You know that scene in Elfwhere Will Farrell goes ape over Santa and jumps up and down screaming, “Santa!! I know him! I know him!”? That’s basically how we at TVR feel every time we see one of our favorite venues on the big screen. While it’s not uncommon to spot cool hotels or restaurants in movies or TV shows, it’s pretty rare that we’re able to say, “hey, that’s a great spot to throw a party.” So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite backdrops around the world that also double as venues. Here are 14 wedding event venues you'll recognize from the big screen. Written By: Alyssa Brown
No stranger to the life of luxury, James Bond ends up at the Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como in the 21st installment,Casino Royale. Built in the 12th century and propped overlooking the famous lake, this villa is one of the most exclusive wedding venues in the world. There’s really nothing about this setting that doesn’t scream Italian romance.
Villa di Geggiano is one of those old world villas only to be found in the rolling hills of Tuscany. In fact, this beauty and the gardens surrounding it were originally built in the fourteenth century (!!!). A family home and winery that’s been open to guests since 1527, the grounds of this villa are prime space for a romantic gathering of folks. Man of luxury James Bond hangs here in Quantum of Solace and the villa is the backdrop for a gorgeous party scene in Stealing Beautywith Liv Tyler.
This waterfront warehouse structure is one of New York City’s most popular wedding venues, adored for its ivy-covered greenhouse, open courtyard with views of the Manhattan skyline and its historical significance as a 19th century steel foundry. Practically a blank canvas with a glass roof and 40’ tall ceilings, the space has been available to the event industry and film industry since 2001 and all of our favorite NYC based shows have utilized this space as a backdrop. Just to name drop a few of our faves, 30 Rock, Girls, Sex & The City, Top Chef, Gossip Girl, and The Blacklist have all set up film shop at The Foundry.
A sweet little bed and breakfast in Sonoma County, Beltane Ranch is a Victorian ranch house surrounded by beautiful gardens, blue oak trees and vineyard views. The engagement party scene of The Five-Year Engagement, which features a hilariously bad speech by Chris Pratt in which his character shows a slideshow of the groom’s past conquests, is set on the Beltane Ranch lawn, though the B&B moonlights as “The Drunken Pig” in the film. The grounds here are idyllic for anyone looking for a sweet countryside wedding or intimate event outdoors in wine country.
Not to worry, Downton fans, we’ve got your back. If you were thinking you couldn’t get married at the set of Downton Abbey, you were mistaken. The castle is available for weddings, cocktail parties, charity events, and the like. Event spaces include the saloon (backdrop for the servant’s ball in the show), a floor-to-ceiling stocked library room, and a formal dining room. There’s also lodging available on site at the London Lodge, which books up about a year in advance.
Harry Potter fans rejoice! You can actually get married at Hogwart’s. This iconic British castle has been home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family for 700 years. There are a couple of venues to choose from on-site, including hosting a wedding in the Main Hall with access to the courtyard for cocktails, or there’s another structure on the property known as the Hulne Abbey that’s a bit more private and allows use of the outdoor lawns. Speaking of Abbeys, Downton Abbey filmed their special Christmas episode at the Alnwick Castle as well.
This super modern industrial venue served as a backdrop for The Americans. The building dates back to 1916 and was originally used as an auto shop for classic car restoration. In keeping with that history, 501 Union keeps a few badass classic vintage cars around as décor. Recently renovated and opened in 2013, the event spaces are decorated to a T. Think marble bar tops, modern light fixtures, patterned wallpaper, pressed tin ceilings, and more. Parties here can accommodate up to 250 guests and there’s a courtyard so you have the opportunity for indoor/outdoor use.
This list would not be complete without a nod to the set of the original 1974 Great Gatsby. Isn’t that the ultimate party spot in a film? The Rosecliff Mansion in Newport still operates as a film location and in fact, 27 Dresses was also filmed here. Originally built for entertaining on a grand scale, wedding receptions at the mansion typically take place in the formal ballroom, which features gorgeous architectural details throughout.
A grandiose estate in the hills of Atlanta, Swan House sets the scene for the Capitol building in The Hunger Games. Part of the Atlanta History Center, the grounds are in pristine condition and most events hosted here opt for an outdoor experience on the lawns or in the gardens. The interior of the house is decorated in period furnishings, as the home dates back to 1928.
If a tropical destination wedding in a remote location is what you’re looking for, check out the set of Couples Retreat. The St. Regis in Bora Bora is an awesome location for a small wedding group or an elopement. The property boasts villas that are built literally on the water and can host an event for about 100 guests.
Of all the beautiful spaces San Francisco has to brag about, we’d put their City Hall building very high on the list. Sean Penn’s 2008 Milk, featured many scenes shot outside the government structure, but the interior is truly stunning. Weddings here take place in a rotunda with cavernous ceilings and a drop-dead gorgeous staircase. The architectural elements in this space are pure eye candy. While most couples opt to host only a ceremony here, the option to host a reception inside at night is a total treat.
Lost in Translation’s most infamous scenes, including the pool scene, feature the interiors and views from the Park Hyatt Tokyo. This mega hotel is inside of a skyscraper that has some of the best views of Tokyo. If you’re into city views as a backdrop, receptions here can be hosted in one of three minimalist style rooms and there’s a peaceful, small chapel for wedding ceremonies.
Since sleep-away camp style weddings are all the rage these days, we couldn’t let this list be complete without spilling the beans on where Dirty Dancing was filmed. Weddings here are best outdoors, taking full advantage of the incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The resort has plenty of options for guest lodging and there are quite a few interior event spaces to take advantage of as well, including a barn.