A Napa County vineyard wedding as shot by Napa/Sonoma-based TJ Salsman Photography.
TJ Salsman Photography, Napa/Sonoma-based wedding photography

Where to Get Married: The Best Weddings in All 50 States

By Margaret Daly and Pauline Frommer
One of the hardest first decisions a couple will make is where to tie the knot. You want something iconic yet not too cliché, romantic but not cheesy, and if you choose a place that's too distant, friends and family may not be able to attend (or, depending on your crowd, maybe that's a good thing).

We've put together our dream list of wedding locales, one for each American state. Some are gorgeous, some are offbeat, some are super-affordable and some simply feel like the right spot for an unforgettable union.

Photo: A Napa County vineyard wedding as shot by Napa/Sonoma-based TJ Salsman Photography.
Oak Island Mansion, Wilsonville, Alabama
Rachel Allen/ www.antebellumweddingsatoakisland.com
Alabama: Oak Island Mansion, Wilsonville
Nothing epitomizes Southern charm like a wedding at an antebellum mansion. At Oak Island, a six-acre gated estate on the Lay Lake southeast of Birmingham, you can have a rustic event in a classic, lights-drape barn, or a glamorous one in the mansion’s Grand Hall—complete with handsome curved staircases. Check out Oak Island's website for more information.
icy lake with glacier and snowy mountains in background
Travis Miller/Flickr
Alaska: Mendenhall Glacier
Soar into married life with a helicopter ride to the top of Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska, and say your vows with the epic backdrop of eons-old glacier ice fields. Afraid of flying? No problem. Have a wedding beside Nugget Lake, with the Mendenhall in the background. While marriage may be (sort of) forever, Alaskan glaciers may not stand the test of time. Glaciers all over the world are retreating. Tie the knot, Alaskan-style, while you still can.
A view of the Grand Canyon in Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park Service
Arizona: The Grand Canyon
If your love is more than a mile deep (and, er, uncovers about 2 billion years of geologic history), the only place to get wed is the lip of the Grand Canyon. You may not have realized that the National Park service does a brisk side business hosting ceremonies, and it has set aside multiple locations for them on both the North and South rims. It’s a spectacular venue for smaller gatherings and arguably the best place in the United States for photos—Shoshone Point (pictured), the largest location, still only holds 85 people, and it can even host the reception afterward. Check out the Grand Canyon Webpage on the National Park's website for more information. 
Classic steel and glass chapel lit up at night in a forest
Nathan Hughes Hamilton/Flickr
Arkansas: Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs
Designed by E. Fay Jones, a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a 48-feet tall church made almost exclusively of local, organic materials and glass. With all the rustic beauty of an open-air structure as well as the comfort of an enclosed chapel, this “Ozark Gothic” classic provides the visual appeal of an outdoor forest wedding without exposure to the elements. Want to learn more? Visit Thorncrown's website
A vineyard in the Napa Valley
Malcolm Carlaw/Flickr
California: The Napa Valley
Two elements are often left by the wayside at standard weddings: good food and wines that will compliment the fare. But those are are front and center in the Napa Valley. From fresh meats and cheese to wine, it's a foodie paradise. Add in stunning vistas of rolling, grapevine-covered hills and a moderate climate, and you have the makings for a memorable event. For more information, visit our page on Napa Valley.
Mountains and greenery in Aspen, CO
David Leo Veksler/Flickr
Colorado: Aspen
Although it's known as a playground for the fabulously wealthy, Aspen was founded as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom. Things have come a long way since those humble beginnings; now the silver is found in shops like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Dior—just to name a few. For similar glitz, couples can say “I do” before the backdrop of the Elk Mountain Range at Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond hotel, The Little Nell. After all, you don't want to get married like a miner—do it with mountain glamour. To begin planning a glamorous Aspen wedding, visit our page on Aspen.
