Entertainment

Historic Wedding Venues in the Philly Area to Explore


Discover estates dating back to the 1800s (and beyond!), gorgeous gardens, and more iconic destinations.

historic wedding venues

Cairnwood is on our list of historic wedding venues. / Photograph by Heart & Rae Photography

Saying “I do” 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’s 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 kschott@phillymag.com.

Andalusia

Andalusia

historic wedding venues

Photograph by Pat Furey Photography

If you’ve been planning your Big Day since you were in diapers and know exactly how you want the shindig 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 soirée — 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.

Appleford

Villanova

historic wedding venues

Photograph by Bartlett Pair Photography

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. 770 Mount Moro Road.

Bartram’s Garden

West Philly

historic wedding venues

Photograph by Haley Richter Photography

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 $179 to $214; the site fee is $3,500 for a non-Saturday event and $4,000 on Saturdays. 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard.

BLDG39 at the Arsenal

Northeast Philly

Bldg39

Photograph by Toni Marie Photography

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 2021, it launched as a commissary kitchen for caterers and culinary trucks and an event venue offering in-house cuisine for your Big Day. (The venue also works with four outside preferred caterers.) BLDG39 can host up to 100 for seated functions in its whitewashed-brick interior. The guest list expands to 150 with the outdoor area, which connects to the facade via two garage doors. Rental fees are $3,000 Mondays to Thursdays, $4,000 on Fridays and Sundays, and $5,000 on Saturdays. 5401 Tacony Street.

Cairnwood Estate

Bryn Athyn

historic wedding venues

Photograph by Afrik Armando Photography

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 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 three first-floor rooms that total 1,500 square feet. Cairnwood has no minimum guest requirement; the site fee ranges from $3,000 to $11,000 depending on the season and day of the week. Preferred catering packages start at $130 per person. 1005 Cathedral Road.

General Warren

Malvern

The country inn dating back to 1745 sits on three acres of property replete with formal gardens for the ceremony and photos. There is indoor and outdoor dining, and four private rooms for intimate weddings of between 15 to 50 people. (Full restaurant buyouts are available as well, depending on the day, and require a guest and spending minimum.) 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 ranges from $110 to $125 per guest. 9 Old Lancaster Road.

Glen Foerd

Torresdale

Glen Foerd

Photograph by John Barone

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 $176 and $212 per person. 5001 Grant Avenue.

Loch Aerie Mansion

Malvern

historic wedding venues

Photograph by Hitched Productions

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 $7,500 (Fridays in 2022) to $9,000 (peak 2023). Catering packages start at $117, including the cake. 700 Lancaster Avenue. 

Merion Tribute House

Merion Station

merion tribute house

Photograph by Peach Plum Pear Photography

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 WWI to act 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. Venue fees range from $2,600 to $6,000 based on the season and day of the week. Pricing for the preferred caterers — which are required on Fridays and Saturdays — ranges from $95 to $150 per person. 625 Hazelhurst Avenue.

Midway Arches

Coatesville

historic wedding venues

Photograph by Ryan Eda Photography; balloon and floral installation by Slay Displays and Kate Lynn

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 170 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 100. (St. Stan’s is currently being renovated.) 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 $1,800 to $2,500 on Fridays and Sundays, and $2,300 to $2,800 on Saturdays. (The higher-priced packages include a ceremony, cocktail hour, chairs and tables, two wedding suites, and a reception.) Additional hours are $300 each, with outside catering from $50 to $150 per person. 600 East Chestnut Street and 209 West Lincoln Avenue.

Moshulu

Penn’s Landing

Moshulu

Photograph by Martin Reardon

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 $140 per person, plus tax and gratuity. 401 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard.

The Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia 

Rittenhouse

Mutter Museum

Photograph by DarpinoPhoto

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (a.k.a. the home of the The Mütter Museum) may be one of the oldest medical societies in the country, but the weddings that it hosts are pretty timeless. Get married in the Medicinal Herb Garden, the marble Rotunda, or Ashhurst Reading Room — 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.

Philander Chase Knox Estate

Malvern

Philander Chase Knox Estate

Photograph by Jessica Lynn Photography

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 $30,000 to $35,000 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.

Platform Thirty

Manayunk

Platform Thirty

Courtesy of Platform Thirty

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.

Stotesbury Mansion

Rittenhouse

Stotesbury Mansion

Photograph by Heidi Roland Photography

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 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 $1,900 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.

William Penn Inn

Gwynedd

William Penn Inn

Photograph by Jessica Manns Photography

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.

In need of more great Philly-area resources for your wedding day? Browse more of our Local Wedding Guides here.

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