We are Cleveland wedding photographers for the couple that values legacy and authentic moments captured. We love telling wedding stories in a way even your grandchildren will feel like they experienced your day with you. We also photography a select number of senior pictures and information can be found on our SENIOR PHOTO page here.
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
My first thought was to start this with some cheesy “having a Stan Hywet wedding, where all your English garden wedding dreams come true”… too much?
Allow me to start over. Today I want to continue chatting about a few of my favorite venues in the Cleveland area. As I’ve shared before I’m a fan of many types of wedding venues and it’s hard for me to narrow down one as a particular favorite. But I know that it can be so hard as a couple to chose which wedding venue is perfect for your wedding and it’s a pretty big deal.
The reality is that the choice of your wedding venue is going to do more for the look and tone of your wedding day than pretty much anything else. Not to mention it can have a massive effect on your stress levels based on how well you are taken care of surrounding your wedding day, what the logistics are like, etc.
Today I want to talk about Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, and what it looks like to have a wedding there but over the next new months, I want to chat about a few of my very favorites locally and why I like them from several perspectives.
First off, location. Now full disclosure, technically Stan Hywet is located in Akron, OH which for some people is very different than Cleveland but you have to know that I’m originally from California and we have been known to drive 2 hours for great tacos so a 25-minute drive doesn’t throw me. 😉
One of the things I consider a huge plus to Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is that feels like it’s hidden away in the side of the swiss alps. Too much? Ok, maybe BUT it’s has a very secluded and lush feeling overall. You’re not going to be hearing traffic, you’re not looking at a freeway. You feel, tucked away. At the same time, Akron is also a big enough city that there are plenty of major hotels close by so you’re not struggling to figure out what to do with your guests or where you’re getting ready. This is actually a pretty major factor because bad logistics can add so much stress that just doesn’t need to be there. Both of those are a big plus for me.
Planning a Stan Hywet Wedding
The first thing I noticed on a wedding day at Stan Hywet is that they know what they’re doing. What do I mean by that? As wedding professionals, we tend to have a unique perspective because we see far more of the behind-the-scenes than most of our couples do. Stan Hywet does a number of weddings at the venue per day which normally for me would be a huge mark against them. It tends to make for tired staff and underserved couples. But not here, they know how to appropriately staff for the number of weddings they have going on. The service level was the very first thing I noticed during my first couple of experiences with Stan Hywet. That’s saying something. They know how to handle weddings and they do it really well. When you’re choosing where to spending the most important day of your life service should be a major factor in your decision. You have no idea how you’re going to feel on your wedding day, what your family will need, or what the weather will be like. Neither do we, but real professionals know how to serve well in all of those circumstances and to me, Stan Hywet meets that standard with flying colors.
The Manor House is the focal point of Stan Hywet. It’s a Tudor-style mansion and is basically living history right in front of you. The inscription on top of the home says in Latin, “Not For Us Alone”. I’m a bit of a history buff so I love this stuff anyway but that is so incredible to me, the idea of all those years ago something like this being built compared to how many people have walked through its halls now. Truly, “not for us alone”.
Stan Hywet Wedding Photos
As a wedding photographer, this is perhaps why this venue is on this list for me. The photo opportunities are endless here. Stan Hywet has over 70 acres of beautiful gardens that surround an incredible manor house. The opportunities for amazing wedding photos truly never end here, and they won’t all look the same either, another huge plus for me. Everything from a stone-walled English Garden (all my Secret Garden and Narnia dreams come true in that place!) to a Japanese Garden, and Birch Allee which is a 300-foot long “ally” of Birch trees that you can walk through leading you from one side of the property to the other. Yes, please.
Stan Hywet Wedding Engagement Photos
Engagement photos are just as amazing. Again, we’re talking 70 acres of meticulously kept gardens. The Japenese Garden (everything you’d expect for a tranquil Japenese garden), the Tea Houses (those look like something from an old castle complete with winding staircase, & vine-covered stone walls), the Lagoon (is it an actual magical forest with an amazing bridge and is always so quiet), the West Terrace (beautiful all year round but in the fall is breathtaking), and lastly Plain Tree Allee (a perfect spot to stop for engagement photos).
