A helpful list of some unique outdoor, historic and unusual wedding reception locations.
While certainly not comprehensive, this is a shortlist of some of our favorite “so you,” uncommon event venues to hold a wedding reception. Obviously there are many great spaces in town to hold an incredible party — including hotels such as the Cincinnatian, the Hilton Netherland or the new 21c and event centers such as The Phoenix, The Bell Event Centre and The Grand — but here are some locales you might not have thought of.
BB Riverboats: Charter a private river cruise on one of BB Riverboats steamboats. Packages include boarding time, a two-and-a-half hour Ohio River cruise, staff, buffet, service and other variables depending on the package your purchase. For 50-250 guests. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.
The Centennial Barn: Built in 1898 and renovated in 2010, the brick barn blends historic and modern with 35 acres of green spaces, gardens and enough barn space to accommodate up to 200 guests. 110 Compton Road, Wyoming, centennialbarn.org.
Chateau Pomije: Nestled in Southeast Indiana’s picturesque hillside, Chateau Pomije feels like a little piece of Europe in the Tristate. With more than 70 acres of vineyards, a three-acre lake and a 5,000 square-foot stone banquet facility, the castle-like Chateau can accommodate up to 350 guests for a rustic, elegant reception. 25043 Jacobs Road, Guilford, Ind., cpwinery.com.
Cincinnati Parks: With so many beautiful outdoor spaces — Alms Park, Mt. Airy Forest, Ault Park, Washington Park, etc. — Cincinnati Parks offers garden weddings for various lengths of time. Read rental rules, regulations and get more info at cincinnatiparks.com.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden: The Cincinnati Zoo offers both exotic indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception spaces for groups of any size. During your big day, you and your guests can enjoy the zoo’s beautiful gardens and unique animal exhibits, comprehensive catering packages and even a special visit by one or two small animals — you can even request more “dynamic” animals. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
Coney Island: With its wrought iron facade, Coney Island’s Moonlite Gardens and Moonlite Pavilion open-air banquet facilities resemble New Orleans’ French Quarter. Requiring a minimum of 150 guests, Coney’s reception package includes a coordinator, dinner, a three-hour open bar service and more. The team even offers themed events like “Mardi Gras” and “Old-Fashioned State Fair.” 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, coneyislandpark.com.
The Fling Barn: Located on a 200-acre working horse farm, the Fling Barn offers 3,000 square feet of space over two levels for the ultimate barn wedding. For $8,900 you get a ceremony in the century-old Oak Grove, horse-drawn bridal carriage, reception, professional photographer, two nights at the bed and breakfast, music and a catered dinner for 100 guests. 8205 W. Berrysville Road, Hillsboro.
Greenacres’ Arts Center: A swath of preserved woodland and functional, educational farmland in the heart of Indian Hill, Greenacres hosts beautiful weddings at their English Norman-style Arts Center manor house with formal gardens, a cascading fountain, moat, tea house, chauffeur’s cottage and fully restored 1925 Aeolian Organ. 8255 Spooky Hollow, Indian Hill, green-acres.org.
Krippendorf Lodge: Built around 1899, this home has a covered wrap-around porch, a stone terrace and 1,025 acres of forest, fields and streams. The lodge accommodates 100 guests inside and an additional 200 guests on the porch and terrace. Rentals discounts between Nov. 1 and March 31. 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, cincynature.org.
Pyramind Hill Sculpture Park & Museum: The park’s 265 acres of art and nature overlooks the Great Miami River, with several different sized outdoor rental facilities to choose from. You can rent everything from a 10,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor pavilion and lodge to the smaller Romanesque Ancient Sculpture Museum Patio & Gardens. 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, State Route 128, Hamilton, pyramidhill.org.
Vinoklet Winery: With 30 acres of green hills, mature vineyards and quaint, lilly-padded ponds — including a heart-shaped one— this vineyard and award-winning winery is a perfect setting for an outdoor wedding. Special pricing is available for ceremony/reception combos. Minimum of 100 guests on a Saturday. 11069 Colerain Ave., Colerain, vinokletwines.com.
The Carnegie Center of Columbia Tusculum: This Beaux-Arts building served as a public library until 1959. With 22-foot ceilings, wood flooring and several rooms, the venue can seat 185 guests. 3738 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum, thecarnegiecenter.org.
Cincinnati Observatory: The Greek revival observatory building, ideal for more intimate receptions, houses the world’s oldest telescope with an indoor capacity of 50-55 for dinner — table and chairs included — and 100 people outside. 3489 Observatory Place, Mt. Lookout, cincinnatiobservatory.org.
Glendale Lyceum: Built in 1892, the historic lyceum was a social club where members could meet to discuss current events, read the latest books and host social functions. It continues to be a charming gathering place today with various rooms available for rental for up to 300 guests. 865 Congress Ave., Glendale, glendalelyceum.com.