Bride and groom kissing in front pathway of Wadsworth Mansion
Christina Corneau Photography
Connecticut: Wadsworth Mansion, Middletown
Located in central Connecticut, the Wadsworth Mansion, former home of a certain Colonel Clarence S. Wadsworth, is the ideal country estate, noted for its striking Beaux Arts architectural style. Because of Wadsworth’s background in forestry science, this beautifully wooded estate was built with the natural landscape in mind and with help from the famous American landscape architects, the Olmsted brothers. After changing ownership three times, the city of Middletown purchased and restored this historic beauty, making it available for public tours and, more importantly, classic New England weddings. To find out more, go to Wadsworth Mansion's website. 
Snowy beach on the Atlantic Ocean
Kit Conn
Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park
Before it became a Delaware state park, the beaches of Cape Henlopen were among the first parcels of land for public recreation within the thirteen colonies as declared by William Penn in 1682. Thanks to Penn, these beaches are set aside for those who wish to exchange rings next to the timeless grey waves of the Atlantic Ocean. For more information on how to have a wedding here, check out the Cape Henlopen's webpage for events.
Epcot at Walt Disney World
Florida: Walt Disney World
This Orlando option is surprisingly popular. In fact, Disney has an entire division dedicated to weddings—its package options will handle everything from setting up your registry to bestowing the use of a horse and carriage just like Cinderella's (pictured). Most couples opt for a ceremony at a purpose-built, gazebo-style chapel on the Seven Seas Lagoon with a giddy view of the Magic Kingdom, but Disney can also arrange ceremonies at spots within the parks—such as at the France pavilion at Epcot. Stick around to play during your honeymoon, and wear those "Just married" buttons, because you'll get preferential treatment throughout the resort in honor of your big day. For more information visit Disney's website for weddings.
Golden sunrise on the Atlantic from the shore of Jekyll Island
Randy Roberts/Flickr
Georgia: Jekyll Island
Unique natural beauty and rich Southern history—both are on offer at Jekyll Island, one of the Sea Islands in Georgia’s Golden Isles. This is a smart choice if you're not a stuffy indoor type: Activities include hiking, swimming, golfing, horseback riding, as well as nighttime walks to spot nesting sea turtles. Fun fact: Jekyll Island was the site for the meeting that would eventually inspire the creation of the Federal Reserve. Feeling romantic yet? Check out wedding venue options on Jekyll Island's website
A beach in Hana, Maui
Travaasa Maui
Hawaii: Maui
For a postcard-perfect beach wedding, the island of Maui is tops. It has dozens of beaches from which to choose, some of which are ideally secluded, and it gets less rain than Oahu or Kauai, which is key if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony—and why would you fly all the way to Hawaii if you weren’t? Afterward, it’s a snap to throw a celebratory shindig at any number of nearby island properties, from pricey resorts like the Trevasa (its beach is pictured) to local restaurants. And let's not forget another important thing: Hawaiians have hosted millions of weddings, so they know how to put on a good one. Checkout our page on Maui for more information.
Bald Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho
Lisa Wood/Flickr
Idaho: Sun Valley
Sun Valley has been a hidden celebrity haunt for decades, attracting historical names including Gary Cooper, Ernest Hemingway, Bing Crosby, Arnold Schwarznegger, Bruce Springsteen, and Larry David. What drew those bold-faced names? The majestic beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains, an artsy downtown with galleries and sophisticated restaurants, the abundance of outdoor sports (from skiing to skating to fly fishing). Couples like Sun Valley for all those reasons and for the ease of planning a celebration here, partially because most of the major venues are controlled by the Sun Valley Company, which has expert event planners on staff year-round (we're also fans of nearby Galena Lodge in Ketchum, which isn't part of that conglomerate). This is a perfect wedding spot for couples who are into nature but don’t want to give up creature comforts. Visit our webpage on Sun Valley for more information.

A band gets ready to play at an event at Crystal Garden in Chicago
Phil Farber Photography
Illinois: Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier, Chicago
Even when the weather outside is frightful, all is serene and balmy inside this one-acre, indoor botanical garden. As you exchange vows under the 50-foot-high arched ceiling, surrounded by palm trees and burbling fountains, you’ll be able to gaze through the glass walls at some of the best views in the city: the lakefront, the Chicago skyline, and the observational wheel at Navy Pier. To find out more, visit the venue's website
Indianapolis Arts Garden, Glass steel dome lit up blue at night
Serge Melki/Flickr
Indiana: Indianapolis Artsgarden
For those who prefer urban sleek to rustic charm, this glass-and-steel dome built over a busy street is the perfect modern wedding venue for your special day. An estimated 10,000 people walk through this modern marvel every day as it connects three key retail buildings within the intersection, making it a lively landmark for an Indiana ceremony. Find out more at Indianapolis Artsgarden's website.
