Planning a wedding is an exciting, and let’s be honest, somewhat stressful time of life. Landing the perfect venue is one of the first steps to take on your journey toward nuptial bliss, after the big question has been popped, of course. When the day finally comes, exchanging those forever vows surrounded by scenic views and loved ones is the attainable ideal when you choose the Finger Lakes for your wedding destination. With its many enchanting lake settings, rolling hills, and rich past, there are picturesque outdoor venues, upscale hotels, and sites steeped in history to help make memories last forever.
The Finger Lakes has put itself on the map as a veritable wine country, so anyone yearning for a grape field wedding or reception venue where good wine and good times are easy to come by, there are numerous wineries to check out.
Located on Seneca Lake, Glenora Wine Cellars offers views that radiate romance, award-winning wines to add to the menu, and 30 rooms for the happy couple and guests. Glenora’s Veraisons Restaurant, which sources food from local farms, is also an option if you’re looking to plan your wedding there.
At the north end of the Finger Lakes and with an urban feel right around the corner, Bella Vista at Casa Larga in Fairport has a deck overlooking the vineyards, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the reception hall for letting light in to grace your day while also allowing you to take in views as you dance into the night.
Rustic elegance is totally in, so if that’s the theme you’re hoping to center your wedding around, the Treman Center near downtown Ithaca offers just that with its barn venue and Tuscan courtyard, surrounded by the 1,250-acre Robert H. Treman State Park. It truly offers some of the best of what the Finger Lakes has to offer in pure elegance surrounded by the natural beauty of our region.
Have a big family and big crowd in mind for your big day? Ventosa Vineyards has the ability to host 350 of your closest family and friends with its unique Tuscan décor and Italian inspired wines will host your day in a way to remember. Large windows overlook Seneca Lake the estate vineyard and with an onsite kitchen, you can relax and enjoy the day.
For those planning their upcoming nuptials that have an appreciation for the historical while combining elegance and style, there are a variety of significant venues of note.
In Canandaigua, the 1816 Federal-style Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum offers a quaint ambiance, either inside or outside, for ceremonies, receptions, or even just for vintage-style photo ops. Imagine sitting in an antique horse-drawn carriage, which is a possibility at the Homestead.
Not far down the street, Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion is a 50-acre Victorian estate built in the 1800s and home to nine historic gardens, an arboretum, and antique greenhouses. Bubbling fountains, statuary, and so many flowers make this a truly romantic place to say “I do,” while you and your guests enjoy all the beauty and magnificence this venue has to offer.
Feel like a member of royalty on your wedding day when you tie the knot or party at Belhurst Castle, a historic 1880s stone castle set against Seneca Lake. Within the castle itself, there are a number of spaces, including the Castle Ballroom and the Meritage Ballroom, both large enough for a significant number of guests. For more intimate affairs, Edgar’s Steakhouse works for smaller weddings, or the rehearsal dinner. There are three hotels available as well, one within the castle itself, and two others that are within a short drive of the main event.
Built in 1910 and inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture, Geneva on the Lake looks out upon Seneca Lake and is a picturesque setting to host a ceremony or reception with its formal gardens and classical sculptures. With space inside and outside on the lawn, this venue proves historic can also mean grand.
Looking out on Keuka Lake, Esperanza Mansion, listed on the National Historic Registry of Historic Places, offers a wedding steeped in old world elegance. Looking for other options? There are plenty of other historic hot spots in the Finger Lakes to explore.
For those looking to get married in style, dine, party, and rest your head while offering enough space for your guests to also book rooms, there are a number of hotels that can provide everything in a perfect wedding bundle. Of note, Fairport’s Woodcliff Hotel & Spa, which offers wedding packages and bridal spa service, is also set on a scenic hillside looking down on lush green and in the distance, the city skyline.
Ready to get away for your wedding nuptials? Bristol Harbour is a haven set on Canandaigua Lake. With its 31 rooms situated right on the property for guests and the wedding couple to enjoy, you can sit back to absorb breathtaking views or take a romantic stroll along visually-stunning landscaped pathways before you get back to boogying on the dance floor.
If a retreat-style wedding seems like it’s right up your alley, Mirbeau Inn & Spa has an ambiance that breaths. Located in Skaneateles in the heart of wine country, the hotel provides a getaway with an idyllic setting and the option for you to have your ceremony right on the Monet bridge overlooking the gardens. There’s a spa, restaurant, and hotel all in one place to charm you and your guests the entire duration of your stay.
When planning, don’t forget to check out the rustic appeal of Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland, or the grand La Tourelle in Ithaca. For a quaint garden wedding, Filigree Inn Bed & Breakfast offers stunning grounds. If none of these appeal to your wedding senses, there are a number of historical hotels, as well as elegant lodging and bed and breakfasts to check out that will potentially provide the wedding of your dreams.
For nature enthusiasts looking for a ceremony or reception that will truly immerse you in the natural world, many state parks are available for events, including Keuka Lake State Park, which provides views of the lake and hills dotted with vineyards but call each specific park for details. Meanwhile, Cumming Nature Center in Naples offers a truly nature-immersed setting surrounded by tall trees. There’s nothing like merging the historic with the wonders of nature, which is what you’ll find at the 70-acre Lincoln Hill Farms, where weddings are held in the sunflower field or the silo and pavilion. If you’re environmentally conscientious, they also boast eco-friendly practices.
And More Venues
Looking to be right on the water? Check out the boat cruises available in the area, some of which will help you plan your wedding on one of their lake-faring vessels. There are breweries and golf clubs, and more, all offering unmatched views, charm, romance, and a wedding day that will surely imprint in your mind and heart forever.