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Wedding Receptions: 10 Inventive Wedding Sites

If a hotel ballroom or a historic mansion doesn't quite match your wedding style, find inspiration with our roundup of some of the world's most unique (and even downright out-there) places to exchange vows.

If "going to the chapel" to get married feels too "been there, done that" for a couple as original as yourselves, it's time to get creative. The days when weddings all looked more or less alike are long over, and you now have as many options for wedding sites as there are landscapes and landmarks on the planet. Whether you're planning a huge bash or an intimate celebration, and regardless of your budget, you can rest assured none of your friends has thought of these venues for a wedding (though they may feel compelled to borrow your ideas after the fact!).


On the World's Grandest Ferris Wheel

For a wedding with priceless city views, tie the knot on London's towering 21st century landmark: the slow-moving, monumental Ferris wheel called the London Eye. You'll be pronounced husband and wife once your capsule (which can seat up to 25 people) reaches its highest peak, more than 400 feet above the city. LondonEye.com See real destination weddings.

In an Ice Castle

From January through April you can exchange vows in the Snow Chapel at Finland's Mammut Snow Hotel, which is made of snow and ice, and decorated with ice sculptures. Your wedding guests can dine in the Snow restaurant on reindeer skin-covered benches, and you can spend your wedding night in a room that's a bracing minus-5 degrees Celsius (that's 23 degrees Fahrenheit) -- not that you'll need any extra motivation to snuggle under the hotel's special sleeping bags. Check out VisitFinland.com for details.

On a Sandbar

Take your beach wedding a step further by sealing your commitment on a skinny sandbar surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Antigua's Jumby Bay resort has a natural sandbar that makes an exceptionally romantic wedding setting. After the ceremony, you can host a casual barbecue with a steel drum playlist, or opt for a black-tie dinner in the resort's elegant Estate House. The next morning you'll want to enlist the services of the Sorbet Butler, who strolls the beaches offering complementary sorbet in nearly every flavor under the sun. JumbyBayResort.com See real beach weddings.

At a Tipi Camp

For a laid-back (but totally unforgettable) wedding, consider Turtle Dreams B&B and Tipi Campground, in New York's Finger Lakes region. After a ceremony inside the inn or in a tent under the stars, you can have your reception around a large bonfire, and then spend your wedding night in a spacious (27-foot-wide) traditional tipi. DreamingTurtles.com


Next to a Waterfall in the Rain Forest

You can make your union official at Australia's Daintree Ecolodge and Spa. Say your vows on a platform at the base of a pristine waterfall, while surrounded by an unspoiled forest filled with more than 400 varieties of exotic birds and other Down-Under wildlife. Daintree-Ecolodge.com.au See real outdoor weddings.
At a Celeb-Owned B&BAt Chateau la Rue, Tori Spelling's B&B in Fallbrook, CA (and the subject of her recent reality show), you can get married surrounded by both hip, mod furnishings and country inn-style kitsch. Spelling actually officiated at one wedding (a same-sex commitment ceremony) after being ordained a minister. ChateauLaRueBandB.com

In France, Minus the Jet Lag

Despite their North American location, two small islands off the coast of Newfoundland -- Saint-Pierre and Miquelon -- are actually part of the nation of France. If you want a wedding celebration steeped in French culture (think melt-on-your-tongue croissants and red wine with lunch) without a trip across the Atlantic, a wedding on one of these quaint islands would fit the bill. St-Pierre-et-Miquelon.com

In Outer Mongolia

You'll feel like you're getting married on another planet when surrounded by the otherworldly beauty of the Gobi Desert at Mongolia's Three Camel Lodge, a luxurious eco-resort. You can say your vows in a traditional nomadic tent or in the central lodge, built by local artisans in traditional Buddhist style (without a single nail). A full-length porch and terraces make the perfect spots for sipping celebratory cocktails after the ceremony. ThreeCamelLodge.com

In an Under-the-Sea Inn

Diving aficionados can wed at the tiny Jules' Undersea Lodge, a Key Largo, FL, inn that is reachable only via a 21-foot scuba dive. The hotel will arrange for an officiant to dive down with you, and has a chef who will prepare the wedding dinner. You can say your vows in front of a window that looks out on fish looking in on you. JUL.com

At a Hip Doughnut Shop

It might not be the most exotic spot on this list, but exchanging vows surrounded by pastries would certainly make for a unique ceremony. The trendy Portland, OR, fried-dough-and-caffeine purveyor Voodoo Doughnut frequently plays host to weddings. Say your vows in front of their "Holy Doughnut" under the "Cruller Chandelier of Life." VoodooDoughnut.com

-- Celeste Perron

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