If you’re looking for a stunning destination for your military wedding, here are my top five luxurious venues ideas to consider. Some are lavish and expensive, while others are surprisingly affordable. Many of these venues have sites for elopements or small weddings, if you are looking to save money.
Related: 15 Military Wedding Gift Ideas
If you or your fiancé attended one of the service academies, the academy chapels are among the most beautiful wedding locations you can find. They have elaborate stained glass windows, gorgeous wooden pews, and so much history – and they’re also usually free for graduates. But book early – these tend to book fast. Also note that you will have to figure out how to transport guests from the academy grounds to your reception venue, which likely will not be on the grounds.
Washington National Cathedral
Washington D.C. is the perfect place for a military wedding (since a lot of your friends will probably be based there). Adorned with beautiful stained glass, distinctive carvings, and historical references, the Cathedral’s nave can host a seated dinner for up to 850 people. The limestone columns offer a canvas that can be lit in any color to match décor or seasonal theme. Bethlehem Chapel is the perfect venue for smaller events (up to 150 people). This was the Cathedral’s first chapel, completed in 1912. This chapel reflects a late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century perception of Gothic architecture with arched ceilings, unique carvings, and columns.
Military museums can be the most creative wedding venues, and most museums are available to be rented for events, at various costs. Examples include the Virginia Beach Aviation Museum, the National Museum of the Marine Corps/Army/Air Force/Navy, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Museum of the American Revolution. You can even rent the USS Constitution Museum or the Battleship New Jersey. If you’re looking to save money, search for small military museums near you – most areas have a naval/air/sea/war/history museum of some capacity.
San Diego Zoo
Because San Diego has a huge military population, the zoo is a perfect outside-the-box wedding venue. From the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s sweeping vistas and lush, wooded areas, to the Balboa Park location, the zoo offers multiple sites for ceremonies and receptions (both outdoor and indoor). Ceremony site fees range from $1,600 to $2,200 per area.
Yorktown and Williamsburg
Consider a wedding at one of the many bed and breakfasts in Yorktown or Williamsburg, which are both rich in Revolutionary War history, and would make great locations to host a military wedding. In Williamsburg, Kingsmill Resort and Colonial Williamsburg Resort are two of the most luxurious destinations. Freight Shed is Yorktown’s premiere wedding venue.
Remember, ask every vendor you are considering if they offer a military discount. If you’re looking to save money, your base’s Officer and Enlisted Clubs are your best bet — these can also be rented for a fraction of the cost of other venues. If the base is located on or near a beach, consider a beachfront wedding, which can cut costs considerably.