Garden Wedding Venue Search

OK, so here is my abridged list of all of the venues we/my parents have checked out in person. These are my opinions only and I knew exactly what I was looking for, so my observations are only about why this was not the place for us. The reason we even decided to check out these venues was because we saw beautiful weddings that were held there. First, let me describe the details of our wedding:

-About 250 guests

-August 30, 2014

-Outdoor ceremony area

-Must have indoor rain plan that is just as beautiful as outdoors

-Covered reception area

-Rustic

-In the Philadelphia area

Ok, here we go! These are in no order, other than the way I am remembering them!

1. Cairnwood Estate, Bryn Athyn, PA

Beautiful mansion style venue with indoor-outdoor spaces

Cairnwood

Source: Cairnwood Estate website

Pros

-Very French and ornate inside, but light and airy.

-2 large fireplaces

-Large floor to ceiling doors that can be opened to let the outside in

-Unique indoor ceremony option where guests can be sitting outside and inside and stand in the balcony, really “in the round”!

-You can choose your caterer

-Lots of beautiful photo ops inside and outside the mansion

Cons

-On the expensive side

-Areas are broken up, so not as open to one another

-Outdoor area is for dinner only, dancing must be inside

-Smaller dance floor for our size wedding

-More princess than rustic

2. The Inn at Fernbrook Farms, Bordentown, NJ

Garden style farm wedding

Fernbrook Farms

Source: The Inn at Fernbrook Farms website

Pros:

-Affordable

-Beautiful gardens and outdoor ceremony spaces

-Unique cottage house for cocktail hour

-Good looking tent

-Friendly staff

-Organic food

Cons:

-A little far away

-No rain plan, except cocktail hour inside farmhouse

-Farmhouse could use some updating

3. The Lake House Inn, Perkasie, PA

Modern, rustic lakehouse right on Lake Nockamixon

Lakehouse

Source: Jeff Wojtaszek Photography

Pros:

-Rustic and modern fully renovated lakehouse

-Stunning ballroom

-Firepit

-Plenty of spaces to get ready

-Beautiful ceremony space right on the water

-I mean, aesthetically, everything is a pro…

Cons:

-VERY expensive

-Welcoming at first, but then not as accommodating as we felt a venue should be for the money

-Exclusive caterer

4. Pearl S. Buck Estate, Perkasie, PA

Open air venue with clear top tent

Pearl S Buck

Source: Open Aire Affairs website

Pros:

-Clear top tent that feels like you are outside

-Tree-lined entrance

-Very friendly staff

-Open grassy area for photos

Cons:

-Not sure…just didn’t get the feeling that it was the right one. As soon as we drove up, we didn’t get the feeling we got at some other places.

5. Morris Arboretum, Chestnut Hill, PA

Vast open well-manicured garden style venue

Morris

Source: Greater Philadelphia Garden website

Pros:

-Beautiful winding driveway leading to the top of a hill, really building up the excitement!

-Extensive gardens and plenty of photo ops

-Stunning views

-GREAT area (Chestnut Hill is one of our favorite neighborhoods around Philadelphia!)

-Several caterer options

-The photo above does not begin to capture the beauty of this place!

Cons:

-Tent is attached to the back of the main building, making the reception space so dark!

-Not big enough to fit our guest list

-Dance floor or DJ may be located inside if you have a lot of people

6. John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Audubon, PA

Bird sanctuary and farmhouse

Audubon

Source: Joy Moody Photography

Pros:

-Tree-lined driveway

-Unique pavilion with exposed beams

-Several ceremony location choices

-Extremely friendly staff

-Open grounds for photos

-Barn for cocktail hour/alternate ceremony space for inclement weather

Cons

-It is a public park, so it does feel very casual

-Although they say they can hold up to 250 guests, it would be very tight and there would barely be a dance floor

7. Crossed Keys Inn, Andover, NJ

Classy, rustic venue

Crossed Keys

Source: Crossed Keys Inn website

Pros:

-Beautiful draped tent

-Tree-lined driveway

-Fire-pit

-Extremely friendly owners

-Very flexible and willing to help do more personal touches

-Pretty ceremony space in front of a rustic barn

Cons:

-Although the venue fee is low, the catering cost is high, especially with NJ sales tax, service tax

-Lots of extras, like the decor upgrades, exclusive florist, bathroom rental is not included, which makes the cost skyrocket

-No rain plan, except everything under the tent

-Really far

8. Greystone Hall, West Chester, PA

Secluded stone mansion with rolling gardens

Greystone

Source: Projectwedding.com

Pros:

-So secluded, no one would know you were having a great party!

-Friendly staff

-Several caterers

-This would be so great for someone with a Great Gatsby themed wedding or soiree!

Cons:

-Mansion would be alternate ceremony location if it rained, and it would be pretty tight for 250

-Felt very castle-like, and I was going for more rustic

-Some aspects needing some fixing up, especially the white portico at the edge of the gardens

Like I said, this is the ABRIDGED version, we visited about 15 places or more and checked online at least 50 places. So I hope this helps anyone who is looking for a garden venue! I will let you know tomorrow which place we picked-it’s not on the list ๐Ÿ™‚

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6 thoughts on “Garden Wedding Venue Search

  1. Hello! I feel like this is something I would have written – I am on the exact same journey right now ๐Ÿ™‚ I am considering the Inn at Fernbrook Farms. We haven’t visited there yet; I’m trying to get some ideas on cost beforehand. Do you mind if I ask what they quoted you? I love the place you actually picked! I wish there were more outdoor gardeny venues in NJ.

    • Hi Kate!
      Congrats on your engagement! I spoke with Max Hansen Caterers (which is their exclusive caterer. The contact there is kathy@maxhansencaterer.com. They quoted me at $4,500. But I would talk to Kathy to get a better idea of what that included. Some ceremony spots are free, some are extra…The venue was really beautiful and one of our top choices, but we are having a large wedding, and we would have had to rent extra bathrooms (which is an added cost!) The owner, Susie, was very nice. Check out these two websites that might be able to help you too:
      http://www.unjerseybride.com
      http://guide.rusticweddingchic.com
      http://crossedkeys.com/index.php-that was actually one of my favorite places. SOOOOO beautiful, but pricey and too far from PA, where my family is from ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      I hope you find what you are looking for! I would love an update to see where you picked!!

  2. What spot did you pick?! I appreciated this page so much. Some I’ve already looked at, some I found that i want to look at from your page! thank you. I need to know where you picked though ๐Ÿ™‚

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