10 Historic Pennsylvania Wedding Venues We Love

Make a little history of your own at one of these notable spots.
by Christy Purington

Black Bass Hotel

3774 River Road, Lumberville, (215) 297-9260, BlackBassHotel.com

This quaint hotel, established alongside the Delaware River, has been hosting guests for over 250 years. President Grover Cleveland, engineers of the Delaware Canal and even Marlon Brando are all rumored to have spent the night. One famous story, however, is about a visitor who did not sleep there: George Washington was turned away during the Revolutionary War because the innkeeper was loyal to the British Crown. The space recently reopened after extensive restoration, melding its rich history with modern touches. The catering menu changes with the seasons, and event packages are available to fit every budget and party size.


1005 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, (215) 947-2004, Cairnwood.org

Once the home of John Pitcairn (the founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass), the grounds were designed by Charles Eliot of the renowned landscape architecture firm Olmstead, Olmstead and Eliot (Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park in New York City). A separate architecture firm designed the mansion in the Beaux Arts style.

Cameron Estate Inn & Restaurant

1855 Mansion Lane, Mount Joy, (717) 492-0111, CameronEstateInn.com

This mansion was originally built by President McKinley's great grandfather in 1805 and was used mostly for hosting dignitaries and politicians. In 1981, it was converted to an inn, with amenities such as fireplaces and cozy nooks meant to make guests feel at home. Surrounding the Inn are 15 plush acres of woods, streams and manicured grassy knolls. Exchange vows in a cast-iron gazebo, on the stairs leading up to the rose garden or on a stone bridge over a stream. The Carriage House can seat up to 250 guests for dinner, with various buffet and plated menu options available.

Cork Factory Hotel

480 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster, (717) 735-2075, CorkFactoryHotel.com

In the late 1800s, Lancaster established itself as one of the United States' largest cork-manufacturing cities -- and this building was a former factory. Two years after it closed as a factory, a local family bought the building and transformed it into a boutique hotel, complete with exposed wood rafters, a brick fireplace, ornate chandeliers and a covered terrace overlooking the restored factory. The on-site caterer offers a variety of dining options, and the two industrial yet modern ballrooms can combine to accommodate over 300 guests for a seated dinner.

Majestic Theater

25 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg, (717) 337-8239, GettysburgMajestic.org

Broadway buffs will feel right at home dining on the stage of the main theater, which dates back to 1925 and can seat up to 100 guests, or more if you use the lobbies and lounge. The theater once screened vaudeville and silent films, attracting world players like President Eisenhower and his wife. The Majestic's wedding packages include the works -- hors d'oeuvres, dinner, cake, linens, centerpieces, coffee service and space rental -- though you're welcome to customize the venue with your own décor or cake from an outside vendor. Added bonus: You and your beau's names can appear on the theater's marquee, making you the talk of the town on your big day.

Normandy Farm Hotel & Conference Center

1401 Morris Road, Blue Bell, (215) 616-8500, NormandyFarm.com

Rich in matrimonial history, Normandy Farm was presented as a family wedding gift in the 1900s, and a honeymoon to Normandy, France, inspired its name and architecture. A rustic barn serves as the backdrop for a picturesque country wedding. Normandy Farm offers a stellar list of vendors, though you're welcome to arrange your own. While the Silos Ballroom can accommodate up to 160 guests for dinner and dancing, the Grand Ballroom caters to larger parties of up to 400.

Omni Bedford Springs Resort

2138 Business 220, Bedford, (814) 623-8100, OmniHotels.com

Tucked into the Allegheny Mountains, Bedford Springs Resort has hosted plenty of high-profile guests, including ten US Presidents since it opened in 1806. Today, the majestic allure of the space remains. Get married in the gazebo or on the Grand Lawn and stay outside for the reception or move up to 230 guests to the Colonnade Ballroom. Choose one of their wedding packages and use their in-house caterer.

Phoenixville Foundry

2 N. Main Street, Phoenixville, (610) 917-8400, PhoenixvilleFoundry.com

The sleek, industrial facade of the foundry pays homage to its beginnings as the Phoenix Iron & Steel Company in the late 1800s. Over the last 12 years, the space was renovated in an effort to retain the building's original character (a huge wooden cantilever crane still sits in its original location under 60-foot ceilings). The foundry offers three rooms for celebration, with room for more than 500 guests. Choose from their list of preferred vendors.

Water Works Restaurant and Lounge

640 Water Works Drive, Philadelphia, (215) 236-9002, TheWaterWorksRestaurant.com

In the 1800s, America's first municipal water delivery system was built here, using steam engines to lift water to a towering reservoir nearby. (But don't worry, it's much more romantic than it sounds -- picture the French Riviera but along the Schuylkill River!) Though the plant has since shuttered, it's been transformed into a restaurant and is recognized as a national historic landmark -- and the perfect setting for a wedding. Chefs will create a special menu catered to your taste, with each selection available a la carte. Choose from several spaces to hold the day's events, like the cozy Breezeway, the Riverside Veranda or the Cliffside Deck -- the largest space can accommodate up to 500 seated guests.

Winterthur Museum & Country Estate

5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE, (302) 888-4600, Winterthur.org

When Henry Francis du Pont was given the family home and land in the 1920s, he was determined to make the most of the space. With a love for history and art, he filled the 175-room house with antiques and a sophisticated library. Du Pont also had the grounds manicured into impeccable gardens, which now make for a gorgeous ceremony setting. The reflecting pool is a favorite spot for cocktail hour and the main space can hold up to 300 people for a seated dinner. Between dances, guests are welcome to cruise the estate's galleries at their leisure.

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