Multiple Ceremony Spaces
The venue has multiple ceremony spaces for different-sized weddings, which I love.
- The first is in front of the Manor House, this uses the main historic house as a stunning backdrop for your wedding day.
- South Terrace at the London Plane Tree Allée, again surrounded by beautiful architecture and nature at the same time this can be a great spot for a larger wedding ceremony.
- West Terrace, personal opinion? This one is probably my favorite for a larger wedding. It’s hard to describe how breathtaking this really is until you see it in person. I’m a huge fan of this ceremony spot.
- The Hidden Aspect, This is hidden away just on the north side of the Tea Houses, a dry stone picnic pavilion with beautiful views.
- The Dell, loads of shade, and another secluded location.
- The English Garden, Basically if you are having a smaller wedding, this is where you should have your ceremony. So beautiful and completely filled with flowers, so much English charm.
- The Tea Houses and the Birch Tree Allée, no one has ever seen a walk down the aisle like this walk down the aisle. Over 500 feet of Birch trees is a pretty great way to make an entrance.
Receptions at Stan Hywet
When it comes to having your reception at Stan Hwyet you have two different options much like the ceremony spaces. The first is the Manor House Reception Hall. This is actually inside the Manor House itself and has a fireplace hearth. You can have up to 175 guests in here. The second option is a tented outdoor reception. There are several locations on the property that are just for tents and they even have two tents already set up. Obviously, with a tented wedding reception, your options are FAR greater as far as guest count and options.
Stan Hywet Wedding Cost
An important question when it comes to planning any wedding and choosing any venue is cost. When it comes to Stan Hywet wedding cost there are actually quite a few options depending on the size and location of your wedding. For outdoor ceremony locations you’re looking at $1900 for prime days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and $1600 for non-prime days. They always include a coordinator who will accompany you (again, I find their service level is excellent here), you have access to the full grounds for wedding photography (not every venue does this, so this is a big plus!), and 20 chairs. Renting additional chairs will of course affect the overall cost but it gives you a pretty good ballpark.
When it comes to the cost of receptions at Stan Hwyet you’re looking at about $2700 (on prime days) for a four-hour Carriage House Reception Hall (this also has the expanded three-season tent) and will hold 125 guests. With an additional cost of $300 per additional hour.
Manor Hall Reception Hall with Drying Yard & Service Well, this would work for up to 175 guests and you’re looking at $3300 with the same $300 per hour additional rental.
Lastly, Tented Receptions Rental begins at $12,000, plus the cost of the tent itself.
Stan Hywet Micro Wedding
Something else to consider that a lot of people probably don’t know is that Stan Hywet is a wonderful place for your micro wedding. Micro weddings have been going on for a long time but have just gained newfound publicity in the last year or so when everyone was trying to rethink getting married safely. You can read all about what a micro wedding is and how to plan one [here] if you’re thinking of going down that road. A Stan Hywet micro wedding could be an awesome option and they have collections specifically for that. These packages are for wedding ceremonies with 20 guests or less (that includes the couple and wedding party) and include white folding padded chairs, use of the entire venue for wedding photography, a day-of coordinator, and a getting-ready room. The cost is $950 and Friday, Saturday and Sunday you’re limited to a ceremony time of 11 am or 1 pm. But any other day you can choose your time.
What I love about it
Overall I think Stan Hywet is a beautiful and diverse wedding venue. Historic estates are your thing? This could be your wedding venue. Or perhaps, incredible gardens and literally acres of flowers are your things? You’ve found the right place. If you’ve never been there, you should just go and walk around, it’s so stunning. I love how much you have to choose from with this venue, you really can get so many incredible wedding portraits and different looks and feel simple by walking around a little bit. To me, that’s a huge plus. The other thing is that every experience I’ve had here has been positive as far as service goes. It appears that they train their team to really focus on taking care of their couples well and that’s a HUGE plus for me.