What You Need to Know About Hosting a Wedding at a Museum

Discover expert tips on having your ceremony or reception at a museum!

From glamorous art museums to natural history museums, the venue type is a definite way to wow your guests.

Photo: Black & Hue Photography

When choosing the location for your ceremony and/or reception, you have many options: hotels and resorts, banquet halls, wineries, farms, castles, private estates, and so many more. If you're looking for a unique choice, we suggest considering a museum! From glamorous art museums to natural history museums, the venue type is a definite way to wow your guests. For information on hosting your nuptials at a museum, we asked the event-planning team at DFW Events to share their advice.

Philbrook Museum of Art wedding portrait landscape museum wedding portrait

Photo by James and Schulz Photography; Planning & Design by DFW Events; Venue: Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Read tips from DFW Events on hosting a museum wedding, below!

There is something so special about a night at the museum – and no, we’re not talking about the Ben Stiller comedy that brought exhibits to life on the big screen. Rather, we’re thinking of artfully imagined weddings hosted amid priceless works of art. Here in Dallas, we frequently coordinate events at museums including The Modern, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Nasher, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science just to name a few. While you may have previously enjoyed perusing a gallery or two during business hours, it’s a completely different experience to get up close and personal with dinosaur fossils while attending an after-hours wedding reception (with a glass of Chardonnay in hand, no less). Let’s explore the logistics of hosting a wedding at a museum!

The Set-Up
Museums are open to the public during the day, which means set-up for a private event typically begins later than it would at a hotel ballroom or other event space – we’re talking a 5 PM start time at a museum versus an early morning start at most other venues. With a carefully planned timeline and strong vendor team in place, however, rest assured that set-up can go off without a hitch!

Wedding portrait museum the dallas museum of art

Photo by James and Schulz Photography; Planning & Design by DFW Events; Venue: Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Look
If you’ve chosen to host your wedding or event at a museum, then obviously there is something about that space or a particular exhibit within the museum that initially drew you toward the idea. Although you could try to mask the fact that your guests will be enjoying cocktail hour amid ancient fossils or spectacular art, why not play it up instead? This doesn’t mean you have to go with a super theme, but you can play off the color scheme already in place or incorporate a small nod to your favorite exhibit. In short, celebrating what’s unique and interesting about your event space is the way to go at a museum.

The Experience
We’d be willing to bet that the majority of your wedding or event guests don’t have the opportunity to privately tour a museum (with a cocktail in hand!) on a regular basis. Although different rules apply at different museums, for the most part there is always a workable way to incorporate drinks, live music, dancing, and other must-have elements into your event. Depending on the museum you select, you might consider hosting a progressive event that spans multiple levels – it’s a great way to expose guests to as many exhibits as possible, which makes for a truly one-of-a-kind experience!

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Photo by Sarah Kate Photographer; Planning & Design by DFW Events; Venue: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas

3 Things to Remember When Planning a Museum Wedding:

1. Read your contract, then read it again! Every hotel and event venue maintains a certain set of rules that are listed in the fine print, but museums tend to have more specific regulations in place to protect their exhibits. If you’re passionate about serving red wine or saying goodbye to your guests via a sparkler exit, for instance, then a museum wedding might not be for you.

2. Verify what the museum is able to provide in terms of furniture and rentals. In addition to making sure that you’re comfortable with the look of the house tables and chairs, it’s important to ask if the museum has the right quantity of items available for your wedding. 

3. Exhibits come and go. While the museum you selected might currently be housing works by your favorite artist, it could only be a temporary exhibit. Be sure to check the museum’s exhibition schedule against your wedding date!

Perot Museum of Nature and Science Dallas Texas wedding reception dark lighting

Photo by Jason Kindig Photography; Planning & Design by DFW Events; Venue: Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas

For more inspiration, take a look at real weddings that took place at museums.