Whether you're looking for something truly unique or just want to avoid a ballroom on your wedding day, they've got you covered. Here are a few of my favorite unique, non-traditional wedding venues in and around the Des Moines area.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Located just north of Des Moines' East Village, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is one of the absolute best ways to enjoy a "destination wedding" without having to travel far from home. (Especially if you haven't updated your passport in a while...this is your friendly reminder to go do that.) With a tropical oasis year round and stunning outdoor grounds during non-winter months, the Botanical Garden is an ideal choice for folks who want the beauty and drama of a rainforest wedding without having to make friends and family start looking into AirBnbs
My favorite thing about getting married at the Botanical Garden? Their flexible packages for couples who are looking to do something less traditional. While they have the space for larger weddings and a ballroom to accommodate receptions, couples can get discounts for sunrise ceremonies and one-hour elopements during regular business hours. These are more affordable options that have a LOT of flexibility to celebrate the rest of your day however the heck you want.
Tucked away in the South of Grand neighborhood in the heart of Des Moines is a hidden gem: the Salisbury House & Gardens. Built in the 1920's by the Weeks family, this stately Tudor-meets-Gothic manor is a stunning option for anyone looking for a healthy dose of grandeur and class on their wedding day. (Seriously, you'll feel like you've been transported to the set of the next Pride & Prejudice movie.)
From the main house to carriage house to the manicured grounds, you and your guests can enjoy taking in some of the history of this venue and its gorgeous arches 👏 for 👏 days 👏 Seriously, this place has some of the most stunning architectural features—if you want drama and romance on your wedding day, you don't have to look any further. And what a great way to give your guests a built-in activity during cocktail hour while you sneak away to dozens of gorgeous spots for photos?
Blank Park Zoo
If you don't want to feed giraffes on your wedding day, you might need to rethink your priorities.
Looking for something truly unique? There's nowhere more fun or exciting for guests of all ages than getting married at the Des Moines Blank Park Zoo. Just South of downtown Des Moines, the Blank Park Zoo is not only one of the most memorable places to get married, but one of the most beautiful, too. Looking for something a little more traditional? Their outdoor pavilion provides a beautiful, lush backdrop. Hoping to do something less traditional? Get married in the aquarium with all your newest fish friends.
Jasper Winery is classy meets convenient—seriously, you could not ask for a better location for a venue. Enjoy the privacy of a quiet, outdoor setting while being just minutes away from Downtown Des Moines and seconds away from Des Moines Waterworks Park (which just so happens to be one of Des Moines' most popular photo spots). With ample outdoor and indoor space for guests, their facilities provide the perfect balance for folks looking to enjoy time outdoors but have a beautiful backup plan in case of inclement Midwestern weather.
Looking for a clean, modern venue in the heart of the city? Interested in having a handful of your friends/family attend your wedding, but don't want to inconvenience them with car rentals or ride shares? Looking to say "I do" and then spend the night exploring the city in celebration? VOWS is your place.
On top of several package options to accommodate your coverage needs, VOWs takes it up a notch by providing the opportunity for an all-inclusive experience. Have them take care of your flowers, officiant, food, beverage—you name it. And while a photographer can be included, there's no additional fee for bringing along your favorite bandana-wearing brunette.
BONUS: Iris Aisles
Just outside of Des Moines in neighboring Winterset is Iris Aisles, a relatively new venue that offers all the cottage-core whimsy and drama your heart could ever desire.
Designed and owned by talented photographer Raelyn Ramey, there's no question that someone with an artist's eye (and wood nymph's heart) had their hand in creating this gorgeous space. Honestly, it doesn't get much more magical than getting married in their glass Conservatory surrounded by a cedar forrest and up to 75 of your favorite people.
The best part about Iris Aisles? It might be the private hammock area, perfect for some newly wed cuddles. Or maybe the couple's cabin, a gorgeous, cozy space to get ready before saying "I do." Or how about many stinking packages they offer? (Spoiler alert: it's everything. Everything is the best part.)