If you’re a book lover who happens to be getting married (and really, you’re on this site; the odds are in your favor that you like to read), I have some good news for you: you don’t have to choose a traditional venue to say your vows. You can incorporate your love for books into your ceremony and support bookish institutions at the same time.
I’m talking about getting married in a library.
As someone whose local library meant a great deal to her growing up, getting married in a library sounds absolutely magical. These institutions are some of the most important in communities across the globe, providing essential free services and programs that we sorely need. How special would it be to declare your love and celebrate it with your family and friends in those hallowed halls?
While you may certainly want to marry in a local or regional library that means a lot to you and/or your partner, there are some truly stunning libraries in the U.S. that can accommodate larger weddings and have resources on hand for weddings specifically. You deserve a library space that will sweep you off your feet just as surely as your romance has, and this list is a great place to start.
Meet some of the most gorgeous, perfect U.S. libraries for you to get married in.
The New York Public Library in New York City, New York
Let’s start this list off with a bang: the Stephen A. Schwarzman New York Public Library building. Picture it: Your wedding ceremony in the main entrance hall, with its lofted ceilings and stone archways. The library allows you to rent a number of their halls and rooms, depending on your guest list and the kind of experience you want, and it can accommodate anywhere from 110 to a whopping 750 guests for a reception.
Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Public Library is a grand old beauty that will give your ceremony the ultimate grandiose, old world bookish feel. The library has numerous options for you to choose from depending on the vibe you want and the amount of guests, ranging from a courtyard ceremony with a reception in the beautiful Bates Hall shown above, to a tea room ceremony with a reception in the grand pillared Guastavino Room or art-filled Abbey Room, and more.
George Peabody Library in Baltimore, Maryland
There is a reason people come from all over the world to marry in the Reading Room: it’s one of the most gorgeous book-filled rooms in the world. The George Peabody Library is a one-of-a-kind wedding venue that will have your guests talking about it for years to come. The library can accommodate 200 seated guests and 350 standing, and their wedding offerings are a matched set: they only do ceremonies in conjunction with receptions.
Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois
Host your wedding in one of Chicago’s most iconic downtown buildings, which also just so happens to be a library. The Harold Washington Library‘s winter garden atrium is perfect for a light-filled, dazzling wedding with marble flooring and floor-to-ceiling windows, and it can accommodate 400 seated guests.
Salt Lake City Public Library in Salt Lake City, Utah
Is your style more modern, updated, and minimalist, but you still want to celebrate your vows in a bookish space? Let the sunlight into your ceremony at Salt Lake City’s Public Library with its glass and steel modern beauty. You can use their open atrium or their rooftop for an exceptional experience; they can formally seat 400 and handle receptions with up to 2,000 (!!) guests.
The Library at 190 South LaSalle in Chicago, Illinois
Maybe you’re looking for a more stately, old fashioned aesthetic for your wedding; you dream of dusty, leather-bound volumes, dim lighting, and walls of books all around you as you exchange vows with your beloved. The Library at 190 South LaSalle has everything you need, including views of Lake Michigan. It’s a former law library that still houses two stories of over 50,000 volumes of law books, and it has all the refined elegance and charm that you desire. The venue can accommodate 200 seated guests and 250 for a cocktail reception.
Indianapolis Central Library in Indianapolis, Indiana
For a classic, stately wedding experience, the Indianapolis Central Library has the lofted ceilings and gold gilded trim of your dreams. This library offers three different spaces to give you the aesthetic you desire: the light-filled atrium, the marble staircase-flanked Simon Reading Room, and the East Garden for an outdoor wedding. They offer free parking for guests (up to 300 cars) and provide their own exclusive caterer.
The Free Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Free Library in Philly also has three separate spaces you can reserve for your special day, and all give you a distinct vibe. You want an urban, outdoor wedding? Marry on their rooftop with the city skyline in the background. You want to be surrounded by stately architecture? Marry at the top of their grand staircase. They can accommodate up to 250 guests, provide an event staff, and even offer catering services.
San Diego Central Library in San Diego, California
The San Diego Central Library is a truly stunning piece of architecture that would be the perfect backdrop for your wedding photos, in addition to housing more books than you can shake a stick at. They have an events suite on the ninth floor available to rent for a reception with a view, and it can accommodate up to 500 standing guests, 216 for dining.
Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson Building in Houston, Texas
Have yourself a roaring ’20s style wedding in Houston Public Library’s 1926 historic Julia Ideson Building, with its grand staircase, marble pillars, and books galore in the Reading Room and the exhibit rooms. The space has a number of different options for you to reserve depending on the number of guests, from 130 people in the charming Meldrum Room, to 450 on the entire second floor or the Reading Room/Tudor Gallery. The Houston Public Library also offers other historic venues for your special day: the African American Library at the Gregory School and the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research.
If you’re considering a bookish wedding ceremony or reception, we hope this gives you some ideas. If you’re looking for a more intimate bookish ceremony, consider a bookstore wedding!