17 Incredibly Retro Wedding Venues
It’s no secret: vintage is back. From furniture and decor to clothes and even engagement rings, these days it seems like everyone is looking at the styles of the past. Why not do the same for your big day? From sleek, desert modern to midcentury kitsch, check out the coolest retro wedding venues across the United States.
Photo By: C. King Photography at Luray Caverns, VA
Photo By: T Twisselman Photography
Photo By: Franz Edlinger
Photo By: BYC PHOTOGRAPHY/Courtesy the Lautner Compound
Photo By: Jess Sumrall Photography
Photo By: Blair Mongeon Photo
Photo By: Photo courtesy Dream Inn
Photo By: Sebastien Bicard Photography
Photo By: Camara Photography (Dave Camara)
Photo By: Richard Haick Photography
Photo By: Wedding of Bill J. Langley and Christie J. White/Photos by Zander Brandt
Luray Caverns, Luray, Virginia
The awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites inside Luray Caverns were discovered in 1878. Weddings have been held underground in that natural wonder, the largest cave system in the eastern United States, starting around the time it was found. (More than 500 have been hosted inside the cave in the 140 years it has been open to the public.) But the spectacular site got a quirky mid-century-style upgrade in 1957. That’s when The Great Stalacpipe Organ, a custom console that uses rubber mallets to tap the stalactites, was installed in the Cathedral Room. For more than six decades, the natural organ, said to be the world’s largest musical instrument, has been providing the same retro soundtrack to the nuptial unions that have been hosted inside the cavernous chapel.
Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, California
Just about as old California as it gets, each of the 110 rooms in this sprawling hotel boasts completely different themes full of 1960s flair. There’s Irish Hills with its green walls, cave-like shower and a giant leprechaun overlooking the sitting area, and the pink-as-it-gets Love Nest with ornate French furniture and flowery light fixtures. That one-of-a-kind decor is spread throughout the 1,000-acre property, making it a ready-to-go place to wed. Couples can pick from nine different indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception venues spread throughout a hotel that is so full of midcentury personality, there’s no need to add anything else.
The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, San Francisco, California
In 1945, the Fairmont San Francisco hotel transformed its indoor swimming pool room into the Tonga Room, turning the water-filled pit into the tiki bar’s now famous lagoon. The historic bar is often cited as one of the finest examples of the faux Polynesian escapist decor that started taking America by storm in the 1930s. Just as it was back when it opened, the room is decked out with lava rock, a tiki-thatched boat and an indoor thunderstorm system that blasts out sheets of sprinkler-produced rain, thunder and lightning. The subterranean retreat can be bought out completely for couples who’d rather travel back in time for their wedding day.
The Bavarian Restaurant, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Built a quarter century ago as a European-style ski retreat, this German-themed restaurant looks like it came straight from Bavaria. It kind of did, actually. The wood-filled space was constructed with authentic building materials, antiques and finely crafted furnishing, much of which came straight from the Motherland. Like the Deutsch-themed restaurants that sprouted up around the U.S. in the mid 20th century, the wait staff at the Bavarian stroll around in lederhosen and dirndls carrying heaping platters of sauerbraten, Wienerschnitzel and käsespätzle. That old school hospitality – and great beer selection – is what makes this beautiful space such a great pick for any nostalgic Alpine-inspired union.
Elvis Presley Birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi
The word “retro” is nearly synonymous with Elvis. There are ample opportunities around the United States to say “I do” while honoring the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. One is the place of his birth, on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. The modest, two-room home where he was brought into this world is the centerpiece of the 15-acre Elvis Presley Park that includes an Insta-ready “Elvis at 13” statue as well as his childhood church. Many Elvis fans have tied the knot with small ceremonies inside the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel, set right next to the church he visited as a kid. The understated room, constructed in 1979, is illuminated by the sun through a stunning vintage-style stained glass window that is prime for photo ops. There’s also a great hall and theater for those looking to accommodate larger events.
