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While it doesn’t get a ton of recognition, Richmond is, in my humble opinion, one of the best cities in America. This charming town has adorable boutiques, fantastic restaurants, and unforgettable museums just a fast walk away. Its proximity to some of the more major cities in the United States gives us all sorts of conveniences like lightning-quick transportation and luxurious lodging. It also features a fabulous mixture of urban and rustic spaces while the historical buildings liven up the downtown. With so many different choices, it’s truly the perfect city for every wedding. If you’ve been trying to find the proper city for your celebration, I’d love to tell you all about Richmond weddings and everything you need to know to throw your dream wedding. And maybe I’m biased, but I’m pretty positive that by the end, you’ll fall as much in love with this city as I have.
First things first, let’s break down the cost. In 2021, the average cost of a Richmond wedding was $28,700. This is right around the national average. The price has gone up in recent years, but this is because simply put, people are excited about weddings once again! Because of the pandemic, weddings were much smaller events than the year prior. 2021 saw more lavish affairs because people could once again celebrate, and they were pretty dang happy to do so. The average number of guests that year was around 110 guests, so adjust your estimate based on your planned attendance.
What time of year you plan your wedding is dependent on your event. Any time of year should be perfect if you want an indoor wedding. You may want to plan your wedding pictures in climate-controlled buildings during warmer months. Because otherwise, you will be a hot mess by the time of your reception. If you plan an outdoor wedding, make sure you plan around the weather. Autumn tends to be the best time for this, with October being the most popular month for a Richmond wedding.
When you plan your celebration, you have to prepare for the southern heat! The hottest season is very muggy. It starts around May 29th and ends around September 15th. During these months, the daily average temperature is 80 degrees. Around July and August, the average is 89 degrees, with the potential to get much hotter. The cooler season is from December 1st to March 1st. During this season, the average high is 55 degrees. While January and February are the coldest months, they’re also the driest, making it an ideal time for an indoor wedding.
Richmond has a variety of different wedding venues for every style. From breathtaking outdoor venues to quiet historical inns, we have it all. As a wedding photographer, I’ve gotten a sneak peek at most of the locations around the city. Let me tell you a few of my faves.
The Commonwealth Club is a wedding venue located in downtown Richmond. Founded in 1890, this venue has remained a favorite spot for elegant gatherings. The main feature is the spacious ballroom that can hold up to 250 guests for a seated dinner and up to 500 guests for a cocktail reception. The room is reminiscent of the French Renaissance style. Delicate patterns decorate the walls, while towering arches highlight ornate carvings. The room is illuminated by a central chandelier as well as upscale wall sconces. For more intimate weddings can choose rooms such as the quaint Georgian Room or the mid-sized Madison Room. While the gorgeous spaces are definitely the highlight of this historic venue, don’t sleep on the food! The Commonwealth Club offers world-class catering you can help plan with their renowned staff. You’ll also be treated to an onsite venue coordinator as well as complimentary valet parking.
You’ll love this space if: you love history, have a knack for upscale spaces, or fell a little too in love with the Sophia Coppola movie Marie Antoinette.
Oakdale is built on 100 acres of verdant farmland. This venue has both indoor and outdoor spaces for your ceremony. The climate-controlled building is designed to look like a refined farmhouse from the outside. The inside features a white vaulted ceiling with dark wood beams, and the back wall features stonework between the floor-to-ceiling windows. This space serves as a blank slate to dress up however you’d like. The exterior has an open grassy area overlooking the serene pond. A paved trail snakes down the aisle for your entrance. The venue will work with you to plan your event. Inside has a kitchen for your caterer of choice as well as a full-service bar and bridal suite. This venue can accommodate up to 200 guests. It is handicap accessible and features a large covered porch to give you a break from the Richmond sun.
You’ll love this space if: You fantasize about farmhouse Richmond weddings, want a space that lets you decide on your own design, or enjoy late-night binges of Fixer-Upper.
In the past, the Hotel John Marshall has been a favorite spot for various stars, and with such gorgeous spaces, it’s no wonder why. The iconic lit-up sign is the perfect Richmond welcome for your wedding guests. When you first walk in, you’ll be greeted by a stone staircase with a brass railing. It’s a great spot to snap a few portraits after the ceremony. From there, you’ll be able to move into the two ballrooms. The Marshall Ballroom is lit up by 9 vintage chandeliers. Thirty-foot windows let in lots of natural light, while the pale gray walls give a bit of refinement without being overpowering.
The Virginia Ballroom features a domed ceiling and a mezzanine that surrounds the room. A large dance floor is in the center, giving you plenty of room to celebrate. The original chandeliers illuminate the room, while floor lights let you adjust the shade of the walls. The grand staircase throughout the room gives you a grand entrance your guests will never forget. The venue can accommodate up to 350 guests. The talented caterers at the hotel will ensure your entire party is well-fed, and the cocktail bar will keep drinks flowing throughout the night. You’ll have a day-of coordinator as well as security and public parking.