Krohn Conservatory: Built in 1933, this Art Deco plant conservatory is gorgeous for both its interior and exterior. And, if you look at the front of the building upside-down, it even resembles a heart. Maximum capacity is
Little Red Schoolhouse: This authentic 19th-century, one-room schoolhouse is an unusual historical building with an amazing lawn. Once the building is rented, it may be used for both the wedding and the reception. Inside can house 80-125 people, but tents can be added to the front lawn to accommodate larger receptions. 8100 Given Road, Indian Hill,
Music Hall: This breathtaking, historic 19th century concert theater can house an audience of 3,500 or an intimate gathering of 20 or fewer. You can rent the barrel-vaulted Ballroom with decorative mirrors, gilt columns and ornate brass-work; the gold-accented Foyer with marble floors and crystal chandeliers; or the charming Corbett Tower, elegantly draped with sparkling chandeliers and a built-in stage area. 1241 Elm St., OTR, cincinnatiarts.org.
Peterloon: A combination of Georgian and Queen Anne styles built to rival the grandest houses of Europe, Peterloon is also home to walled gardens, terraces and lawns that extend to a circular pool overlooking an eight-acre lake. While only available for a handful of wedding every year, more than 250 guests can be accommodated outdoors on the great lawn under a tent and stars. 8605 Hopewell Road, Indian Hill, peterloon.org.
Promont House Museum: Home to the Greater Milford Area Historical Society, the Promont House allows guests to step back in time. This Victorian mansion, built circa 1865, offers the best in historic elegance: period furnishings, old-world grounds and a gazebo for outdoor ceremonies. 906 Main St., Milford, milfordhistory.net.
Union Terminal: A spectacular example of Art Deco architecture, Union Terminal opened in 1933 as a train depot and is now home to the Cincinnati Museum Center. Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Cincinnati History Museum, with dinner on the movie set-like Public Landing. 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.
Wiedemann Hill Mansion: The mansion was built in 1894 by Charles Wiedemann, heir to the George Wiedemann Brewery. Specializing in small, intimate receptions, the mansion can accommodate up to 60, seated guests for dinner. 1102 Park Ave., Newport, Ky., whillmansion.com.
20th Century Theatre: This Art Deco-style movie theater was built in 1941 and was later transformed into an event venue. It holds both ceremonies and receptions (for 100-400 guests) with personalized marquee messages for each couple. 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, the20thcenturytheatre.com.
21c Museum Hotel: For modern brides, 21c is the newest premier reception venue. Whether it’s a lavish wedding ceremony and reception for 250 or an intimate, romantic rehearsal dinner for 20, the event staff at 21c ensures perfection, down to the finest detail. Catering provided by the Metropole’s culinary team and pre-wedding pampering available the the Spa at 21c. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 21cmuseumhotels.com.
American Sign Museum: With more than 400 brightly lit signs in the background, ranging from lettered to neon, no decorations needed. Rental rates are based on group size, length of the event and the staff support you need. 1330 Monmouth St., Camp Washington.
Art Museums: The Cincinnati Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Center and Taft Museum of Art all offer unique and artful spaces for your reception. Each venue has their own specifications so contact them for more information: cincinnatiartmuseum.org, contemporaryartscenter.org and taftmuseum.org.
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park: Although the Thompson Shelterhouse and the Marx Theatre are subject to extremely limited availability, the Playhouse’s other unique spaces (such as the Rosenthal Plaza or the Kaplan Lobby) combined with the beautiful park setting and a view of the skyline provide an elegant, unique atmosphere. Receptions can accommodate 20-280 guests. 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mt. Adams, cincyplay.com.
Loveland Castle: If you want a reception that reflects the “simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived when Knighthood was in flower,” or you’re going for a medieval theme, host a one-to-50-guest reception inside or a 51-to-100-guest reception outside. Weddings are held after 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only. 12025 Shore Road, Loveland, lovelandcastle.com.
The Mockbee: The Mockbee is a mid-19th century lager brewery in Cincinnati’s Historic Brewery District and a must-see for brides interested in a raw space for a historical, industrial or a gothic feel. 2260 Central Parkway, Brighton, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newport Aquarium: With a fantastic view of the river, the aquarium’s Riverside Room can accommodate up to 240 guests for dinner (350 for reception). For the ceremony/reception fee, you also gain exclusive access to the aquarium after hours and a visit from African penguins in their own, natural tuxedoes. 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com.
The Redmoor: The Redmoor’s “Weddings of Distinction” offer an elegant, customizable Art Deco space with all the amenities a wedding could need. Rental fee (with a $1,000 deposit due the day the venue is reserved) includes full use of bar and dining areas and more. Capacity is 225; room capacity
Studio One Thirty: Housed in a historic 1800’s building, this intimate, vintage space has built-in apothecary cases, original 15-foot tin ceilings, crown molding, aesthetic accessories and hardwood floors. All rentals include an on-site venue manager the day of your event. 130 W. Sixth St., Covington, Ky.
Venue 222: Built in 1868, the building has been restored and remodeled to be a loft environment that still retains its original, historic character. Exposed brick and wood beam architecture, along with large windows with views of the city, are only part of the charm. A wedding/reception can seat 125 for dinner and 220 for cocktails without tables. 222 E. 14th St., Downtown.