In my quest for the best city in the United States to have a wedding, I took a good long look at the birthplace of democracy, the city with the big cracked bell and the delicious cheesesteaks: that’s right, Philadelphia, PA. For liberty-lovers or just those drawn to its particular blend of Midwest and Eastern sensibilities; Philadelphia can’t be beat. From the waterfront to the wildlife park, there are plenty of great venues just waiting for the adventurous bride and groom to discover them. For those who are considering travelling to Philadelphia for their wedding, here are a few of the best venues available.
Situated on a picturesque rolling lawn that stretches all the way to the Delaware riverfront, Andalusia is a grand old manor house with over two hundred years of history. Its stately column-fronted facade lends an antebellum grandeur to the exterior, and the interior has plenty of immaculately-decorated spaces for your ceremony. If you’re more of an outdoorsy-type, consider the ancient stone grotto for an intimate but beautiful spring wedding, or say your vows outside among the wisteria and delphinium plants. Andalusia is perfect for a fairy tale wedding, if your budget extends to fairy tales.
Power Plant Productions
This enormous interior space used to be a chocolate factory. It’s been converted into an industrial-themed entertainment venue, keeping the exposed brick and steel beams intact. The venue has a particular kind of rugged beauty, with its steel staircases and catwalk. It would serve as a great juxtaposition for an immaculately-dressed bride and groom.
The museum at the University of Pennsylvania boasts several unconventional and gorgeous venues. You could choose to say your vows in the Egyptian wing surrounded by treasures from an ancient civilization, or under a 90-foot dome decorated with Chinese art. Or take it outdoors into the Stoner Garden, with its winding cobblestone walkway and whimsical sculptures by Alexander Calder.
If you’re a die-hard patriot who is looking for a religious venue, the Christ Church is the locale for you. It was the church of choice for Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross; in fact, Franklin is buried just a few blocks away. Regardless of the history, it’s also a beautiful, stark space, with vaulted ceilings and plain white columns contrasting with rows of gleaming black pews. If you’re ready to swap out modern traditions like wedding sparklers and confetti for a religious and historical venue, this is the spot for you.
Artesano Iron Works Gallery
It may be another reclaimed industrial space; but the Artesano Iron Works Gallery is no stripped-down minimalist venue. It’s decorated head-to-toe with beautiful, intricate wrought iron installations, including French doors that open onto a shaded courtyard. You can hold your reception outdoors or inside in the warm glow of hundreds of candles reflected off the hardwood floors.
The main draw for wedding venues in Philadelphia is the history. There’s over 250 years of it, from buildings that date to pre-Revolutionary war through the roaring 20’s and the industrial boom. Whether it’s a rugged industrial space you’re looking for, or an old-fashioned luxurious manor house, or a somber but striking church for a religious ceremony, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in Philly. You don’t have to be an Americana buff to find the beauty in these truly striking wedding venues.