Casual Wedding Reception Venue Ideas

While some people dream of a large wedding reception in an elegant venue, others desire a more intimate, casual space to celebrate their nuptials in. If a laidback venue is more you and your spouse-to-be's style, you'll have plenty of options from which to choose. 

After you say "I do," it's important that you feel comfortable as you dance the night away and mix and mingle with your family and friends. For some couples, the thought of a traditional wedding venue, such as a country club, ballroom, or reception hall, seems too cold and impersonal, so they opt to rent a smaller space instead. 

Whether you want to celebrate indoors or outdoors, you'll be able to find a casual space that fits your needs. If you opt for an outdoor venue, make sure you have a backup plan, such as an event tent, in case of inclement weather. Some outdoor rentals also include the use of an indoor space as well.

One benefit of casual venues is that they're typically easier on the wallet, so that's something to consider if you're on a tight event-planning budget. If you have a small guest list and want a very informal place to party after the wedding, a family member's backyard may fit the bill. 

Here are some other casual wedding venue ideas to get you started:

1. Aquariums and Zoos

Perfect for animal-loving couples, aquariums and zoos generally offer indoor or outdoor event spaces. Some venues also have onsite event teams, which can help you with everything from catering to decorations. They may even require you to use their catering services, so inquire about the rules and regulations prior to booking. 

Holding an aquarium or zoo wedding reception is an especially good idea if you'll have a lot of kids in attendance, as it will keep them entertained throughout the event. As another benefit, some of the proceeds from the rental space may aid in animal conservation efforts. 

2. Local or State Parks 

When it comes to laidback outdoor venues, you can't go wrong with a local or state park. You can serve lunch or dinner under a covered pavilion, many of which feature grills and picnic tables so that you won't have to transport them to the site.

If you're water lovers, you can also erect an event tent on a beach and celebrate with an ocean or lake as a backdrop. Before reserving any outdoor space, find out if music is permitted, if that's important to you.