Spring and summer is outdoor wedding season in Raleigh, NC. A pleasantly warm evening, a brilliant sunset reflecting on still waters, and a rustic, down home, southern backdrop can make your special day a dream come true. As wedding caterers, we have a lot of experience with outdoor wedding venues, and have compiled a list of some of our favorite settings in the Triangle.
We have compiled a list of nine of our favorite outdoor wedding venues. We considered a number of important factors:
- Location: Beauty and accessibility to highways and urban centers
- Facilities: Chairs, tables, and changing rooms are important for you and your guests
- Amenities: What makes a venue unique
- Costs: Make the most of your wedding budget
- Outside Vendors: All of these venues allow approved outside catering vendors
Here are some of our favorite outdoor wedding venues:
Built in 1871, the Rand-Bryan House is the epitome of historic southern charm. Located on Highway 50 in Garner, NC, it’s hard to believe that this beautiful country setting is just minutes from downtown Raleigh.
The property offers a few different options for smaller and larger ceremonies. Up to 200 guests can be accommodated at your reception on the beautiful Rand-Bryan House grounds. Clients can rent tables and chairs from us or a rental company of their choosing. Tenting can be arranged in the event of inclement weather.
Minutes from Capital Boulevard in Youngsville, NC, Stonewall Farm is an excellent choice for your outdoor dream wedding. In spite of the rural setting, your guests can find lodging and great restaurants in nearby Wake Forest, as well as enjoyable recreational activities at Falls Lake.
Their website notes that at Stonewall, “You [have] options for you storybook wedding.” This photogenic farm offers 50 acres of rolling hills, enchanting forests, vintage buildings, and stunning lake views. Old whiskey barrels are available for decoration to go along with rustic buildings and vintage décor.
Included in the rental is a convenient dressing area for the bride and bridesmaids, as well as a place for the groom and groomsmen that doubles as a sitting room for the bridal party to relax. Stonewall provides tables chairs for up to 150 people for both the ceremony and the reception. Feel free to bring your favorite licensed caterer to truly customize your experience.
JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University. World famous for its remarkable horticultural collections, the JC Raulston Arboretum is beautiful year-round. Whether you are planning grand ceremony, or an intimate gathering with a few of your closest friends, this venue has a unique space perfect for your special day.
The Arboretum’s website lists eight spaces for ceremonies ranging from the Boxwood Collection, a circular lawn surrounded by majestic evergreens that seats up to 150 guests, to the intimate Japanese Zen Garden. The Klein-Pringle White Garden, the most popular wedding choice, and the Elm Circle both seat up to 100 guests. The A.E. Finley Rooftop Terrace seats 90, and is the perfect place to exchange vows in the shadow of a spectacular sunset. The Arboretum also has indoor options in case of inclement weather.
Your guests will enjoy the convenience to I40 and I440, the short drive to exciting downtown Raleigh, and numerous lodging options. Find out more on their website.
Wake Forest College Birthplace
The Wake Forest College Birthplace and Historical Museum sends visitors back to a simpler time. Conveniently located in beautiful, historic Wake Forest, just a few miles from Capital Boulevard and US Highway 98, this museum is a treasure.
The Wake Forest College Birthplace features the Calvin Jones house, the towns’ oldest home, surrounded by gorgeous gardens and grounds. Guests can take advantage of the shops and eateries in charming downtown Wake Forest, which is a short walking from the museum. Visit their website to find out more about how to experience your special day at the historic Wake Forest College Birthplace.
Shady Wagon Farm
Doug and Cindy Carroll, owners of Shady Wagon Farm, turned their vision for the perfect outdoor wedding venue into a stunning reality in rural southern Chatham County. Shady Wagon Farm is just off of Highway 1, and mere minutes from Raleigh, Apex, Durham, and Chapel Hill. However, there is no shortage of country appeal.
Across the pond, a wooden fence and a bright red barn make the perfect backdrop for your ceremony. The Barn features a beautiful chandelier and an array of fairy lights for an elegant reception. Before and after your big moment, you and your guests can enjoy a cold glass bottle soda and vintage candies at the old Country Store.
Shady Wagon Farm provides up to 200 tables and chairs for you and your guests. Your rental includes access to the Primping Parlor and Groom Station for your bridal party, as well as a number of other amenities. Should inclement weather develop, Shady Wagon Farm provides you with an indoor back-up plan.
Bass Lake Park
Waterfront abounds at beautiful Bass Lake Park in Holly Springs, NC. This 54 acre-lake is an oasis of wilderness in Wake County, easily accessible by Highways 540 and 55.
Flower-filled gardens flow around the park, with enchanting walking trails made for stunning photographs. A 2,000 square foot deck and a covered gazebo overlooking the lake combine for an enchanting location for your ceremony. The park provides and sets up tables and chairs for you and your guests.
A traditional dairy farm from the 1940s through the 1980s, Snipes Farm has since been transformed into a fantasy wedding destination. A laid back atmosphere combines with modern conveniences make Snipes Farm perfect for brides who want to customize their special day.
Snipes Farm is a short drive from Chapel Hill, NC on highway 54. It has all the charm of southern agriculture, while still convenient to the Triad and Triangle. Snipes rents the farm for the entire weekend, so you have plenty of time to perfectly plan, practice, and decorate for your big day. The grounds can accommodate up to 200 guests, and Snipes Farm will provide tables and seating for your reception (up to 120). Furthermore, they will take care of your guests parking, so you can focus on your special.
River Ridge Golf Club
Just fifteen minutes from downtown Raleigh, the rural feel and rolling hills of the River Ridge Golf Club will make you forget how close you are to the big city. Classy and elegant, the 5,800 square foot pavilion at River Ridge is the perfect place for a Carolina sunset wedding with up to 250 of your closest family and friends.
The Timberlake House took over a century to perfect. From the original main block, constructed in 1803, to the 1910 addition of the monumental classic portico and veranda, the Timberlake house tells a vintage southern story of simpler times.
Married at the Timberlake House themselves, owners Joe and Sonja Webb invite guests to enjoy stepping back to charming colonial times. An antique horse-drawn carriage can carry you through the giant oaks on the grounds to your ceremony. The house itself, with its four giant pillars and full length front porch make the perfect backdrop for stunning photography.
Raleigh, North Carolina has many amazing venues for spectacular outdoor weddings. We will write about more outdoor venues soon.