15 Motel Wedding Venues You Need to See
Motels are coming back into the spotlight with a new attitude!
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These Motels Have Us Convinced They Might Be Every Bride's 2019 Destination
Motels have had a bad rep for a long time, but that should not be the case nowadays. Across the United States, hoteliers have been buying up old motor lodges and transforming them into design-centric destinations – many of which are picture perfect spots to tie the knot. Here are the 15 coolest motel wedding venues across the country.
The Alamo Motel, California
When Molly Gruzen and her husband Brandon were looking for a wedding venue, they fell in love with The Alamo Motel’s cute little wine shack, outdoor fire pit and giant tree out front (which served as their chuppah). But what really sold the couple on the retro-cool property was that they could take over the entire place – and pretty much the entire town of Los Alamos – with their 106 guests.
“We had the best time getting married at The Alamo Motel,” says Molly. “The decor of the rooms and the venue matched the vibe we were going for and made for some great getting ready shots for my husband Brandon and his groomsmen.”
Pioneertown Motel, California
A favorite weekend getaway for the hippest denizens of Los Angeles, Pioneertown has become a hub for artists and creatives. Set in the high desert, just outside the gates of Joshua Tree National Park, the area is naturally stunning and dotted with gnarled Joshua Trees, rugged rock formations and a plethora of hardy desert wildlife. This 1946 motel sits in the middle of it. Originally built as a resting place for the movie stars of old Westerns, this old west-themed place has a long, storied history – apparently, Gene Autry played poker until sunrise in the Room #9 on one occasion. That legendary status and its otherworldly backdrop have made Pioneertown Motel a top place for cool couples looking to get hitched without worrying about decorations.
Amigo Motor Lodge, Colorado
Tired of the life and retail business he built in Dallas, Philip Sterling hit the road and stumbled across a new career: motel owner. A couple years ago, he and his now wife Kaitlyn bought a 60-year-old motor lodge in Salida, Colorado and transformed the entire thing into a millennial's dream. The 17 rooms are decked out with bright, modern furnishings and subdued Southwestern accents. A retro teepee greets guests as they pull into the parking lot and the outdoor area boasts a hot tub, hanging lounge chairs, a firepit and old growth trees – all located right near epic white-water rafting. Quite a few couples have already tied the knot at the outdoorsy spot since the couple opened its doors, but they also welcome full-on weddings, too.
Sound View, New York
This former mom-and-pop-owned 1953 motel always had a great waterfront view. The design, however, left something to be desired until it was transformed by a major hotel group in 2017. The new-and-improved property now takes cues from Greenport’s nautical roots, blending New England modernism with accents that respect the golden era of motor hotels. That modern yet vintage-inspired setting is a perfect backdrop to a beach wedding. Couples can tie the knot on the private beach with up to 250 of their closest friends and family members, before moving the party to the Halyard, the expansive seafood restaurant that’s large enough to incorporate a dancefloor and offers killer views.
The Drifter Hotel, Louisiana
From the outside, this nondescript low-rise looks like any other mid-century motel – thanks in part to the original “motel” sign that still hangs from the side of the building – but this 1956 stalwart has become a hot destination for brides and grooms looking to celebrate their big day with some nostalgic New Orleans flair. At this Beat-Generation-inspired venue, couples take vows in the nicely landscaped courtyard right near the pool. The area is surrounded by cool vintage lawn chairs and a glittery disco ball. But being NOLA, one of the greatest culinary capitals in the U.S., the food is obviously a draw, too. The Drifter offers fresh frozen cocktails, Japanese beers and saké, as well as local wines, and brings in really good food trucks that’ll knock the socks off you and your guests.
Austin Motel, Texas
Set right in the heart of South Congress with its lively restaurant and club scenes, Austin Motel has been considered a landmark since it was built in 1938. The location alone is enough of a draw for brides and grooms who want to show off Austin’s finest to their guests, but the 41-room property is also as hip as can be with a unique Texas spirit and distinctive design. The whole motel centers around an iconic, kidney-shaped pool and lounge adorned with mid-century chairs, tables underneath classic red and white umbrellas. That 50’s style setting makes a perfect backdrop for couples who want to party the night away at what’s bound to be a super fun SoCo wedding.
Southampton Inn, New York
Built in 1973, long before the Hamptons became the a rose-drenched playground for Wall Street players and celebrities, the Southampton Inn was an average beach town getaway. Not these days! The splendid place has since been renovated into a luxurious retreat with 90 well-appointed rooms, a heated 50-foot pool, tennis court and lots of green spaces for badminton and croquet. Because of all the amenities and close proximity to the village, the five-acre property has become one of the area’s top wedding destinations. It boasts a ballroom and private gardens along with multiple packages to meet a range of budgets, so couples can get whatever they please for their chic Hamptons nuptial rite.
