Pro tips for finding — and falling in love with — your dream Charlottesville wedding venue.
There was a knee, a ring, tears you’ll never forget, and an ecstatic “yes!” Now, it’s time to get down to business and secure that perfect Charlottesville wedding venue. One that sets the tone and lets your couple style shine.
Where to Start?
Choosing Charlottesville as your wedding destination was the easy part. The picture-perfect mountain backdrops, farm-to-table food and wine, vibrant downtown, industry-leading vendors, and breathtaking metropolitan and countryside wedding venues make this one of the country’s most coveted landscapes.
As you dive into the wedding planning process — ideally at least one year out from your desired wedding date — the first thing you need to do is finalize your date and book a venue. Everything else can fall into place after those two pillars are set.
Top Factors to Consider
Guest Count: The biggest factor that will impact your wedding cost is the size or the number of guests you invite. Most Charlottesville wedding venue ceremony and reception maximum capacities land between 200 and 350 guests.
Venue Budget: Couples typically allocate 15% of their budget for a wedding venue. The average wedding cost in the Charlottesville area in 2021 was about $30,000. Generally, Novela’s couples invest 1.5x to 3x this amount, or $44,000 to $88,000. See the graphic below for a full breakdown of costs.
Availability: Your dream venue may need to be booked well over a year in advance. Consider if you’ll be getting married on a prime Saturday in the peak season (May and June, September and October). Or are you able to have your wedding on a non-peak day of the week during a non-peak month? If so, this may open up more venue possibilities.
Onsite Lodging: Would you prefer guests stay onsite or nearby? Or perhaps you’re envisioning a weekend retreat with your wedding party and close family. A handful of Charlottesville venues offer on-property cottages and cabins while shuttle options from downtown hotels are plentiful.
Average Charlottesville Wedding Venue Cost:
Low season (December–April, July–August): $8,277
High season (May–June, September–November): $13,769
Call in the Charlottesville Wedding Experts
First, exhale and know that you’ve got a trusted local partner in the wedding planning process. Think of Novela as your personal wedding concierge. We're here to help you design, book, and finance the wedding of your dreams, one step at a time. More on how Novela can help you later, but first, let’s find your perfect Charlottesville wedding venue.
Tips From the Pros
Take cues from these Charlottesville wedding planners’ stories of real-life couples who found their dream venue.
Owner and Lead Planner at Hannah Rose Events
In 2019, I worked with Becca and Steve and we toured a variety of different venues including King Family, Early Mountain, The Clifton, and James Monroe Highland. They were looking for something in the Charlottesville area for 150 guests. Their deciding factors included distance from town, rain plan, tables and chairs included, and a space that didn't need too much décor.
We ultimately worked with Early Mountain Vineyards and chose it based on what was included, the feel of the space, and because it had a great rain plan in case of inclement weather. The space at Early Mountain was perfect for their fall wedding festivities and we lucked out with perfect weather!
Hannah’s Top Tips:
- Comparing venues solely based on pricing isn't an accurate comparison as each venue includes a different inventory, and things like the quality of the included chairs matter.
- Make sure you know what your plan is for inclement weather and that you're comfortable with what it would look like if we had to use that plan.
- Know what vendors are responsible for vs. what the venue team handles.
- Something people don't often think of is how accessible the space is for transportation and vendor loading.
Wedding Planner & Designer at Little Acorn Events
One couple’s top priority was the guest experience and having an event that flowed beautifully and smoothly from one space to the next. Another piece that mattered was the views and celebrating the beautiful outdoors of our blissful slice of Virginia. They chose to wed at Keswick Vineyards, with a ceremony in the vines, cocktail hour on the terrace, and the reception in the gorgeous sailcloth tent. Every part of their June wedding day was perfect (it wasn't even humid that day!) The flow of events was beautiful, with guests moving easily from one space to the next and enjoying the different highlights of each space.
Mia’s Top Tips:
- The Vision + The Dream: Ask yourself if the space resonates with you and if you can see yourself spending the most important day of your life here, saying the most important words in your vows, and cherishing memories for years to come with this place as the backdrop.
- The Logistics: It is important to know what time you have access to the venue for getting ready, and what time your vendor team has access for set up. Is there a spot onsite for both of you to get ready? What is the bathroom situation? I once had a client tell me that a restroom trailer was a deal breaker, for example. And you may need to consider ADA access for your guests. What's the parking situation? What's the backup rain plan (make sure you like the rain plan, because we all know Virginia weather is unpredictable!)
- The Goods: On a practical note, find out what is included and provided at your venue. Do they have in-house catering? Tables and chairs? Any decor? Is there staff onsite to assist with set up and breakdown?
