A Photographer’s 10 Favorite Wedding Venues in Iowa

Searching for the best Wedding Venues in Iowa?

If you’re searching for a wedding venue in Iowa, you’ve come to the right place! As a wedding photographer, I get to photograph at a LOT of wedding venues! With that said, I definitely have some favorite wedding venues in Iowa. Why? Some venues just let me photograph weddings better than others!

Some things that effect how your photographer and videographer capture your day include:

  • lighting
  • space
  • indoor/outdoor options
  • trees and nature at the venue
  • getting ready spaces
  • staff
  • and so much more!

As an Iowa wedding photographer, my job is to make your wedding planning AND wedding day easy! Because of that, I’ve gathered a list of my top 10 favorite wedding venues in Iowa!

Things to Ask When Touring Wedding Venues in Iowa:

  • How many guests does this venue comfortably fit?
  • Do you have restrictions for the venue?
  • Do this venue allow off-site catering/other vendors?
  • Are there indoor ceremony and photo options?
  • What times would I get this venue?
  • Is having a rehearsal the day before an option?
  • Do you have real-client reviews?
  • What are the nearby lodging options?

My Ten Favorite Wedding Venues in Iowa

In no particular order, here are my ten favorite wedding venues in Iowa!

#1 – Little Lights on the Lane in West Branch

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive wedding venue with staff that will make you feel like royalty, look no further! Little Lights on the Lane is located in West Branch, Iowa – not far from Iowa City or Cedar Rapids. It’s centrally located in Iowa, which makes guests getting to it easy! Additionally, it has some incredible features, including:

  • Bride and groom suites
  • Indoor Ceremony space
  • An outdoor covered patio
  • A shaded outdoor ceremony option
  • Surrounding golf course (perfect for the fellas on the morning of the wedding!)
  • On-site bartenders
  • Experienced staff
  • And so much more!

As a photographer, I cannot recommend Little Lights on the Lane enough if you’re looking for an Iowa wedding venue! It truly makes your wedding day a breeze so you can be fully present for your wedding day.

Little Lights on the Lane Iowa Wedding Venue

Here is a further look at a real-life little Lights on the Lane wedding!

#2 – The Harmac in Cedar Rapids

Another Cedar Rapids, Iowa wedding venue is the Harmac. For an urban feel, this space is a great option! I personally love how many space options the Harmac has to offer. From an all-white area with windows to a brick wall and even a rooftop space, you surely can plan your dream wedding day here. Some of the features include:

  • a bridal suite
  • multiple ceremony space options
  • a rooftop options (perfect for golden hour photos)
  • located right in downtown Cedar Rapids

#3 – Harpor’s Vineyard

Harpor’s Vineyard is one of the easiest venues to work at! From the widely attentive staff (cannot recommend enough!) to the stunning venue space, you can’t go wrong! This wedding venue space includes:

  • covered patio
  • bridal suite
  • groom suite
  • vineyards
  • outdoor ceremony space option
  • guest house for rent for lodging
  • amazing staff !!
  • and more!
harpor's vineyards I

#4 – Willow on Grand

The Willow on Grand is one of Iowa’s newest wedding venues and is stunning!! An all-white wedding space with an outdoor turf area truly checks all the boxes! As a wedding photographer, this venue makes a wedding day easy! Not only is it absolutely stunning, but it has ample space for your wedding guests! Willow on Grand includes:

  • intentionally curated design
  • an outdoor courtyard
  • onsite parking
  • bar packages
  • a bridal suite cottage
  • large indoor space
  • and more!

#5 – The Midnight Gem

Another brand new Iowa wedding venue, the Midnight Gem is an all-black exterior wedding venue! This industrial wedding venue is absolutely stunning! Additionally, this curated space creates such a welcoming, modern environment for your wedding guests to enjoy! Other features this space offers include:

  • space for up to 300 guests
  • bride and groom suites
  • outdoor and indoor ceremony spaces
  • fire pit on site for reception
  • use of sound system (so helpful!)
  • bar services
  • and so much more!

