I've featured many of my favorite venues on the blog, but today's list of the best wedding venues in Rochester, NY is a little extra special because these venues are so close to home. Although I'm based in Rochester, I help couples plan and design weddings all across Upstate New York – from the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes and beyond. Today, I'm bringing it back to my own backyard and sharing the beauty that Rochester has to offer! But first, a story…
When I was dating my now-husband in college and afterward, his grandfather would take the family to Sunday Dinner at Oak Hill Country Club. It was one of our favorite traditions because we got to spend time together at his favorite table while we caught up on school and life.
When we were looking at venues to get married, we immediately considered having it at Oak Hill because of the fond memories my husband had growing up there. Bowling with his grandparents on the weekends, afternoon tee times for him and his grandpa, and of course, Sunday Dinner.
It’s memories like this that are the fabric of every family, their traditions, their memories, that tie people to a place or time, and often why people choose to marry at a venue like Oak Hill Country Club.
LOOKING FOR A WEDDING VENUE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK? MAKE SURE YOU SAVE THIS FOR LATER!
As a wedding planner based in Rochester, NY, I love to guide couples through their venue selection. Nothing makes me happier than helping couples find the perfect place to get married. Almost always they pick a location because it has sentimental value to them and their family. I love these kinds of places best of all because they give deeper meaning to the day.
Because of my time planning weddings in and around Rochester, NY, I’ve become familiar with many types of venues. In today’s post, I’m sharing with you the best wedding venues in Rochester, NY.
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Photography Credit: Jenny Berliner Photography
The criteria I’m going to judge the venues on is based on a few elements but they will be consistent factors for each location. I have purposely left out venues whose staff or catering change from couple to couple, wedding to wedding, because they aren’t consistent and can change depending on a couple’s priorities and budget. If we work together, I will show you ALL of the options that I think will fit your wedding day vision.
As a wedding planner living in Rochester, New York, I specialize in Rochester, NY and Finger Lakes region weddings. I will cover wedding venues specifically in Rochester, NY for this blog post to narrow the field down for people that want the convenience of getting married in the city, as opposed to traveling further out to the lakes and outer communities.
Looking for Finger Lakes Wedding Venues? Check out the top 8 venues with a view!
Oak Hill Country Club
Photography Credit: Casey Lafountain Photography
A round-up of top Rochester, NY wedding venues would not be complete without Oak Hill Country Club. For the non-golf buffs, Oak Hill is a country club located in Pittsford, NY (although it has a Rochester mailing address, on the eastern side of Rochester). It was founded in 1901 and is best known for its East golf course, which has hosted multiple major golf tournaments, including multiple PGA and Senior PGA Championships, and the Ryder Cup. It’s the only club in the U.S. to have hosted all six of the men’s major championships that move around the country.
What I love the most about an Oak Hill wedding is their semi-permanent tent that acts as a blank canvas for couples to customize and design based on their personal style and preferences. If they prefer to wed during the colder months or have a smaller guest count, some couples choose the ballroom, which has rich paneled wooden walls and a second-story balcony.
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For getting ready, couples choose to get ready in different places. Some get ready at their own home or their parents’ homes. Others get a suite at a hotel and so they can be closer to out-of-town guests. Others use one of the smaller event rooms upstairs. It all depends on their preferences.
For the ceremony, couples often opt to get married at a local church, like Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, or St. Louis Church in Pittsford. Others choose to marry in a tent on the golf course, steps away from the main tent. However, there are future plans for an outdoor pavilion, which were delayed because of the pandemic, so be on the lookout for that!
One of my favorite aspects of an Oak Hill wedding, like the other venues in this post, is the exceptional hospitality service. Because it’s a country club, their private chef and pastry chef handle the wedding catering. Their staff are trained in fine dining and hospitality, and it shows.
For more photos of this beautiful wedding Oak Hill Country Club, check out Claire & Alec's Wedding.
The Country Club of Rochester
Photography Credit: Jenny Berliner Photography
Even older than Oak Hill Country Club, the Country Club of Rochester was founded by members of the Genesee Valley Club in 1885 (more about the GVC below). CCR, as it's known to locals and members, is located in another eastern suburb of Rochester in Brighton, NY. The golfing legend Walter Hagen started caddying at the Country Club of Rochester when he was only 7.5 years old. He went on to become the assistant club professional, won the 1914 U.S. Open, and was later head pro at CCR. Hagen is known as one of the most influential figures in the history of golf.
