Features and Occasionals

The Wedding Venue

By Claire Boerigter

Nontraditional wedding and reception sites offer their own special charm and often cost less than traditional full-service venues. However, be sure to factor in time, effort and additional cost if you have additional needs: tents, portable potties, a dance floor, maybe even electrical generators. If you’re considering an outdoor gathering, visit possible locations at the time of day (and, ideally, the season) you will be marrying, and consider accomodations for inclement weather. Also, the venue may provide all you need in the way of decor. Or not. Take note.

Here are some ideas that are a step (or two) beyond the traditional.

Antelope Island State Park

With its “spectacular views of lake and island scenery” and many desert animals – pronghorn antelope, bison and bighorn sheep all roam free – Antelope Island offers a one-of-a-kind setting. Take note: Couples will need to acquire a special use permit through the Antelope Island State Park Office.

Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats are a magnificent venue for couples looking for a stark, beautiful and otherworldly location. Couples will need to obtain a permit from the BLM (Roxanne Tea coordinates Salt Flat events); there is a use fee, but oftentimes this is waived for weddings where participants have a knowledge of Leave No Trace ethics.

Cactus & Tropicals

Offering both an indoor greenhouse and an outdoor garden, Cactus & Tropicals offers couples an intimate setting bursting with flowers and greenery.

Chase Mill at Tracy Aviary

Built in 1848, Chase Mill at Tracy Aviary is Utah’s oldest standing industrial building. Following recent renovations, couples can now enjoy environmentally friendly cork flooring, pressed sunflower seed countertops and clay plastered walls, all while exploring Tracy Aviary’s colorful bird exhibits.

Clark Planetarium

With a few different spaces to pick from, Clark Planetarium offers couples a unique “exploration-themed” experience which includes interactive exhibits.

Crone’s Hollow

For the mystically inclined, Crone’s Hollow offers a spacious event space where couples can be wed, hold their reception or be bound during a handfasting ceremony.

Gilgal Sculpture Garden

The only designated “visionary art environment” here in Utah, Gilgal is home to 12 original sculptures and over 70 engraved stones. Take note: Permits may be restrictive and must be applied for through the Salt Lake City Parks Division.

The Leonardo

“If you can dream it, we can make it happen,” declares the event staff at The Leonardo. Here, couples can experience the striking views of the city skyline and the Wasatch Mountains while enjoying the Hylozoic Veil, an installation by world-renowned Canadian architect Philip Beesley.


Yes, Publik does more than roast their own beans: They also provide a venue they describe as “urban/warehouse awesomeness” – for the coffee lovers out there, this might be just the place for you.

Salt Lake City Main Library

Couples can hold their wedding and reception at any of the SLC public libraries, although the Main Library is most common. Here, choose from either the rooftop garden, where they will enjoy views of the mountains and downtown Salt Lake, or the main atrium where the grandeur of the library is on full display.

Salt Lake City Parks

A number of the Salt Lake City Parks are available for weddings and receptions, providing an intimate outdoor location. Acquire a ceremony permit from the Parks Division; questions about weddings should be directed to 801.972.7865.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Couples looking for an art-enriched wedding can choose from two locations in UMFA where, for a security fee, couples can keep all galleries open.

Natural History Museum of Utah

With a host of locations to choose from within the museum, NHMU offers a “reception package” which includes a photography session – and who doesn’t want a wedding party photo with a dinosaur?

This article was originally published on April 30, 2015.