Summer is right around the corner, which means wedding season is nearly here. And whether you’re planning a wedding for next year or just dreaming of the day you’ll get hitched, true architecture lovers know that a building’s design is just as important to the success of a wedding as the flowers or the food.
The right wedding venue can set the stage for the entire event. A nautical-themed bash would be bizarre in a traditional Catholic cathedral and it doesn’t make much sense to plan a Hawaiian luau wedding at a Neoclassical public library. Pick the right building and your wedding theme builds itself; choose poorly and guests may be left scratching their heads.
While wedding venues are a dime a dozen these days, not all merit attention. There are plenty of tired ballrooms with faded carpet, laminate dance floor tiles, and banquet chicken. But if architecture and design are your passion, fear not: There are also plenty of stunning venues that will make your wedding the talk of the town.
Sure, some of these spaces are expensive to rent—like Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut—but others are downright reasonable. In honor of all the lovebirds who want some architectural pizazz on their big day, we’ve rounded up 15 standout wedding venues from around the country.
Wayfarers Chapel in Los Angeles
There are plenty of stunning wedding venues in LA, but it’s hard to beat Wayfarers Chapel. Boasting panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the glass church—which was designed by Lloyd Wright, son of the renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright—is nestled in a grove of towering redwood trees and even comes with a rose garden.
A believer in using nature as inspiration for his buildings, Wright designed the intimate space as a “tree chapel.” It’s hard to tell where the glass ends and the sky begins, and the space is so airy it’s akin to getting married outside.
Wayfarers Chapel is a Swedenborgian Church, but it welcomes couples of all religious backgrounds and can hold approximately 100 guests in total.
Interested in more architecturally-significant LA wedding venues? Curbed LA has mapped 24 other gorgeous spots, right this way.
The New York Public Library in New York City
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library system is a masterpiece of Beaux-Arts architecture, centrally located next to Bryant Park on Fifth Avenue and 42nd street in Manhattan.
It’s one of our favorite libraries in the United States, and a perfect New York location to celebrate a wedding. You’ll get a backdrop of 52-foot-tall ceilings and marvelous cloud murals, as well as amazing photo ops on the library’s front steps.
Only civil ceremonies—not religious ones—are allowed, because it’s a city-owned building.
Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut
Philip Johnson’s Glass House is a modernist landmark, one of many iconic buildings produced by the prolific architect. The minimalist structure is airy and inviting, surrounded—as one might expect, given the name—by glass.
The building makes for an enchanting wedding location, but be warned that you have to keep the gathering intimate. Only 30 to 50 people are allowed at any given event, but each occasion will include a tour of all five Johnson-designed sculptures and the library. For $30,000, you can also stay overnight in the Glass House, an experience no doubt on most architecture-lovers’ bucket lists.
The Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston
Opened in 2006, Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art—designed by award-winning firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro—is a 65,000-square-foot building on the waterfront with a dramatic folding ribbon form and cantilevered structure.
The architects conceived the building “from the sky down” and sought to provide shifting views of the water and the city skyline from throughout the museum’s galleries.
As one of Boston’s most iconic modern buildings, it’s also a great spot for a wedding, with room for up to 225 guests and large windows and a terrace that provide great city views.
Need more places in Boston to get hitched? Curbed Boston has mapped 10 other fab destinations.
Cupid’s Span in San Francisco
Sure, there are plenty of iconic (and pricey) locations to get married in San Francisco—we’re looking at you, Julia Morgan Ballroom. But not everyone has tens of thousands of dollars to throw down on an event space.
If that’s the case, head to Cupid’s Span, an outdoor sculpture located along the Embarcadero and designed as an homage to amour by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. You’ll get gorgeous photos and also have the Bay Bridge as a stellar backdrop.
Powell Gardens in Kansas City, Missouri
Powell Gardens is a gorgeous botanical garden with a timbered chapel designed by American architect Fay Jones. The nondenominational chapel seats 120 guests for a ceremony, but if an outdoor venue is more your style, the property also offers a Mediterranean-inspired vineyard and arbor.
Receptions can be held in an open-air barn or in a conservatory, and there are plenty of unique places to stage wedding photos for groups of any size.
The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit
Detroit is full of unique and historic places to get married, from lush gardens to the many theaters around town. But one of our favorites is the historic factory floor of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.
Built in 1904, the Piquette Plant is where the Model T was born. Fearing demo in the late ’90s, a historic preservation group came together to save and restore the Plant. It now serves as a museum, event space, and a car and history lover's paradise.
Weddings are held right on the museum floor, so guests can mingle with antique vehicles and exhibits. The space can hold up to 300 people and you can even organize docent-led tours during your event.
Looking for more fabulous wedding venues in Detroit? Check out this handy map with 20 other options, over here at Curbed Detroit.
