July 8, 2017 / Blog, Wedding

10 New York City Wedding Venues With Character, Charm, & History Built Right In | New York Wedding Photographer

10 New York City wedding venues with character, charm, and history built right in.


For most couples, the vision of their wedding day revolves around the choice of venue. The dress, flowers, and even photography style, often result from fitting that vision. So venue choice is very important and affects every other aspect of your wedding!  Couples can always incorporate event design to make venues their own. But that can be expensive, stressful, and time consuming.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 New York City wedding venues that are full of charm and ambiance. Couples don’t have to bring in lots of extra decor at these places to make them memorable. Many have been around for decades and are already full of historic details. So how can this kind of venue be a game changer for your wedding day?
Cost is something every couple has to consider to some extent. Everyone is trying to figure out where money is best spent. Choosing one of these venues can save money. Money that might otherwise go to transforming a drab ballroom into something presentable. These venues come with awesome surroundings and decor built right in! No matter how good an event designer is, they won’t be able to replicate anything as special or unique. History, architecture, landscaping, views, location and art can’t are priceless. Plus, If you do have the budget, a great event designer can take these places to an even more extraordinary level. Now onto the list. These are 10 of my favorite New York City wedding venues with character, charm, and history built right in.

The Boathouse at Prospect Park – Brooklyn

The Boathouse is a New York City gem. It sits in the beautiful surroundings of Prospect park in the heart of Brooklyn. Built in 1905, it reeks of glamorous turn of the century New York City. It sits right on the edge of Lullwater and the Lullwater Bridge. The building features floor-to-ceiling windows that let light into the space. It has tile ceilings, columns, and hand painted murals. The covered balcony overlooks the Lullwater. The large terrace is one of the highlights of this venue. It leads up to the watering is perfect for outdoor ceremonies, cocktails, and even dinner. Couples can also open the large doors to bring the outdoor ambiance inside. This is a great option during the evenings and receptions. The space can hold up to 150 guests for a seated dinner. It’s one great option for smaller, classic New York City wedding venues. For those with a larger guest count, its next-door neighbor might be a great option.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – Brooklyn

Located across the street from The Boathouse is The Brooklyn Botanical Garden. The garden provides several wonderful options for wedding ceremonies and receptions. The most recognizable, is The Palm House. 

The Palm House

The Palm House is newly renovated and features an all cast iron and glass exterior. It is one of the more recognizable New York City wedding venues. Like the Boathouse, it dates from around the turn of the last century in the Beaux Arts-style. It also features a terrace and with lilly pools and and lampposts. It can accommodate up to 275 seated guests.

The Atrium

The Atrium is a fantastic option for couples with a smaller guest count. The modern space has walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside is a terrace next to the Cherry Esplanade. The Atrium is ecologically sustainable. Native Wildflowers and grasses grow on its roof. It all makes for a unique atmosphere that is not found elsewhere in the city. 
With these venues, couples have the option of many great outdoor ceremony locations. Many choose to schedule their wedding around seasonal blooms. The stunning pink cherry blossoms in Spring are a favorite. There are many nooks and crannies to explore for photos as well. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is a great addition to any list of New York City wedding venues. 
New York City Wedding Venues Brooklyn Arboretum Cherry Blossoms

The Bronx Zoo – The Bronx

Another amazing option among New York City wedding venues is the Bronx Zoo. It offers a surprisingly elegant backdrop with lots of fun thrown in. 

The Great Hall

The Schiff Family Great Hall is the most common location for weddings. It features an outside ceremony location on Astor’s Court. The area is surrounded by the original old Beaux-Arts style buildings of the zoo. It’s also right by the iconic sea lion pool and Indian Peacocks that roam free. Couples can also get married indoors at the Zoo Center, the most recognizable building at the zoo.


The Gorilla Forest

For more intimate receptions, look into the Congo Gorilla Forest. You can have a seated dinner or cocktails with lowland gorillas. There are also De Brazza’s monkeys, okapis, mandrills, and red river hogs. Thats a pretty unique experience for you and your guests! It’s something you can’t replicate at other New York City wedding venues.

NY Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building – Manhattan

It’s hard to think of a more stunning venue for a wedding than the New York Public Library. The building is an icon among New York City wedding venues. It’s stylish, historic, and Carrie Bradshaw tied the knot there (well almost)! There are several options within the library for ceremonies and receptions. Each one is full of character and amazing details. 

Astor Hall

Astor Hall is one of the largest and most dramatic spaces in the library. It offers stunning white marble walls, columns, and archways. The hall is only available after hours and is particularly magical at night. Candles and special lighting can dramatically transform the area. 

Celeste Bartos Forum

The Celeste Bartos Forum is another large space. It offers a traditional ballroom type layout. Though, the forum features a 30 foot hight glass dome ceiling. You wont find that in other generic ballrooms around New York. It’s best used for large receptions and also benefits from creative lighting.

The McGraw Rotunda

The McGraw Rotunda is a smaller space. It’s great for cocktails or intimate receptions. The space features high ceilings with murals that tell the history of writing. The space is bordered by walnut pilasters and arched window bays. It all creates an atmosphere of French opulence. 

