This time of year is what many of us in the wedding industry call engagement season. It was a term coined in the US since a lot of couple's tend to get engaged starting around Thanksgiving, through the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and finally ending on Valentine's Day. What that means is newly engaged couple's are starting to plan their weddings. As a planner, this time of year I am coming across couple's who are looking for that perfect wedding venue. Luckily there are some great venues to choose from in the State College area. To help those newly engaged with their search, I have put together a list of 12 local venues; one for each month of the year. I assigned a venue to each month, one the venue I thought was bested suited for that particular month. It was tough, as all these venues are a good choice for multiple months; and some all year. Be warned though! Some locations on this list are seasonal venues and only open part of the year.
To help narrow it down to just 12; I added a few parameter's. 150 guests seem to be the average for most weddings, so I made sure all the venues on this list could accommodate that guest count. Next, I avoided places that require a tent rental. There are some lovely facilities in the area you can tie the knot, but not without renting a tent separately. Finally, I tried to keep all these venues within a 30-35 mail radius from State College. Don't worry if you are looking for a tent location, a smaller venue, or not afraid to travel a little further out; I will put a few honorable mentions at the end. Let's begin!
Rolling Rails Lodge
Located in Port Matilda
I love winter weddings and think its a shame that we don't see a lot of them in the area. This elegant wood lodge is tucked away with big windows that offer views of the surrounding mountains, gorgeous woodwork, chandeliers, and a beautiful stone fireplace. Rolling Rails has every element one could possibly want for a winter wedding. An outdoor patio area offers options for those who may want an outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour in those nicer weather months. It's a gorgeous setting all year long, but its perfect for those who want a January winter themed wedding. Had this place been around when I got married; I would have considered moving my wedding from summer to winter to get married here.
Photo above from Rhinehart Photography and photo below from Kimberly Wright Photography.
Above the Valley Event Center
Located in Centre Hall
This month is commonly associate with love and Valentine's Day, but still part of the winter season. Above the Valley offers a unique venue with a lot of ways one could combine these two elements. The color scheme is neutral to allow you to decorate the facility to any style you desire. Located on to of a Mount Nittany (I love mountain locations for winter weddings), the space offers your guests amazing views of the valley below. Different layout and room options allow you to create something fun, romantic, and intimate. Create a romantic atmosphere with the fireplace, candles, and the sparkle of lights below.
Both photos from The Jepsons
American Philatelic Society
Located in Bellefonte
You may be wondering why a stamp collector's society is on the list. Its because they are set up in an awesome building. If you ever drive into the town of Bellefonte, you may notice a big red brick building. This facility use to be a match factory, but it is now broken up to various businesses. The American Philatelic Society owns a big chunk of the factory and has an event space available for rent. The room offers red exposed brick, and has a wonderful industrial feel. A charming place that just feels like the perfect spot to host a wedding when the seasons are changing from winter to spring. If its nice outside, take advantage of nearby Tallyrand Park for pictures. Also consider contacting Big Spring Spirits next door about hosting your cocktail hour.
Photo above taken at a wedding expo I was part of at the Match Factory.
Bell Mountain Estate
Located in Lewistown
April is a month for new beginnings. The season is turning to spring as the flowers and trees starts to come back to life. It's a month that most are ready to head outdoors, but the weather can be unpredictable. Bell Mountain Estates is a good choice of venue with their glass walls. One can enjoy the outdoors with the protection of the indoors if the weather is colder. If its nicer, open those sides up or take advantage of an outdoor ceremony by their beautiful blue pond.
Photos from venues Facebook page.
Edgewater Inn & Riverside Grill
Located in Alexandria
In a small town outside of Huntingdon, sits the Edgewater Inn along the Juniata River. The Inn itself is a farmhouse converted and will offer 21 guestrooms. Get married in the warmth of the May along the river banks, then head into their barn for your reception. What I love about this place is that it feels like its own retreat. Get the experience of having a destination wedding without going far from State College; which is appealing if you are a local. Stay at the Inn all weekend with your guests. Enjoy a drink at their onsite Riverside Grill, and maybe even host your rehearsal dinner at their smaller Rivserside dining room. You and your guests will feel like you are in our own little chunk of the world for the weekend.
Photo below from Tera Nelson Photography.
Located in Belleville
There is a reason June is one of the most popular months to get married. The weather is usually not to hot yet, everything is lush and green; plus some all time favorite flowers are in bloom (peonies!). It's an ideal month for an outdoor location venue and I am probably being biased with this selection. I was married at Brookmere Winery in June. The nearby fields were starting to grow, the tiger lilies were blooming by the stream on the property, and the vineyard provided a wonderful setting for a start of summer wedding.
Both photos from KM Photography.
Fern Hill Weddings
Located in Petersburg
July is one of those months that tends to run on the warmer side. Its the perfect month to retreat the cooler mountain area while still enjoying the summer season. Located at C. Barton McCann School of Art, this wedding location offers a secluded mountain oasis a short drive from State College. Host your ceremony in their Circle of Life Sculpture Garden before heading over to the outdoor Fern Hill Pavilion for your reception. The combination of the art, the woods, and Lake Jeanette offers something fun and different for you and your guests.
Photo from Voltage Studios.
Harmony Forge Inn
Located in Bellefonte
Barn weddings are always a big hit in the area, especially in the milder moths. Harmony Forge Inn is an ideal location for an August wedding. The expansive property offers a nice area for a ceremony, a big yard to enjoy yard games during cocktail hour, and a fire pit area for any night time smores roasting. The barn itself has a really nice built in wood bar and holds a nice number of guests for your reception.