Roseman Bridge in Madison County, Iowa
Iowa Tourist Board
Iowa: Madison County
Inspired by the novel, movie, and Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County, couples travel here each year to pledge themselves in front of one of the famed (and lovely) covered bridges such as the Roseman (pictured). Never mind that the characters in the story, Francesca and Robert, were committing adultery—this Iowa County has become synonymous with eternal and destined love, making it an appropriate choice. Checkout the Madison County Website for more information. 
Prairiewood Barn Wedding, Kansas
Prairiewood Retreat & Preserve
Kansas: Prairiewood Retreat and Preserve, Manhattan
A classic Kansas wedding wouldn’t be complete without prairie grasslands. Initially created out of the desire to save the native tallgrass landscape, Prairiewood Retreat and Preserve markets itself as "a place where the senses are awakened, perspective is renewed, and imagination is inspired." Clearly, an event here is more than a somber prayer on the plains. For more information on how to have your wedding on the prairie, go to Prairiewood's website.
A miniature pony greets guests at Walnut Way Farm, Shelbyville
Lang Thomas
Kentucky: Walnut Way Farm, Shelbyville
Getting hitched at a hitching post makes perfect sense at this gorgeous, working horse farm set on the rolling hills near both Lexington and Louisville. Couples can hold their ceremony outdoors in the famous bluegrass (by the lake, in the garden or in the horse ring surrounded by pasture), or in the handsomely weathered barn. And instead of departing in a shaving cream-coated car, the couple can clip-clop into the sunset aboard an antique horse and carriage. Plus, who wouldn't want photos with a miniature pony in their scrapbook? (As long as she's not wearing the same dress as the bride.) Learn more at Walnut Way's website.  
A bride and groom dance their way through their reception at the Edgar Degas House in New Orleans
Studio Tran Photography
Louisiana: The Degas House, New Orleans
Yes, Edgar Degas lived in this house for five months in 1872 and 1873 (he was visiting family members). But most choose it for their big day because this 1852 mansion-turned-museum (and B&B) is redolent of NOLA’s storied past. Filled with antiques and painted in heritage colors, it has a handsome interior courtyard large enough for 250 guests plus a jazz band. The honeymoon-worthy rooms are where the wedding party can stay and sleep off the festivities. Check out their website for more information.
A crew prepares a lobster bake on a beach in Maine.
Schooner Heritage
Maine: A Windjammer Cruise
The romance of the high seas! That’s what you get when you choose one of these historic, tall-masted schooners. With a Maine wedding license in hand, the captain can marry you in Penobscot Bay and then sail you and your guests around this eye-candy coastline. Some couples opt for a lobster bake on the beach (the crew preparing it is pictured, with the Schooner Heritage in the background). For full information, go to SailMaineCoast.com
Grand library lobby with classically embellished columns and marble floors
Raphaël Labbé/Flickr
Maryland: George Peabody Library, Baltimore
A wedding ceremony at the George Peabody Library is a regal affair. The grand, classically embellished room impresses with six levels of cast iron columns, black and white marble floors, and 300,000 books covering all subjects of knowledge. No venue could be more distinguished. For rental information, checkout the Library's website
Hydrangea blossoms around Nantucket in summer
Massachusetts Office of Tourism/Flickr
Massachusetts: Nantucket
In the 19th century, whaling made this isolated island, 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, one of the wealthiest areas in the United States, and the era filled the streets of the town of Nantucket with grand mansions. When that trade ended, tourism replaced it, boosted by stringent preservation efforts that saved the island’s cobblestone streets, iconic gray-shingled edifices (now filled with fine inns, boutiques and restaurants), and pristine beaches. Weddings here, which will be pricey, tend to feature hydrangea bouquets and boutonnieres, wind-swept beaches, and lots of fresh seafood. To find out more, visit our page on Nantucket
A wedding in front of the lake at The Homestead in Glen Arbor, Michigan
The Homestead
Michigan: The Homestead, Glen Arbor
