Six stunning wedding venues fit for any kind of brideBy Emory Rakestraw
Some brides have dreamt of their wedding day since childhood, with details like the color palette and bridesmaid dresses decided before “Will you marry me?” is even a question. Others don’t begin planning until the engagement is official. Yet any bride-to-be will tell you: it all starts with your venue.
“In my experience,” says Kirin Battaglia, a wedding planner and events coordinator at Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, “a creative mind and being visually open to a space’s potential can really turn any venue into your dream wedding destination.”
Deciding on a venue sets the tone and aesthetic for your big day. It also determines which vendors you’ll work with or if you’ll do an all-inclusive package. In North Carolina, there are remote island weddings, refurbished barns or even cozy lodges with mountain views to say, “I do.”
“For someone who loves the outdoors and dreams of a wedding with countryside charm, lean towards a rustic farm or barn venue,” Kirin says. “A bohemian bride may find herself at home in a wildflower field or lush forest but can be versatile with an indoor location, as well.”
To help get your planning started, these venues — each served by a North Carolina electric cooperative — provide a lovely backdrop for soon-to-be nuptials fit for every couple’s style.
Rustic meets traditional alongside 138 acres of working farmland with views of the Uwharrie Mountains in the distance. A 1900s two-story farmhouse serves as a beautiful backdrop for pictures. Grand events can easily be accommodated in the 6,400-square-foot rustic barn or outdoor reception area with a permanent dance floor. For the bride that wants a country-setting, or appreciates nature but still needs an indoor, rain-proof option, Harvest House packs plenty of charm.
A romantic, remote wedding beneath the sprawling live oaks of Ocracoke Island comes to life at Berkley Manor. Relaxed, yet ornate if need be, the property sits on two-and-a-half acres with the historic Berkley Manor as the backdrop. Say “I do” on the docks over Silver Lake or throw a grand event in the Berkley Barn beneath a crystal chandelier. The best part, up to 18 guests can stay at the manor and 14 additional guests at the Berkley Suites. This remote location is perfect for a bohemian or outdoor-loving bride who wants something off-the-beaten-path with guest experience still at the forefront.
Did you always dream of a “royal” wedding, or appreciate the finer things in life with stunning vignettes for guests to enjoy? The Saratoga Springs lends a fanciful garden party aesthetic, with a horse-drawn carriage to whisk you away Cinderella-style. A neo-classical yet delightfully southern home was built by owners Larry and Tammy Honeycutt. An array of enchantment springs to life beneath the stunning pergola, and big tent receptions are an ideal fit here. Although not all-inclusive, a preferred vendor list helps the bride craft her vision. For those wanting a fairytale day, this is the perfect option.
In 2004, this 84-acre family farm opened its doors to the public. The Sweet Retreat Ice Cream Parlor, cider press demonstrations, hayrides and live music keep guests busy year-round. The store supports other local farms by selling meat, honey, eggs and other products. The u-pick experience starts in June with blackberries and blueberries. Peaches make their debut in mid-summer. Zinnias and sunflowers, apples, muscadine and scuppernong grapes, gourds, pumpkins and pecans follow the seasons.
Calling all bohemian brides who want a stunning foundation but a blank slate to make their own. Luna’s Trail Farm is set on the bank of a lake with views of Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock. A pastoral feel sets the tone, but a window-filled ceremony space backed by wood-paneled walls infuses rustic charm. Dark oak and arched windows define the reception area, yet this artist's canvas can be curated through elaborate florals, mixed vintage seating, and intricate design details for an effervescent ambiance full of personality. An alternative Big Creek Lodge is fit for intimate ceremonies and mingles modern with cozy. On-site lodging makes the guest experience a breeze and this provincial venue is perfect for a curated wedding day of your choosing.
Located on a working cattle farm in Cabarrus County, the spacious barn at The Farmstead features soaring beams, a large stone fireplace and a spacious patio — all within 20 miles of Charlotte. A nearby farmhouse provides the bridal party a spot to prepare for the big event, or to host a pre-wedding brunch. (There’s a separate groom’s lounge, too.) Onsite ceremony locations include an open-barn pavilion and pond-side, within a short walk of the barn.
About the Author
Emory Rakestraw is a Wilmington-based freelance journalist (EmoryRakestraw.wordpress.com). She was married in May in Asheville — her wedding theme was whimsical/garden.