Literary-Themed Wedding Venues for Lovers of the Classics
Book lovers rejoice!
Photo By: Mollie Tobias Photography
Photo By: Chelsea DeLong
Photo By: The Strand
Photo By: Mollie Tobias Photography
Photo By: Studio Laguna Photography
Photo By: Library Hotel
Photo By: Ashley Vaughn: White Rabbit Studios
Photo By: Wolfgang Kaehler
Photo By: Boston Globe
Photo By: Brian ZAK
Photo By: Alexi Hubbell Photography
Photo By: Boston Globe
Photo By: Carolyn Cole
Photo By: NOVA SAFO
Photo By: Tim Graham
Host Your Own Happily Ever After
Few things can offer a complete escape from the stress of modern life and make us fall in love like a good book—other than meeting that special someone in real life. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that literary-themed weddings have become a perennial favorite for well-read couples looking to honor their adoration for one another with a romance for the ages. From famous bookstores and author homes to literature-inspired parties and styled shoots, here are 15 snapshots to help inspire your great American novel-themed wedding.
A Bevy of Books
Chelsea DeLong and her husband met at Denver Comic Con and immediately bonded over a shared passion for books. The couple did their engagement photos at Indy bookstore Tattered Cover and followed up with a full-on literary-themed reception. The day featured paper-crafted bouquets folded from the pages of secondhand books, a welcome table with an antique typewriter and old library card catalogue, dinner menus printed as “Table of Contents” and a handmade cake topper crafted from water-damaged Harry Potter pages.
“The written word has always been an integral part of how we interact with the world and with each other,” DeLong said. “It seemed impossible to get married without incorporating some of the words and stories that have meant so much to us, both individually and as a couple.”
This legendary New York City bookstore is home to 18 miles of books. The 90-plus-year-old shop carries 2.5 million new, used and rare books covering subjects ranging from the occult to politics and finance—it even has a selection of out-of-print tomes. The Strand is a true Big Apple institution and is a dream wedding venue for learned locals like couple Adam J. Kurtz and Mitchell Kuga, whose self-proclaimed untraditional marriage ceremony (the drag queen officiant DJ was the only person to don a wedding dress) in the Rare Book Room was covered by The New York Times. That gorgeous space, surrounded by unusual and antique works, can accommodate up to 200 guests for a standing reception.
Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games
Right around the time the Catching Fire movie debuted, North Carolina-based photographer Mollie Tobias teamed up with a bunch of local wedding vendors to create a perfect Hunger Games-themed shoot. They pulled together several items from the movies, including Effie’s butterfly headdress and neon makeup, gold glitter-edged plexiglass invitations and a gilded cake by Bijou’s Sweet Treats that peels away to reveal a naked cake underneath. The shoot was staged at an old mill to spotlight the theme of decaying decadence.
It was the perfect venue for Effie and Haymitch—"because we all know they belong together,” said Tobias. “We wanted to really play up the elegant facade and the crumbling interior.”
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire
“I live in Minnesota, so we know a thing or two about winter, and winter weddings are my favorite,” said photographer Katrina Hanneman of Studio Laguna. “You can incorporate warm fires, hearty food and, of course, whiskey.”
To break down the northern world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Hanneman and the team of wedding vendors who organized the themed shoot looked to basics like moss, ferns, candles and wood with a clean and modern color palette of white, grey and neutral browns in varying textures. A prime example is the structured gray Ian Stuart gown and fur shawl worn by the bride, as well as the home-spun winter bouquet with cotton, dusty miller, snowy white nerine and soft gray brunia berries designed by A Day in Provence.
If you don’t have cash to wed in the New York Public Library’s iconic Stephen A. Schwartzman Library, Library Hotel is a pretty close second. The book-themed boutique hotel’s rooftop terrace offers prime views of that historic repository for intimate nuptial unions. Ceremonies and receptions can be held in the sky-high Writer’s Den and Enclosed Terrace, as well as the Poetry Garden (pictured above) with a wraparound outdoor patio that is ideal for a banquet-style afternoon celebration with close friends and family. After the party, many betrothed choose to stay on site in one of the amorous Dewey Decimal System-themed rooms, including Erotic Literature, Fairy Tales or the very popular Love Room, the only space with a private balcony that overlooks the NYPL and Madison Avenue.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
Wedding photographer Ashley Vaughn of White Rabbit Studios is an Alice in Wonderland superfan (if you couldn’t already tell by the name of her company). So, she decided to put together an inspirational shoot based on her favorite novel in the private Huntsville, Alabama garden where she and her husband tied the knot.
“Little details are placed at the setting for each character at the exaggerated and long dinner table, complete with floral adornments and, of course, plenty of teapots to go around,” Vaughn said. The tea party-style menu conceived by Ashley’s Creative Catering featured small bites like pancetta and lemon oysters on the half shell, black cherry hand pies and blueberry scones followed by a Mad Hatter carrot cake.
The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
Hemingway went just about everywhere he could during his 62 turns around the sun. From Paris and Madrid to Havana and Ketchum, Idaho, lovers of the late author don’t have to look far to feel Hemingway’s legacy at one of his many favorite haunts. But no place can hold a candle to his Spanish colonial house in the heart of Key West. The legendary home, surrounded by lush palms and sea grapes, feels like balmy time warp, as though you’ve traveled back to the days when Ernest and Pauline entertained fellow artists, writers and socialites like Waldo Piece, Archibald McLeish and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald on the iconic porch. The tropical garden can accommodate up to 100 guests who should expect to hang out with lots of feline friends. The house is still home to 40 to 50 polydactyl cats, descended from Hemingway’s six-toed Snow White.
