While they might not be for everyone, there’s simply no denying the fact that rustic venues fit our style of shooting and are the most popular amongst our clients. There’s something special about a rustic venue that screams comfy and cozy while also being extremely romantic. Whether you’re looking to get married at a beautiful barn or old victorian farmhouse oozing with history, there is a handful in the Tri-State area that we love photographing weddings at. Rustic venues have grown in popularity over the past several years as more and more of them began popping up. Even though we are primarily known as Philadelphia wedding photographers, a good majority of work is done at the many beautiful and rustic farm venues spread out across NJ and PA.
From high ceilings to vintage wallpaper, rough-cut stones to hardwood floors, the details that fill these venues with character drive home a much simpler, easier way of living. Rustic venues bring forth feelings of warmth, family, and that good ol’ country lifestyle that we love so much. While some choose to get married in the city or in big ballrooms, rustic barnyard or farm weddings have a very special place in our hearts. While we’ve shot at rustic venues all over the US, this article is going to focus on the ones that are a little closer to home.
Not only do we live on a small farm in South Jersey where we raise our son along with a bunch of chickens, goats, and other farm animals, but our studio is covered from one end to the other in reclaimed wood panels, leather furniture, antiques, hardwood floors, and custom-built wooden tables. If this is your style as well, you’ve come to the right place. When we were planning our own wedding, we chose a place in the Pocono Mountains where everyone in the wedding stayed in log cabins for the entire weekend. With a lake and red weathered barn in the background, it’s easy to see how the Twisted Oaks brand turned out to be what it is today and why we love shooting at this list of venues.
This is the first of a five-part series that will cover our favorite venues. While a good amount of newly engaged couples book their venue first, there are also those that decide to book their photographer before anything else. Each year we have clients come into the studio shortly after getting engaged and ask what our favorite venues are. Not only will this series cover those venues, but it will also show off some of our favorite photos taken at each one along with links to see more.
So, what exactly makes a venue one of our favorites to work at? Well, let’s explain.
To start off, we have photographed hundreds of weddings now all over the tri-state area (NJ, DE, PA) as well as across the United States. Since we are based out of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this series will primarily focus on those two states. Also, these venues were selected by our entire studio and not just Jay and Sandi. This was a team effort by everyone who works at Twisted Oaks.
Below is a list of criteria that goes into a venue becoming one of our favorites to shoot at:
1. How picturesque the property is and the creative options offered.
2. How professional and easy the staff is to work with.
3. Reviews from past clients and the overall experience that they had.
4. How much we, as photographers, simply enjoy working there.
5. The reviews our clients have given us about the venue.
Read below for our list of top 5 favorite rustic venues, in no particular order. The ones that make us feel at home and like family ourselves!
Rose Valley, PA
Enchanting gardens and rustic stone ruins set the tone for a magical wedding day at this beautiful and elegant venue. With a rich history as a snuff mill, a paper mill and then a wool mill in the 1800s, The Old Mill Rose Valley is oozing with arts & crafts and all the details of the old days that you could possibly dream of. It truly is a photographer’s playground with so much to choose from to creatively use in each and every shot.
Get married under the amazing archway in the stone garden courtyard, or in the Timber Pavilion and walk around the property finding hundreds of nooks and crannies for photos. The towering bamboo makes a perfect backdrop for a big bridal party, or wander over to the gentle streams of Ridley Creek for photos on the rocky landscape that lead up the mountainside for some absolutely stunning bride and groom photos. Perfect scenery joined with award-winning food from the pros at Conner Catering equals the best day ever!
The property sits on a 12-acre wildlife and bird sanctuary AND is dog-friendly!
Southampton Township, NJ
Bishop Farmstead has quickly shot up on our list of favorite venues over the past couple of years and for many reasons. Not only is it close to home for us but it’s staff is top notch and their style and vibe couldn’t match ours more perfectly. Their vintage “big red barn” oversees 12+ acres of native grasslands, full of natural wildflowers, birds, and butterflies. There’s also the beautifully rustic farmhouse that was built in the 1750s by a second-generation Quaker farmer that makes for a great backdrop to photos.
