13 Enchanting Waterfront Wedding Venues Around Philadelphia
The beach isn’t the only setting that makes a splash, and these scenic destinations prove it.
Delivering the latest in style, inspiration, helpful tips and tricks, and everything else you need to know to plan the perfect Philly wedding.
Love the idea of waterfront wedding venues? Don’t stick to the rivers and lakes (and beaches) that you’re used to. Instead, get out and explore some of the region’s finest destinations for setting the scene. We’ve compiled a varied list that takes you from your beloved Philly and its iconic facades to on-deck venues on which to say “I do” to estates regally perched upon historic riverbanks. Once you’ve determined your venue (the first task on your planning list), your decor and style will fall into place (particularly if you are working with the top vendors in the region). By the way, if you do want to check out some options down the Shore, we have you covered there too. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in!
The centuries-old gardens on the riverfront property (on the Delaware, natch) seem like a perfect indicator of a flourishing life ahead for you and your betrothed. The beautifully landscaped grounds were planted in the 1700s by owner John Craig. As the years passed, different family members brought their own touch to the destination. Letitia Glenn Biddle, who moved to Andalusia in 1888 after marrying Charles Biddle (a marital fun fact, if you will), brought in American beauty roses, tulips and six varieties of gladioli. There were further changes, most recently by Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd, ultimately creating a melding of textural flora for your wedding-day backdrops. The Big House, meanwhile, is an ode to Greek revival architecture, and its interiors are appointed with period pieces — plus a library stocked with 3,000 rare titles. Receptions take place outdoors, and guest capacity is up to 300. The site rental fee typically begins at $10,000. 1237 State Road, Andalusia.
Sisters Paige Flowers and Betsy Montgomery continue to carry on the legacy first established by parents Stuart and Cynthia Herr, who purchased the destination in 1999. They work to preserve the 150-acre property on the Conestoga River and make it a charming space where couples can start the rest of their lives together. Bucolic beauty abounds no matter which venue you choose, from the 780-square-foot corn crib (for smaller occasions) and stone farmhouse (the quaint abode offers space for you and your bridal party to get ready) to the 3,200-square-foot barn, which dates back to 1820 and fits 200 guests. We like the idea of holding an alfresco ceremony at the dock at one of the ponds (it’s particularly romantic for when you say those vows) then heading to the rustic barn for the reception, where wide windows offer a view of the rippling waters below. The starting venue fee is $6,500. The season runs April to mid-December (a newly renovated indoor ceremony site below the barn is available for inclement weather). Take note: Weekends are heavily booked through June 2021. 465 Long Lane, Lancaster.
With a wedding history that dates back to the 1800s — with the marriage of the namesake’s daughter, Lily Macalester Laughton — and exclusive caterer Jamie Hollander to make your day a dream come true, this esteemed property is a fine choice for your waterfront nuptials. Guests can wander the mansion’s rooms, perusing the art in the second-floor gallery (with European and American art, and rotating installations by modern talents such as Cindy Stockton Moore) and being inspired by the stained-glass skylights. (The bride, meanwhile, will be preparing for a walk down the aisle in the bridal suite overlooking the river.) Waterfront garden ceremonies put you and your guests in a serene setting for your “I do’s,” while the reception, dinner and dancing can be held in the customizable event structure, which accommodates up to 300 and can be outfitted with a clear ceiling or drape. Step out on the porch with your beloved when night falls to watch the stars sparkle from the sky above to the river below. (The porch can also hold lounge seating or fire pits.) By the way: Winter weddings can be held here too — the mansion’s capacity is 120 — at a discounted cost. A five-hour reception with a plated dinner typically starts at $170 per person; there is also a $4,000 site fee, which supports the preservation and maintenance of the property. 5001 Grant Avenue, Torresdale.
Those seeking a hotel wedding should look at the brand’s Philly property. The venue, located in front of Spruce Street Harbor park, offers outdoor ceremonies at nearby partner locations (such as Race Street Park and the Independence Seaport Museum, below) or indoors in its ample event spaces. At its maximum configuration, the 7,412-square-foot ballroom can hold 500 with banquet seating or 1,000 for a reception and can be outfitted in grandiose style. Views of the Delaware River, waterfront and Penn’s Landing pier accentuate your celebration in every way. (There are other options for smaller functions, including the Admiral’s Quarters, perhaps for a rehearsal dinner.) Dinner receptions start at $135 per guest (special pricing is offered on off-peak months, as well as flexibility and customization). Executive chef Matt Andrew oversees wedding menus and tastings, and he and his team bring their eye for global cuisine to your menu. 201 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Penn’s Landing.
