The first big decision any couple makes while they’re planning their wedding is choosing their venue – and with so many options to choose from, finding the perfect place to get married is no easy feat. Plus, many couples are bucking tradition and looking to tie the knot at spaces that reflect their hobbies, passions, and creativity.  For those couples, the tried-and-true wedding venues of the past just won’t do: instead, they’re looking for unique and quirky venues that will make for a truly unforgettable day.

For newly engaged couples from New Jersey and surrounding areas, there’s certainly no shortage of options.  Despite the state’s small size, there are tons of different types of event spaces that cater to every different kind of wedding style: beautiful farms, rustic barns, elegant ballrooms, laid-back beachfront properties, fancy hotels, cozy restaurants… you get the idea!  All those options can drive even the most organized couples a little mad, so to help narrow down those seemingly endless possibilities, we’ve compiled a list of unconventional, non-traditional, and downright awesome spots to host an event:

  • The Art Factory: Located in Paterson, this industrial chic loft space is perfect for couples that want a blank canvas to build a bespoke and personalized wedding.  Exposed brick, metal piping, and bare concrete walls combine to create a space that’s somehow both modern and vintage.
  • Liberty Science Center: A perennial favorite for middle school class trips, this spot in Jersey City is much more than a science museum.  With stunning New York City views, a soaring atrium, and a dreamy planetarium, this space (no pun intended) has got it all!
  • Detour Gallery: Art galleries are a great venue choice for couples looking for a contemporary vibe to their nuptials. The walls of this Red Bank gallery are adorned with exciting new work from artists across the globe, providing a fun, creative, and modern backdrop for any event.
  • Turtleback Zoo: Looking to get married somewhere a little ~wild~? Look no further than Turtleback Zoo in West Orange! The zoo offers two different event locations, stained glass windows, mosaic floors, and unique indoor and outdoor lighting. And if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even get some non-human wedding crashers!
  • Triumph Brewing: With locations in Princeton, New Hope, and Red Bank, Triumph is beer aficionado heaven. This fun brewery is a great place to host less formal weddings and events, with big open spaces and non-traditional food options.

Obviously, this list is non-exhaustive; you can have a wedding almost anywhere if you do your research, gather some expert guidance, and budget accordingly.  When thinking about a non-traditional wedding venue, remember that since these types of venues may not host weddings frequently, they may need a little more hand-holding than a place that hosts weddings every weekend. Make sure you have a good handle on what’s included, what’s not, and what type of furniture you may have to provide (some places don’t even have forks and knives!). And make sure you get event insurance!

Happy wedding planning!