December 8, 2020
Many of my New York clients dream of that beautiful European inspired look for their wedding celebration, but a little closer to home. Luckily with the history and architecture of the city, those locations aren’t hard to find – both right within the five boroughs, or a short drive away. I’ve put together my top picks for your European inspired fete within NY for those big city brides dreaming of something a little more romantique.
Prospect Park Boathouse – Website
Built in 1905, this gorgeous structure in the middle of Prospect Park is the perfect intimate space for your beaux arts inspired wedding day. Gorgeous natural lighting and beautiful architectural details make this one of my favorite Brooklyn venues for a smaller celebration. Options are available for interior or exterior setups and the color palette of sage green and muted tans make for a gorgeous backdrop.
Highlight – The upstairs of the space doubles as a getting ready and storage room for couples, in case you’d like to put on your dress somewhere gorgeous.
The New York Public Library – Website
The Main Branch was built after the New York Public Library was formed as a combination of two libraries in the late 1890s.The architectural firm Carrére and Hastings constructed the structure in the Beaux-Arts style, and the structure opened on May 23, 1911. A historic and grand space, the library is a stunning location for any old world inspired event. During weddings, candles often adorn the front steps to welcome guests. It also sits right behind Bryant Park for an additional photography location in warmer weather.
Highlight – The front of the library is covered by arches, which is perfect for rainy or inclement weather.
Burden Kahn Mansion – Website
Constructed in 1918, the upper east side mansion is modeled after the Papal Chancellery in Rome. The exterior is made of French limestone, imported from St. Quentin. The pilasters decorating the second floor exterior showcase the beauty of Italian sixteenth century architecture. A unique design positions the ballroom on the third floor, rather than the traditional first or second floor location. To reach the top, a rotunda showcases the beginning of the grand spiral staircase made of Hauteville marble. The ceiling above reveals a wonderful mural by French Artist Hector d’Espouy surrounding a Tiffany stained-glass skylight. The mansion offers multiple locations for ceremony and reception, including indoor and outdoor locations, which allows for weather backup plans.
Highlight – The inner open air courtyard is accessible even with an indoor ceremony, making it an ideal spot for photographs or a first look. It overlooks central park and is decorated with lanterns for an intimate, well-lit spot.
Built in 1859, Bethesda Terrace is the perfect elopement or intimate wedding spot for European-architecture loving couples. Paved with Roman brick and built from sandstone, the terrace is the location of many famous movies and TV highlights. The structure is surrounded by panels carved with naturalistic themes – the seasons, animals, and plants – as well as richly painted frescos and Mintons encaustic tiles. Nearby is the famous Central Park Boathouse, which also holds weddings and events, and is a perfect addition to a Bethesda Terrace portrait session or ceremony.
Highlight – This space is best during the early morning to avoid crowds, but offers a lot in terms of variety of backdrops.
Oheka Castle – Website
Built in 1919 by financier and philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn, Oheka is truly the most regal venue in New York. At the time of its construction, the French-style chateau was – and still is today – the second-largest private residence ever built in America. After an intensive historically accurate restoration, Oheka Castle was reopened to the public for weddings and events in 1987. Surrounded by beautiful formal gardens, those who want the palace or chateau look without traveling abroad can find it here.
Highlight – Weddings can take place indoors or out, and the couple is given access to the extensive grounds for portraits.
Lyndhurst Mansion – Website
A national historic landmark built in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis in the Gothic Revival style, Lyndhurst is a stately castle located about one hour outside Manhattan in Tarrytown, NY. Overlooking the Hudson river, the main house is adorned with romantic architecture and incredible leaded windows for a dramatic backdrop for your wedding. The house is surrounded by a beautiful oversized white porch which is ideal for bad weather or hotter days. Ceremonies can also take place in the formal garden, with arches of greenery and wild roses in full bloom. The grounds 67 acres allow for a secluded feel and can accommodate larger weddings.
Highlight – Couples are permitted to go upstairs in the mansion to take a portrait in the painting room, filled with gorgeous historic oil paintings and stained glass windows.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Website
A romantic farm to table event space just an hour north of NYC, Blue Hill is a beautiful venue with gardens, farms, a renowned restaurant, shops, and more. With an understated elegance, the buildings and courtyard feel directly pulled out of the English countryside. Ivy covered spaces, french style flag stones, mossy fences, and refined decor keeps the space from feeling overly rustic.
Highlight – The venue offers multiple spaces for ceremony, dinner, and dancing, so you can easily create various vibes and aesthetics for different moments. A low-light intimate dinner can easily be paired with a lively colorful party by having guests cross the courtyard to another location for music.
The Weylin – Website
Built in 1875, this space was described in the New York Times “as sumptuous as a jewel box suspended 110 feet over the mosaic marble floor, and as radiant as a peacock’s plumage, the great dome of the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank headquarters at Broadway and Driggs Avenue once again inspires awe.” Built by renowned architect George B. Post, The Weylin is one of the most beautifully decorated interior venues in Brooklyn with jewel toned wallpaper, gold detailing, and a soaring domed ceiling that appears taken directly out of one of Rome’s great cathedrals. The space is grand and regal throughout and has multiple different spaces to utilize for your celebration.
Highlight – The basement of this space is home to a beautiful historic bar, perfect to give that speakeasy feel to guests during cocktail hour.
The Frick Mansion – Website
The residence of the industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the mansion was built in 1912 and is a remarkable example of Beaux-Arts architecture. Surrounded by elegant formal gardens and small ponds, this historic limestone estate feels plucked out of the French countryside. The center atrium is decorated with lush greenery and stately columns, and the most beautiful fountain in the center and would make for an incredible reception space after an outdoor ceremony. This is my dream location to shoot a wedding in New York – so I had to pull these images from their website.
Highlight – The surrounding rooms are filled with incredible artwork, and would make for a truly lovely experience for guests to wander during cocktail hour.
New York Botanical Garden – Website
With small European-inspired stone structures and lush formal gardens, this venue makes for a beautiful backdrop no matter the season. Their outdoor spaces are definitely the highlight, especially in spring or summer when their fragrant rose garden is in full bloom. The elegant paved pathways make this feel like an old world estate and keep it from appearing too rustic.
Highlight: The river running behind the ceremony space makes for the most calming & romantic atmosphere during the more quiet moments.
© SOPHIE KAYE PHOTOGRAPHY • SITE CREATED bY THREE FIFTEEN DESIGN
New YORK CITY • EUROPE