Once an engaged couple has set the date, the next question is where to have the ceremony. The church one of them has gone to since childhood? A nearby hotel or local restaurant? Or for something really special, how about a destination wedding in historic French Lick-West Baden, where ideal venues abound for every budget, whether the couple is looking for indoor and traditional or outdoor and quirky.
“In the heart of French Lick, West Baden and all of Orange County, a destination wedding creates memories woven with threads of love, adventure and breathtaking backdrops,” said Brandy Ream, executive director of Visit French Lick-West Baden. “Begin your life together, return to continue the adventure and captivate the romance with us in Southern Indiana.”
The Hoosier Ballroom is the largest space at the French Lick Resort, with room for more than 2,500 guests, but it isn’t the only one. The Windsor Ballroom will hold 1,450, and the Clifton Ballroom 680. For smaller services the Taggart Ballroom will hold around 200.
Also at the resort is Table One, an ideal spot for a champagne bridal shower luncheon, or perhaps the group would prefer an elegant garden party. The hotel has staff to help co- ordinate the perfect event.
Plenty of spots on the property are ideal for the groom’s friends to throw him a memorable bachelor party, whether that means a round of golf on a Pete Dye course, a few games in the bowling alley or spending time in the casino. The big finish can be dinner at either 1875: The Steakhouse or Sinclair’s.
The bride and her party, meanwhile, might choose to luxuriate and prepare for the big day ahead at one of the spas. The Spa at French Lick offers massages, facials, wraps and the opportunity to soak in the same restorative springs that made the location famous in the 1800s. The Spa at West Baden offers many of the same services in an Old World European setting complete with a lap pool and fitness center.
Another option is Abbeydell Hall at Legend of French Lick. The space has large windows, French doors, an awning under which to park cars temporarily and an adjacent parking lot. The 6,600-square-foot room is carpeted and comes with a stage and movable dance floor, along with everything necessary for a reception and people who will help to make it happen.
At the Blueberry Hill Estate in Paoli weddings can be held in the estate house, on a hilltop or in a beautifully crafted barn, depending on what the bride and groom have in mind. The 110-acre estate with manicured gardens has several options for holding a ceremony they say will be filled with romance and magic.
For something a little less traditional maybe the event space at the Patoka Lake Winery will fit the bill. The room has a fireplace along with dance floor, stage, warming kitchen and porch area where guests can gather, and it’s all right on the lake. When the festivities are over, the happy couple can begin their honeymoon in a cozy suite above the tasting room or in a converted silo.
The Patoka Lake Marina offers a deck for a waterfront wedding as well as the option to have the rehearsal dinner or the ceremony on the Voyager tour boat during a sunset cruise. Their houseboats make a fun spot for the bachelor and bachelorette parties, too.
Another out-of-the-box possibility is to host a cocktail reception aboard the French Lick Scenic Railway. For a more rustic event, they also offer a train ride followed by a Cowboy Cookout and a Tasting Train with drinks and small plates.
Or how about this: a wedding in the loft at the Big Red Barn at the Wilstem Wildlife Park. The loft accommodates up to 250 people and is accessible for everyone on the invitation list. It comes with a dance floor and catering options, and while they’re here, guests can enjoy animal encounters, trail rides and zip- lining. It doesn’t get much more offbeat — or fun — than that.
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