Brides and grooms who want to make their wedding distinctive can rest easy knowing there are a number of one-of-a-kind venues around town that will help give their special day a touch of originality.
If you’re looking for something outside of the reception-hall-in-a-strip-mall experience, check out this list of unique Cincinnati-area wedding venues.
New Riff Distillery, Newport
In the parking lot of The Party Source is New Riff distillery, making Kentucky bourbon and rye whiskey for all to see. As your gaze rests on the giant stills producing those spirits, you might not notice the available event space, including the Tower Room on the third floor that seats about 150 people.
“It has very clean, modern lines, but my favorite part of the space is the large, garage-like doors that open up onto a beautiful veranda for people to enjoy unique views of the city,” said Heidi Pasqualetti, wedding planner and owner of I Thee Wed. “All their furniture is beautiful enough, practically no linens are needed.”
Leapin Lizard, Covington
Built in 1886, this former church and one-time art gallery still has a working pipe organ and original stained-glass windows. Located in the historic Mainstrasse district, this event space has two floors available to rent to maximize your wedding fun.
“It’s one of those old churches where the sanctuary is upstairs,” said Annette Troescher, owner of Ladyhawk Events. “It’s pretty neat.”
The Secret Garden, Waynesville
Ideal for a vow renewal or a small wedding, the Chapel in the Woods is located behind the Secret Garden retail store. The venue holds only 50 people, but is nestled in the woods, and also has a gazebo at the end of a deck overlooking a pond for those who may prefer an outdoor ceremony.
If you have a particular love for Cincinnati craft beer, this is the jackpot of all wedding venues. The event space seats up to 300, and couples can have up to 10 different Rhinegeist beers on tap for their guests.
“It’s like walking into an open-air factory,” Troescher said. “There’s brick walls, exposed beams coming down from the ceiling, the pine flooring. It’s unlike other venues.”
Laurel Court Mansion, College Hill
If Marie Antoinette is your style icon, this historic venue might be the perfect backdrop for your wedding. Built in the early 1900s for Champion Paper founder Peter G. Thompson, the 36-room mansion features inlaid marble floors, a gilded music room and a mahogany-paneled library.
“The gardens are insanely gorgeous and make guests feel very regal as they sit inside the garden walls and view the ceremony with the mansion as the backdrop,” said Jessica Azarov, owner of Sweetheart Planners.
The Chapel at St. Aloysius, Bond Hill
The appeal of this Gothic-inspired chapel built in 1855 lies with its non-denominational status and willingness to host couples with differing religious backgrounds. Bride-to-be Joy Allmyer of Deer Park said it was a challenge to find a church that would marry her to her Catholic fiancé, Vincent Cicchinelli.
“It was important for him to include some Catholic traditions in the wedding; however, since I was not converting and did not belong to any particular church, it made it hard to find a faith-based venue,” Allmyer said. “Once I saw St. Al’s website, I knew immediately that was where I wanted to get married. It screams Catholic, without all of the obstacles.”
Contemporary Arts Center
The décor doesn’t get more original or cutting edge than with a wedding at the Contemporary Arts Center. With floor-to-ceiling glass walls on the main level, guests are able to keep an eye on what’s happening at one of the liveliest corners in the city.
“It’s especially perfect for those couples who love the modern look,” Pasqualetti said. “Typically the ceremony takes place on the main floor, then guests move up to a higher floor for cocktails, then back to the main floor for dinner and down to the lower floor for dancing. They really get to see a good portion of the museum.”
Taft Museum of Art, Downtown
One of the more universally adored sites among wedding insiders is the Taft Museum of Art. “It’s one of my favorites,” said Maura Bassman, owner of Cincy Weddings by Maura. “I love it because it’s picturesque. In the back they have a beautiful courtyard. Out front, they have a ton of peonies that are just gorgeous. It’s a very classic venue.”
The Monastery Event Center, Mt. Adams
One of Cincinnati’s newest event spaces, the former Holy Cross Monastery and Church is now available to brides and grooms. Developers worked to keep as much of the original brick and plaster intact on this historic landmark, which also comes with one of Mt. Adams’ most treasured assets — free private parking for guests.