We are full swing into engagement season right now, and I wanted to make this list to help all of you newly-engaged couples who are getting started on planning your wedding! A venue (and a date) are the first things you will pick out, so if you are looking for an amazing, unique venue to share your vows and dance the night away in a place that isn’t just a reception hall, barn, or church read on below! I personally love it when my couples put their own twist on things or find really interesting, cool places to host their family and friends! Honestly, if you can dream it it’s possible. I’m a wedding and portrait photographer here in Cincinnati who focuses on celebrating your love + documenting the most special moments. Over the last few years I have gotten to photograph at quite a few special places here in Cincy and I wanted to help share some amazing inspiration with all you couples out there trying to plan your special day! ♡
I would also like to take this time to share my favorite and best advice I can give to couples. This is you and your partner’s day, and you should do what you want to do. I hear a lot of my couples say they struggle with trying to make everyone happy, and while this is such a great time in your life it also seems to be really stressful at some points. Your priority should be making the day feel special to you and celebrating your love + commitment to one another. Whether the right day for you means a full 200-person guest list full of your favorite people on Earth, or just you and your boo in the middle of the woods reading your vows; do what feels right to you! Not one person who loves and cares about you will be upset that you chose to make yourself happy on your wedding day.
Now that I’ve got my speech out of the way, let’s get a drumroll please… for my favorite non-traditional wedding venues in (or around) Cincinnati!
In case you couldn’t tell by the name, this place has some history. You might’ve visited the downstairs brewery, but have you ever been up top? A beautiful building with rich architecture and a super romantic vibe, it’s the perfect place to tie the knot. I really love this place because it has all of the stunning architecture that you’ll find in one of our many churches around Cincinnati, but it is no longer a church so it’s a great place to host a religious ceremony/event that still features cathedral-like architecture. They even already have a great bar right in the building that makes cocktail hour a breeze ( and a lot more fun). I’ve attached some photos I’ve taken at the venue below, and honestly I just love to look at them. Click here to visit their website to learn more
(just a hint here.. I love how Queen City Vignette (a unique furniture rental company local to Cincinnati) fills this space every single time I see them here!
Over the Rhine, Cincinnati
I photographed an intimate wedding under the gazebo at Washington Park this past year and it was so special! I think taking a popular public place and having a little ceremony there is such a unique idea. I believe they had roughly 15 guests there, so you could make it just you and your partner or invite your close family, too! They filled the ceremony with some live music, which I am always an advocate for incorporating into your day! Once they said their I do’s and sealed it with a kiss, we had an amazing area to take super cute wedding photos at all around us. They went to Taft Ale House afterwards, to celebrate with more family and friends. I thought it was the perfect way to spend your wedding day!
East Fork Lake
I’ll be honest… I fell in love with this shoot! The beach at East Fork Lake is seriously such a cool spot… it’s like being on a real beach, except you didn’t have to fly to Florida for this one. A few other photographers and I dreamed up this idea to help give brides inspiration to do something outside the norm. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere new, or maybe to a place thats special to just you both. The right vendors will be so excited to help make your day and vision come to life. We had this amazing arbor custom made, but if you don’t like this idea you can rent one from pretty much anywhere (or make one yourself!)
Over the Rhine, Cincinnati
Another former church that has been turned into a non-religious venue that I just seriously love. This venue is also located next to Washington Park, but it’s indoor and much larger than the gazebo! I adore so much about this venue… it has gorgeous architecture, the bridal suite is literally what dreams are made of (seriously check it out), and it’s honestly just really the perfect moody setting for your day. Unfortunately every time I’ve photographed a wedding here, I have been a second photographer so I don’t have any decor images to share! I do have two weddings booked here in the next year and hope to update this post with more photos of the dreamy place! Click here to view galleries on their website!
Believe it or not.. this used to be a bank. They even kept the vault (pictured above) and let you use it as part of your reception, too! This place is located in Hamilton so it’s not in downtown Cincinnati but it isn’t a far drive either. It has so much charm, but also featured all white walls with tall windows so really it’s a nice clean space to create any kind of mood you want. Chris and Kendra added elegant greenery and beautiful geometrical arches to compliment the architecture. The staff at the venue was so incredibly friendly towards not only all of the guests but to us vendors as well. As a wedding vendor, we sometimes don’t get treated the best by venues so this really stood out to me. The venue itself is right in the heart of downtown Hamilton so we had so many beautiful backdrops literally a few second walk from the the venue!
There are so many more
I made this list just to help get the ideas rolling for you. I’ve seen so many people do so many different things, and they’re all perfect for them. Rhinegeist, The Krohn Conservatory, an elopement at Eden Park, a patch of grass in the middle of Mt. Airy forest, an art museum.. you name it! I hope that this list helped you think of some cool ideas for your own special day. If you’re looking for a photographer who wants to celebrate your unique day & document all the fun that goes down, I’d be super happy to chat with you. Contact me here 😉