The venue on the Delaware River offers ample options for the “nauti-cool” crowd. Ceremonies are often held on the alfresco rotunda, which rises three stories above the water — it looks out on quintessentially Philly structures like the Ben Franklin Bridge — and can seat up to 250. (Ceremonies begin at $1,500.) Directly below the rotunda is the new River View room, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a seating capacity of 200. (Pricing begins at $1,200.) The 4,700-square-foot rooftop ballroom can hold up to 400 for a reception. (Pricing begins at $3,500.) But the most expansive outdoor area is the 2,400-square-foot rooftop terrace and balconies, which are accessible via the ballroom and provide 360-degree panoramas. (Just imagine the lights glimmering off the water in the evening!) Maritime-loving couples can also celebrate aboard the cruiser Olympia, the oldest steel warship still afloat today (it is one of only two ships left from World War I). Rentals are based on a four-hour timeframe; the museum also partners with premier caterers 12th Street and Brulée. 211 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Penn’s Landing.
Take a cue from the couples who’ve nearly booked up this spot through 2020 (not to mention Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and wife Madison Oberg, who got hitched here in 2018), and make this picturesque spot on Lake Nockamixon your weekend wedding venue. There are 14 guest rooms and suites for 28 (with two more rental houses with 12 bedrooms), so you, your bridal party and family can settle in for the celebrations ahead. (There’s a bridal suite and groom’s billiard lounge too.) An outdoor ceremony in the well-manicured garden sets you against a backdrop of the gorgeous seven-mile lake. (A rain plan is included in the wedding package.) The ballroom can hold up to 300 and is outfitted in chic country style; the rustic wood building belies the elegance inside — think a 27-foot draped ceiling with Murano glass chandeliers, a copper bar, custom millwork and wide swaths of glass offering a window to the water. To cap it all off? A fire-pit for post-party fun (s’mores, please!) and a farewell breakfast the next day. Packages feature, among other things, custom menus by Jeffrey A. Miller Catering Co., a wine or beer tasting in the cellar with the sommelier, an event coordinator and farmhouse tables (the latter as an upgrade). Pricing for 2021 ranges from $22,000 for winter weddings to $82,000 for October soirees. 1100 Old Bethlehem Road, Perkasie.
Housed in a former 19th century train station just over the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border on the Delaware River, this venue serves up a supreme setting from first look to last toast (and more). Perhaps you should start your festivities with an intimate rehearsal dinner in the wine cellar, where more than 50 bottles are stored amid 1800s-era stone walls and ceilings, and wood beams. (Custom menus can be created by the chef and sommelier.) Then toast your Big Day in the renovated Riverside ballroom, which can host up to 200 of your guests. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out on the water and train tracks (a perfect backdrop for first-look photos, by the way), and packages include a custom wedding cake and menus, a five-hour open bar and a honeymoon suite for the couple. Riverside packages range from classic base ($155 per person) to platinum inclusive ($250 per person); upgrades include an on-site ceremony at Swan Creek and a doughnut wall for your dessert whims. 11 Bridge St, Lambertville, New Jersey.
The only restaurant on a tall ship in the world — one whose history dates back to the early 1900s — in 2019 completed a three-year-long renovation that culminated with updates to its interior dining room. A new lobby and bar, updated tables and chairs, and mermaid-inspired wallcoverings are among the decor details. (A tip: The Captain’s Table is where any intimate wedding party should sit. It seats up to 14; just wait till you see the Fornasetti art on the chair backs and giant beechwood fish installation hanging above.) The four-masted ship has a variety of packages, starting at $125 per person (ceremonies, meanwhile, are $1,000 and include a bridal and groom suite, chairs and a microphone). At the highest scale, the four-hour Rittenhouse (for 40 or more) includes a bridal suite with bubbly (by way of Dom) to toast, as well as a four-course seated dinner that dishes out creative new American fare. (Maple Leaf duck breast and za’atar spice-rubbed swordfish are entree options.) There are various event spaces — the State room holds 220 (and boasts a dance floor), while the decks can accommodate 40 to 600 — which offer alfresco, tented and indoor experiences. 401 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Penn’s Landing.
