Before I started planning my wedding or even before I got engaged, I always thought I’d have a beach wedding. Of course I met a guy from Georgia who has a big family, and he wanted that entire family to attend the wedding. That meant we needed to keep the celebration close to home, which meant bye bye beach wedding. Dream number 2 had been to have a rooftop wedding, but prices were high to have a rooftop wedding in Downtown Atlanta, and I naively thought we’d stick to a $20,000 wedding budget. This meant I had to search for Georgia wedding destinations outside of Atlanta.
I knew we didn’t want all of our family and friends to have to drive too far, but in the event that we wanted a drama-free way to cut the guest list down, we decided to look for at least one destination that was at least 4 hours away. If you do a quick Google search you’ll find many lists of all the top wedding destinations in Georgia. Vacation Idea, Only in Your State, and Travel Triangle have great lists for you to stress over as you start planning your big day, but let me save you some time. My husband is extremely picky so we spent countless hours combing through all these lists, calling these venues, reading menus, looking at websites, and even visiting a bunch of sites, and we ended up narrowing down our favorites to the 3 wedding venues below.
Before I reveal the top 3 wedding venues in Georgia, I’ll list the wedding venues/wedding destinations that we strongly considered:
- Glendalough Manor
- Naylor Hall
- Tybee Island
- The Farmhouse at High Shoals
- Callaway Gardens
- Savannah, GA
These Were the 3 Definite Front Runners for Wedding Venue
One thing that we looked for in all the venues was that it was outdoors, had gorgeous grounds, and that it looked like we were somewhere outside of Georgia since that was always my dream.
Barnsley Resort was an immediate front runner because the grounds are well kept and there are multiple wedding locations on the property to choose from. The Georgian Hall was being built when we visited in September of 2017, but we could already tell from the blueprints and renderings that it was going to be a stunner. It was a great contingency plan in the event that it rained because you could be out on the veranda, or you could be inside the Savannah Ballroom.
The Georgian Terrace wasn’t done, so we had to consider the other options which, if you wanted to be outside, left us with the Mediation Garden or the Manor House Ruins!! The ruins (pictured above) was stunning. My pictures don’t do it justice, but it felt like we were in an ancient building that was not in Georgia. It was raining the day we visited, but it didn’t matter, that place was remarkable no matter the weather. There was a wedding happening later that day so we were able to see that they had a huge tent set up for the reception, and the service on site was top notch. We saw the string lights were hung and tea lights being placed all around, and we just knew that our evening wedding would have been beautiful there.
One of the things we also loved about the property was that if you had a big family or wedding party, that they have all the places for you to stay in like a courtyard where there are areas in the grass to play games, there’s a cute bar to hang out, and there’s also the nice restaurant with an amazing view on the property. It’s the kind of venue where you make an entire weekend out of your wedding. We were wheeled around in golf carts, they had umbrellas to lend us, and they set us up at the restaurant to have lunch before we headed back to the city.
There were 2 reasons we didn’t select this place, 1 was that our only weather contingency option at the time was the Town Hall which was a cute little chapel, but not quite our style. The second reason was that we also really fell in love with another venue that gave us even more of the “this can’t be in Georgia” vibes.
Jekyll Island Club Resort
When you think of weddings, you should think of the entire look and feel of the Jekyll Island Club Resort. It feels grand, upscale, and romantic right when you drive up to the property. We already knew that we wanted to get married at Crane Cottage. We honestly didn’t look at the other gorgeous options, because this was the one!
One of the best parts of this option is that Jekyll Island is a little more than a 4-hour drive from us in Vinings, GA. That meant that only the most loyal of attendees will RSVP knowing it would be an overnight stay. The overnight stay would have been easy to plan because the venue had enough accommodations for the entire bridal party and the wedding package had an allotment of rooms that you needed to allocate.
There were also options for that one venue to be both indoor and outdoors if necessary due to the weather. Living in Georgia since 1998 has taught me that if you plan to do something outside, plan to have a backup plan for if the weather is terrible. The sunken garden is the perfect place to have a wedding, and the grounds are the perfect backdrop for all your photo needs.
One of the things we noticed while walking around watching a wedding happening at our dream venue was that there were a lot of these little gnats or locally known as no-see-ums flying around and biting us. We visited this venue at the end of September or first week in October of 2017 and knew our wedding would be around that same time of year, so we’d likely face the same issue. I really wanted a fall wedding so the wedding venue was no longer an option. If I were going to do a spring wedding this venue would have been my #1 pick.
We were blown away just driving up to Montaluce Winery because there are privately-owned villas on the property and it literally looks like you ended up in Tuscany. We fell in love with the property immediately just because of that fact alone. One thing you’ll be surprised to know is that Georgia has a few wineries and the ones I’ve been to have been great. I’ll talk about those in another blog post.
Where do I even begin with Montaluce? First of all, once you get up to the winery, it looks very nice and the grounds are well groomed. The wedding planner is EVERYTHING there. When I started my process I was working with Katie Fritchle who is the event director there, and she was an absolute pleasure to go through the process of selecting the venue, going through pricing, and options. They are very thorough there and the price was reasonable considering all that is included. Sadly, we spent double my original budget, but that’s another conversation for another blog post!
There are a few locations you can get married on the property. One being the lawn which overlooks a lake and the vineyard. It’s an amazing view and perfect for an outdoor wedding. Another option was to get married in the wine production room. This was such a cool option because you could be in this room with all these wine barrels. It’s an ideal location for wine lovers or someone who wants an industrial feel to their wedding. The third option (the one we ended up selecting) was the terrace. The terrace gave the best of both worlds–it was still outdoors, but it was covered so there was no need to worry about it being too hot, or raining. It also gave you the perfect view of the vineyard and the lake down below. These shots from our wedding photographer from Bob’s Eye View really capture the property, but it is something you should see for yourself in person.
Honestly, there were so many reasons we chose this venue. First, it was just as expensive as Barnsley Resort once we started our calculations, but we didn’t have to settle for a contingent location that we didn’t really like. It was only an hour and a half outside of the city which made it easy for our families to travel to and they could go home if they didn’t want to book overnight accommodations. Lastly, the service and organization were THE BEST! Now having been a bride, I know it is imperative to deal with a venue that is great at communication. There were so many venues I had to follow up with to get information and to me, that is just bad business.
Don’t worry, I will write a blog post on the wedding itself soon. Stay tuned.