10 Lancaster County Wedding Venues for a Big City Escape
The coronavirus pandemic has us all thinking a little differently these days, particularly when it comes to wedding planning. Perhaps you’re thinking a micro-wedding or elopement is the way to go, with a small soiree now and a larger celebration later. Or maybe you want to escape the concrete jungle and head into more bucolic climes. Enter Lancaster County. A little over an hour from Philly and currently in the green phase, the region is ripe with wedding venues ranging from the de rigueur farm or barn to music halls to art galleries and much more. And all of these locations are prepping and planning to welcome you for your future Big Day. (By the way, if you just want to step outside for your festivities, we’ve got alfresco venues for you, too.) So, what are you waiting for? Hit the open roads and explore.
[Ed. Note: The event capacities listed below are subject to change based on updated COVID-19 requirements per federal, state and county guidelines. Please speak directly with each venue for its latest accommodations.]
Want a barn vibe with all the trappings of modern times? Head to the luxuriously restored, family-owned Brick Gables. The venue was revamped beginning in 2013 and now boasts a country-chic elegance to satisfy a contemporary couple’s fairytale fantasy. But let’s start out-of-doors, about five minutes away in Lititz (the enclave dubs itself the “coolest small town in America”). Snap first-look shots or wedding-party pics amid church backdrops, gardens, railroad tracks and even an old chocolate factory. Next to the venue, there is a lush natural trail for more photos — but there are plenty of on-site opps too. There are stone walls for setting up detail shots and a second-story window that opens into the Gable Barn reception space for a storybook image (and the cool breeze flowing in is always welcome, too). The handsome red brick and wood exterior carries through the indoors, creating a rustic enclave for cafe-lit “I do’s.” In-house catering company Country Home dishes out farm-to-table fare from breakfast to dinner (and every little bite in between). Brick Gables typically accommodates 300 but is currently operating at 50 percent capacity and is enacting social-distancing guidelines (such as six-foot separation between reception tables and spaced-out ceremony seating). Prices from $7,500. 800 East Newport Road, Lititz.
Cork Factory Hotel
Talk about industrial sophistication: The 19th century brick-and-wood buildings that make up the Urban Place destination once housed the Armstrong Cork and Kerr Glass companies. The site was revived into a mixed-use property in 2004; the opening of the Cork Factory Hotel and its appropriately named Cork & Cap restaurant followed in 2009. Today, the 93-room spot offers multiple spaces for your Big Day, from the 2,300-square-foot Warehouse to the 940-square-foot Assembly Room. The connected ballroom, terrace and parlor span 5,225 square feet and can potentially host 200 guests depending on updated requirements (typically it can hold 220), all seated six feet apart. Cork has new bridal and groom’s suites; rooms are also discounted for your wedding guests. For a more streamlined soiree, the hotel offers its Cork Collection wedding boutique for everything from invites to vow books, while The Baker’s Table can concoct your cake. Current COVID updates include: Guests must wear masks when entering and exiting (face coverings are available should people forget); UV lighting has been installed in the ductwork in event spaces; plexiglass has been installed at the ballroom bar area and front desk; and couples must provide a full guest list with telephone numbers and addresses. Pricing from $150 per person. 480 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster.
Excelsior, the mantra from Silver Linings Playbook, is the Latin translation of “still higher” or “ever upward.” And this downtown Lancaster wedding venue embodies its name by creating Big Days that are arguably a notch above the rest. Grand, sun-soaked ballroom? Check. Splendid wooden staircase for a couple’s reception entrance? Indeed. Terrace for outdoor ceremonies complete with a verdant plant-wall backdrop? Natch. The destination also aces the unexpected with one-of-a-kind spaces like the catacombs, an old underground brewery, for cocktail hours. While the venue isn’t currently hosting weddings, it has worked with about 95 couples to move their Big Days and has purchased PPE to ensure safety upon reopening. There is a 135-guest minimum and 265-person max for celebrations here — so this one’s for those planning for a future larger-scale soiree. Bundled per guest price from $17,000. 125 East King Street, Lancaster.
Foxchase Golf Club
Tee off your wedding day right at the Foxchase Golf Club — where you can perfect your swing before exchanging rings or simply stroll the green in full regalia, posing for those photo moments. The former dairy farm turned 18-hole golf course has two venues for Big Day festivities: the Woods Pavilion outdoor space, which offers a fire pit (for post-party s’mores); and the indoor Palmer room. (Capacity is typically 200 outside and 150 inside for private fetes, though the latter has been reduced due to changing COVID-19 guidelines. Foxchase hosted its first post-COVID-closure wedding July 18th. For now, guests are asked to wear masks, and staff will be wearing appropriate PPE.) The golf club handles the food and drink, and an event coordinator ensures your celebration runs smoothly. Oh, and a lawn game package scores a hole-in-one with cornhole and giant Jenga. Current prices from $1,250. 300 Stevens Road, Stevens.
Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Calling all nostalgists: Follow the former Pennsylvania German immigrant settlement’s lead and “imagine your wedding … in another time.” The grounds now host a living history museum that preserves and exhibits 18th and 19th century traditional farming, village life, craft demonstrations and nature programs. For couples, this means a wedding that kicks it literally old school (think horse-drawn carriage rides throughout the 100-acre property). The delightfully cheery yellow barn is the largest event space and can typically accommodate up to 225 (other spaces include the firehouse and 1860s-era hotel). The rental fee includes the use of the barn (with charming lighting), the North Stable and a dressing area for the wedding party. Tables and chairs are provided; it is an open venue, so you can work with various caterers, entertainers or other vendors, though a wedding attendant is included. While it is booking for 2020 through 2023, the team here is asking couples to limit their guest list to ensure appropriate social distancing; it is also following basic precautions put down by the CDC and state’s department of health. Prices from $2,750 ($5,750 for the barn). 451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster.
