DJ Weds: The 12 Best Southern Wedding Venues
Ready for the big reveal? Here goes: In just a few weeks’ time, we’re launching a Draper James southern wedding collection! Featuring wine totes, trinket trays, champagne flutes and more, it’s comprised of the perfect gifts for ushering in a bride-to-be.
So, with brides (and grooms) on the brain, we’ll be rolling out all sorts of expert advice on southern weddings. Kicking things off today: the 12 best wedding venues in the South, as chosen by our panel of bloggers, photographers, editors, and other southern wedding pros in the know.
This ultra- luxury resort is a coveted destination any time of year, but it makes a particularly glorious southern wedding site. “With the Great Smokey Mountains as the backdrop, this 9,200 acre estate is the perfect blend of rustic and chic,” says Maggie Lord, whose blog is aptly called Rustic Wedding Chic. The Farm’s focus on hyper-local gourmet cuisine makes it an ideal destination for the foodie couple and their friends. (See our feature on Blackberry Farm here.)
Blogger Lauren Spann of Southern Elle Style recently got married at this Texas venue and she wouldn’t change a thing. Located just outside of Dallas, the regal estate (it looks like a medieval castle!) is “unique, yet timeless,” says Lauren. “I knew I could look back at my wedding photos and feel the location was stylish and original, but not trendy.”
Natural beauty, history (it was the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Carolinas), and an ideal location in beautiful Charleston, SC, make the Legare Waring House a triple threat. Liz Martin of The Charleston Weekender got married at the renowned event space and relished every minute: “The Spanish moss-covered oak trees provided enough shelter when it rained on our wedding day, and you can’t dream of more romantic Southern surroundings,” she says.
“Madison, Georgia is quaint historic town 65 miles east of Atlanta that’s full of beautiful antebellum homes and buildings. I choose one of these homes, Madison Oaks Inn & Gardens, as our wedding venue,” says Lauren Lefevre, a fashion stylist and blogger at Edit by Lauren. “The home and grounds are beyond beautiful and full of Southern charm. I loved that the entire wedding weekend took place on the grounds; it made everything so easy.”
“I couldn’t imagine a place more beautiful to be married than right on the fine, white beaches of Marco Island,” says Abbi Wilt, who should know—as the Assistant Digital Editor at Southern Living magazine, she does a considerable amount of southern wedding coverage. “This resort has something special for every one of your wedding guests: You’ll find a gourmet rum bar, a brand-new spa facility, multiple pools (including slides for kids!), and an incredible view of the water. Weddings can take place right on the beach with the ocean as the background. Plus, the temperature rarely drops below 65 degrees!”
A museum dedicated to promoting the arts and culture of the American South is the perfect venue for a couple seeking to celebrate the region. “The Patrick F Taylor Library at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans is hands-down my favorite wedding spot,” says Emily Shaya of Prete a Fete, a New Orleans company that rents antique and vintage furniture and accessories for weddings and other events. “The fantastic hand-carved, vaulted ceilings make a jaw-dropping backdrop and the location (within walking distance to a number of area hotels) is ideal.”
“There aren’t many destinations where you can have a casual rehearsal dinner venue, a great hotel to house your guests, an adorable chapel for the ceremony, and huge sprawling lawns for reception cocktails and dancing all in one resort,” says Henley Vazquez, the Co-Founder and CEO of boutique travel agency Passported. “But this beautiful South Carolina resort has got it all. Plus, you can trade the traditional getaway for a bike (or a kayak?) built for two.” (See our feature on Henley’s visit to The Montage Palmetto Bluff here.)
“Tucked away at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Pharsalia is a historical farm with a 360-degree view of vineyards, apple trees, and floral gardens,” says Perkins Morgan of Paisley & Jade, a vintage and specialty rentals company serving DC, Virginia, and North Carolina. The naturally beautiful event space is “surrounded by small and local bed and breakfasts,” says Perkins, making it easy for your guests to find a place to stay.
Catching some quiet couple time in our courtyard before the fun begins. Photo credit: @theoberports. We have a few open weekends in 2017 if you're a future Pharsalia bride. #charlottesvilleweddings #flowerfarm #weddingphotography #weddingvenue #vawedding #weddingplanner #countrywedding #farmwedding #virginiawedding #loveva #theknot
Wedding guests will never get bored at this historic resort outside of Birmingham, Alabama. “The venue offers a wide range of activities for the wedding party, including skeet shooting, hunting, and a farm-to-table experience,” says Laura McCarty, proprietor of Marked, a paper and floral design studio in Birmingham. “The rolling hills and open fields are the perfect backdrop for wedding pictures, and the estate home, originally built in 1854, evokes a sense of warmth and tradition.”
We are still in awe of all the fun we had this weekend with so many special guests and the most endearing bride and groom ever. #magical #wedding #octobersky #pursellwedding A special thanks to all the folks who made it happen especially @buffyhargettflowers @rachelandnoahraye @carolandleslieartistry all of the @pursellfarms team #pursellfarmsweddings
“When I first visited Race + Religious, it completely took my breath away,” says Sarah Becker Lillard, a wedding photograph who shoots several weddings in the New Orleans venue each season. “Nestled in between downtown and uptown New Orleans, these two incredible historic homes were built in the 1830s and have a beautiful courtyard—and pool! The owner lovingly restored the buildings, while maintaining so many charming details.” No wonder Race + Religious was named by Travel & Leisure as one of the world’s coolest rental homes.
“My favorite southern wedding venue is our family ranch in Texas,” says Krystal Schlegel, a blogger and fashion consultant. “When my oldest sister got married, we built a plantation-style pavilion for her party that we now rent out for weddings. Located right outside of Dallas, it’s the perfect spot for folks looking for Southern charm under the Texas stars. (See our style feature on Krystal here.)
Ahhhh!! We loved everything about this ranch wedding with @branchingoutevents ! Gotta love floral and greenery hanging over a head table! #repost ・・・ We LOVE the designer's challenge of creating hanging floral statements! This LOVELY organic mess of PRETTIES was looked MIGHTY FINE over these farm tables! #helmutwalkerphotography planner @hitchedevents #hitchedevents #headtable #ranchwedding #dallaswedding #dallasweddingplanner
“Tucked behind beautiful wrought iron gates on Upper King Street in Charleston, The William Aiken House offers indoor and outdoor spaces worthy of an unforgettable southern wedding, from lush private gardens and centuries-old magnolia trees to grand ballrooms and sweeping piazzas” says Scotti Cline, whose eponymous company designs invitations and other paper goods for weddings. That it’s just steps away downtown Charleston is an added bonus.