America's "Freshwater Resort," the Homestead in Glen Arbor is an all-American, destination-wedding venue on the shores of Lake Michigan. Before it was a resort, the Homestead was a camp for wholesome outdoor experiences founded by a young St. Louis couple convinced that they had found the most beautiful beach of the Great Lakes. Because of its stewardship programs, a wedding at the Homestead can still be a wholesome experience—supporting this resort means supporting environmental and community programs of the region. Find out more at the Homestead's website
A close-up of Spoonbridge and Cherry, the iconic and massive sculpture, at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Minnesota: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis
Rent out the 11 acres of outdoor green space that make up the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It's a natural for artistically inclined couples since it holds 40 works of art (all on loan from the nearby Walker Museum of Art), including the massive giant cherry and spoon that make up the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry (pictured). It doesn’t hurt that renting this space for a three-hour celebration is far less expensive than most of the other options in town. For additional information, go to the Garden's website
Paddlewheel Boat at Illuminated at Night on the Mississippi
Marcus Meisner/Flickr
Mississippi: Paddlewheel Boat Wedding
Get hitched while cruising along the Mississippi River in an old fashioned historical ship. And hey—you won’t even have to stay in Mississippi; your wedding celebration can span multiple states, including Tennessee and Louisiana. Couples beginning their search should look in Vicksburg and Natchez; two popular Mississippi cities on most paddlewheel boat itineraries.
An interior shot of the landmarked Midland Theater in Kansas City, Missouri
Steve Thompson Photography
Missouri: Midland Theater, Kansas City
For the grandest wedding imaginable, rent this exquisite, 1927 landmark theater (built at a then-insane cost of $4 million). Seats were removed to allow for tables and chairs, but the 500,000-square-feet of gold leaf remain, as do the five massive hand-cut crystal chandeliers, the baroque plaster molders, and other features that make this one of the most magnificent venues in the Midwest. Find out more at the Midland Theater Website
Snowy Mountain with Lake Valley and Pine Trees in front
Montana: Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is the perfect locale for nature lovers who want to say their vows immersed in a transcendent landscape that was once referred to as the “Crown of the Continent.” Options for weddings at Glacier National Park can range from simple to lavish—apply for a special day-use permit to have your special day at a wedding site suggested by the National Park Service or book an all-inclusive event at one of the many outdoor resorts. For further information, visit the park's website
The exterior of the Durham Museum in Omaha, Nebraska
Edward Stojakovic/Flickr
Nebraska: The Durham Museum, Omaha
When it opened in 1931, this was one of the nation's most majestic (and busy) rail stations. The masterwork of architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, it boasted 65-foot-tall ceilings, 10 massive plate glass windows that wouldn't have been out of place in a cathedral, and columns and wainscoting crafted from Belgian marble. Today, this Art Deco beaut is no longer used for trains, but continues to dazzle both museum-goers and those savvy enough to rent this special space for their special day. For information on having a wedding here, checkout the Durham Museum Website
A couple has a gladiator wedding at Viva Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada
Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel
Nevada: A Classic Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas
Get married at one of Sin City’s wedding chapels and you have a cocktail party story that will silence any room. Especially if you do a drive-through wedding, a Zombie-themed affair, or let Austin Powers or Elvis be the officiant. Here, the so-called "sanctity of marriage" has never been a concern—or a problem.

Wild, wacky, and last-minute Britney Spears “oops”-type weddings are de rigeur in Las Vegas (as you can see in this photo from the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel). But so are more traditional ones, with 70% of couples planning the ceremony well in advance of coming to Nevada. And getting married in Vegas sure does inject a shot of raw, unadulterated sexiness in what can be a stodgy, old ritual.
