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My understanding is that the verb ある describes where something is, which means に is the correct particle to mark location. However there have been several cases I've come across where ある's location actually uses で:

(Requesting vacation time from a boss) あの、実は来月、私の国姉の結婚式がありまして...

日本はよくある - be common in Japan

I know I've seen more, but I'm struggling to find more at the moment. If more examples would help let me know.

Is this related to how we mark location with で in noun/adjective sentences somehow?

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ある usually describes a (long-term) existence, but ある sometimes means "(for an event) to happen; to be held". In such cases, you have to use not に but で just like other action verbs. よく ("commonly", "often") is an adverb that clearly indicates the following ある means "to happen".

Examples (use of に is incorrect):

  • 明日デパートセールがある。
    There will be a sale at the department store tomorrow.
  • この企画について昨日の会議決定があった。
    A decision about this project was made at yesterday's meeting.

See also:

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