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". Read more about using Blandy for your elopement / small wedding.
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 as part of the Woodland Package (learn more). I live atop a lovely mountain north of Winchester that is easily accessible from the highway featuring three acres of gentle sloping woods. Should it rain or call for inclement weather the day of your wedding, we have a dedicated cozy room inside the house to accommodate for an indoor ceremony. We can always take some creative photographs afterwards outside with umbrellas that I can provide. 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 you can visit our pet pigs as well!
As this package takes place at my private residence, only the couple can be accommodated. No other guests are allowed to attend. Couples are welcome to bring their dog as long as he / she remains on a leash (my property is not fenced in and is frequented by deer and other wild animals).
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 75 miles from Washington, D.C. The park includes spectacular vistas, quiet wooded hollows and incredible scenic views all along the entire park. Read more about using Shenandoah National Park for your elopement / small wedding.
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.
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 several very affordable options in Winchester, VA which are perfect for quick elopement or small wedding ceremonies (and pictures!).
As mentioned above, I offer my scenic wooded mountain property as part of the Woodland Package (learn more). While most known for its featured quieted wooded setting, our residence also includes a dedicated quiet room on our lower-level to accommodate an indoor ceremony if needed (complete with a vine archway and lit pine tree decor). As a bonus, you always have the option of having me take some creative photographs afterwards outside in the woods with provided umbrellas.
As this package takes place at my private residence, only the couple can be accommodated. No other guests are allowed to attend.
The Fuller House is a great indoor option for elopements and small weddings. Owned by my friend Susan Winkeler, this historic venue is located right in the heart of historic Old Town Winchester and features large open rooms along with a private garden if the weather is nice. As an added bonus Susan offers my clients a discounted rate! Check out additional photos and read more about The Fuller House.
The Mount Hebron Chapel is a quaint, non-denominational chapel located at Mount Hebron Cemetery (directly across the street from the courthouse) available to my clients to rent for civil weddings (religious or non-religious). The chapel provides ample seating for 10-15 guests and provides a quiet, sheltered environment for your elopement. As an added bonus, the stone structure on the exterior of the chapel provides a wonderful backdrop for photographs if included in your package. Available to rent per hour, the Mount Hebron Chapel is a fantastic affordable indoor option right in the heart of Winchester. Contact me for pricing information.
If you plan on staying a night or two at the historic George Washington Hotel in downtown Winchester, Virginia...you have the option of having your wedding and photos right there, usually with no additional cost. I have performed several elopement and small weddings at the George Washington when the weather has not cooperated.
The hotel is right in the middle of historic Winchester, VA and only a block or so from the town’s main street known as Loudoun, featuring many restaurants and quaint shops to check out. An added bonus is that it is right by the courthouse as well if you decide to get your marriage license in Winchester!
If you would like more information on this option, contact me and I can put you directly in touch with the hotel's event manager for additional information.
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.
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.