Now that we're at the tail end of engagement season, I know there are plenty of couples out there starting to search for wedding venues and set the date that they'll be saying their I Do's! I remember being a newly engaged bride-to-be, and finding the perfect venue seemed so overwhelming to me! Arturo proposed during one of our dates in Central Park, and that night I spent hours on Google and The Knot looking for the perfect place we could become husband and wife. If I'm being honest, that was my first mistake; obviously, I hadn't put much serious thought into our wedding style since we'd been engaged only a few hours, which made it hard for me to narrow down what type of venue we wanted!
After scouring the internet for a few weeks and then chatting with Arturo and deciding on what style and vibe we wanted our wedding day to have, the venue search became much easier! We then thought about the qualities we wanted our wedding venue to possess:
- Being a photographer, I knew our venue had to have ample natural light.
- It also had to have a decent sized dance floor and good food that our guests would enjoy.
- A ballroom setting or reception area that had neutral colored walls were a must (granted, this was me thinking about how my wedding photos would look more than the actual setting of our celebration!)
- We wanted to be sure the venue itself didn't look outdated.
- There had to be at least one area of the grounds that would provide a nice backdrop for portraits.
- If possible, we wanted two different locations (one for each of us and our wedding party attendants) on-site to get ready in that were pretty enough for wedding prep photos. Again, this was the photographer side of me planning for photos!
- Most importantly, our venue had to have a "Plan B" in the event our outdoor ceremony was rained out (which it definitely was!)!
I know our list got pretty specific, which narrowed down our options quite a bit. We wrote all of these down in order of importance, and although our final choice didn't check every single item on our list, it came pretty close! Below I'm sharing some venues in the Connecticut and Hudson Valley areas that have most or all of these qualities!
The Inn at Longshore - Westport, Connecticut
The Inn at Longshore is one of my favorite waterfront wedding venues along the Connecticut coast! It has a stunning lawn area where you can exchange your vows with the Long Island Sound serving as your backdrop. The Inn also has a fabulous ballroom where you and your guests will dance the night away!
If you're considering a soirée along the New England coast, don't miss Arianna and Vadim's Inn at Longshore wedding!
The New Haven Lawn Club - New Haven, Connecticut
The New Haven Lawn Club is one of my all-time favorite wedding venues in Connecticut! Natural light floods the ballroom that possesses a timeless art-deco vibe, which I think is so beautiful! The Lawn Club Fine Catering staff members are equally amazing!
If you want to celebrate your big day with a classic vibe, take a peek at Sally and Peter's New Haven Lawn Club wedding!
The Lace Factory - Deep River, Connecticut
My favorite quality of The Lace Factory has to be the natural light that floods the reception space! It definitely has an elegant, vintage and industrial vibe as well! This venue is located across the street from views of the Connecticut River making a perfect backdrop for photos in addition to the beautiful gardens located on the grounds of The Lace Factory.
If you want to see this gorgeous venue in action, don't miss Sammy and Mike's Lace Factory wedding!
Chamard Vineyards - Clinton, Connecticut
The lighting on the grounds of Chamard Vineyards simply has me in awe every time I'm there! Almost every portrait session Arturo and I have photographed at Chamard seem to have the most beautiful golden light which falls across the countless rows of grapevines. The grounds of this vineyard are also stunning, with a great lawn area right in the middle for your wedding ceremony!
Aria - Prospect, Connecticut
Aria is probably my favorite ballroom venue in all of Connecticut! I've seen countless weddings take place here, and each couple has been able to transform the reception space to reflect their unique style. If you choose to have your celebration in the Grand Ballroom, you can take advantage of the double staircase for photos and bridal party entrances. I have to say, the Aria staff is wonderful to work with as well!
If you're considering a Connecticut ballroom for your celebration, check out Monica and Kevin's Aria wedding!
Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park - Waterford, Connecticut
This may be my all-time favorite estate venue along the Connecticut coast! Eolia Mansion boasts stunning grounds and gardens for portraits and outdoor wedding ceremonies. It's located within Harkness Memorial Park, which also has access to the beach for portrait sessions. The inside of the mansion has beautiful and historic details, as well as a large tented dance floor on the terrace with views of the water!
If you're looking to celebrate in style at a classic estate venue, take a peek at Beena and Ben's Eolia Mansion wedding!
The Branford House - Groton, Connecticut
Like Eolia, Branford House is another spectacular estate wedding venue along the Connecticut coast. Though the décor is on the darker side in this historic venue, it still serves as a beautiful space to host your wedding day!
Feast Caterers at Round Hill - Washingtonville, New York
Situated in the heart of the Hudson Valley, Feast Caterers at Round Hill is probably one of the most unique venues I've ever photographed a wedding at! With an outdoor ceremony space located in a secret little garden and countless other gardens around the grounds, the photo possibilities are endless!
If exchanging your vows in a secret garden is what you envision for your wedding day, take a look at Christina and George's Feast Caterers at Round Hill wedding!
Guilford Yacht Club - Guilford, Connecticut
The event space at the Guilford Yacht Club is clean and simple, allowing you to truly create a room which will showcase your wedding style! There's also a balcony area above which allows Arturo and I to get some fun dancing shots of your guests on the dance floor below. Gourmet Galley Catering takes wonderful care of each of their wedding couples!
If a wedding with nautical vibes sounds like your style, don't miss Julia and Matt's Guilford Yacht Club wedding!
Water's Edge Resort & Spa - Westbrook, Connecticut
The Water's Edge Resort & Spa is another beautiful waterfront venue along the New England coast. With several options on the expansive grounds of the resort for ceremonies, cocktail hour, receptions AND portraits, I consider this venue a pretty well rounded one!
If you're thinking of exchanging your vows with beautiful views of the Long Island sound behind you, don't miss Mollie and Drew's Water's Edge wedding, as well as Amanda and Will's Water's Edge wedding!
I hope you found this post to be helpful as you begin your wedding venue search! Do you have a favorite event venue that wasn't mentioned above? Comment below to share your favorite spot!