When you think of a wedding in and around DC, the words “rustic,” or “country chic” probably aren’t the first to come to mind. However, beyond the stately capital buildings and the five-star hotels, there are plenty of venues outside of the city that just ooze vintage and lowcountry charm. From the Winery at Bull Run’s sprawling yard overlooking a historic battlefield to Pippin Hill Farm’s breathtaking barn, you can decorate with as many mason jars, gingham napkins and burlap table runners as your heart can handle. The best part? These venues, which spread through Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland, are only 2 1/2 hours max from the bustling city, which means your guests can still enjoy the touristy landmarks before or after you say "I do."
Winery at Bull Run
Located just 40 minutes from downtown DC, the Winery at Bull Run is one of Northern Virginia’s newest wineries. Located right next to the famous Bull Run Battlefield, the inside of the main barn is decorated with relics and artifacts found on the property’s ground. In addition to the wood-paneled barn’s charming interior, most brides opt for a ceremony on the winery’s stunning grounds – which overlook the rolling hills of Centreville, a picturesque horse farm and the newly planted grapes. Many of the wedding packages come with a free wine tasting for the bride and groom, as well as discounts on the winery’s award-winning wines for guests. The winery also has a dedicated wedding and event planner on staff to make your big day even more seamless.
Shenandoah National Park
About two hours from DC and nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains is Shenandoah National Park. Not just a favorite for DC locals looking for a weekend away from the stress of the city, the park is also a dream wedding venue for many local couples. There’s lodging for those who want to wed and stay inside the National park, like the Big Meadow’s Lodge or the Skyland Resort. The hotels offer a kitschier vibe (think antlers on the wall), but the proximity to Skyline Drive and the views from the rooms make up for it. The park also has specific venues and lookouts perfect for intimate ceremonies and romantic photos. For those who want to marry just outside of the park with breathtaking views of the mountains, opt for a rustic ceremony at Khimaira Farm. Bonus? You’re within short driving distance to Luray Caverns.
Pippin Hill Farm
Voted one of the top 50 wedding venues in the US, Pippin Hill Farm boasts some of the best views of the Blue Ridge Foothills. The property has four venues, with the Grannary as the most popular. The 3,600 square foot venue touts two story vaulted ceilings (that looks divine draped with fresh flowers and bulb lights) and hardwood flours to finish the glamourous barn-like aesthetic. For smaller weddings and a vibe that’s a little more Italian villa than Southern barn, say I do at the ceremony site (which provides 360 degree sweeping vistas of the mountains and vineyards) then take your reception to the Veranda Terrace and Courtyard, which has handmade wooden furniture and candlelit lanterns. No detail is left unturned at Pippin Hill, with a stunning bridal suite offering Restoration Hardware-esque furniture and a full-service wedding planner.
Black Horse Inn
Tucked away in the wine country of Warrenton, Virginia, the Black Horse Inn offers brides a taste of 1850’s history along with a Gone with the Wind design aesthetic. The mansion has just 9 rooms with private baths (perfect for the bridal party and families) and four venues that you can pick from. During the spring and summer, when the flowers are in bloom and the temperatures warm, the grand gazebo in the lush garden is the most popular ceremony location. The grand ballroom, which sits up to 200 guests, is a great place for an elegant dinner. You can also tent in the yard for a warm-weather reception and for incredible views of the stately mansion.
Riverside on the Potomac
Nestled on 80 acres and overlooking the mighty Potomac River, Riverside on the Potomac offers three distinct venues, with the crowd favorite being the Historic Bank Barn. Recently renovated, the barn can seat up to 275 guests and is decorated with antique tables, thousands of twinkling bulb string lights and plenty of shabby accent tables and chairs. The waterfall terrace and patio can be tented, so brides can add their own rustic elements to the design (like white-washed tables and dangling candelabras).
The Woodlands at Algonkian
Right in the center of Algonkian Regional Park and flanked by towering trees, the Woodlands is the perfect blend of country charm and outdoor beauty. The main event space is outfitted with high ceilings, a striking stone fireplace and large windows featuring views of the forest. The ceremony location, which features a large pergola, sits right beneath the trees. Although many Northern Virginia brides perfect a spring or summer wedding, the venue is actually at its most beautiful in the fall, when all of the trees turn a magnificent shade of red, yellow and orange. The accommodations are a little more basic (think small cabins with simple furnishings), but can sleep your guests who are more outdoorsy. Best part of this venue? It’s just minutes from Dulles International Airport – making it easier than ever for out of town guests to attend.
Catoctin Hall at Musket Ridge
With sweeping vistas over acres of lush, green golf course with rolling hills and lakes speckled in the forefront, the ceremony location at Catoptric Hall is couldn’t be more perfect. Just minutes from the quaint charm of small town Frederick, Maryland and just an hour and a half outside of DC, the venue offers guests plenty of things to do before or after the wedding. The rustic charm of the venue can be found all along the wooden bridges that connect the golf course and the hall (which also double as perfect places to shoot romantic photos during sunset with your groom). The hall itself is like a Pinterest board come to life – with an authentically vintage metal roof, beautiful stonework throughout, a white outdoor gazebo overlooking the golf course and hills and wrought-iron chandeliers.
Sunset Hills Vineyard
One of Northern Virginia’s most famous wineries, Sunset Hills overlooks the picture-perfect hills of Loundon County. Not only is the location perfect for a rustic soiree (thanks to the main buildings wood paneled interior and the winery’s famous 1870’s Amish restored barn and the glamourous chandelier room, the wine is actually some of the state’s best too, and boasts plenty of award-winning varietals, like Chardonnay aged in stainless steel or Virginia’s deep red Norton grape. Call sunset hills for a reason, if you choose to wed during the golden hour you’ll be regaled with incredible photos of the sun setting over Willow Hill.