The Parrish Art Museum in the Hamptons, New York
From low-key beach spots to over-the-top locations that can host 1,000 people, the Hamptons has wedding venues fit for any occasion.
Our favorite just might be the Parrish Art Museum in the East End. With room for up to 300 guests, it was dubbed one of Brides magazine’s “10 buzziest new wedding spots” for 2016.
Brides and grooms can either tie the knot in a gallery flanked by Jackson Pollock drawings or opt for an airy open pavilion with views for days.
The Cadet Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Completed in 1963, the chapel contains 17 tall spires that sit on a series of 100 triangular pyramids separated by brightly colored stained glass. The pews can seat 1,200, but not everyone can get married at the chapel.
Weddings are reserved for graduates of the United States Air Force, Military, Naval, Coast Guard, and Marine academies, as well as active duty personnel currently assigned to the Air Force and Purple Heart or Silver Star recipients.
City Hall in Philadelphia
City halls throughout the country can be fantastic places to get married—just ask people living in New York and San Francisco—but if we had to choose just one city hall for the big day, it would be Philadelphia’s.
As the largest municipal building in the United States—even bigger than the U.S. Capitol Building—Philadelphia’s City Hall boasts 14.5 acres of floor space. The first floor is built of solid granite that supports a brick structure faced with marble.
This 548-foot tower is the tallest masonry structure in the world without a steel frame, and it’s sure to provide a stunning backdrop for wedding photos.
Interested in other Philadelphia wedding spots? Curbed Philly has 21 other spectacular locations, right this way.
The Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago
Chicago is an architecture paradise, with everything from lush Prairie School-era parks to former industrial spaces available for events. But the crown jewel of the city is arguably the Chicago Cultural Center.
Completed in 1897 as Chicago’s first central public library, the building is a showstopper, full of imported marbles, polished brass, fine hardwoods, mosaics, and mother-of-pearl stone.
But the best part of the Chicago Cultural Center is the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome, which was restored to its original splendor in 2008.
If neoclassical architecture isn’t quite your thing, don’t fret. Curbed Chicago has 19 other perfect wedding venues, over here.
Frank Lloyd Wright Estate, Orinda, California
If Frank Lloyd Wright is your architect of choice, don’t miss planning a wedding at this estate in Orinda. Formerly known as the Maynard Buehler House, the 4,350-square-foot Wright-designed home was completed in 1948 on four acres.
Although larger than many of his other Usonian designs, it maintains the typical Wright features like an L shape, flat copper roof, concrete-block exterior, and under-the-floor radiant heating. An octagonal living room sits under a shed roof and a gold leaf inset adds a unique element to the space.
You can hold everything from a bridal shower to a morning-after brunch on site, and the property also includes a Japanese tea pavilion, greenhouse, and guesthouse.
Benachi House & Gardens in New Orleans
New Orleans’s 300-year history means that there is no shortage of historic—and downright beautiful—places to get married. Iconic locations like St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square are an easy choice, but we like Benachi House & Gardens.
Built in 1858 by Nicholas Benachi in the Esplanade Ridge district of New Orleans, the Benachi House exhibits 14-foot ceilings, black marble, and granite mantles. The house is a perfect example of New Orleans architecture, with a blend of styles.
The front facade boasts classical lines and Doric box columns, while other elements look more gothic. But the gorgeous gardens and wide porches are quintessential New Orleans, making it a great choice for a wedding in the Big Easy.
Green Pastures in Austin, Texas
It’s hard to choose just one spot in Austin, thanks to a plethora of outdoor—and some indoor—event locations that are oh-so Instagrammable. But Green Pastures just might be our favorite.
The legendary homestead of the Koock family, Green Pastures was recently sold and remodeled by local firm Clayton & Little Architects, and the restaurant is under new, highly lauded management.
The white Victorian-style home sets a picturesque background for wedding guests, and you can’t beat a venue that boasts towering live oak trees and roaming peacocks.
The Twin Palms Estate in Palm Springs, California
Designed by E. Stewart Williams in 1947 for Frank Sinatra, the Twin Palms Estate pays homage to midcentury luxury with period furnishings and a piano-shaped swimming pool.
The building is one of the few high-profile architectural structures available for nightly rentals. With four bedrooms and seven bathrooms, the home sits in the famed "Movie Colony" neighborhood and starts at $1,950 per night.
It’s also available for weddings with up to 150 guests, who will get to indulge in both the iconic home and views of desert hills on the property.
With so many beautiful event venues in the United States, we’ve no doubt left worthy candidates off the list. If your favorite architecturally significant building didn’t make the cut, let us know why you love it in the comments. Better yet, add a photo to your comment and let everyone see for themselves.