Mark Twain House
Mark Twain’s work was so important and impactful that William Faulkner once declared him “The Father of American Literature.” American bookworms would be hard pressed to find a more fitting venue to recite their vows at than the Mark Twain House & Museum, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Twain’s real name) former mansion in Hartford, Connecticut. The fully restored Gothic Revival home offers several different spaces for private events, from the landscaped Terrace to the expansive Hal Hobrook Hall, which can accommodate up to 250 guests for a standing reception.
The great author once said, “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” You and your betrothed are sure to feel a heck of a lot of joy if you get married at this remarkable place.
The Algonquin Hotel Times Square
One hundred years ago, in June 1919, New York’s most famous humorists, writers and intellectuals (think Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott and New Yorkerfounder Harold Ross) gathered around what would become known as The Round Table at The Algonquin’s restaurant. Their daily lunches lasted for a decade—and charted a new path for witty American humor. Ever since the residential Art Deco hotel debuted in 1902, it's been hosting weddings for its creative patrons. Say “I do” with 200 of your closest friends and family in true New York City glitterati style while taking over the complete hotel lobby, including the storied Round Table restaurant. If you’re lucky, Hamlet, the hotel’s 12th famous resident cat, eighth of his name (bestowed upon him by human resident John Barrymore, who played Shakespeare’s famous character on Broadway), might make an appearance during your big day.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
From youth up through adulthood, Edgar Allan Poe lived in Richmond, Virginia at various points in his life. Unlike many other American literary figures, none of Poe’s actual homes in the area have been preserved. But the Poe Museum, established in 1922 in the oldest building in the city, celebrates the Gothic author’s life and work with one of the largest collections of letters and manuscript related to Poe, as well as interesting ephemera, ranging from his socks to a lock of his hair taken after his death. That would probably sound out of place with another, less macabre writer, but it certainly works here. Couples can wed in full Gothic glory in the Enchanted Garden inspired by Poe’s poetry. Of course, the beguiling space boasts a whimsical fountain overseen by a stately raven.
C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia
Bride and groom Juli and Nic were planning their early winter nuptial union in the forests of Colorado when they decided to go full-on The Chronicles of Narnia with a magical, whimsical fairytale wedding inspired by the C.S. Lewis series. They live in the perfect place to pull it off, says Colorado-based photographer Alexi Hubbell of Alexi Hubbell Photography, “Our town, Durango, is notorious for its costume celebrations, so there was no shortage of amazing attire at this wedding!”
The couple’s laid-back celebration of love was full of music and just a touch of snow—maybe it was nature’s way of helping them to really nail the theme.
This National Historic Landmark and cultural center celebrates the intellectual, artistic and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. Designed and built by the prolific author, whose first book covered interior design, The Mount was inspired by a 17th-century English countryside home, Belton House, in Lincolnshire with some classical Italian and French influences. To this day, the grand Lenox, Massachusetts home evokes the spirit of its groundbreaking creator, the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Blaze your own trail into life together with a wedding at Wharton’s beloved home. Couples can say “I do” in one of Wharton’s formal gardens, a French Flower Garden inspired by Versailles or the Renaissance-influenced Italian Garden, then sip cocktails throughout the mansion and on the terrace that looks out over the property and the mountains beyond.
In 1930, Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner bought this circa-1848 Greek Revival home built by Robert Sheegog in Oxford, Mississippi. He baptized it “Rowan Oak,” after the sacred Rowan tree, which, according to the Celtic people, is believed to possess the powers of courage, wisdom and protection. Turns out, the home had all three: while Faulkner lived there with his family, he wrote some of his greatest masterpieces—ever hear of As I Lay Dying and Absalom, Absalom!? Infuse some of that magic into your big day with a wedding at Faulkner’s beloved estate. The 29-acre property is surrounded by towering trees, an idyllic stable and an old brick walkway that feel like they could be straight out of his fictional Yoknapatawpha County or some other supernatural place.
The American Writers Museum
A first-of-its-kind museum, The American Writers Museum celebrates the long-lasting impact of American writers on our history, identity, culture and everyday lives. The circa-2017 venue connects visitors with their favorite authors and writings from more than 500 years—from Ernest Hemingway and Nelson Algren to chef Julia Child and Tupac. The place featured the original 120-foot scroll on which Jack Kerouac typed On The Road and now boasts a digital version of the author’s stream of consciousness masterpiece. For those who pray at the altar of American lit, it would be tough to find a more fitting house of worship. Couples can choose from multiple event spaces ranging from intimate seated dinners for 60 in Readers Hall or A Nation of Writers to a cocktail-style reception for 250 spread throughout the entire interactive museum.
The Hotel Monteleone
Since opening its doors in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter in 1886, The Hotel Monteleone has been inspiring some of the best American authors who’ve ever lived. References to the hotel and its Carousel Bar are included Tennessee Williams works, Eudora Welty’s A Curtain of Green, Ernest Hemingway’s Night Before Battle, Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and many more. The hotel has been featured in over 173 stories and novels, and has been designated an official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association. Because of all that, a wedding here instantly achieves legendary status without any additional work. The event staff offers two all-inclusive packages that can accommodate up to 300 guests.