Mansfield, Ohio and one-of-a-kind weddings perfect match

By Amy Weirick

May 1, 2011

A famous prison that was the backdrop for the movie The Shawkshank Redemption, the house where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall tied the knot in 1945 and victory lane at one of the nation’s top race-car courses are among the nation's most unique and unforgettable wedding locations, and they're all found in pastoral Mansfield, Ohio.

If you're getting hitched and want to give new meaning to the comic term "the old ball and chain," you may want to go directly to jail. Weddings are booked with surprising frequency at the Ohio State Reformatory. Made famous as Hollywood movie set for Shawshank Redemption and other movies and music videos, the prison known as “Dracula’s Castle” closed to prisoners in 1990 but has since undergone a $1.3 million restoration. The prison’s former guard room is now a dramatic and unusual setting for weddings and special events. The prison, which features a museum and gift shop and routinely hosts popular ghost hunts and walks, is also been a very popular with brides seeking a truly offbeat wedding locale.

You can also say "I do" at Malabar Farm State Park, the former home of author Louis Bromfield. Offering a more traditional wedding destination, yet with its own Hollywood twist, scores of brides and grooms exchange vows each year in the historic entrance hall to the farm’s Big House. The foot of its grand staircase is the very location where famed lovers Bogey & Bacall were hitched in May, 1945. The site remains one of the most popular wedding destinations in the Midwest. Malabar Farm offers other unique venues such as barn for weddings, barn dances and special events.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, one of the world’s leading road courses, offers a dramatic wedding backdrop for race fans. And Ski buffs can tie the knot atop frosty Mount Mansfield at Snow Trails, Ohio’s first commercial ski resort. Both venues just celebrated their 50th anniversaries. You can also get linked during a ceremony at the stunningly scenic Deer Ridge Golf Course, where a new clubhouse provides gorgeous golf-course views and beautiful space for weddings, receptions and special gatherings. Deer Ridge’s golf course is rated four-stars by Golf Digest.

No matter the site of the wedding, Kingwood Center, a 47-acre estate just west of downtown Mansfield, is a popular destination for wedding photographs. Consider booking your photo session on the grounds of this former Mansfield industrialist's mansion-turned public gardens. Famous for brilliant floral displays, landscaped formal gardens and even lovely peacocks that roam the ground, Kingwood creates the dream spot for capturing photos of your most special of special occasions.

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