Let’s start with the namesake lake — it was created in the late 19th century by the damming of Mountain Brook for the production of ice to keep food cold. The property, located in the 75-acre Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, changed hands twice, and a Cape Cod-inspired abode was eventually built on the land. And in the 1980s, it was preserved from development by the Friends of Princeton Open Space, which now calls it home — and the funds from private events (like your wedding) support the nonprofit’s conservation efforts. So it’s fitting for couples seeking a peaceful natural habitat for their festivities — even better that it’s only two miles from Princeton. Outdoor spaces include the lakeside lawn (in addition to ceremonies, games are encouraged here, for the fun-loving set) and the upper stone terrace, which is entered through two doors in the living room and delights with waterfront scenes. It is covered with a permanent canopy. (Exterior spaces are available April through November, with max occupancy capped at 150.) The lower terrace can also be used as a dance floor or ceremony spot. The interior, meanwhile, allows for 50 guests but is open year-round and provides views of the water from the foyer and bay windows in the living and dining rooms. There’s a lounge for the bride (it’s set apart from the rest of the house and is light and airy, with cathedral ceilings). And that’s not to mention the footbridges, walking trails and verdant greenery. The venue partners with Emily’s Cafe & Catering, who provides cuisine and planning services, and whose menus have included a whole-roasted local pig or continuous cocktails. 57 Mountain Avenue, Princeton, New Jersey.
Historic stately opulence — like a legacy that began in the 1700s, a 2,000-foot tree-lined drive, former visitors such as Ben Franklin and past owners of the Drexel family — can be found at every turn of this Bucks County wedding venue. The estate’s 100 acres house two mansions, the namesake Pen Ryn and Belle Voir. The former faces the Delaware River, and its interior space is often used for cocktail hour. (Elegant touches include fluted columns, a player grand piano, and a library, gallery and dining room for cocktails and apps.) A sunken ballroom and courtyard are also on offer. Belle Voir, the restored manor house, has a private walled courtyard and a ballroom lit by crystal chandeliers and boasting views of the water. (Pen Ryn holds 300 seated or 500 tented; Belle Voir holds 400 seated and 600 tented.) Ceremonies are best done under the pergola near the water, which also makes for a grand backdrop for family portraits. Weddings get use of the property for five hours. The cocktail hour can take place in the separate mansion and patios, where white-gloved servers butler 21 hors d’oeuvres; dessert sweetens the deal with cannolis and eclairs; and the pound wedding cake with buttercream frosting is made to your liking. Various enhancements are also on offer, like a cigar bar. Package prices generally start at $136 per guest and go up to $154 per person (with a veal dinner selection). 1601 State Road, Bensalem.
The recently rebranded venue (formerly known as SugarHouse) on the Delaware is game for your Big Day. Those hosting large festivities should check out the 10,000-square-foot ballroom; a seated reception fits 628 with a dance floor. The venue also has no columns, and floor-to-ceiling windows ensure a prime vista of the river and Ben Franklin Bridge. The destination’s culinary partner is Gibson’s Restaurant Group (it also runs on-site eatery Hugo’s). Food and dessert are completely custom, as are the experiences. Want fog covering the dance floor? No big deal. Weddings typically range from $165 to $220 per person and include a dance floor, uplighting, staff, gratuity and tax. 1001 North Delaware Avenue, Fishtown.
After getting a $1 million refurbishment in 2019, the Spirit of Philadelphia — part of the Hornblower Cruises family — is ready to set sail for your celebration. Updates to the yacht include a remodeled dance floor and bar; new carpet, lighting and dining chairs; neutral interior decor; and a fresh coat of exterior paint on its three decks and window frames. You’ll float down the Delaware River on the spacious yacht, as skyline panoramas create iconic backdrops of the Ben Franklin Bridge and more for your wedding album. The vessel boasts three aptly named private decks (Walt Whitman accommodates about 200 seated, the Ben Franklin 185 and the Betsy Ross 120) and rooftop lounge, and offers a DJ, dancing, cocktails and even games like giant Jenga. Ceremonies require a 100-guest minimum and are priced at $2,000; all-inclusive reception packages are $135 per person for lunch or $180 per person for dinner. 401 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Penn’s Landing.
Anyone in the Philly wedding industry can tell you that Cescaphe and its team dream up weddings fit for royalty, and it’s no different at this elegant venue holding court on the banks of the Schuylkill River. Recognized as the nation’s first public water system, the destination is a National Historic Landmark and an homage to 19th century technological innovation. The facade’s sweeping neoclassical architecture, gleaming columns, promenades and sheer scale are further accented by the Philadelphia Art Museum perched above. There are three different reception settings. The richly appointed Engine House (with its espresso-stained hardwood floors) accommodates 140 and also boasts a tented veranda for cocktail hour by the water. The Grand Pavillion can hold 180 and affords sparkling views of the city (not to mention the river cascading over the Fairmount Dam). And The Mill House will host an outdoor reception of up to 400 under designer tenting on its deck. Cescaphe’s weddings are all-inclusive (the brand offers a complimentary Cescaphe White concierge service to help you every step of the way) and prices vary based on season (fall and spring are most popular), guest count and booking window. If you host your ceremony in one of the three spots, Cescaphe will add an extra 30 minutes to your six-hour celebration. 640 Waterworks Drive, Fairmount.