A hiking path in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
New Hampshire: The White Mountains
The jagged, wind-carved White Mountains are New England’s brawniest, most dramatic nature area. Laced with hiking trails that lead to waterfalls, high peak vistas, and lakes, it's the ideal region for couples who want to wed in the hearty embrace of Mother Nature. After the ceremony, head to Franconia Notch and one of its many adorable inns or B&Bs. Begin planning here.
Beach front with people and buildings on the horizon line
Lisa Jacobs/Flickr
New Jersey: Spring Lake
While the Jersey Shore became infamous for a less-than-tasteful "reality" TV show, in true reality it offers up an exquisite coastline and lovely beach towns. The so-called "Jewel of the Jersey Shore," Monmouth County's Spring Lake, is known for its picturesque beaches and grand summer homes. Spring Lake's hotels, inns, and B&Bs provide seemingly inexhaustible venues for the perfect (and relatively affordable) waterfront wedding. Begin planning at Spring Lake's website.
Hot Air Balloon Wedding in Albuquerque
Graham McLellan/Flickr
New Mexico: Hot Air Balloon, Albuquerque
For New Mexico, we’ve chosen the quirky Hot Air Balloon Museum in Albuquerque, a city known for the pursuit. This venue has award-winning architecture, soaring interiors, and beautiful views of the Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande Valley, although you'll probably be more inclined to take to the sky. If you do want to live it up (and limit your guest list), have your ceremony on an actual hot air balloon with one of the area’s many tour companies. For more information on the Hot Air Balloon Museum, stop by their website
A tilted view of the Empire State Building
Anthony Quintano/Flickr
New York: The Empire State Building, New York City
Blame the popularity of Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember, but the Empire State Building only hosts weddings once a year, on Valentine’s Day. It's cold, but it's iconic. Winning a slot takes work—the ESB mounts a Facebook-based contest for them from October to December. But if you are one of the 14 lucky couples to snag a nuptial here then, you’ll have all of Gotham at your feet as you pledge your love.
The Biltmore Estate as seen from the sky
Blake Lewis/Flickr
North Carolina: The Biltmore Estate, Asheville
George Vanderbuilt, the man who built this French-inspired chateau (completed in 1895), actually had his own wedding in Paris in 1898. But that doesn’t mean you should make the same mistake he did. With the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, and this exquisite, antique-filled mansion in the foreground (all the foreground—with 250 rooms, this is the largest home in the United States), there are few places as ideal for the big moment. For further information, go to the Biltmore Estate's website
Guests look at a video installation at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota
Kris Kerzman/Flickr
North Dakota: Plains Art Museum, Fargo
For a unique North Dakota wedding, Fargo’s Plains Art Museum offers chic modern style mixed with classic western flair. Its permanent collection includes a wide array of regional contemporary and traditional art as well as pieces from big names like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. And your guests will be able to see all the art: When you book your wedding here, you book the entire space for the evening, which includes three floors and the lobby atrium. Couples can have their dinner overlooking downtown Fargo followed by a reception in the skylit Landfield Atrium. For additional information, go to the Plain's Art Museum Website.
Entrance to Greenhouse of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Analogue Kid/Wikipedia
Ohio: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus
A member of the National Register of Historic Places, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was built on what were originally empty fairgrounds for the Franklin County Fair. This changed when the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and Columbian Expedition inspired the construction of its Victorian-style glass structure. Today, along with hosting events, this is still a working conservatory and garden. To begin planning, go to their website.
The colonial gardens at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK
Marc Carlson/Flickr
Oklahoma: Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa
Founded by Thomas Gilcrease, an oilman and member of the Creek nation, the Gilcrease Museum houses the most comprehensive collection of Western art and artifacts in the United States. Couples tend to choose it as a venue for its spectacular 46 acres of gardens, each one showcasing a different period of Western gardening techniques, from the Pre-Columbian period to those that harken back to Pioneer, Colonial, and Victorian times. In colder months, the museum hosts lovely events in its restaurant and Vista room. For more information, go to the museum's website
Monoliths jut from the sea just off Cannon Beach in Oregon
Diana Robinson/Flickr
Oregon: Cannon Beach
The town of Cannon Beach has a superb long sand beach fronted by monolithic rocks rising from the sea. The splendid scenery of the dramatic Oregon Coast rises around you. That has made it a popular marriage spot, and so the town is brimming with quaint resort inns, hotels, ministers, caterers, and banquet halls who compete to help you do your "do" right. Learn more at our webpage on Cannon Beach.
