Wilmington Wedding Venues

The Top 7 Timeless Wilmington Wedding Venues for Outdoor Wedding Images

Choosing the perfect wedding venue is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding day. If you’re a couple who appreciates the beauty of outdoor settings and dreams of glowing outdoor wedding images, Wilmington, North Carolina, offers a treasure trove of enchanting venues. From historic mansions to waterfront estates, Wilmington has something to suit every couple’s taste and style. In this blog, we’ll explore the top 7 timeless Wilmington wedding venues to help you envision your perfect wedding day.

Beautiful floral arrangements at sunset by JoLynn Photography

Airlie Gardens

Nestled amid 67 acres of lush, blooming gardens, Airlie Gardens is a Wilmington wedding venue staple and offers a dreamy backdrop for outdoor weddings. Known locally as a century of gardens by the sea, Airlie offers seasonal blooms, mighty live oaks, walking trails, and historic structures for a treasure trove of stunning outdoor wedding images. Airlie Gardens contains several locations within the Garden Estate for wedding ceremonies such as the 500-year old Spanish covered moss live oak tree at the Oak Lawn, waterfront locations overlooking Bradley Creek, a natural aisle of seasonal blooms at the Pergola Garden, and a beautiful sculpture shaped chapel of colored bottles at the Minnie Evans Chapel. As a wedding photographer who specializes in outdoor wedding images, Airlie Gardens is one of my personal all time favorite Wilmington wedding venues due to the the large variety the Garden Estate offers to couples but also because the location offers the opportunity for ocean wedding images due to being conveniently less than a 10-minute drive to Wrightsville Beach.

Saturday Weddings at Airlie Gardens begin at $1,000/hr with a three-hour minimum, making it a great location for intimate weddings and larger wedding events. Airlie Gardens does require a permit in advance for any professional photography session including engagements and bridal sessions, but the fee is waived for couples who have booked Airlie for their wedding date.

A glowing bride at her Wilmington wedding venue enjoying her wedding photography by JoLynn Photography

The Brooklyn Arts Center

For couples seeking a blend of history and industrial charm, The Brooklyn Arts Center is an ideal choice. Built in 1888, the converted church boasts soaring 60-foot cathedral ceilings draped with white fabric and state-of-the-art LED lighting, exposed brick walls, and a huge one-of-a-kind picturesque window overlooking downtown Wilmington. Its timeless beauty provides a unique setting for a wedding that exudes elegance and romance and can comfortably fit up to 250 guests.

Within the church, windows are two stories tall, the walls are original brick and plaster, and 130-year-old stained glass is displayed like fine art. The 35-foot, North Carolina-pine altar adds one-of-a-kind beauty, charm, and unmatched drama to the church. A large stage, dance floor, and fabulous balcony complement the altar and provide additional charm and party space. Next door to the historic church is the church manse, the historic, century-old home of the St. Andrews reverend. The first floor of the manse has been designed, decorated, and repurposed as a peaceful retreat, salon, and dressing area for the bride, her wedding party, and her family.

Behind the manse is a beautiful outdoor space, the largest private courtyard in Historic Downtown Wilmington. Enclosed by a tall privacy fence and bordered by six towering crape myrtles, flower beds, and manicured hedges. As a wedding photographer in North Carolina who has seen wedding venues in downtown locations be limited on garden space for outdoor wedding images, the Brooklyn Arts Center does not disappoint for couples wanting downtown glam while also capitalizing on outdoor greenery for glowing wedding images. Wedding-day rental fees include the full use of the church, the manse, and the courtyard with a 15-hour timeframe.

For couples looking for a more intimate Wilmington wedding venue, directly behind The Brooklyn Arts Center stands The Annex and 1910 Suite. The first floor, originally home to classrooms that wrapped around an open, sunlit space with a small stage, is now the most beautiful cocktail lounge in the region, perfect for smaller parties and weddings. The 1910 Suites have been transformed into an elegant bridal suite, including a salon, dressing room, living room, and eat-in kitchen.

The second floor, the auditorium, with its 15-foot, original, beaded tongue-and-groove, heart pine ceilings and classic stage, is the ideal reception room, ceremony site, concert hall, or theater. The venue accommodates weddings of up to 120 guests.

A happy couple celebrating their wedding reception at a Wilmington wedding venue by JoLynn Photography

The River Room

The River Room is located in the historic JW Brooks Building and was originally a fish market on Water Street. Today, The River Room is one of the most historic and iconic locations for weddings and events in downtown Wilmington and one of the only Wilmington wedding venues directly on the waterway. The large bay windows, overlooking The Cape Fear River let in the perfect amount of natural lighting and the expansive deck offers spectacular sunset views for stunning wedding images.

A stunning Asian bride at a waterfront Wilmington wedding venue by JoLynn Photography

The Atrium by Ligon Flynn

The Atrium by Ligon Flynn is tucked among the buildings in the heart of historic downtown Wilmington. Once a building housed for livery stables for the downtown community. Today, The Atrium is a contemporary urban garden and event venue, and a staple in downtown Wilmington. The garden is located on Second Street in the block between Market and Dock. It is one of Wilmington’s few contemporary courtyard gardens, and a truly unique Wilmington wedding venue. The area is filled with natural elements, local foliage, climbing vines, brick masonry, and water combined with the clean lines of modern architecture. The space is a perfect location for couples wanting outdoor wedding images in the heart of downtown due to the open-air cathedral and picturesque secret garden.

128 South Events & Catering

Located in the heart of historic downtown Wilmington, 128 South Events & Catering offers a historic yet modern setting for weddings. Located on the banks of the Cape Fear River, this famous Wilmington wedding venue is known for its Southern hospitality, charm, in-house catering, and unique coastal wedding images. 128 South Events offers three centuries of rich history while being steps away from the shops, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife of The Riverwalk.

A beautiful Wilmington wedding venue with savory catering

Wrightsville Manor

Wrightsville Manor & Gardens is one of Wilmington’s most enchanting Wilmington wedding venues. Located near the gateway to Wrightsville Beach, in one of Wilmington’s most charming and historic areas, and offers both indoor and outdoor wedding amenities. Its proximity to the beach adds a touch of coastal romance for couples searching for traditional wedding amenities while also encompassing coastal elegance and photography opportunities.

Neuse Breeze

Neuse Breeze is a 5-acre waterfront all-inclusive estate located on the Neuse River viewing the Pamlico Sound between New Bern and Morehead City. This luxurious Wilmington wedding venue offers a waterfront fire pit, beautifully landscaped grounds, a gorgeous 2,400 square foot enclosed pavilion with an outdoor fireplace and dance floor, a catering prep kitchen, and an indoor banquet room for intimate parties or rehearsal dinners. The venue is beaming with countless outdoor wedding image opportunities, including private beach access free from public by-standards. The venue also offers micro wedding packages for couples looking for intimate elopements. And my personal favorite detail, they allow pets!

Gorgeous waterfront Wilmington wedding venue

Wilmington, North Carolina, offers a rich tapestry of timeless wedding venues that cater to couples seeking outdoor beauty and everlasting memories. Whether you envision a garden ceremony, a historic mansion celebration, or a beachfront soirée, Wilmington has a venue that will bring your dream wedding to life. These top 7 venues showcase the city’s charm, history, and natural beauty, ensuring that your wedding day is truly unforgettable.

While researching Wilmington wedding venues, be sure to also check out the following wedding tips:

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