As you walk onto the property for the first time you’re quickly drawn to how beautiful the property is. While the beautiful wildflowers and rustic farm vibes immediately suck you in, the inside of the “big red barn” will truly win you over, as it did with us the very first time we worked there. Once you walk into the barn and up the stairs to the loft where all of the receptions are held you realize just how special this venue really is. The barn is the icing on the cake when it comes to this venue and we absolutely love everything about photographing weddings there. Throw in an incredible staff that not only takes amazing care of our clients throughout the day but also does everything they can to take care of us and help make our day go as smoothly as possible.
What else can we say about Bishop Farmstead? You truly have to see this venue for yourself. As for a bonus, it would have to be how good the sun hits this venue and how perfectly it lines up with some of our favorite parts of the property, including the ceremony location. For the majority of the wedding season, if timed right, the sun beautifully backlights the bride and groom as they walk down the aisle as you can see in many of our photos. Take a look!
Oh, one more thing… did we mention how amazing the staff is?
Glen Mills, PA
The “Flagship” location for Terrain in Glen Mills was founded in 2008 with the idea of transforming a garden center into a celebration of all things nature. Inspired by the idea of merging home and garden, the goal is to cater to their clients with a curated assortment of plants, for all seasons. No matter the time of year, it truly is a site to see. The Glen Mills venue was also the first of their three locations and is still our favorite. It’s a unique place in the fact that you can simply go exploring on the property and find some really cool nooks and crannies as backdrops to your wedding photos.
There’s simply a lot to love about Terrain at Styers from not only our perspective as photographers but also from the clients’ with everything that’s offered at this rustic-style wedding venue. The property is covered in reclaimed wood, antiques, and plenty of greenery no matter what time of year it is. The ceremony location offers a stone walkway down the aisle to the nearly century-old wooden Wedding Temple sourced from India that waits for you to get married under (weather permitting). The main building looks like an old barn and the craftsmanship that went into designing the inside only makes it that much better of an experience. If a garden center turned into a rustic style wedding venue fits your style, this is your venue.
There’s a historic mushroom house on the property that’s been restored and furnished to serve as a private suite for wedding couples. I have no idea what a mushroom house is but it’s a cool little bonus to a venue that already has a ton of unique features that make it an awesome place to photograph weddings. The other bonus to getting married at Terrain at Styers in Glen Mills is the greenery, we love our greenery here at Twisted Oaks and there’s plenty of it year-round.
Via their website’s contact form – click HERE.
As you pass through the lion-guarded front gates, you’ll find yourself on a long wooded road lined with old pines that instantly sparks your interest as to what else this stunning estate surrounded by hundreds of acres of preserved farmland has to offer. We’ve photographed several weddings now at the Ashford Estate and can tell you that it has plenty which is what makes it one of our favorite rustic venues to shoot at. If you’re torn between the old rustic barn type of vibe and a grand ballroom, this is the perfect venue for you. With a lake, waterfall, stone ruins, and a barn chapel, the Ashford Estate checks off all those boxes while also offering a beautiful grand ballroom for your wedding reception.
What’s not to love about a wedding venue that offers sprawling views across acres of preserved farmland, a rustic barn for ceremonies, stone ruins draped with lush green vines, a beautiful lake with a floating gazebo (yes, I said gazebo), and an estate with lavish interior design inspired by European country estates. It has everything we need as photographers to capture a good mix of rustic farm-style photos to vintage and elegant style portraits in the estate. The Ashford Estate calls itself a country estate with elegance and sophistication and we couldn’t agree more.
The Ashford Estate’s library is a perfect place for an after-party, we would know, we’ve attended a few 🙂 They also offer world-class cuisine from the International Caterers Association Chef of the Year. You can’t ask for much more than that from one of the most beautiful venues in our area.
Only via their website contact form – Click HERE!
New Hope, PA
History buffs and those looking for rustic charm will love this cross between a historic estate and a country farmstead. It was built from the ground up in the late 1700s, and many of the buildings are still there today. It’s one of our favorite venues because of how beautiful the grounds are and how creative we can be as photographers using all the old rustic buildings and other features.
The Barn provides a gorgeous backdrop for a reception with exposed beams and stones covering full walls. The delicious onsite catering has a farm-to-table premise and a big focus on sustainability for couples who want to go green.
One of the highlights of booking with Holly Hedge is the nearby Inn at HollyHedge and nearby sister property, The Lumberville 1740 House – which can accommodate over 60 guests between them, and will provide complimentary shuttle service for wedding guests, making transportation plans a piece of (wedding) cake.