16 Gorgeous Historic Wedding Venues Around Philadelphia
Discover 18th century estates, landmark inns, and the country’s oldest botanical garden.
Saying your “I do’s” in a beloved, time-honored spot is no problem at all here in Philly. There are countless historic wedding venues — not to mention street corners and squares — throughout the city and surrounding area. Whether you’re considering getting hitched on a historic boat or in a renovated train station, it’t not hard to find something old to go with your somethings new, blue, and borrowed. This short list includes just a few of our favorite historic wedding venues, and if you think there’s another destination we should know about, email [email protected].
If you’ve been planning your Big Day since you were in diapers and know exactly how you want the day to go, then this historic wedding venue might just be the place for you. The 19th century estate offers no sort of package, meaning that you can completely customize your soiree — no strings attached. Whether you want it to be a simple affair or an elaborate bash, the only requirements are that you like being outside (there is no indoor option, though guests are permitted to tour the house during cocktail hour, sans food and drink) and that you love beautiful gardens and river views. The site rental fee starts at $21,000. 1237 State Road.
Start your happily ever after at Appleford, 24 acres of scenic beauty that was originally part of a land grant signed by William Penn. Both an arboretum and a bird sanctuary, Appleford is replete with crisp boxwood gardens, brick walkways, and classic Pennsylvania farmhouse architecture. On your Big Day, say your “I do’s” between two ponds, next to a waterfall, or under the branches of weeping willows. Afterward? Sip cocktails on the lawn and spend the night on the illuminated tented terrace. Costs vary depending on caterer, menu selected, serving style, and date. Fees are higher on Saturdays in May, June and September. 770 Mount Moro Road.
Love flowers? How about towering trees? Bartram’s Garden, the country’s oldest botanical garden, has myriad opportunities to frolic among both. After the ceremony — which can take place amid the historic landscaping or in Philadelphia County’s oldest barn, constructed in the late 1700s — direct your guests toward the Eastwick Pavilion for the reception. Between dinner courses and conversations, people can dance on the outdoor patio, which is made with granite from Love Park, play games on the lawn (cornhole, anyone?), explore the gardens, and walk along the boardwalk by the river. Cost per person ranges from $168 to $198; the site fee is $3,500 for a non-Saturday event and $4,000 on Saturdays. 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard.
Here’s one for food-loving history buffs: This industrial space was built in 1917 as a paint shop in the Frankford Arsenal, a former munitions plant. In May, it launched as a commissary kitchen for caterers and culinary trucks and an event venue offering in-house cuisine for your Big Day. BLDG39 can host up to 120 for seated functions in its whitewashed-brick interior. The guest list expands to 250 with the outdoor area, which connects to the facade via two garage doors. Rental fees are $3,000 Mondays to Thursdays, $3,500 on Fridays and Sundays, and $4,500 on Saturdays. 5401 Tacony Street.
Talk about historic wedding venues: It all began in 1896, when John and Gertrude Pitcairn opened their European-inspired home for a wedding celebration. Flash-forward to 2021, and the estate hosts sit-down dinners of 200 guests or stations-style soirees of up to 250 all amid the elegance of its halls — terraces, a grand staircase, balconies, gardens. Cocktail hour is typically held in the enclosed side garden and covered veranda, with its picturesque fountain. Dinners can be held under a tent on the 120-foot blue-flagstone terrace or in the six first-floor rooms that total 6,000 square feet. Cairnwood has no minimum guest requirement; the site fee ranges from $3,000 to $9,000 depending on the season and day of the week. Preferred catering packages start at $125 per person. 1005 Cathedral Road.
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The 1745 country inn sits on four acres of property that is replete with formal gardens for the ceremony and photos. There is indoor and outdoor dining, and three private rooms for intimate weddings of between 15 to 50 people. (You can buy out the entire restaurant for more than 50.) Capitalize on the charm by staying in one of the eight guest suites — perhaps a lovely way to start your honeymoon. There’s no cost for use of the facility (though there is a small ceremony fee); linens, candles, music and a coordinator are included at no extra charge. Other perks are food and beverage (sold by consumption), discounted suites for guests, and a dance floor and ceremony lawn-chair rental. The typical cost is around $120 per guest. 9 Old Lancaster Road.
When it comes to throwing wedding parties, Glen Foerd is no rookie. The riverfront estate’s long history with newlyweds dates all the way back to the 1800s, starting with the marriage of Lily Macalester Laughton, the daughter of Glen Foerd’s first owner. Ceremonies can be held anywhere on the grounds, so whether your Pinterest board has pictures of rose gardens or river views, we guarantee that there will be a spot you’ll like. During cocktail hour and the reception, your guests will have time to explore the property, including all three levels of the mansion, the historic art gallery, the riverside terrace, the outdoor pavilion, and the boathouse. The typical cost is between $166 and $191 per person. 5001 Grant Avenue.
The breathtaking mansion’s provenance dates back to 1865, when architect Addison Hutton built the original 6,552-square-foot, four-story mansion using Pennsylvania blue marble and limestone for owner William E. Lockwood. Today, the property has been restored and updated with a 5,000-square-foot ballroom. It’s an obvious choice for your celebration, though various spaces abound for every moment — the entry hall for photos, the parlor for small ceremonies or cocktail parties, the billiard and dining rooms (which are part of the 19th century facade), and outdoor areas, among others. Cuisine is provided by Serock Catering. Venue fees range from $6,500 (Fridays in 2021) to $8,000 (peak 2022). Catering packages start at $104, including the cake. 700 Lancaster Avenue.