Couples who wed at the Country Club of Rochester can opt to get ready at their home, but many choose to get dressed in the men’s and women’s locker rooms. Yes, you read that correctly. Their locker rooms are VERY nice, have lots of seating, and (the photographers will love you for this), have windows which allow for natural light! There are sitting areas in the locker rooms so you have some separation between you and the club members. It also gives you a nice home base that’s near to the reception, which is very convenient.
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For the ceremony, couples opt to wed on the golf course, which is steps away from the reception area. However, some choose to wed at a local church, such as Chapel Hill.
For the reception, couples have the option of hosting it in the club’s ballroom. This is what Amanda and Tim chose to do. Others choose to rent a tent and build it on the greens. The location is steps away from the fire pits and cocktail area on the partially covered patio. Both options are great. It depends on personal preference, but renting a tent will incur additional costs.
At a recent wedding at CCR, I was blown away by the impeccable service. They were friendly, helpful, and able to anticipate guest questions and needs. The team at CCR truly knew how to host an elegant affair. It was a well-oiled machine that allowed the couple and their guests to visit and enjoy their time together.
The Genesee Valley Club
Photography Credit: Erich Camping
Founded in 1885, the Genesee Valley Club is one of the oldest private membership clubs in Rochester, NY. Membership is by invitation only. In contrast to Oak Hill and CCR, the GVC does not have a golf course attached to it. It does have athletic facilities, such as a pool and paddle tennis, but they differ in their offerings compared to the first two. When my husband or I attend functions at the GVC, they’re usually of a more social nature, such as holiday dinners or private events.
One of my favorite aspects of this venue, which is very different to the first two, is that the main building feels more like a large home or estate, as opposed to offering a country club setting, even though Oak Hill does have a stately Tudor vibe to it. Located on the historic East Avenue of Rochester, it is the closest country club venue to downtown Rochester.
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For getting ready, there are several large spaces where couples can opt to get ready – all filled with natural light and beautiful light blue walls. While I do love the sentimental aspect of getting ready at a childhood home, getting ready at the reception venue makes things easier at the end of the evening. You can easily transition from getting ready to photos and return later in the evening after a long night of dancing. The space at GVC makes this very easy.
For the ceremony, there are several options for couples to say “I do.” Some opt to have a smaller ceremony in one of the event spaces inside the club while others opt to have it at a local church, such as St. Michael’s.
Couples also have a variety of options for the reception. Some prefer the tall ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and light blue walls inside the club while others elect to build a tent on the grounds that is steps away from cocktails on the covered patio. If you choose to have the reception inside the ballroom, you’re able to let cocktail hour spill onto the grass for lawn games and fresh air. Again, it all depends on your vibe and personal style. You really can’t go wrong!
And of course, an article including the GVC is not complete without mentioning Genaro Felix, the maître d' of the Genesee Valley Club. Genaro is a bit of a local legend. He has been at the club since before I was born (that’s all I’m going to say about my age) and is a testament to the club’s commitment to hospitality and service.
Planning your wedding at one of the best wedding venues in Rochester, NY
I hope this post gives you some food for thought when selecting a wedding venue. Couples that choose venues like Oak Hill, the Country Club of Rochester, and the Genesee Valley Club often have sentimental reasons behind their decision. And, of course, because they want exceptional service for themselves and their guests. The country clubs featured here are among the best wedding venues in Rochester, NY. A prestigious membership-only venue is always more likely to provide a higher quality of service. The guests that typically attend gatherings at these venues expect the best. However, just because your event is NOT at a country club, it doesn’t mean you will have bad service! You just need to make sure you vet your catering staff (and I know plenty of amazing ones!).
Another reason to consider a wedding at a country club is they will likely have more dates to choose from because their calendar is limited to couples that are already members, or are members of a country club that offers reciprocity with another country club (contact me if you want me to help you figure this out!), or has a relationship with a member that can sponsor them. Due to the infamous “wedding boom” caused by everyone shifting their weddings from 2020 to 2021 and 2022, there’s a huge amount of competition for venues and vendors. You will have a much easier time finding availability at a country club wedding venue. Don't worry, as your wedding planner, I will help you find a venue you absolutely LOVE. No matter what year you want to get married.
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If you’re excited to plan a wedding at one of these amazing wedding venues, I hope you reach out! While they have exceptional service, you will still need a professional to pull everyone together to make sure the day runs smoothly. Don't be fooled into thinking a “venue coordinator” is good enough. So much goes into planning a wedding, you deserve support. After all, your wedding is an investment. Not to mention, venues are so busy with weddings every weekend. They will always have less time to devote to your wedding than a wedding planner would. It takes hundreds of hours to plan a wedding. To learn more about working with Verve Event Co., click here. I can't wait to connect!
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