Both photos from Hannah Leigh Photography.
Located in Warriors Mark
September is another popular month. The weather is a littler cooler but still warm enough to be outdoors. Towards the end of the month, may start to see some fall foliage. Its a good month to embrace the move towards the Autumn season and a barn wedding in the country fits this time of year perfectly. Gillbrook Farms with its massive grounds and impressive barn offers anything one could want for September nuptials.
Photo from The Jepsons
Located in State College
One of my favorite months of the year is October. Its football season, the leaves are bright and vibrant, and its pumpkin spice season. However, when it comes to weddings, its much like the month of April. The weather can be unpredictable. I have done quite a few October weddings and they seem to be either one way or the other. Warm, sunny, and beautiful; or cold and extremely wet. We've even seen snow in late October! Toftrees resort offers a great solution. If the weather is nice use their lawn for your ceremony (like in the picture below), and their outdoor patio for cocktail hour. No matter what it is like during the day, the temperature always seems to drop at night. By then you and your guests will be safely warm in their Aspen Room with their big beautiful windows, and enjoying the view outside.
Photo from The Jepsons
The Nittany Lion Inn
Located in State College
November always makes me think of home. Its colder outside, so all the outdoor venues are shut down for the year. Its the month of Thanksgiving so I start to think of family, food, and curling up under a warm blank with a book. The Nittany Lion Inn with its colonial feel and various rooms that fit different guest counts; will give you that cozy feeling. Not to mention this place screams Penn State and perfect for those Alumni looking to celebrate their Alma Mater.
Note: If you like the Penn State feel but want something more modern, their sister property the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center is also a good option.
Photo from Dyanna LaMora.
General Potter Farm
Located in Spring Mills
There is something magical about the holiday season and something more magical about General Potter Farm. One of the only barns in the area that is open all year long; with both heating and air conditioning. This property offers a variety of options not matter what month you want to get hitched. In the summer, say your vows by the babbling brook, or in a field overlooking the mountains. The basement with its original 1800's stone wall offers a nice cocktail location; or an intimate and romantic ceremony location for those times you can't be outside. I picked December because decking this place out with lights, greenery, candles, and a real tree or two; and embrace the spirit of the season. I guarantee it will be something you and your guests will remember for years to come.
Photo above from Nicole Dumond Photography. Photo below from Burkett Photography.
I could keep this list going and felt like I may have slighted some great venue options in the area. I wanted to give a shout out to six other venues (half a years worth) who I cut because they may not have met the earlier parameters (holding 150 guests without a tent), or because I wasn't quite sure where to put them. These are still place I recommend scoping out while searching for the perfect venue!
The owners Christie and Mark are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. The created a home for themselves in Bellefonte on their dairy farm and have opened their home to others. The second you step into the grounds, you can feel the love they share for this place. They will greet you with open arms and as part of their family. Perfect for those who want a warm and welcoming country wedding. Their barn can hold up to a 100 guests or look into renting a tent if you want to invite more to celebrate.
Yes its another barn. They are popular venues in the area and its easy to see why. Barns offer lots of options and lets face it, the area is surrounded by beautiful farmland. Those of brought up in this area may not be total farm folk, but we have country blood and a barn embraces those roots. This venue holds quite a few guests but is a bit further out, hence why it was cut from the list above. It takes close to an hour to drive there from State College. However, if you don't mind the distance and want something remote and rustic, this is one facility you have to see.
Nature Inn at Bald Eagle
Tucked inside Bald Eagle State Park with amazing views of the lake, this place is a stunner. It's actually on my bucket list to stay here sometime, and haven't yet. Plenty of outdoor activities to do nearby; I was excited when I hear they offer weddings. The backdrop of this doesn't require a lot of extra decor. Why was it not mentioned above? Guest count. Their are event space rooms inside the Inn but the biggest holds 50. However, you can rent a tent with a 150 guest count max.
Earlystown Manor Bed and Breakfast
Looking for a place to have an outdoor tent wedding but then maybe walk to your room at the end of the night? Consider a bed and breakfast. There are several options in the area, but Earlystown Manor is the first one that comes to my mind. The back drop of the two nearby mountains, offers a nice setting. Whether its a small intimate outdoor affair, or a big over the top celebration; they got you covered. The inn itself is lovely and the prefect place for you and your closest loved ones to relax when its over.
The Atherton Hotel
If 1920's vintage or old Hollywood glam is your style, the ballroom at the Atherton Hotel is perfect for you. It's charm and great service make this venue a good option any time of year. Not to mention its right in downtown State College. A perfect location for those who may want to continue the party elsewhere after, without the hassle of driving.
Hostel may conjure up images of backpacking through Europe and staying at some small place. Don't let that fool you. Yes there are hostel type accommodations on this property, though to me they are more like nice and clean mini cabins. The property has an event hall as well. It is part barn, part workshop; but the combination gives a rustic industrial feel. The hall can accommodate 100-120 guests; after that you would have to get a tent, but can put it right next to the building to keep your guests together. The grounds are expansive with several options for an outdoor ceremony including under trees or next to a creek.
There you have it. There are still several other great options in the area with scoping out. Sorry to those who didn't get mentioned, but this blog post was long enough. Hopefully though this may guide you or someone you know to consider a place they haven't heard of before.