A list of free and affordable locations where you can elope or have a very small wedding that are located in and around Winchester and Northern Virginia.
If you are planning on eloping or having a very small wedding with only a few guests, there is no reason to pay a large fee to rent a venue for hours. There are plenty of free and scenic locations in and around the Winchester, Virginia area.
Here are some of my top location suggestions when it comes to getting married (and having your photographs taken) in the Northern Shenandoah Valley for free or at a very affordable cost.
Let me start off with the obvious choice of Old Town Winchester. If you are getting your marriage license at the courthouse in Winchester, then Old Town is only a few blocks over! Full of historic and small town charm, Old Town Winchester (or the walking mall as us locals call it) is full of shops, spots to eat, and plenty of places to take photographs.
If you're looking to stay in the Winchester area, but want something a little more quiet and natural, look no further than Jim Barnett Park. Located roughly 5 minutes from the Winchester courthouse, the park includes a pond, walking paths, and many secluded wooded areas full of beautiful trees and plants perfect for photos and exchanging your vows.
Roughly 15 minutes east of Winchester off of Route 50 is one of the absolute best outdoor places to have your elopement or small wedding. Known as Blandy Experimental Farm and designated as the State Arboretum, the free park is 172 acres full of amazing trees, plants, flowers and a vast amount of scenic areas that are wonderful spots for saying "I do".
If you are looking for a scenic wooded area with complete privacy, I offer my own backyard as an outdoor location offering to my clients. I live atop a lovely mountain north of Winchester that is easily accessible from the highway featuring three acres of gentle sloping woods. Should you prefer a marriage at night, our property also features a lighted tunnel directly next to our home. I will also add that if you like animals, we have a small miniature pony you can visit with as well! If you choose my home as your venue, you can add in a portrait photo package at a discounted rate as part of the Woodland Package.
As this package takes place at my private residence, only the couple can be accommodated. No other guests are allowed to attend.
Available April - December (closed for weather maintenance during January - March)
In my opinion, this is the most scenic area to get married in the entire Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia area. Shenandoah National Park is only 20 miles from Winchester, VA and only 75 miles from Washington, D.C. The park includes spectacular vistas, quiet wooded hollows and incredible scenic views all along the entire park.
If you are interested in getting married on a mountain, Bears Den features the absolute best westward-facing overlook of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. Located right along the Appalachian Trail (25 minutes or so from Winchester, VA), Bears Den features wooded walking trails, a rustic cottage and one of the most amazing views you will find in the area. Please note that the scenic overlook area is a short 1/2 mile walk from the parking area along a wooded trail, so please dress appropriately. Also this is a popular destination because of its ease of access, so expect there to be a few other people present.
This location is a perfect middle meeting point if you happen to be coming from the Washington, D.C. area and do not want to travel all the way out to Winchester, VA. The Manassas Battlefield National Park (1 hour from Winchester, VA) is located at the site of the two famous Civil War battles, and features vast fields, stone houses and many other picturesque areas to hold your short elopement ceremony (and take photographs).
Sometimes the weather does not cooperate, in which case it is a good plan to have a back up indoor small wedding venue in mind. I am proud to know of two very affordable options in Winchester, VA which are perfect for quick elopement or small wedding ceremonies (and pictures!).
The most affordable and top recommended place for an indoor small wedding is by far the Nancy Shepherd House Inn. Owned by business partner and fellow marriage commissioner David McLaughlin, the Inn is full of history and rustic charm perfect for hosting a short exchanging of vows or small ceremony.
The inn is located directly in the heart of Winchester, VA and is only a short walk from Old Town and the Winchester courthouse.
The Fuller House is another great indoor option for small weddings. Owned by Susan Winkeler (and assisted by David McLaughlin), this house is a larger indoor option for small to medium-sized weddings. The Fuller House is a very affordable indoor wedding venue in Winchester, and features an open floor plan and private garden.
You can text me at 540-686-1220 and I will respond to you right away with my availability for a same day marriage.
Interested in some photographs of you both to cherish your memorable day? Being a professional photographer I also offer that as well. You can see my available photography packages here if interested.