Looking for a place to get hitched? Here’s a tip: Go where the ambiance and scenery are already built in.
New Hampshire’s Lakes Region
If you spent summers sleeping in bunk beds and sipping “bug juice,” you already qualify for a wedding in the Lakes Region (which encompasses Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake). For the rest of us, the appeal is less nostalgic, but readily apparent: a jaw-dropping backdrop of towering pines and ever-present water views.
For a truly homespun experience (think cabins and shared bathrooms), Sandy Island Family Camp hosts weddings in spring and fall. Greet guests with a canoe full of Smuttynose lager, then fancy up the dining hall with linen and candles. Kirkwood Gardens at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center offers a similarly DIY shindig: Imagine a ceremony under the trees on Church Island followed by a boat ride to the gardens for the party.
Of course, rustic isn’t the only way to go. Moultonborough’s Castle in the Clouds is an early-1900s estate overlooking Winnipesaukee, where outdoor ceremonies are held at cliff’s edge; the carriage house offers a prime reception venue. More down-to-earth, literally, is Church Landing at Mill Falls in Meredith, a luxe Adirondack-style inn that provides all the amenities of a big-city wedding (spa treatments, plush bedding) with small-town charm. -Julie Suratt
Venues: Sandy Island Family Camp, 603-569-2725, si.bostonycamps.org; Kirkwood Gardens, 603-968-7194, nhnature.org; Castle in the Clouds, 603-476-5900, castleintheclouds.org; Church Landing at Mill Falls,
Rehearsal Dinner: Town Docks, 603-279-3445, thecman.com/restaurants/town-docks.
Local Planner: Leslie Barbini, 603-828-2526, theweddingbelle.net.