Banner Photo by Rob Jinks
In 2018, the average cost of a wedding in the USA was about $44,000, assuming 130-140 guests. (Brides American Wedding Study). While exact comparisons are difficult, and travel costs should be factored in, a storybook wedding in the Shenandoah Valley can easily cost more like $12,000—or even less.
Wedding photos with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the background for the ceremony make for priceless memories. And the growth of wedding venues in the Valley has generated all the planning and wedding-service help you will need. The Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce even holds an annual forum for those in various aspects of the wedding business to exchange ideas, share experiences and learn from each other.
While the cost savings can be significant, a number of other factors make the Shenandoah Valley a compelling wedding destination:
Wide Choice of Venues
From small gatherings and intimate receptions to a guest list of hundreds, the Shenandoah Valley has a avenue right for your special day. Were you even aware you can get married in Shenandoah National Park? Or Luray Caverns?
Other possibilities include hotels like The Mimslyn Inn, small resorts like Montfair Farm, stately venues like The Blackburn Inn, or traditional elegance like the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. You can even exchange vows in a museum, like the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. (Photo above, courtesy Tracey Salazar Photography)
In fact there are so many options we’ve devoted a separate section on our website to them.
The Honeymoon is Right Here
Get married at a place like Massanutten Resort and spend your honeymoon right there. Depending on the season, you and your betrothed can take advantage of a state of the art waterpark, play golf, ski or snowboard, ride mountain bikes, get massages, enjoy fine dining, dangle from a zipline, hike miles of national forest trails, or visit a nearby vineyard.
If you prefer more urban attractions, a site like the Hotel Madison in Harrisonburg provides a highly sophisticated wedding venue — sweeping high ceilings, bright interiors, and elegant décor, plus all the city delights Harrisonburg has to offer.
Alternatively, book one of many romantic cabins in the Valley for pure charm, privacy and escape. Many cabins offer money-saving romance packages well worth investigating, but the real value is a beautiful setting and the chance to wind down with your spouse after months of hectic planning.
Give Your Guests a Vacation
Of course, a great advantage of a destination wedding is to turn it into a short vacation for you and your guests. Virtually anywhere in the Valley— from Winchester to Lexington and points in between– provides easy access to a multitude of outdoor recreation options—canoeing on the Shenandoah River, horseback riding, hiking in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest, swimming in a mountain lake and cycling practically anywhere. Each town, whether a small Valley hamlet or a thriving city, offers shopping, performing arts and entertainment, festivals, superb dining and a growing number of vineyards and craft breweries. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, the Blue Ridge Whiskey-Wine Loop and the Shenandoah Spirits Trail can all be an enjoyable weekend trip or a well-deserved respite after a long hike in the mountains.
The day of your wedding is a memory you will want to cherish for many years. Holding your ceremony in a place of extraordinary natural beauty can easily be a big part of that memory.