The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm
Juliana Laury
Pennsylvania: Barley Sheaf Farm, Holicong
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright George S. Kaufman once owned this farm and though he joked about everything, he never cracked wise about this purchase. Situated in scenic Bucks County, the historic Barley Sheaf Farms is a charmer set on 100 acres of farmlands and forests. Couples often have their ceremony on its grounds and then stay overnight in one of its exquisite accommodations, which include a 1740 manor house, a 19th century stone bank barn, and Kaufman-era guest cottages. For more information, go to Barley Sheaf's website
An exterior view of Rosecliff, one of Newport's most opulent mansions
Rhode Island: Newport
“The Cottages”—that’s what the Gilded Age tycoons called the collection of sumptuous mansions they erected in Newport, RI in the decades before the introduction of income tax put some curbs on their appetite for bling. Today, six of these over-the-top abodes are maintained by the Newport Preservation Society and they open them up not only for tours but for events of all sorts. That means that mere mortals like you and I could, if we wished, rent out Rosecliff (pictured) for nuptials. A wedding doesn’t get swankier than that. Learn more about Newport, RI here
The Calhoun Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina partially hidden by a magnificent tree
South Carolina: Charleston
Charleston has a touch of enchantment to it. Its historic core is chockablock with stately mansions; its population just about defines the word “gracious”; and the food here is beyond compare. That’s why so many couples decide that the best way to celebrate their love is parading to the altar in a horse and carriage, taking photos against the city’s elegant ironwork balconies, trading vows inside one of the city’s historic houses. For more information, visit our webpage for Charleston.
A bride and her bridesmaids hang out on the gazebo
Black Hills Weddings and Receptions
South Dakota: Black Hills Weddings and Receptions, Rapid City
On the grounds of Rapid City’s Black Hills Rentals and Receptions, nature-loving couples can have a fairy tale event surrounded by the proud ponderosa and spruce trees native to the Black Hills region. For the ceremony, couples can choose from a variety of scenic spots including a chandeliered gazebo or, for outdoorsy types, a natural stage formed by a native moss rock outcropping. For the party, there's a tent reception elegantly lit by candlelight. Want to find out more? Check out their website
A teeny, tiny wedding chapel in the bedroom community of Gatlinburg
Alicia Pimental/Flickr
Tennessee: The Great Smoky Mountains
Not only are the Great Smoky Mountains part of the United States' most-visited national park, they're also increasingly becoming a region where couples come specifically to pledge their love. It's not hard to understand why. There's something almost mystical about standing under a massive, ancient hemlock tree or seeing the mist creep over the rumpled peaks. But there are also practical reasons why folks call this the new wedding capital of the South: There's no waiting period for licenses, wedding venues are far more affordable than they are in other parts of the United States, and you don't have to venture far to enjoy a raft of fun honeymoon activities—everything from Dollywood to bird watching to fishing. Learn more about how to tie the knot in this national treasure at the park's website.
A bride poses atop a covered wagon with two buffalo at Twisted Ranch in Bertram Texas
Andrew Sterling
Texas: Twisted Ranch, Bertram, Texas
This is where the buffalo roam…and the old general store still stands, along with a vintage jail and a white steepled church. In fact, the owners of this ranch have recreated a Wild West town just for wedding parties, and though it sounds hokey, the pastiche is classily done and the conceit tons of fun. The ranch is set in the heart of Texas' lovely Hill Country. Check out Twisted Ranch's website for more information.
View of Zion Canyon from Angel's Landing
Utah: Zion National Park
Forget the man-made splendor of urban architecture. Zion National Park offers up nature’s finest and most majestic structures as a backdrop (mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches—take your pick). All you have to do is send park rangers an application 10 days before you want to get hitched with the application fee of $100. Available locations include the Temple of Sinawava, Menu Falls, and the Timber Creek Overlook—just to name a few. Just be prepared for beauty that may outshine the bride. Learn more about how to have a wedding at Utah's first national park here.