Owner & Lead Planner at All the Dainty Details
Your wedding is all about you and your partner, and your venue should reflect that. When working with Carrie and Andrew on finding their dream wedding venue, the vision of their big day was our main focus. They wanted to be immersed in nature, surrounded by mountain views, and had a very relaxed vibe. We then chatted through their lists of must-haves or non-negotiables. One of the main things they wanted was to deliver a memorable and fun experience for their guests. Based on their budget, overall vision, and prioritizing the guest experience, Carrie and Andrew chose Rockfish Ranch for their October 2023 wedding. Rockfish Ranch is the perfect venue for them with its scenic backdrops and private estate offering a weekend retreat for the couple and their guests!
Mallory’s Top Tips:
- Have a clear understanding of your guest list.
- Figure out your realistic budget early on.
- Enlist the help and expertise of a wedding planner. They are invaluable resources.
- Site visits with your planner are always a good idea. We are much more familiar with the capabilities of space, layout, and time and energy you’ll need to really transform a venue into the wedding you envision.
Catering and Special Events Director of Operations at Exchange Events
- Choose early. One year out just isn’t enough time to ensure booking prime dates at the best venues.
- Establish a budget. Too often clients call us for catering with a really lovely venue that they’ve spent half their budget on. Hiring a planner can really help point you in the right direction and it is the best money you can spend.
- Research! This will help you decide on the style of venue — vineyard, farmhouse, industrial, etc. We have so many great options in the Charlottesville area and knowing your aesthetic will help you narrow the scope to just the ones that are a fit for you.
Setting the Vibe
Your wedding venue is your canvas. This is where every special wedding day detail you’ve ever daydreamed about comes to life. Start by asking yourself:
- Does this venue align with our overall vision?
- What type of guest experience do I want to impart?
- How will the day flow from the ceremony to cocktail hour to the reception?
"Do you love the idea of a big floral installation at your ceremony site, or an elaborate drink bar or escort card display? Your vendor team will need time to build out and tear down. Communicate from the beginning the venue's rules for vendor arrival, installation and pickup to ensure that come your big day everything will run smoothly. This is definitely information to include as you compare your dream venues!"
— Tori Keys
Lead Design Representative at Emerson James Rental
Venue Visits 101: Deciding If It’s the Right Fit For You
Before you sign a contract, be sure you’ve read the fine print. Here’s what you need to clarify before you secure your Charlottesville wedding venue.
Ask the Right Questions
- Is my date available?
- What’s included in the venue rental?
- How many hours are included? Is there an overtime fee if I stay longer?
- What’s the ceremony rain plan?
- Parking, bathrooms, handicap accessibility, and other logistics
- Closest accommodations
- What restrictions are there on my other vendors?
- Is there a dance floor?
- Curfew or noise rules?
- Is the venue kid-friendly?
- Do you allow dogs in the ceremony / on the grounds?
- Do you allow fire pits, sparklers, fireworks, etc.?
- Is there a security fee and, if so, what is the timeframe in which it is returned?
- What licenses and insurance are needed?
- What is the cancellation policy?
Our Preferred Charlottesville Wedding Venues
We Break it Down For You
What’s the top priority? A gorgeous vineyard backdrop? Plenty of space for cocktails and dancing? An elegant, dramatic aesthetic? We’ve done the legwork and vetted the area’s top wedding venues, sorting them by main attraction details.
Must-Have: Versatile Spaces
Castle Hill Cider
Bucolic beauty is king here. Settle into fragrant apple orchards and 600 acres of lush greenery. Plan your day among indoor and outdoor venues. Pronounce your vows under 4,500 apple trees. Host cocktail hour by the lake. Play out your dream photo shoot in the secluded grove. Dance and dine in the iconic white cider barn and spill out onto terraced lawns boasting exquisite backdrops. Learn More.
Mount Ida Farm & Vineyard
Find plenty of room to flow at this 5,000-acre wine country sanctuary. Select from four private venues: The romantic event barn with its own gated country estate entrance, Water’s Edge where ceremonies unfold on a pristine private lake, The Lodge with its crystal chandeliers and picturesque grove, and a Tasting Room showcasing wine country splendor. A nine-bedroom 1795 manor houses your wedding party and close family. Learn More.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard
Expertly designed event spaces overlook dreamy mountains and lush vineyards at this iconic Charlottesville wedding venue. Gather on two richly manicured ceremony lawns, both natural plein-air estate centerpieces. Design an exquisite reception in the spacious agrarian-inspired Granary. Channel Tuscany on the classic stone Veranda and sip renowned varietals in the winery Tasting Room. Learn More.
Must-Have: Historic Elegance
This prestigious Colonial Revival manor home delivers timeless grace and sophistication. Treat guests to a lush croquet lawn, blooming secret gardens, and richly appointed suites and cottages. Built in the late 18th century for Thomas Jefferson's daughter, this seminal estate stretches across 100 acres and features striking indoor and outdoor spaces that include a sun-drenched Veranda, an esteemed library, and an eight-peaked sailcloth tent with hardwood flooring. Learn More.
