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Houston's Best Wedding Venues

Houston's 10 Best Wedding Venues: These most unusual spots put the country clubs and hotels to shame

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Airport Museum Wedding with Krystin Placette Gillogly and Terrence Gillogly
The 1940 Air Terminal Museum where Krystin Placette Gillogly wed Terrence Gillogly Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
Airport Museum wedding interior with crowd Airport Museum Wedding with Krystin Placette Gillogly and Terrence Gillogly
Krystin Placette Gillogly and Terrence Gillogly take their frist dance in the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
5226 Elm St. wedding ceremony
Indoors or outdoors, 5226 Elm St. offers a variety of entertaining spaces. 5226elm.com
5226 Elm St. exterior day
The contemporary facade belies garden warmth inside at 5226 Elm St. 5226elm.com
The Bell Tower on 34th Street, wedding venue
The Bell Tower on 34th offers a variety of settings for romantic weddings.  The Bell Tower on 34th Street
The Bell Tower on 34th Street wedding and reception venue outdoors
The amazing architecture of the Bell Tower is perfect backdrop for romantic weddings. The Bell Tower on 34th/Facebook
Majestic Metro, theater
The historic Majestic Metro Theatre an entertaining wedding site. Photo courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
News_Majestic Metro_dining tables_table settings
The Majestic Metro sets the stage for a great wedding. Photo by J. Cogliandro
News_Julia Ideson Library_restoration_December 2011_Exterior of the restored Julia Ideson Library
A $32 million renovation makes the Julia Ideson Library a grand wedding site. Photo by Jenny Antill
News_Julia Ideson Library_restoration_December 2011_Tudor Gallery inside Julia Ideson Library is  one of the newly restored spaces available for private event rentals
Public spaces are open for wedding receptions at the Julia Ideson Library. Photo by Jenny Antill
News_Asia_Society_Center_of_Texas_building
The contemporary architecture of the Asia Society Texas Center makes an appealing setting for sophisticated celebrating. Photo by Paul Hester/© 2011 Hester + Hardaway
River Oaks Garden Forum exterior day
The River Oaks Garden Club Forum is a lovely place for a smaller wedding. Photo by i_am_jim/Wikipedia
News_Bayou Bend cocktail party_April 2012_venue_crowd
The gardens at Bayou Bend provide the ultimate romantic wedding setting. Photo by Jenny Antill
Airport Museum Wedding with Krystin Placette Gillogly and Terrence Gillogly
Airport Museum wedding interior with crowd Airport Museum Wedding with Krystin Placette Gillogly and Terrence Gillogly
5226 Elm St. wedding ceremony
5226 Elm St. exterior day
The Bell Tower on 34th Street, wedding venue
The Bell Tower on 34th Street wedding and reception venue outdoors
Majestic Metro, theater
News_Majestic Metro_dining tables_table settings
News_Julia Ideson Library_restoration_December 2011_Exterior of the restored Julia Ideson Library
News_Julia Ideson Library_restoration_December 2011_Tudor Gallery inside Julia Ideson Library is  one of the newly restored spaces available for private event rentals
News_Asia_Society_Center_of_Texas_building
River Oaks Garden Forum exterior day
News_Bayou Bend cocktail party_April 2012_venue_crowd

While June is the traditional month for weddings, we can't forget that couples are planning their mergers throughout the year with August, September and October ranking as the next favorite months and December gaining in popularity. Once that wedding date is set, the search begins for where. So with weddings on many a young couple's mind at the moment, CultureMap takes a look at that second big decision.

We'll leave the country club and hotel ballroom venues up to you. But for brides looking for something more interesting H-Town has a great lineup of possibilities that go beyond the ordinary.

The reception can soar at Hobby Airport. Or the bride can star on stage in a vintage theater. And for brides with a taste for history, there is a magnificent library for saying "I do."

CultureMap looks at a handful of the varied possibilities for weddings off the beaten path.

The Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion — Funded as one of the most romantic birthday gifts ever, Hermann Park's freshly-minted garden spot will surely be a favorite with brides and party planners alike. Set amid the 15-acre McGovern Centennial Gardens, the glass pavilion is designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson's Peter Bohlin, who designs the glass Apple stores worldwide. Brides looking for a strikingly contemporary space in a rich garden setting will find this the must-have destination.

But those brides will need to put wedding plans off until the start of 2015, when the space will officially be available for rental. While an official reservations system is not yet in place, there are already four weddings booked for 2015. The pavilion will hold 220 guests and there is a celebration garden which can be booked separately for outdoors events.

 Brides looking for a strikingly contemporary space in a rich garden setting will find this the must-have destination.  

The Cherie Flores Pavilion will have a wall of windows looking out onto the gardens. There is a plaza with a reflection pool in front of the pavilion which can be used for cocktails. Sweet.

The 1940 Air Terminal MuseumThe original Houston Municipal Airport is an Art Deco wonder located on the edge of Hobby Airport. It's an air show all day long as the Hobby air traffic keeps the nearby runways active. The romance ramps up at night with the aircraft light show.