Roxbury Motel, the Catskills, New York
An ode to the midcentury heyday of the Catskills’, this boutique motel-resort is a retro-lovers dream. Each room has its own thematic decor inspired by 1960s and ‘70’s TV shows like George’s Spacepad, Genie’s Bottle and the Shagadelic, which looks like it may have been used as an “Austin Powers” set. One room, Amadeus’ Bride (pictured above), is a top pick for couples looking to elope in grandiose opulence. The fabulous space boasts 1,110 linear feet of handmade 18k gold leaf moldings that frame 27 mirrors, reflecting a 200-pound Austrian crystal chandelier. It’s supposed to honor Mozart – there’s a 9 x 12 painting of his wife holding court over the suite – but we think it’s got Liberace glam written all over it.
The Lautner House, Desert Hot Springs, California
Famed architect John Lautner was commissioned to build a desert getaway by Hollywood movie producer Lucien Hubbard nearly 70 years ago. The four original homes he designed have been painstakingly restored back to their vintage glory and expanded with new indoor and outdoor event spaces – perfect for hosting the midcentury modern wedding of your fantasies. The entire compound features cool, retro design elements like sputnik chandeliers and Eames dining chairs. That alone is enough to get many design aficionados excited, but what really makes the place pop are the sprawling desert views set against the backdrop of the dramatic, often snow-capped, San Jacinto Mountain range.
Rollins Creek Old West Town, Guthrie, Oklahoma
A representation of a 1880s frontier town, this wild west-themed place looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a John Wayne film. It wasn’t. It was actually built a couple decades ago, but it certainly can fulfill the fantasies of anyone who wants to host their own retro, Old West-style wedding. Most couples choose to get hitched at the “Hitching Post” (get it?) in the 80-foot by 80-foot open courtyard that’s surrounded by old-timey buildings meant to replicate what one would expect to find on a western movie set. During the reception, guests can wander around and snap pics in the jail, bank and 2,200 square foot saloon while the bride and groom pose for unforgettable photos on their Wild West-themed big day.
Bavarian Inn Lodge, Frankenmuth, Michigan
Frankenmuth has been dubbed Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” for numerous reasons. The area was settled by German immigrants in the 1800s and the town is full of Franconian-style architecture with the signature timber “X” patterns on building exteriors. It looks a lot like a real German Village, but the town, incorporated in 1959, fits right in with the faux European village style of the 1960s. That’s what makes the Bavarian Inn Lodge such a great place to get hitched. The iconic hotel was remodeled with a German motif in 1959 and enhanced through the 60s and 70s with a Pied Piper-themed bell tower and covered bridge, all of which sets the scene for the picture perfect fairytale wedding with a fun vintage twist.
The Dream Inn, Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz, one of the most beloved beach towns in coastal-loving California, has just one beachfront hotel: The Dream Inn. Constructed in the early 1960s, the property has been renovated over the course of its lifespan to include modern-day amenities including updated guest rooms, a pool bar and bigger hot tub. Thankfully, it still maintains its groovy mid-century charm with what has been described as a “colorful retro-chic style.” The updated palette of teals, blues and surf-inspired decor – and the front row views of the beach and dramatic seaside cliffs – feel like the modern day version of a place where one of the Beach Boys would have tied the knot.
The Statler Dallas, Dallas, Texas
Designed by architect William B. Tabler with several brand-spanking-new construction techniques and materials for the time, The Statler was one of the leaders in Texas’ Modern movement when it opened in 1956. It maintains many of its original mid-century details to this day – even after falling into years of disrepair. But, last year, the historical landmark got a $220 million facelift with a restored glass curtainwall on the exterior, refinished terrazzo floors and all sorts of retro-forward decor like vintage cars parked right by the front door. With all that timeless appeal, this Dallas landmark has become one of the hottest places in town for stylish couples to join in holy matrimony.