While this venue is newer, it sure provides a great experience for brides and grooms! Definitely book your tour at the Midnight Gem for your Iowa Wedding!

#6 – Toast, Ankeny

Toast in Ankeny is a conveniently located wedding venue in Iowa! If an indoor venue is important factor for you, definitely check Toast out! It has two large indoor rooms for ceremonies and receptions. Additionally, I love the outdoor space, perfect for cocktail hours or small receptions! Located right in Ankeny, there are so many businesses and lodging options nearby! Other features of this stunning Iowa wedding venue include:

  • a huge, stunning bridal suite
  • ceremony space
  • reception space
  • outdoor patio
  • room for 300 + guests
  • convenient location

Here’s a full look at a Toast, Ankeny wedding!

#7 – The Prelude

Allow me to introduce you to the Prelude wedding venue in Des Moines, Iowa! As a new Des Moines wedding venue, the Prelude truly stands out! While it is a smaller venue, it’s worth considering if you can get your guest list under 165 guests! It features very modern decor that is unique!

  • Up to 165 guests
  • modern features
  • outdoor space
  • indoor space
  • tables + chairs

While I haven’t shot at this new venue yet, I would LOVE to photograph your day here! So, book me to photograph your wedding day at the Prelude and receive $200 off any wedding package! Reach out here!

#8 – The Loft

In my opinion, the Loft is one of the best kept secrets of Iowa wedding venues! Because of that, though, you have more availability options to choose from! The Loft is a stunning indoor space in Des Moines, Iowa! It has a cozy atmosphere and a beautiful bridal suite on site! Truly, this space has so much character and makes for an amazing wedding venue in Des Moines, Iowa! Features at this stunning space include:

  • 12 foot high ceilings
  • 5000 square feet of event space
  • great natural light
  • bridal suite
  • indoor ceremony and reception option
  • and more!

P.S. – the photos on their website don’t do it justice! I highly recommend touring!

#9 – Ashton Hill Farm in Galena

While this might not be in Iowa technically, it’s close enough that I’m adding it to the list! Ashton Hill Farm in Galena, Illinois is a stunning wedding venue that should be at the top of your touring list! Not only does it have a large indoor space, but the views from this venue are incredible! Some other features to consider when booking this venue include:

  • an 8,500 square foot indoor space
  • outdoor and indoor ceremony options
  • bride and groom suites
  • natural lighting
  • a beautiful patio
  • and so much more!

# 10 – Surety Hotel

Looking for a wedding venue for your intimate Iowa wedding? Do yourself a favor and tour the Surety hotel! It’s a luxury meets modern hotel with a beautiful wedding ceremony space. Plus, can you picture yourself doing some fun flash photos at the end of the night in this hotel? Hint, hint : I can 😉 As your wedding photographer, I cannot recommend this space enough! Some other features the Surety has are:

  • a ballroom space (that’s actually pretty)
  • beautiful getting ready suites
  • on-site guest lodging
  • an on-site coffee shop (need I say more???)
  • on-site catering
  • a glass conservatory-style space
The Surety Hotel Wedding
The Surety Hotel Wedding

More Thoughts on my Favorite Wedding Venues in Iowa:

It’s no secret your wedding venue matters! If you need help finding the best wedding venues in Iowa, I truly hope this list was helpful! Be sure to keep in mind your budget, guest list, and vision for your wedding day when touring venues!

What’s next?

When it comes to finding your Iowa wedding venue, be sure to set up in-person tours of the space! While photos are great, nothing beats walking the space in person. My advice? Make a date of it! Grab coffee and then tour venues together! Ask lots of questions and be open to spaces you might not have thought you’d like!

Need more help finding your perfect Wedding Venue in Iowa?

Reach out! Either comment on this blog or inquire directly through my website!

Read here for a complete list of Iowa wedding venues by area!