Amid many charming wedding venues, we asked top local photographers for their picks on the most poetic places to tie the knot. Better yet, most of these destinations are open to the public throughout the year.
The 48-acre Oakland Cemetery is a showplace of sculpture and architecture, a botanical preserve and a quiet retreat. “Not only is it a historic landmark of Atlanta where many famous names lay to rest, it’s a romantic and lively place to host a wedding. Yes, we realize the irony in that sentence,” says Six Hearts Photography’s Schellie Hogan.
Gothic revival and neoclassical mausoleums are scattered throughout the hallowed ground, which is in fact the final resting place of notable figures including “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell and golf legend Bobby Jones, among others.
“During cocktail hour, guests are able to join a historian for a tour of the grounds, where they can learn the history, see skyline views, find fields to play in,” adds Hogan. “There are photo opportunities galore and so much to explore.” The cemetery is open daily and admission is free.
Another favorite venue for Hogan is Ventanas, located above the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Atlanta in the Centennial Park District. “It has a helipad with a full 360 view of the city,” says Hogan. “Ventanas means ‘windows’ in English, and let us tell you something about the windows in this space: they are floor to ceiling with that same view from the helipad… If you’re looking to engulf your guests in the city, this is the only Atlanta option and a true Atlanta photographer’s dream.”
This premier event space isn’t regularly open to the public, making an invite to a special occasion here all the more special.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Located on 29 acres in an Atlanta suburb, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a strikingly ornate Hindu temple. Its stark-white exterior takes on the colors of the sky, while its white polished interior is often lit in various hues of blue, turquoise, orange or pale green, creating a beautiful canvas for ceremonies.
“The BAPS Mandir is an extraordinarily holy and beautiful venue,” says Rebecca Enslein of The Studio B Photography. “A mandir is a Hindu place of worship. It is made of stone and more than 34,000 individual pieces were carved by hand in India, shipped to the U.S. and assembled in Lilburn like a giant 3-D puzzle.”
The mandir is open daily to one and all from 9 am-6 pm, (guided tours available) and an Aarti ceremony takes place daily at 11:15 am.
American Spirit Works
Located in the Sweetwater Design District, American Spirit Works is one of Atlanta’s largest event spaces with a fully functioning whiskey distillery, covered courtyard, bottle garden and The Stave Room—covetable with its 18-foot ceiling and refined yet rustic interior’s warm, urban charm.
“The Stave Room is a blank canvas just waiting for a client’s unique and personal touch,” says Leigh + Becca Photography. “It was the perfect spot for a recent New Year’s wedding, complete with a balloon drop and Waffle House food truck!”
For your sippin’ pleasure, American Spirit Whiskey is open to visitors for tours and tastings (Th 4:30-7 pm, F 4:30-8 pm and Sa noon-5 pm). Check online for events.
Ponce City Market
In 2014, Ponce City Market began to reopen the fully renovated Sears, Roebuck & Company building, restoring its prominence as a vital landmark in Atlanta’s burgeoning Old Fourth Ward. It has since become a popular space not only for offices, apartments, retail and dining, but also a unique place to host special events--including on The Roof.
"Ponce City Market is newly renovated and one of the most historic buildings in Atlanta," says Laura Barnes of Laura Barnes Photo. "The venue space is amazing and unlike any other I have photographed."