Twin Palms, Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs wouldn’t be the midcentury modern mecca it is today if it weren’t for Frank Sinatra. When ‘Ol Blue Eyes arrived in the formerly sleepy desert town in the 1940s, he brought Hollywood glamour and sex appeal along with him. Couples can still capitalize on Sinatra’s sophisticated style for their big day by getting wed at Twin Palms, his iconic desert modern estate. Available for parties of up to 150 guests, the spacious home is decked out with sleek period decor and furnishings, a large circular motor court and a piano-shaped swimming pool built specifically for The Sultan of Swoon – a perfect backdrop for Love and Marriage.
The Fort Restaurant, Denver, Colorado
This full-sized adobe replica of Colorado’s first fur-trading post, Bent’s Old Fort, was built in 1963. The totally old school place is a blend of the wild west and upscale steakhouses with a bit of retro pizzazz. The Fort can host wedding parties ranging from just eight to 350 guests in its romantic dining rooms that boast traditional beehive fireplaces, beamed ceilings and authentic mid-nineteenth century artifacts. It also has a large outdoor patio that offers stunning views of the foothills and surrounding red rocks. While the ambiance is certainly a big draw for many brides-to-be, the food is just as much of a treat. The award-winning fine dining restaurant offers Rocky Mountain specialties including grilled buffalo, beef and wild game as well as seafood and vegetarian options for those guests who aren’t into meat.
Children’s Fairyland, Oakland, California
Talk about a classic fairy tale wedding. Pose for whimsical pics in Peter Rabbit’s Garden, The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship or The Alice in Wonderland Tunnel. Opened in 1950 – years before Walt Disney introduced his namesake children’s park – Fairyland features 10-acres of beautifully tended gardens, colorful fairy lights and close to 60 storybook sets that are sure to take you back to childhood. With all the cute backdrops, the folksy park has become a top wedding venue for couples looking to celebrate their big day in a lighthearted, innocent style. For wedding parties, Fairyland offers a canopied amphitheater with both indoor and outdoor seating options, an expansive lawn, water features, and a number of themed areas for receptions and sit-down dinners.
Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
Dreamed up by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, one of most infamous American gangsters, the Flamingo Hotel is pure Old Las Vegas. Upon opening in 1946, the $6 million, 105-room property was publicized as “The West’s Greatest Resort Hotel,” the first luxury hotel on the Strip. The 70-plus-year-old icon is a prime venue for couples looking to infuse some Vegas-style into their marriage ceremony. The iconic property boasts seven different venues, both indoor and out, spanning from tropical garden chapels with wildlife and lush gardens to The Crescendo Pool, where the bride can enter her ceremony through a waterfall (without getting wet!) to say “I do” in front of a lavish three-tier waterfall. Talk about making an entrance!
Mai-Kai Restaurant, Oakland Park, Florida
This grand Polynesian palace hasn’t changed a bit since it opened its doors in 1956. As one of the few remaining restaurants of its kind in Florida, Mai-Kai has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. That authentic retro ambiance has made it a go-to for couples looking to celebrate their big day in true vintage style. The photo-ready property has multiple wedding options. The lush tropical gardens complete with waterfalls, bamboo bridges and Polynesian statues can accommodate up to 50 guests for outdoor ceremonies. The bamboo-thatched interior of the restaurant can hold wedding parties of up to 250 guests during the day (100 in two private rooms at night) with private shows, Polynesian-inspired fare and tiki drinks that are exactly the same as they were when Johnny Carson used to frequent the place.
Graceland Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas, Nevada
The first chapel in the world to host an Elvis-themed ceremony in 1977, Graceland Wedding Chapel is probably the most famous retro wedding venue on the planet. Musicians like Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Ray Cyrus and Aaron Neville have all tied the knot in this Vegas Strip landmark – and the King of Rock n Roll himself actually visited the place in 1967, the same year he married Priscilla Bilyeau at the nearby Aladdin Hotel. Whether you want to say “I do” with a signature Elvis Wedding, a traditional ceremony or an adventure package, this 70-plus-year institution takes care of everything so you can host a wedding that’s sure to rock.