Night or day, aviation buffs will find the historic space works well for a smaller wedding.

The recently-restored atrium space handles 150 seated or 200 standing. For the bride who has something larger in mind, the museum space can be supplemented with a party tent at an adjacent space. For a really big affair, the next door hangar (now that's a unique wedding venue) can handle 500 guests.

And if your honeymoon destination requires a flight on Southwest Airlines, you're already at the airport! Contact information is available here.

The Julia Ideson Library — The Spanish Renaissance architecture of this beautiful building is inspiration enough for a grand wedding or wedding reception. The building served as  the city's central library from 1926 to 1976. The following year it joined the National Register of Historic Places. And in December 2011, a $32 million refurbishing project was completed, restoring the original grandeur to the building.

The renovation added an open-air loggia and pristine reading garden, ideal for an outdoor wedding. The restored second floor Tudor Gallery is perfect for a wedding party of 100 and a beautiful spot it is with restored coffered ceiling and surrounding mezzanine level, intricate woodworking and marble columns.

Booking information is available here.

5226 Elm St. — Billed as a stylishly modern party place, Fifty-two-twenty-six has earned honors from the American Institute of Architects as Building of the Year in Texas and it has to be one of the more intriguing locales for a small to moderate-sized wedding. Sleek contemporary interiors, cool architectural design outdoors, a lavish garden and beautiful pool offer a variety of settings for saying "I do."

The striking contemporary spaces are for the bride looking beyond old world glamour to something fresh and modern. Bonus — the place has a full catering kitchen. You can check it all out here.

Majestic Metro Theatre — Of course, all the world's a stage, but the bride who books her wedding here can truly be the star of the show. The architectural elegance of the theater, built in 1926, serves as a grand showcase for a wedding party. This is one of the few, if not the only, venue to offer a silver screen backdrop to the happenings.

 Of course, all the world's a stage, but the bride who books her wedding here can truly be the star of the show. 

The theater place is ready to party with a large dance floor, banquet style seating and state-of-the art light and sound systems. Details including costs are here.

The River Oaks Garden Club Forum — This historic gem, located a stone's throw from River Oaks, is the sweetest of places for a wedding. Built in 1910, the Forum of Civics, as it is formally known, is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits in the midst of a tree-shrouded garden loaded with flowering plants.

A spring wedding here during azalea season is nothing less than spectacular. At any time in the year, however, the Forum provides a genteel environment for nuptial celebrations. With a limit of 175 guests, brides often add a party tent in the back garden, a space that can double for both wedding and after-party while the historic structure can serve as a reception area.

Asia Society Texas Center —Since its opening two years, the dramatic design of the Yoshio Taniguchi building in the Museum District has quickly attracted brides looking for sophisticated surroundings for their celebrations.

The possibilities for entertaining in the vast building include the Grand Hall, the second-floor Education Center, the Water Garden Terrace overlooking the water garden and the spacious festival lawn. The bonus here is that the museum has a commercial kitchen to handle catering needs. 

Rental inquiries and bookings can be made here.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens — There simply cannot be a lovelier locale for a wedding reception than the grounds of Bayou Bend — particularly when the azaleas are in full bloom —where towering oaks and pines create a verdant canopy to the eight formal gardens. The house is not open for tours but the gardens and north lawn, adjacent to the Diana Fountain are available.

Brides with deep pockets and a certain faith in the weather have chosen this spot for many years and while it is not new, it is so special as to be worth consideration.

Rental for the property (plus your cost of erecting a tent, rentals, perhaps replanting sod, security and all the other reception elements) range from approximately $7,500 to $15,000 depending on the guest count. Details are available here.

The Bell Tower on 34thFor brides who've dreamed of marrying amid the romance of an Italian villa or perhaps a Spanish hacienda, the remarkable Bell Tower offers just that other-worldly experience. With a grand ballroom, smaller spaces, chapels, wine rooms and courtyard gardens to choose from, the possibilities are varied with the common element being a sense of fairytale romance. There is even a waterwall for a dramatic wedding backdrop.

The Old World European ambience is prevalent throughout the complex where high stucco walls and a high sense of romance delightfully separate guests from the reality just outside the gates. Think chandeliers, dramatic wrought-iron stairways, beautiful architectural detailing and rich gardens.

 There is even a waterwall for a dramatic wedding backdrop. 

The Bell Tower staff includes an on-site executive chef and catering and seasoned event planners. 

Rockfeller Hall — Originally the Citizen/Heights State Bank, built in 1925 and held up by Bonnie and Clyde in 1931, the building served as a nightclub from 1979 through 1997. Today, it welcomes brides, business, birthday celebrants and more, parties as small as 50, those as large as 300. The main party space is overlooked by a series of curving balconies on the second floor. 

Rockefeller Hall is a full-service venue with building rentals including furniture, furniture set-up/breakdown, event consultation/management and planning meetings. Also offered are linen services, floral services, entertainment bookings and other specialized services.

According to the website, the all-inclusive cost ranges from $90 to $120 per person (working from a minimum of 125 guests). Reach out to the staff here.

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