The Capri Hotel, California
This 1963 motel, located within walking distance of historic downtown Ojai, has been getting slowly updated but it's about to undergo a revamp that will be fully unveiled in summer 2019. The 30-room property will be transformed with a palette of blushes, blues and brass with chic midcentury furnishings – and prime views of the Topa Topa Mountains, which take on similar hues in the early evenings. The cool decor and gorgeous panoramas are what makes the large outdoor lawn such a great wedding destination. Up to 200 of your favorite friends and family members can watch you say “I do” in front of lush palms as the sun sets on the golden-hued peaks in the distance.
Scribner’s Catskills Lodge, New York
This 1966 Catskills getaway was in pretty rough shape before it got redone a couple years back. The outdated furniture and 80’s style decor has been replaced with dark Maple floors covered by Persian rugs, sheepskin throws and roaring fireplaces. The 20-acre property, which lights up with fiery foliage in the fall, boasts two pools and a cozy Alpine-inspired restaurant, too. The expansive forest retreat offers couples a bunch of options for tying the knot. Outside, there’s a five-acre meadow dotted with wildflowers and open-air fire pits, as well as the Bluestone Patio, perched on a hillside with sweeping panoramas of Hunter Mountain. And inside event spaces span from the intimate fire-lit whiskey lounge to the two-story library that can accommodate 100 guests.
El Vado Motel, New Mexico
When El Vado debuted in 1937, it was one of the first motels to welcome travelers to New Mexico's stretch of Route 66. Unfortunately, like a lot of these iconic auto courts, it fell on hard times, eventually closing its doors in 2005. The motel reopened in 2017 after being completely restored to its full vintage glory with new neon signs that evoke the period in which it was built, southwest modern-inspired tile work and sleek Midcentury furniture and accents. And the east end of the complex got a brand spanking new 4,000 square foot Event Center with three rooms and a desert-scaped plaza that is ideal for hosting the coolest Americana-influenced weddings.
The Roxbury, New York
This boutique motel-resort – yes, if you’re wondering, that is most certainly a thing – is an ode to the midcentury heyday of the Catskills. The place boasts totally unique rooms inspired by TV shows from the 1960s and ‘70’s shows like George’s Spacepad, Genie’s Bottle and the Shagadelic. That retro nostalgia and the beautiful mountain scenery has made the place a top destination for city folk who want to get away. Because it’s so beloved, many of its guests decide its where they’d like to get hitched. The motel has been home to a wide array of elopements, up to about eight guests, in its over-the-top suites and in idyllic locations throughout the whimsically-designed, tree-covered property.
The Verb Hotel, Massachusetts
Originally opened as the Fenway Motor Hotel in 1959, this Kenmore Square motel was turned into a Howard Johnson for much of its life. In 2014, developer Steve Samuels decided to transform it yet again into a rock n’ roll themed hotel to honor the music culture of Fenway and Kenmore Square from the 1970s and 1980s – back when clubs like the Boston Tea Party hosted icons like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Who before they got big. Filled with bright colors, pop culture memorabilia and a killer soundtrack, this vintage-yet-modern motel is a fun place to say “I do” with a hip Rock’n’Roll vibe.
Anvil Hotel, Wyoming
This formerly rundown motel was completely overhauled a couple years ago with warming hues, beadboard walls and other lowkey yet sophisticated accents that honors Jackson Hole’s western heritage. The vibe is like a mix between an old school general store and a contemporary bistro. For those looking to get hitched in true hygge style (the trending Danish and Norwegian term that translates to ‘a mood of coziness’), the Anvil’s 85-seat restaurant, Glorietta, is available for both partial and full buyouts. The property doesn’t have a full-time special events manager, so weddings and other events are held on a case-by-case basis. But the hotel always offers discounted rooms for groups associated with wedding parties.
Calistoga Motor Lodge, California
Set at the northern end of the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley town of Calistoga, this 1940s-era roadside motel has a lot going for it. It’s right near world-class wineries, enveloped by the forested Mayacamas Mountains and it has been completely redone. New York-based design firm AvroKO reimagined the place as a celebration of the great American road trip -- but with all the modern amenities hip travelers have come to expect, including a contemporary take on the classic bathhouse. The cool decor and relaxing amenities have made it a coveted Napa Valley wedding spot. The landscaped outdoor space, which boasts mountain and vineyard views, can accommodate 100 guests for sit-down weddings and up to 120 for stand-up receptions.
Ojai Rancho Inn, California
Converted from a run-of-the-mill midcentury motel to a cool mountain-inspired getaway, this Ojai property is impeccably designed with ceramic light fixtures, woodsy furniture and vintage camp chairs in front of every room. The well thought out design certainly doesn’t stop at the rooms. The outdoor area boasts lots of fun cacti and even some old growth trees and an overall fun, rustic vibe throughout the property. Home to a lot of different events and shows, the lawn is a great place to wed during a weekend getaway with all of your friends and family. Chances are, they’ll be stoked you picked the picturesque place. It’s basically like a summer camp for adults with a stable of bikes to ride into town, barbecue grills, a communal fireplace and poolside bar.