vegas illegitimate, it all depends on the legal matters rather than location. Most importantly, gather the required documents and find a licensed officiant.

Furthermore, a casino, bar, or nightclub will fit a lot of guests and have everything you need for the reception, including an equipped kitchen, bar, and DJ station.

Public Space Wedding Etiquette & Tips

Regardless of which wedding venue alternative you prefer, you should follow public wedding etiquette guidelines.

Research the legal requirements and rules in advance. For instance, some states have strict guidelines regarding the location for the marriage to be considered legally binding.

Always comply with the noise and nature protection regulations to avoid facing charges or being expelled from the spot. Don’t forget to clean up after the wedding, although this should go without saying.

Have a plan B if you plan an outdoor wedding if the heavens decide to open on your big day. Check with the space representatives whether you can set up a marquee or whether they have a roofed picnic spot nearby.

Avoid crowded places, even if you don’t mind strangers watching you. Ending up at a wedding you weren’t invited to can feel awkward, and your event may ruin some family’s day at the beach.

Lastly, give your guests directions if you get married in a very large public space like a casino or resort to ensure everyone can find your ceremony site. You should also inform them if you get married outdoors.

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