Mulberry Art Studios
In 1988, Mulberry Art Studios owner and founder April Koppenhaver saw an opportunity to bring art to the city — by means of an old bakery. At the time, so few creative centers existed in Lancaster that the zoning board was unsure how to categorize the new business proposal. Some three decades later, Koppenhaver has realized her dream of making her studio an international art hub with pieces that elevate local and global artists — and a wedding venue for out-of-the-box duos who want leeway for their Big Days. Case in point: You can accent your decor theme with selections from the gallery’s 1,700 pieces of art, and you’ll have two spaces from which to choose. The Mulberry Room, which under normal circumstances can hold 197, and the Loft, with space for 220. (The number has been updated to 50 to 55 depending on COVID guidelines; the venue has also introduced hand-sanitizing stations and requests guests wear masks responsibly.) Another highlight of MAS: The rooftop is a prime location for first-look photos with a panorama of the historic city behind. There are no catering requirements, so couples can get whimsical with cuisine, as well. Pricing varies; a 50-guest, five-hour ceremony and reception with alcohol ranges from $2,500 to $5,000. A veteran’s discount is also offered. 19-21 North Mulberry Street, Lancaster.
Situated along the peaceful Conestoga River on 6 waterfront acres, Riverdale Manor offers a charming venue for your festivities, complete with various indoor-outdoor spaces to suit your style. Take the ballroom. It typically can seat 200 for dinner; it has an entire wall that opens to let the fresh air in. (This has also allowed the space to operate at near-full capacity despite pandemic regulations.) Two open-air pavilions set the scene for cocktails or after-dinner dancing; they capture the cool riverfront breeze during the summer and are heated in the winter to avoid the chill. Start to finish, rain or shine, couples can host the entire event undercover outside. The manor only hosts one event per day, so couples get full use of the property, including the farmhouse for getting ready. Want to have your ceremony on the banks of the river? You can do that, too. For cuisine, expect fare from venue partner Thyme & Seasons, which focuses on locally grown produce and ingredients. Among the new programs implemented for COVID are couples are encouraged to assign seating for the ceremony and dinner in social bubbles; all hors d’oeuvres displays and passed snacks are touchless, so guests simply grab and go without sharing utensils. Interested? The venue has hosted at least three weddings since entering the green phase and is booked out almost every weekend through December 2020. So get that 2021 date on the calendar now. Prices from $2,800. 62 Pitney Road, Lancaster.
Looking for an edgier locale? Music venue and Irish pub Tellus360 has the combination of bars and booze you might be craving. The destination has lively spaces like a green rooftop (popular for ceremonies) and An Droichead lounge, which features a whimsical, color-filled mural. The largest space, the Temple, seats 160 for dinner (with 275 for a theater-style arrangement or 500 standing), and is outfitted with items with eclectic history: The chandeliers are made from Jack Daniels whiskey barrels, and the stage has been on tour with the likes of The Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga. For a vintage take on cool, journey underground to An Sibín, Tellus360’s speakeasy complete with 1,500-plus records. While the venue is not currently hosting weddings, the space is booking future to-do’s. Space rentals are from $1,250; bar packages are from $19 per person; catering packages are from $55 per person. 24 East King Street, Lancaster.
The more than 300-year-old White Chimneys estate welcomes weddings into a bygone era, when European rose gardens and Italian marble fountains epitomized romance. Each space on the 10.3-acre property charms, from the indoor tobacco barn to the meticulously landscaped gardens and horse farms. The North Garden is particularly pretty, with its reflecting lily pond, wall fountain, brick patio (cocktail hours are well-served here) and the Potager Garden, an artistic display of vegetables, herbs and flowers. The venue works with couples to find appropriate caterers (into food trucks? So is the staff at White Chimneys) and exclusively collaborates with Roaming Libations Mobile Bar on beverages. The company operates out of a vintage horse trailer and crafts customized drinks from local ingredients. Speaking of horses, White Chimneys has its own carriage collection for a happily-ever-after, horse-drawn buggy ride fit for royalty. The venue also recently completed a 2,000-square-foot bridal lounge addition. Pre-pandemic capacity was 400 outdoors and 220 inside; depending on the most recent guidelines, outdoor capacity is 200 and 110, respectively, with no more than 250 combined. Other updates include UV lighting in the HVAC ductwork for air-purification in the climate-controlled barn, the addition of a new building with three extra restrooms, and table settings that separate households. For 2021, Saturday pricing is from $6,800. 5117 Lincoln Highway, Gap.
The Willows at Historic Strasburg
With a name that harkens the graceful trees swaying behind the venue’s ballroom, plus accoutrements like warming fireplaces, tall ceilings and classic designs, The Willows set the scene for a quaint country affair, whether it is your wedding shower or the Big Day itself. (The on-site Fireside Tavern is a cozy space for the former). Say “I do” in the gardens, and dance the night away on the ballroom’s marble dance floor (but don’t forget to take in the view of the courtyard from the expansive windows). Two hotels within walking distance make it easy to plan a weekend affair, which should end with a fireworks display for more sparkle. The venue can accommodate 300 for a seated dinner; capacity has been reduced to 130 but is subject to change based on guidelines and social-distanced room layout. Other COVID updates include required mask-wearing when entering, exiting or traveling through the venue; clients must maintain a list of all guests and vendors, with their expected location 14 days after the event and phone numbers. Served meals (prepared by the on-site catering team) are also highly recommended. The venue does not have a rental fee; a 75-guest minimum is required, with food packages from $54 per person and beverages from $9 per guest. 1500 Historic Drive, Strasburg.