Weddings at the Merion Tribute House are all about individuality. (Fun fact: They’ve seen everything from a socially distanced picnic wedding to a Harry Potter theme!) Ceremonies can take place anywhere on the grounds — think sweeping lawns or one of two interior rooms. Cocktail hour is spent on the terrace, while the reception is inside the ballroom of the house, a castle-like building built after WW1 to serve as a community center in honor of the 81 men from Merion who served in the armed services. Full of spacious rooms, wood-burning fireplaces, stained glass, and a dramatic balcony perfect for tossing bouquets, the estate has been hosting weddings since the 1920s. The cost typically ranges from $100 to $125 per person depending on the day of the week and the caterer used. 625 Hazelhurst Avenue.
Debuted in May, this destination is comprised of two former churches transformed into event spaces. Built in 1870 and bearing a Swiss Gothic facade, St. Cecilia’s is the larger of the two, hosting 200 guests in its main level, where a neutral palette of grays accents the white walls and dark wood arches. It’s designed to be a blank canvas for your wedding vision, though it’s hard to miss the organ and stained-glass windows. As for the sister spot, St. Stan’s is more intimate, with room for 20 to 150. Mare of Easttown fans might like knowing that many scenes are filmed in Coatesville, and the cemetery in the first episode is St. Cecilia’s. Prices range from $1,500 to $2,000 on Fridays and Sundays, and $2,000 to $2,600 on Saturdays. (The cost includes a ceremony, cocktail hour and a reception.) Additional hours are $100 each, with outside catering from $300. 600 East Chestnut Street and 209 West Lincoln Avenue.
If you’ve always dreamed of re-creating a romantic Titanic moment on the bow of a ship, then we’ve found the perfect venue for you: the Moshulu. Built in 1904, the watercraft is the biggest and oldest square-rigged sailing vessel still afloat as well as the only four-masted ship in the world that doubles as a restaurant. Moshulu can accommodate parties as small as 20 and as big as 1,000, so whether you’re looking to have an intimate gathering or a big blowout, your ceremony will be unforgettable — complete with views of the Philly skyline, quality cuisine, and plenty of space for dancing. The typical cost is $125 per person. 401 S Christopher Columbus Boulevard.
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (a.k.a. the home of the The Mütter Museum) may be the oldest medical society in the country, but the weddings that it hosts are pretty timeless. Get married in the Medicinal Herb Garden, the marble Rotunda, or Ashhurst Hall — no matter which space, you’re sure to be impressed by the New Beaux Arts architecture and the unmistakable air of elegance. Cocktail hour gives guests plenty of time to tour the museum before heading up to the second floor for dinner and dancing. The cost is typically around $135 per person (not including venue or alcohol fees). 19 South 22nd Street.
For all you Jane Austen fans, the Philander Chase Knox Estate (an 18th century mansion located in Valley Forge National Historical Park) is about as close as you can get to Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley without actually time-traveling, sailing to England, and entering a fictional universe. Picture grassy hills, bubbling creeks, covered bridges and wildflowers. With ceremonies in the garden (appropriately nicknamed “marrying meadow”), cocktails on the estate’s terrace, and the reception and dancing in a curtain-lined, carpeted, up-lit tent, weddings at the estate are straight out of your favorite Austen novel. When factoring in the site rental fee and the reception package, the cost typically ranges from $26,000 to $36,000 during peak season. Prices are reduced on all Fridays and Sundays as well as in April, July, and August. A portion of each event goes back to the park to preserve the estate and other sites. 151 Library Lane.
There is a certain poetic beauty in starting the new chapter of your life in an old train station. Platform Thirty, a renovated Manayunk train station with a sort of vintage yet modern-chic vibe, offers you the chance to do just that. Its 1930s exterior is still intact, as is the outdoor train platform, except now the station is outfitted with a big dance floor and a statement bar. The cost for peak Saturday evenings is $150 per person. 4401 Cresson Street.
Entering Stotesbury Mansion feels a bit like stepping into a scene from Alice in Wonderland. After you move from bustling Walnut Street into the 19th century building, you can walk around the grand foyer, explore the Dolly Madison room (it has a fireplace that was once in the White House), or stroll into the Mirror Room (a maze of mirrors that was used during Prohibition to slow the police when they came looking for alcohol). The mansion was commissioned by Thomas McKean (one of the signatories on the Declaration of Independence) as a wedding present for his son, and he knew what he was doing. The bridal suite is spacious and elegant, and the large ballroom is perfect for hosting ceremonies as well as after-parties. The site rental fee is typically between $1,800 and $2,500. The cost of catering and other services are around $100 per person. Bar packages range from $24 to $32 per person. 1923 Walnut Street.
The inn was established in 1714 as a place for travelers (including William Penn himself) to sleep, eat, and relax. Now, 300 years later, this public house continues to be a place of hospitality as well as an amazing place for weddings. Along with a private bridal suite, the inn provides several options for where to host your ceremony, an elegant ballroom for cocktail hour, and an even larger ballroom complete with crystal chandeliers, a decorative marble fireplace, and a mahogany bar for your reception. The gorgeous 10 acres, with the twinkle-light-wrapped trees and the classic gazebo, look like something from a fairytale, and provide endless opportunities for photos. The cost is typically between $95 and $150 per person. 1017 Dekalb Pike.
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