Category: Weddings

10 Great Places to Stage Your Staunton Proposal

Are you planning to propose to your sweetheart sometime soon? Why not plan a Staunton proposal? We have the right combo of beautiful views, romantic restaurants, and cozy lodgings to make it a proposal to remember. Here are ten stunning backdrops to set the stage for your special moment. You might want to return to the scene for your wedding!

Gardens at Woodrow Wilson Birthplace

The Garden Club of Virginia built the brick-terraced, Victorian-inspired gardens at the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace in the 1930s. The gazebo is a quiet, private spot easily accessed during a stroll through Staunton’s busy downtown. Free and open to the public during regular business hours.

Barren Ridge Vineyards

Why not pop the question as you pop the cork on a bottle of wine at Barren Ridge Vineyards? The picture-perfect views will provide a spectacular proposal setting, and you can enjoy a picnic on the terrace as you watch the sunset. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights will set the mood. 

Swannanoa Castle

Swannanoa Castle’s marble towers rise on the crest of Afton Mountain. Built in 1912 as a summer residence for a railroad tycoon, it has since lived a variety of lives. Crumbling, but still magnificent, it’s now a hauntingly beautiful setting for your special moment. Tours are offered on some spring and summer Saturdays.

Gaie Lea

If you’re interested in involving your friends and family in your special day, you might rent an entire estate like Gaie Lea.  The beautiful historic home features a lake and grounds that command views of the surrounding mountains. The house sleeps 15, enough space for your entire crew!

Andre Viette Nurseries

Andre Viette Nurseries would be a great proposal destination for a couple who enjoys the outdoors and gardening. Explore the extensive display gardens to see rare and uncommon plants and trees. Visitors are invited to wander the grounds even if the garden center is closed. Visit again in the summer to see (and purchase) Viette’s world-famous day lilies.

Thornrose Cemetery

If you and your significant other enjoy quiet strolls and history, you might consider beautiful Thornrose Cemetery as an unusual spot to propose. Built in 1849 on the garden model with careful attention to landscape and architectural design, it was historically a place for people to picnic and enjoy the outdoors. Today, the cemetery retains its parklike atmosphere.

Humpback Rocks

You won’t find much privacy at Humpback Rocks, but the exhilarating two-mile hike and spectacular west and north-facing views over the Shenandoah Valley are worth sharing. Plus, you might be able to get a helpful stranger to snap your engagement picture!


Want to casually propose while you’re doing some other fun activity? Gypsy Hill Park has 214 acres of possibility. Fish in Lake Tams, ride the miniature Gypsy Express train, play a round of golf, attend a summer baseball game or concert, or just sit on a bench and watch the ducks. And if you’re looking for a secluded nook with a view, Gypsy Hill Park offers those, too!


Grand Caverns

National Natural Landmark, Grand Caverns, is the second-oldest show cave in the country. A destination for lovers of nature and history (the cave was visited by both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War), the caverns would be part of an unusual and memorable proposal experience.


Sears Hill Bridge

One of Staunton’s most beloved landmarks, the recently restored Sears Hill Bridge leads from the wharf district to scenic and secluded Woodrow Park. Both bridge and park command outstanding views of the railroad tracks and downtown Staunton. Afterwards, it’s only a short walk to flash that ring at a nearby restaurant like The Depot, Byers Street Bistro, or Table 44.

Don’t forget to enlist a friend or a local photographer to document your Staunton proposal!

12 Distinctive Staunton Wedding Venues

Valentine’s Day has us thinking of proposals and weddings in the not-so-distant spring and summer months.  For day-dreaming girlfriends and Pinterest-frenzied fiancées, we have a dozen uniquely distinct Staunton wedding venues for your consideration (and pinning!).

If you’ve never seen the historic gardens at Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace, you’re missing a ready-made, gorgeous, historic ceremony setting. The gardens are one of 13 maintained by the Garden Club of Virginia, and feature two gazebos in a quiet, private spot easily accessed from Staunton’s busy downtown.

Accommodating up to 150 people, the historic gardens are available for four hours and $1,200. Many brides choose to host the reception between the gardens and terrace, an expansion that can be realized for only $400 more.

The caveat with any use of the Woodrow Wilson historic site is membership. The League of Friends is the donor backbone to support the privately funded site, and membership in The League allows for facility rental. Fortunately, “a complimentary Family membership is included in the rental fee for non-members,” according to the Facility Rental guidelines, which is valued at $100 and provides free unlimited admission, discounts, and more.

> Wedding Brochure

Multiple ceremony and reception options make Gaie Lea (Old English for “Happy Meadows”) quite the contender when it comes to all-in-one wedding venues. Two hundred acres ensures privacy at any of the sites, which include a pavilion overlooking a pond, a hilltop pool for cocktail hour or reception, a formal English boxwood garden, a stone patio and fire pit near the pond for cigars and bourbon or a s’mores snack, the estate home itself, and whatever else your imagination leads you to on the expansive property.

Treat your wedding party or immediate family to an overnight at the estate. Fifteen guests can be accommodated in the six large guest rooms.

Whether you’re an alumnae or simply appreciate the beauty of a meticulously manicured college lawn, you’re in luck. The views from Mary Baldwin may be some of the best Staunton has to offer.

Real Mary Baldwin College Weddings:


You’ve never seen a venue like the Blackfriars Playhouse, and you likely never will. The world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, this is the place for any romantic, Shakespeare aficionado, or one who is into old English architecture. The details at Blackfriars are impressive. Floral arrangements (unless very large) would be a waste in this space.

Real Blackfriars Wedding and The American Hotel Reception: Janice + Brian



For those seeking an all-inclusive approach to their wedding day, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel may be the perfect Staunton fit. This historic hotel has recently been refreshed with new (almost) everything. Your facility rental includes tables, linens, place settings, dance floor, candle centerpiece … the works. Toss in a few rooms for your bridal party and out of town guests (yours is free, by the way!), plus the Hotel catering and that doesn’t leave you with a great deal to worry about. Classically beautiful and worry free!

Real Stonewall Jackson Hotel Weddings:

> Wedding Brochure


Indoors or out, with a barn or under the sun … you have many choices at the Frontier Culture Museum, and your guests (up to 400) are in for a real treat, should you spring for a group rate admission for them to explore the grounds.

The Lee S. Cochran Pavilion is open air for warm months and tented for cooler months. A catering kitchen makes prep and delivery super easy while museum staff takes care of setting up and taking down the tables and chairs. The Lawn is a great place for the ceremony itself.

The Octagonal Barn is two levels (you may access both or one) and boasts a small amphitheater for your use as well. This space also includes a catering kitchen.

The Lecture Hall is a sleek, converted dairy barn with soaring ceilings and dinner seating for up to 100. Or, clear it out and dance the night away! Caterer’s staging area with sink is available.