A wedding takes place on the scenic overlook at the Hildene Mansion in Manchester, Vermont
MiKe Riddell
Vermont: Hildene, Manchester, Vermont
When Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving child of Abraham Lincoln, decided to set down roots, he chose the town of Manchester in which to build his handsome, view-rich Georgian-revival home. It was his sanctuary, his "ancestral home" (to use Lincoln's own words) after a tumultuous life during which he'd served as a soldier in the Civil War, as War Secretary under two presidents, ambassador to Great Britain and chairman of the Pullman Car Company. Along the way, he had the misfortune of witnessing, in person, three assassinations: that of his father, and of Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley. Couples who choose to wed at Hildene will feel the serenity that Lincoln found so healing, standing on a terrace overlooking Vermont’s rolling mountains (pictured) or wandering through the estate’s splendid gardens. Functions take place in a tent on the grounds, but during them, guests are allowed to explore the on-site Lincoln museum, which contains such treasures as one of Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hats. To learn more, visit the Hildene Website.
Virginia's magnificent Natural Bridge of stone.
David Wilson/Flickr
Virginia: Natural Bridge
Are those George Washington's initial's carved into the rock? Probably not (another GW likely defaced the bridge), though we do know he visited and admired this natural wonder. Thomas Jefferson liked it so much, he bought the land from the British Crown for 20 shillings. The cathedral-height bridge was considered, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to be one of America's most important nature sights. While it's no longer quite as famous, the symbolism of its ring shape and the majesty of the setting have guaranteed its continued popularity for weddings. A nearby historic hotel (which owns the park today) sets up chairs at the bridge and hosts receptions in one of four nearby ballrooms.
Glasshouse with orange spiral sculpture suspended from ceiling
Human Wonders/Flickr
Washington: Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle
In the shadow of the tallest tower west of the Mississippi, the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit showcases the vibrant and imaginative blown-glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. Most couples choose to have their event in the exhibition’s pinnacle, the Glasshouse, which contains a 100-foot-long winding orange sculpture suspended from its ceiling. It's a strikingly picturesque location for the moment you say, "I do." To begin planning a whimsical wedding, check out their website
The Cameo Ballroom at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia
The Greenbrier
West Virginia: The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs
If Lily Pulitzer had been an interior decorator rather than a clothing designer, her spaces would have looked like this. Few resorts are as festive as this one, and that not only goes for the super-colorful décor, but also for the activities for before and after the ceremony—everything from golf to bowling to touring the underground bunker built for the U.S. Congress at the height of the Cold War in the event of a nuclear attack (not romantic, but it sure is fascinating). For more information, go to Greenbrier's website
Three Glass Domes at the Mitchell Conservatory in Milwaukee
James Jordan/Flickr
Wisconsin: The Domes at Mitchell Park Conservatory, Milwaukee
Escape Wisconsin (kinda)! That’s what couples do when they choose between the Show Domes at the Mitchell Park Conservatory in Milwaukee for their weddings. Each dome houses unique selections of flora and fauna according to its respective climate or theme. In the Arid Dome, have a wedding that harkens to deserts of Africa and South America, and in the Tropical Dome, make it a lush, orchid-rich one. The theme of a third dome changes all the time—past ones have been oriented towards international cultures (Japanese, German, English) and even literature (one exhibit was inspired by Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"). A Tiny Tim wedding? That would get them talking. Find out more at the Mitchell Park Conservatory Website
The Grand Tetons loom over an old barn
Jon Sullivan/Creative Commons
Wyoming: Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole is one of those rare spots that works for a wedding in both winter and summer. In winter, wedding guests take sleigh rides through the National Elk Refuge and see herds in the thousands; try dog-sledding; or hit the slopes for some of the best powder in the country. In the summer, they hike under the whispering pines of Grand Teton National Park; go white-water rafting and canoeing; and mountain bike. Your ceremony will have the backdrop of towering mountains and your reception will be piled with farm-fresh food—Jackson Hole has become a foodie haven in recent years. Begin planning at our Jackson Hole webpage