There’s a reason that choosing a venue is often the first thing a newly engaged couple tackles. A stunning location can set the tone for the day and impacts every other decision from the menu to the dress. For design and architecture lovers, an iconic site can provide offer a striking setting and show off their personal passions. From monumental civic buildings to intimate chapels, these buildings have interiors that are as impressive as their architectural pedigrees. (Plus, they’re are sure to provide dramatic backdrops for photographs.) Whether you’re planning a wedding or just looking for a place to throw party, these buildings should be on your inspiration board.
Architect Hiroshi Nakamura designed the Ribbon Chapel in Hiroshima, Japan, with two entwined spiral staircases to symbolize the act of marriage. The bride and groom travel separately up the stairs and meet at the top for a private moment
Middleton Place near Charleston, South Carolina, is home to the country’s oldest landscaped gardens, which were designed using the principles of André Le Nôtre, the talent behind the gardens at Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. The site, which includes a 1755 guest house-turned museum, is a National Historic Landmark.
Who says a city hall wedding can’t be opulent? San Francisco’s Beaux Arts City Hall, which was designed by architect Arthur Brown, features a grand rotunda beneath its 307-foot-tall dome. Areas of the building can be rented for as little as an hour or for the full evening.
The Ronald O. Perelman Rotunda at Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Guggenheim Museum in New York offers a beautifully modernist backdrop for “I dos.” The space can accommodate 230 for a seated dinner, or if you’re extremely popular, 1,000 for a reception. Actress Emmy Rossum and Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail recently held a post-ceremony bash in the modern marvel.
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, architect Lloyd Wright, Wayfarer’s Chapel in Palos Verdes, California, blends organic architecture and scenic views of the forest and the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Crystal Bridges Art Museum of American Art opens its Moshe Safdie–designed spaces for events. Guests can stroll through the galleries while the couple poses for photos with the Ozarks in the background or with Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture on the South Lawn.
The 1878 George Peabody Library in Baltimore features the gorgeous Stack Room, surrounded by five stories of books behind cast-iron balconies. The space can accommodate 200 seated guests or 170 with a dance floor.
Say “I do” surrounded by priceless masterpieces at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 1928 main building. Brave grooms or brides can also run up the steps à la Rocky on their way to the altar.
For the couple that can’t decide between a rustic barn wedding or a more modern setting, there’s the Barn at Falling Water. While the house itself isn’t open for nuptials, the on-site event space is located 500 yards away and was updated by architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
In addition to its mosaics and carved ceilings, the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall also boasts the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome. The historic space overlooks Millennium Park and can accommodate up to 700 people for a cocktail reception.