A bride and her father are walking down the aisle. In front of them, framed against a backdrop of stained glass and polished wood, stands the nervous groom. This shy couple is lucky to be exchanging vows in the very building where they first met, shyly gazing at each other across a quiet room. Is this a church?
No. It’s a library!
Libraries are iconic structures, anchoring schools, universities, communities, and urban centers—but in recent years they have assumed a new role: as venues and inspirations for modern brides and grooms. And why not? A library can be found in almost every town and city and are fundamentally user-friendly.
For couples looking for high drama, old libraries are the way to go. Often found on college campuses or in the heart of a city or town, old libraries are landmarks from another era. Built like cathedrals to intellect and curiosity, beaux-arts and neoclassical libraries often feature architectural details such as vaulted ceilings, stone columns, ornamental motifs, wood paneling and furniture, and elegant book stacks. These elements combine to create an incredibly elegant setting for a marriage celebration.
The New York Public Library in Manhattan, guarded by its iconic stone lions, is a perfect example. Brides at NYPL can choose from three distinct event spaces, each with exquisite architectural details: Corinthian columns, a soaring domed glass ceiling, a grand staircase of white marble. Couples would be hard-pressed to find a space of comparable breathtaking drama.
Private libraries in historic homes or museums are similarly elegant but more intimate. This makes them perfect for smaller affairs. Oftentimes the library is so beautiful that little is needed for decoration, a fact that appeals to couples on a budget.
These days, another aspect of libraries is adding to their appeal: nostalgia. Technology has altered methods of research and study, and has resulted in once-pedestrian library paraphernalia becoming collectible. Library stalwarts like tabbed card catalogs and date-stamped lending stickers—and sadly, even the books themselves have a sweet, retro, somewhat nerdy appeal.
Even brides and grooms opting for a different venue can easily be inspired by a library theme. As this trend heats up, bookish wedding details are showing up in everything from invitations to centerpieces. Save-the-Dates created from bookmarks, sliding lending card invites, garlands of crushed pages, and centerpieces made from books are inventive and undeniably charming.
Writer Rudolfo Anaya once said, “a library is also a place where love begins.” He was referring to the love notes he used to write while studying in his high school library—but the sentiment is apropos for brides and grooms inspired by the sweeping romance of an elegant, quiet library.
Want to learn more? NYIAD can teach you how to become a wedding planner today!