The Edna Barnes Salomon Room

The Edna Barnes Salomon Room was originally a 19th-century style picture gallery. It still retains that feel but has been updated recently. There is a good amount of space for creating a medium to large reception space. You’ll celebrate beside paintings of notable New York society elites of the past. 
All event fees go back to support NYPL services and programs. That’s a great benefit of getting married here. I should mention, this venue is only available for civil ceremonies. There are no religious ceremonies or affiliations allowed.

Housing Works – SOHO Manhattan

Housing Works is a non-profit fighting AIDS and homelessness. It’s bookstore cafe can be transformed into a magical wedding venue. It may not be great for larger events and is not set up for traditional wedding layouts. But the bookstore offers a lots of character for intimate ceremonies or receptions. It has 20-foot ceilings and balconies that guests can access. Mahogany lines the walls, bookshelves, and cafe lights all add to the New York feel. Not only do all fees go to the charity, some is even tax deductible.

620 Loft and Garden – Midtown Manhattan

620 Loft and Garden is all about location and views. It’s poised seven floors above Rockefeller Center and 5th Avenue. That’s high enough to get stunning views but close enough to still feel like your a part of the action below. This historic spot features a reflecting pool and a tented area in case of inclement weather. St. Patricks Cathedral rises prominently in the background. It adds to the European feel of the manicured rooftop. This is an especially festive option during holiday season. It offers great views of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and ice skating rink. It’s a bonus that no other New York City wedding venues can match.

Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel – Chelsea Manhattan

Speaking of amazing rooftop gardens, Gallow Green is the another unique option.  Located in the McKittrick Hotel (not a real hotel), Gallow Green is unlike other rooftops in the city.  Think old industrial building being reclaimed by nature. Greenery is everywhere. Vines, flowers, and grass grow all over the space. There is even a canopy of greenery covering an old train track. As you can imagine, Springtime weddings are especially nice here! No matter what time of year, you are guaranteed amazing views. You can see almost everything from the Empire State Building to the Hudson River.  Gallow Green has another benefit that no other New York City wedding Venues can claim.  It sits above one of the city’s most talked about destinations.  The McKittrick Hotel is home to “Sleep No More,” the theatre experience based on MacBeth.  Of course the star of the McKittrick, for our purposes at least, is the food and drink. Everything’s provided in house, so you are sure to get the same, creative cocktails and dishes.

Brooklyn Grange – Brooklyn Navy Yard

Here is one more rooftop garden for your consideration.  Brooklyn Grange sits on top of twelve floors in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  It’s incredible rooftop has stunning views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the East River.  But the real draw here is the rooftop itself.  The patio is surrounded by a 65,000 square foot working farm.  The rows of produce make an amazing backdrop for your wedding day.  You feel surrounded by nature wherever you go, but always with the city on the horizon.  Flowers from the farm can even be used for your wedding’s floral arrangements. Plus, the venue’s caterers use vegetables grown on the rooftop for your dinner.  It’s a rare bonus among New York City wedding venues. The area can host about 150 people without problem. 

Museum of the Moving Image – Astoria, Queens

And now for something completely different. Couples who love movies, art, and modern spaces should consider The Museum of the Moving Image. The museum is dedicated to moving images in all forms. It makes sense then that you can have your ceremony on a stage in front of a movie screen. That means stadium seating for your guests! The museum’s exhibits also stay open during your event, another benefit for guests. The building itself is the biggest draw. It’s stark white, modern geometric interiors make a big statement. The space is also a perfect blank template to create any kind of wedding you wish. Want an elegant monochrome wedding? How about an futuristic space theme? The Museum of the Moving Image has you covered! I personally love the simplistic white backdrop as is.

New York Harbor Cruise

I know a cruise might seem a bit corny at first glance. But when your in the most famous port in the world, it makes sense! This is an appealing option for those with lots of out of town guests. Everyone gets to share in the fun of being a little touristy. The experience is part of your days entertainment too. Plus, you can pick the backdrop you want for your ceremony. None of the other New York City wedding venues can match the variety of scenic views. It’s not only the views that make this option unique. The whole process of boarding and feeling the movement of the boat, is something most don’t experience. There are several cruise operators that provide this kind of service. You should be able to find the right fit based on the time, capacity, food, and whatever your specific needs are.
There are few places I love as much as New York City.  Exploring it’s endless nooks and crannies with stylish couples is one of my favorite things in the world to do!  If you are thinking about having engagements or getting married in New York City, I would be thrilled to connect and tell your story.  Please learn more about me, why I’m different than other photographers, and reach out.
New York City Wedding venues charm sunset skyline
You can find more information on my picks here:
Here are a few honorable mentions:
New York City Wedding Venues manhattan skyline night

I love all these tips. Especially since my husband used to live in New York. It’s my dream to do a shoot here, thank you so much for sharing all your tips!

This is a fantastic read for any bride and groom looking to get married in new york city, fantastic venue suggestions!

These New York City wedding venues sound so cool! What a useful blog post for New York brides!

I have always wanted to photograph a wedding in New York City, these wedding venues look absolutely amazing!

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