There is nowhere else like New York City. The capital of the world has an electricity that will make a wedding even more thrilling. The city has a an almost unlimited amount of things to see and do. New York is made up of neighborhoods that I love to explore with my couples. The city becomes a third member of the wedding day story.
New York City is know as the concrete jungle, but it boasts great amounts of natural beauty as well. The style, architecture, and nature, make this place what it is. The best NYC wedding venues make the best of the city’s character.
New York City is a year round wedding destination. Each season has a lot to offer couples getting married here. Fall is my favorite though. The changing leaves, holiday decorations, and cool weather, are all wonderful. Even winter is a nice option in New York City. It can be fun to get bundled up for your wedding! A destination winter wedding can be a very unique event. As a destination wedding photographer, I believe a couple can’t go with New York City. The city is the star and it is always a spectacular backdrop.
The best NYC wedding venues are unique and varied. 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!
I’ve compiled a list of the best NYC wedding venues. Many have been around for decades and are already full of historic details.
They 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 are all at these venues. Now, onto the list. These are some of my favorite NYC wedding venues. (I’ll go into more detail on some of my favorites below).
Manhattan Wedding Venues
NY Public Library Stephen Schwarzman Building
American Museum of Natural History
The Carlyle Hotel
620 Loft and Garden and The Rainbow Room
The Frick Collection
The Plaza Hotel
The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel
Gramercy Park Terrace
The Bay Room
The Angel Orensanz Foundation
Brooklyn Wedding Venues
Queens Wedding Venues
The Bronx Wedding Venues
NYC Area Wedding Venues
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 NYC 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 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 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 City. It’s best used for large receptions and also benefits from creative lighting.
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 air of French opulence.
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 City 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.
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 you are 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 NYC wedding venues can match.
The iconic Plaza Hotel is a NYC landmark. It’s known for its elegance and history. The Plaza sits on the corner of 5th Avenue and Central Park South. That’s about as great a location as you could ask for. The area is perfect for capturing that famous NYC feel. You’ll be able to have stunning photos from central park, Midtown, and the Plaza itself.
The facilities here are top notch. The grand ballroom is famous for large, lavish celebrations. It’s so much more than a generic hotel ballroom. It has plenty of New York City guided age charm. There is plenty of room for custom touches as well. Making your wedding day exceed your own vision is always a priority at the Plaza Hotel.
The Boathouse is a gem among NYC wedding venues. 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.
The American Museum of Natural History is world famous. From movies to literature, the museum is a New York City treasure. At first glance, the museum may not seem like the most elegant place for a wedding. But on further inspection, this is one of the most beautiful of NYC wedding venues. The location, right across from Central Park, is perfect for capturing great photos. The building itself makes a classic statement as well. The castle like entrance and huge exhibit halls are full of drama, especially at night.
The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life is a stunning space that can host a very large reception. The Hall is home to a 94 foot blue whale model hovering above guests and below the glass ceiling. This gallery is instantly recognizable by young and old. It’s such a wonderful place for large wedding receptions. When I say large, I mean large. A seated dinner here can hold 800 guests with no issues.
The Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda is another favorite for slightly smaller guest counts. It holds up to 750 guests and the most incredible display of dinosaurs anywhere around. The vaulted 100 foot ceilings make this space feel even larger. You won’t find a black tie venue that is more fun!
Located across the street from The Boathouse is The Brooklyn Botanical Garden. NYC wedding venues here provide several wonderful options for wedding ceremonies and receptions. The most recognizable, is 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 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 areas to explore for photos as well. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is a great addition to any list of NYC wedding venues.
Do you want your wedding with a view? Tribeca Rooftop has one of the most dramatic vistas in all NYC. Downtown Manhattan rises gracefully behind this open air location. While the star of the show is the rooftop, there is an even larger indoor space. It’s a great backup option if the weather doesn’t cooperate. It also has great views for your guests to enjoy during the reception.
Another amazing option among NYC wedding venues is the Bronx Zoo. It offers a surprisingly elegant backdrop with lots of fun thrown in.
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.
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 NYC wedding venues.
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 NYC 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.
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 NYC wedding venues. The area can host about 150 people without problem.
Housing Works is a non-profit fighting AIDS and homelessness. Its 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 City feel. Not only do all fees go to the charity, some is even tax deductible.
I know a cruise might seem a bit corny at first glance. But when you are 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 NYC 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’s no place like New York City. Walking it’s endless streets with stylish couples is my favorite thing in the world to do! If you are thinking about having engagements or getting married in New York City, I’d be thrilled to connect and tell your story. Please learn more about me, why I’m different than other Wedding photographers, then reach out.
Be sure to check out more NYC Wedding tips in my journal.