You’ll love this space if: You like old Hollywood glam, want a dramatic entrance, or have the ballroom scene of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice memorized.
The Mill at Fine Creek is one of Richmond’s most unique outdoor venue spaces. The property contains three different outdoor ceremony sites for your event. A traditional pergola site features wooden benches, a stone-paved aisle, and a wooden arbor for exchanging vows. This space can hold up to 225 guests. Right next to this area are the ruins of the old grist mill. The ruins are covered in moss and lit up by bistro lights. Your guests will be seated on wooden benches while you can exchange your vows on a stage. This area can seat up to 100 guests, but there are several spaces surrounding it that offer your guests an unobstructed standing view. This location is positively stunning and feels reminiscent of a regency garden.
There’s another site that overlooks Fine Creek. This location gives you some of the best views of nature. You can seat up to 130 guests on the wooden benches. The main building features plenty of space for a reception. At the same time, the culinary team is ready to spoil you with delectable menus. The site features ADA-compliant locations as well as guest cottages where you and your party can stay after the ceremony.
You’ll love this space if: You want to plan a weekend in, love checking out old bed and breakfasts, or tend to drag all your friends along for hiking trips.
Once you find the right location, it’s time to figure out how to make this whole Richmond wedding thing official. Currently, the City of Richmond requires an appointment to obtain a marriage license. You can call the clerk’s office to schedule this ahead of time. When you go to get your marriage license, both you and your partner will need to be there to present valid photo I.D.s. As of 2023, the cost for a license is $30, payable by cash or credit/debit card.
This license will be valid for 60 days. You will need to renew the license if the wedding does not occur over this time. If you or your partner has been divorced, you must have the day the final divorce decree was issued. Following the ceremony, the completed marriage license must be returned to the Clerk’s Office to be kept on file. You can purchase a certified copy from here.
Note: if you or your partner plan to change your name following the ceremony, you’ll need to take a copy of the certified marriage license to the Social Security Office to receive your card with your new name.
Richmond is a walkable city, allowing you to explore the area on foot. You’ll always be within walking distance of quaint restaurants and prime lodging. If you’re looking for neighborhoods with the best accommodations, try out the Fan, Scott’s Addition, and Carytown. And if you tire of walking, you’ll have access to Ubers and taxis.
Because Richmond is near some significant hubs in the United States, you’re always near some of the best transportation. An international airport is a mere seven miles away from the city’s heart, while D.C., Virginia Beach, and Western Virginia are a short drive away. Out-of-town guests can quickly get into the town for the weekend of your special day.
Speaking of out-of-town guests, the city has many accommodations to ensure a memorable weekend. There are plenty of chains, such as the Hilton, the Hampton Inn, and the Marriott, to give your loyalty members a chance to cash in some points for their hotel of choice. Most of these hotels are near the city’s heart, putting your guests right by some fantastic local establishments. And you can typically block out rooms ahead of time for added convenience. More adventurous guests will love the city’s historic inns and bed and breakfasts. The Commonwealth, the Boulevard Inn, and the Linden Row Inn will give guests at Richmond weddings a fantastic preview of this great city.
You won’t have to worry about getting bored. Richmond has some excellent options that will make your wedding guests want to make a week of it. Here are some of the best things you can do around town.
Richmond has some of the best museums in the country, commemorating major events and achievements by the people of the city. Here are a few of the best.
The Richmond food scene features some delectable food served alongside innovative drinks. The downtown has several locations that will be a quick jog away for most of your guests.
Before you get too far in planning your wedding itinerary, you must find a photographer who will be there to give you the style of photo you want. Someone who will provide you with all the romance and be there to capture all the gorgeous details that you’ve so thoughtfully planned. Someone like me! I have a personal philosophy, and I make sure it shines through every last photograph. I believe wedding pictures are something that should exist to bring you joy long after your guests have lost their favors and you’ve eaten the top of the cake. And I want to ensure the entire process is simple and stress-free so you can relax and enjoy your wedding.
My style of photography for Richmond weddings is fun-filled and joyful. I do what I can to make the process smooth. I’ll provide an engagement session to you free of charge and send you a questionnaire so I can know what little details you want to ensure I capture for your wedding. We’ll draft a timeline, and I can advise you so we can plan around the sun. And from there, it’s go-time. I’ll be there for all the big moments and ensure I capture everything that’s precious to you. I hope you’ll have pictures you want to show off to the world by the end.
Feeling convinced yet? Richmond is sincerely one of the best towns, and I don’t just say that because it’s my home. I am optimistic that in planning Richmond weddings, you’ll come to love it almost as much as I do. Almost.
If you’re interested in my services, it’s time to talk! I can’t wait to be there for every moment of your wedding and capture every extraordinary moment. Contact me today to find out more. After that, check out the blog links below for more Richmond wedding content!