A pristine family-run property, the breathtaking Edgewood Estate, and Keswick Vineyards is nestled in a valley of rolling farmland. The property’s centerpiece grand historic columned mansion and opulent fountain provide unforgettable backdrops while the luminescent hand-stitched Aurora tent’s sweeping peaks and the lush carriage house lawn set a gracious reception scene. Learn More.
The Inn at Willow Grove
This endearing foothills boutique inn sits on an 18th-century estate, offering up magnificent venues and endless Southern charm. Enjoy an air of historic enchantment alongside modern amenities that include comfortable cottages and suites, a house sommelier and concierge, and a renowned spa. Learn More.
Montalto at Monticello
Montalto, or the “high mountain,” rises 410 feet above Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home just five miles from downtown Charlottesville. The meticulously restored 11,000-square-foot American country home is a private event venue featuring a parlor with original heart pine floors, a richly designed conservatory, a multi-level terrace, and a ceremony field and generous tent field reception space overlooking all of Charlottesville, Monticello, UVA, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Learn More.
Must-Have: Romantic Appeal
Mount Fair Vineyard
Sweet and loveable with its own charming style, family-owned Mount Fair is one of Albemarle County’s oldest and best-preserved historic homes. Gentle rolling hills, sunlit horse paddocks, and wildflower meadows contribute to the appealing aesthetic, while a private cottage, state-of-the-art equestrian facilities, a glass greenhouse, the well-appointed Paddock House, and an eight-acre vineyard provide a myriad of wedding weekend spaces. Learn More.
The Market at Grelen
A flourishing fairytale wonderland impresses and inspires at this 1,000-acre tree nursery. Pull in lush florals and thriving greenery for a whimsical greenhouse reception that’s alive and breathing. Share your vows under the gorgeous weeping cherry tree in the Half Moon Garden and host a dream photo shoot in the berry field and legendary Bloomfield enveloped in postcard valley and Blue Ridge vistas. Learn More.
Wedding weekend possibilities span horseback riding to private yoga to riverside brunching at this rural, refined retreat destination. Design a mindful family-style gathering around numerous ceremony and celebration sites and invite guests to stay in modern luxury cabins. Enjoy full use of the entire property from Thursday afternoon until Sunday evening and call on the expert concierge team to arrange excursions and celebrations that connect and delight. Learn More.
Must-Have: Vineyard Love
King Family Vineyards
The King family lives and works in this cherished vineyard and state-of-the-art polo facility. Soak in sweeping soul-soothing mountain views, award-winning wines, and warm, bright spaces. Windmills, horses, a beautiful equestrian barn, and a charismatic carriage house bedecked in barrel stave chandeliers and granary oak floors add to the wine country allure. Learn more.
Move from luxurious barn and pavilion spaces to sparkling lakes and romantic grapevine rows at this grand 1,300-acre private estate. Gather in the onsite Chapel where a Herron pipe organ and ornate wooden pews herald 18th-century English design. Tailor events around the superb Grand Cru, Sparkling, and Meritage ballrooms and stay in the 26,000-square-foot, 11-bedroom Albemarle Estate mansion. Learn More.
Early Mountain Vineyards
Classic wine country vines and views, warm hospitality, and poised, elegant spaces define this charmed countryside venue. Arrange your celebrations around the grandiose event hall, the vaulted tasting room, secluded wine library chambers, and the magical guest cottage nestled in the grapevines. Learn More.
Cascading mountains and vibrant vineyard rows mesmerize at this special 250-acre wine country destination. Steal away sacred moments in the cozy, quiet wine cellar, dip and twirl on the expansive ballroom dance floor, and treat guests to modern American cuisine and award-winning wines. Learn More.
Must-Have: Dramatic Urban Detail
Discover chic city elegance across marble floors, massive gilded columns, converted bank vault spaces, and a vibrant art gallery. Modern-day weddings and rehearsals are cloaked in turn-of-the-century American architecture and an exclusive private banquet room where guests dine and dance beneath original glass-pane windows and attractive sparkling chandeliers. Learn more.
The Wool Factory
This gorgeously restored 19th-century textile mill sits on the edge of downtown Charlottesville. More than 6,000 square feet of space reveals clean lines and exposed brick, ushering guests from the intimate multi-level Workshop and Broadcloth private dining spaces to an airy main event hall and out onto the spacious creekside courtyard. Learn more.
A Friend in the Industry
Working with Novela is like having a trusted friend — one with copious insider knowledge and industry connections — by your side every step of the way. We’ll match you with an expert wedding concierge to customize your wedding day plan, including venue and vendor recommendations, detailed pricing options, a high-level budget framework, and a customized checklist just for you.
Find your perfect Charlottesville venue, book all your vendors, and finance your wedding at 0% interest — all in one place. Novela is the first transactional one-and-done wedding planning company.