The planning stage of a wedding: is there any widely shared, supposedly joyous life event more hair-tearingly fraught? Steve Lynch, of Brooklyn-based design studio Casserole Labs would submit that no, there isn't, which is why he developed The Hitch, which Co.Design has crowned "the Airbnb for wedding venues." Currently in beta, the site and accompanying iOS app won't plan out the entire thing for you, but it does make it easy to compare venues based on ZIP code, with an estimate of the rental price based on headcount. The Hitch's most valuable asset in this area is its user-friendly, photo-heavy interface, from which we've taken the liberty of culling 10 wedding venues that are stylish and architecturally interesting on their own (before their pristine interiors are mucked up by crazy uncle Fred). First up is Chesterwood, the Stockbridge, Mass. country home and studio of Daniel Chester French, the sculptor best known for the colossal statue of Honest Abe at the Lincoln Memorial. With teal accents and a healthy amount of vine coverage, this National Trust Historic Site is about as picturesque as historic wedding venues come. Estimated cost (for the location fee alone) $8K.
↑ The 19th-century Beaux-Arts-style home known as the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate was designed by Hoppin & Koen, the firm behind Manhattan's James F.D. Lanier Residence. After the death of its original owner in 1941, the place changed hands many times until the city of Middletown, Conn. bought it in the early '90s, and gave its stately Gilded Age interior a much-needed restoration. Estimated cost: $4,750.
↑ A warm backcountry haven only an hour's drive from NYC, the Bedford Post Inn dates back to 1750 and is partially owned by none other than Richard Gere. According to the New York Times, the place is "so gorgeous that if you care about design, you'll find yourself examining every piece of furniture and every fixture and wondering how you can reproduce the look at home." Estimated cost: $15K.
↑ Ideal for a pair of bookworms who like the idea of getting married in a magnificent cathedral of learning, Baltimore's George Peabody Librarysports ornamental cast-iron balconies, gold-scalloped columns, and 60-foot ceilings. Estimated cost: $4,750.
↑ Base your wedding at Bealton, Va.'s Morais Vineyards and Winery, and you'll be linking it to the hard-won endeavor that is Virginia winemaking, whose devotees are only driven on all the more by the capriciousness of the weather. A bit of an architectural anomaly for the state, with a Southwestern vibe and a toga-wearing marble statue out front, but pretty cool nonetheless. Estimated cost: $6,600.
↑ Get hitched in a stone medieval fortress in Tuckasegee, N.C. called Castle Ladyhawk and your ceremony might be the very dictionary definition of "unforgettable." Also, "weird." Estimated cost: $3K.
↑ Located on five wooded acres a short drive from uptown Charlotte, N.C., the Alexander Homestead dates back to 1903, and when not hosting wedding, this Queen Anne Victorian serves as an upscale bed and breakfast. Estimated cost: $5,200.
↑ Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. has plenty of postmodern sculptures perfect for the inevitable round of goofy weddings shots, plus a pretty sleek-looking grounds centered around a man-made pond. Estimated cost: $10K.
↑ Rustic doesn't get much better looking than the farmhouse-turned dining area in Yarmouth, Maine's Barn on Walnut Hill. Estimated cost: $15K.
↑ Designed by one Hugh Bremmerman, the Mansion at Oak Hill in Carmel, Ind., is a rare Midwestern outpost of turn-of-the-century Southern architecture. Estimated cost: $1K.
· The Airbnb of Wedding Venues Could Make You Elope [Co.Design]
· The Hitch [official site]