Wedding Bells in Three Non-Traditional Venues

We know that May and June kick off the wedding season. But wedding experts explain that the recently completed Christmas holiday season is when many proposals occur.

It makes sense. What better than the lights of the tree and “White Christmas” on the radio for the guy to present a gift-wrapped box with a diamond ring inside? It beats a gift of perfume. Or dish towels.

So if December is the month of proposals and May and June are the months of weddings, we’re in the midst of the season for making arrangements.

To help your search, we’re presenting three not-so-traditional wedding venues that might suit your needs.

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. Photo courtesy of Todd Pellowe.

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. Photo courtesy of Todd Pellowe.


Yew Dell Botanical Gardens is one of the loveliest settings in the Louisville area, with 60 acres of gardens, woodlands, lakes and nature preserve.

It has also become a popular setting for brides wanting an outdoor event surrounded by the beauty of nature. But there are many lovely aspects to Yew Dell beyond just its greenery. The classical fieldstone castle is magical, in a Cinderella kind of way. And the bar and adjoining pavilion produce “goose bump moments” among many visitors, says Jackie Gulbe, Yew Dell’s communications coordinator.

“One of the attractions of Yew Dell is that you can use the space however you want,” says Gulbe. “Indoor/outdoor, greenhouse/pavilion, you can mix and match how you want things to flow.”

Receptions for groups larger than 175 require a tent, but Gulbe points out not to think of a canvas tent and tent pole. Some of the structured tents used at Yew Dell can be glamorous, with textured walls, wood floors and beautiful chandeliers.

Gulbe says the peak months for weddings at Yew Dell are May/June and September/October, though Yew Dell is available 12 months a year. However, in in December, “If you want the barn then, our our decorations come with the deal,” Gulbe says. “You get the beautiful trees, but you also get the tin soldiers.”

Right now, she says, there’s only one weekend date left in October, but plenty of openings for 2016. She tries to keep the events calendar on the Yew Dell web site up to date, so people can see what’s available.

Yew Dell
6220 Old LaGrange Road
Crestwood, Ky. 40014.
Contact: Jackie Gulbe, communications coordinator. 502.241.4788.

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. Photo courtesy of Elite Events Inc.

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. Photo courtesy of Elite Events Inc.


You can commune with nature outdoors or you can commune with art indoors.

The Mellwood Art Center, which began life 12 years ago as studio and gallery space for local artists, has increasingly become a popular event space.

There are currently three full-size reception rooms available. The 12,500-square-foot Van Gogh Room, with vaulted ceiling and three large wrought-iron chandeliers, seats 650 at 60-inch round tables accommodating eight people each; the L-shaped, 10,000-square-foot Picasso Room seats 325; and the mirrored, 4,000-square-foot Monet Room seats 160. In addition, there’s room in each venue for long tables to serve as head tables and/or buffet tables. And each room has adjoining outdoor space for cocktail receptions.

Plus, the smaller space Pigment Gallery with room for up to 60 people can accommodate extremely small events.

Mellwood doesn’t do catering and there’s no food preparation facility, but each room has a warming kitchen designed by Masterson’s Catering so it’s well-laid-out and fully equipped for caterers’ working needs.

Mellwood also doesn’t provide wedding supplies, like decorations or table linens, but it does have event-related planners among its tenants who do offer those services, as well as photographers and wedding planners.

What Mellwood does provide is an environment of outstanding local artwork for guests to enjoy. KORE is an artists’ cooperative that has rented permanent studio space in the center, “a great way for visitors to sample our group of 20-30 exhibiting artists,” says Dan Ball, administrative coordinator.

If you became engaged over the holidays, you’re out of luck for Saturdays in Mellwood’s two bigger rooms. “We’re fully booked from February through November,” he says. “But we still have some Fridays and Sundays available in all three rooms, and there’s a 33 percent discount for Sundays.”

Mellwood Art Center
1860 Mellwood Avenue
Louisville, Ky. 40206
Contact: Dan Ball, administrative coordinator, 502.895.3650.

The Culbertson Mansion. Photo by Chris Humphreys..

The Culbertson Mansion. Photo by Chris Humphreys..


Or you can commune with the spirits.

The William S. Culbertson Mansion in New Albany is well-known for its beautifully preserved Italianate architecture, for its Victorian interior and, to be honest, for its hauntings.

So ghost-ridden is the 145-year-old house that it has made Halloween a cottage industry for itself. But the rest of the year, it’s splendid and inviting, a state historic site that loves to show off its beauty.

It’s gilded and marble formal parlor can be set up to seat 75 people, theater-style, for a wedding ceremony but can seat only 50 for dinner. More often, it’s used for bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, according to Jessica Stavros, the Indiana State Historic Site Manager at the mansion.

But it is surrounded by ancillary event venues that would combine for a wonderful 19th century wedding experience. Next door to the mansion on Main Street is Culbertson West, an equally elegant Victorian home built by William Culbertson for his son, Samuel, in 1866, now an event space that can accommodate 300 guests.

And across Main Street is the historic and statuesque Italian Villa-style Pepin Mansion, built in 1851 by lawyer and banker Victor Pepin Jr. It can accommodate parties of about 150, or 350 on its great event lawn. VT

Culbertson Mansion
914 East Main Street
New Albany, Ind.  47150
Contact: Jessica Stavros, site manager, 812.944.9600

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