About two million couples in the U.S. tie the knot each year, and although the majority of ceremonies are still held in a place of worship, more and more couples are opting for weddings on a beach, golf course or mountaintop.
Rustic weddings, usually relating to a rural countryside or off-the-beaten-path setting, have become increasingly popular over the past few years in part because couples prefer to avoid large, extraneous crowds that are often found at wedding reception venues such as hotels or resorts.
The following northeast wedding locations offer a rustic charm that is hard to duplicate at more formal venues.
Pocono Palms, Cresco, Pennsylvania
This Pocono Mountains venues is owned and operated by sisters Alyssa and Carolyn O’Leary, who always dreamed of starting a business together and have planned many events and parties as a team. Separate career paths took them both to New York and then in 2018 they decided to follow their dreams back to Pennsylvania to look for the perfect location for a venue. They both got married in the Poconos and love its rustic charm. Pocono Palms is a former church originally built in 1912. A new venue, extensive renovations began in the summer of 2019 and ended just in time to launch during the pandemic.
Pocono Palms combines the rustic charm of the Pocono Mountains with lush greenery and modern lines, to create a memorable and unique oasis for couples looking for something different. The venue features a large outdoor garden, ceremony site and altar, and cocktail area. The indoor reception area is known for its stunning archways, many plants, black and white dance floor and custom-built tables (from the former church pews.) The venue features two wedding suites, including an upstairs lounge and a large suite downstairs with tropical, speakeasy vibes. Couples can design their perfect event by partnering with local vendors for catering, florals, photography and more. They offer recommendations for officiants if requested.
Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, New York
Bathed in sun, bedecked in autumn splendor or blanketed in snow, Whiteface Lodge is a stunning rustic setting for vows in any season. The resort was envisioned as a return to the grandeur of the “Great Camps” of the Adirondacks with the luxury amenities of today’s finest resorts. Couples can choose from a wide selection of indoor and outdoor spaces. Mountain Terrace View is a 3,100-square-foot, three-season, enclosable terrace that can accommodate groups of up to 200. The terrace’s sweeping mountain vistas, dramatic fireplace and cozy Adirondack-style furnishings make it a memorable setting for receptions. Kanu boasts soaring roof lines, two majestic granite fireplaces and hand‐hewn log beams, creating an ambiance unmatched for exchanging vows. Courtyard is set amid lovely gardens while the private lakeshore Canoe Club is an unparalleled option for a romantic wedding ceremony.
HollyHedge Estate, New Hope, Pennsylvania
HollyHedge was originally a working farm built in the 1780s. The fieldstone buildings, including its unique fieldstone barn, all date back to the original property. Today, the property has over 20 acres of manicured gardens, native wildflower meadows, fresh water ponds and creeks, and native forests for guests to enjoy. Since 2010 HollyHedge has made a concerted effort to provide environmentally-conscious catering and hotel services to guests, using over a ton of compost each year to grow flowers, herbs and vegetables used by the in-house catering team. They allow just one party to use the Estate each day, minimizing the wear and tear on the historic property. The Estate has 15 suites for guests to use, and all food and baked goods are prepared in-house on a daily basis, working with local farmers to source ingredients that can’t be grown on site. The property hosts around 100 private events each year.
Topnotch Resort, Stowe, Vermont
Topnotch offers couples a high-end, Vermont wedding experience without being the classic rustic Vermont barn. The vast majority of weddings at Topnotch are held in the resort’s seasonal tent, which offers stunning views of Mt. Mansfield and beautiful landscaping. Topnotch is large enough to provide the venue, catering, bar and lodging, while small enough that they only focus on one wedding at a time. For weddings, guests can buy out the entire resort or reserve Flannel (restaurant space) for receptions and meals. The resort also has an indoor ballroom that seats 120 guests for dinner and dancing (250 for a standing reception or party) and another room that seats 80 guests for dinner and dancing (100 for a standing reception or party). There is also a separate area suitable for a standing reception or party of 40 people. The mountain view pavilion tent seats 250 for dinner and dancing.
Stratton Mountain, Stratton, Vermont
Couples experience a beautiful mountain while guests get to ride the gondola to see resplendent views and can also spend time together eating and shopping in the Village, playing golf or spending the day mountain biking before the wedding. On average, 30 to 40 ceremonies are performed here each year, with June and September being the favorite months for a Stratton wedding. The summit Yoga Deck is a favorite venue along with the Commons Lawn and The Chapel of the Snows. The premier venue on property for receptions is Timberhall located in the Stratton Mountain Club. Grizzly’s, located in the Base Lodge, provides a fun mountain atmosphere with amazing mountain views. Also available are the Green Mountain Ballroom and Elevation.