Strange Love: These Are Upstate NY’s Most Unique Wedding Venues
Despite what The Office told you, getting married at Niagara Falls is so cliché. There are so many incredible and utterly unique wedding venues across Upstate New York that you’re sure to find your niche. Finding a venue is daunting, so let’s start small.
The World’s Smallest Church
Go big in a tiny way and get married in Oneida at the World’s Smallest Church.
Built in 1989 on a floating dock in the middle of Mason’s Pond, Cross Island Chapel is a non-denominational church open for “special occasions and meditation,” per its sign. You, your beloved, and your officiant will share 28.68 square feet of space – making it the most cramped church on Earth but average for an NYC apartment.
Pro: Exclusivity! Con: You’ll probably have to find somewhere a little larger for the reception. But if you want natural beauty a step above ponds, there’s always…
An Altar As Deep As Your Love
Your love for your partner is eternal, so how about booking a venue that took millions of years to form?
Howe Caverns boasts Wedding Caves 156 feet beneath the surface of Schoharie County. More than 650 couples have been married at the underground chapel’s Bridal Altar – complete with a glowing calcite heart, which is either super romantic or an Edgar Allen Poe short story waiting to happen. (Maybe both!) But if you think that’s being dramatic, the Howe Caverns wedding webpage literally urges you to, “Transcend the mundane trappings of terrestrial life.”
No official ruling, but I bet if you wanted to replace your veil with one of those cool helmets with a big flashlight on top, they’d let you. Extra feature! You get to take a post-nuptial boat ride over The Lake of Venus. But if you really like boats…
Head to Lake George, for an Upstate wedding afloat on the oldest continuously operated tour boat in the United States.
The Lake George Steamboat Co. offers wedding packages on the steamboat Mohican, a genuine piece of New York history which has been regularly sailing since 1908. This option also offers a rare and unique officiant: the Captain themself, just like movie maritime law has always led me to believe.
For added convenience, the Mohican can pick you and your wedding party up anywhere around the shores of Lake George. But if you’re a real landlubber with a fondness for history…
Hit The Jackpot
Don’t gamble on your happiness: get married at Canfield Casino, where the Gilded Age set won and lost fortunes daily.
This Saratoga Springs institution put the city on the international gambling map in the 1880s. Built by a co-founder of the Saratoga Racetrack, the casino didn’t truly come into its own until its third owner, Richard Canfield. Canfield turned the casino and adjacent Congress Park into a renowned showplace that rivaled Europe’s finest.
The City of Saratoga Springs now owns the beautiful building and rents out the Parlor, Bar, and Ballroom for weddings. Bonus! They offer a rental discount to city residents. But maybe you’re less Monte Carlo and more Las Vegas…
A Royal Wedding
Maybe some Upstate betrothed are thinking about ditching a fancy ceremony and saying, in the immortal words of Faith Hill, “hey baby, let’s go to Vegas.”
With Baz Luhrman’s Elvis out this summer, interest in The King is at its highest since the ’68 Comeback Special. Who can resist the allure of that Sin City staple: an Elvis wedding? Save yourself a pair of plane tickets and avoid the desert heat! Rotterdam hosts the Little Vegas Wedding Chapel and Theater where Elvis can marry you and sing two of his songs of your choice. (I would go with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Viva Las Vegas.”)
If any of these work for you, please save me a slice of cake - or better yet a bowl full of those little butter mints.