Posts Tagged: nc wedding venues

North Carolina Destination Wedding at the River Forest Manor

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today, we’re excited to share Anna Brooks and Nick’s North Carolina destination wedding at the River Forest Manor, a newly renovated historic manor and marina by the water in Belhaven.
River Forest Manor
While visiting her best friend from high school at Ohio University, Anna Brooks met a boy in the dorm she would affectionately refer to as “Videogame Boy” after playing several round of MarioCart with him. When her visit came to an end and she returned to her own university (ECU in North Carolina), she found a Facebook message from Nick (aka Videogame Boy) letting her know he’d programmed his number in her phone. Timing and circumstances weren’t perfect right away, but something told them their meeting was meant to be, and shortly thereafter, they began dating long distance (8 hour drives) over the next five years!

Once Nick graduated college, he took a job in Lynchburg, VA to be closer to Anna Brooks’ NC home, which shortened the drives to 2.5 hours. It was much better, but still made it challenging to have an impromptu dinner and movie night. Now, finally, they can share a life together by each others side.

On the couple’s five-year anniversary, Nick planned a spontaneous trip to Asheville, NC. He told Anna Brooks he had tickets for them to attend the candlelight tour of the Biltmore Estate and enjoy an elegant dinner. After dinner, they walked over to the Biltmore house to take a selfie, and as Anna Brooks turned around after looking at the picture, she found Nick on one knee and couldn’t believe her eyes!
Getting married at River Forest ManorHistorical wedding venues NCDana Jo wedding photographyWilmington wedding photographersDiamond wedding jewelryCute flower girl headbandsWilmington NC groomTan groomsmen suitsPurple wedding flowersWilmington weddingsDuring the planning process, Anna Brooks’ mom called the River Forest Manor & Marina to find out about the rooms they had available to rent, and as she chatted with the staff, discovered they were transforming the manor into a wedding venue. The family soon made a trip down to their vacation home in Bath, NC and stopped by River Forest Manor to meet the team and see what they had in store for this special property. “The owners were so enthusiastic…I knew from there it would be a wonderful journey and was eager to be a part of their venue journey,” Anna Brooks says.

Anna Brooks found her dream dress from Alexia’s Bridal. “I went to about every bridal salon in NC and I felt so at home in their salon,” she shares.
Long lace bridal gownBest Wilmington wedding venuesBest outdoor wedding venues in NCFlower petals down wedding aisleSummer wedding in NCLavender and white weddingsRiver Forest Manor weddingsweddings by the water in Wilmington NCThe bride’s parents surprised the newlyweds with a grand entrance via yacht to their reception, which had always been a dream for Anna Brooks! The captain and best mate had hors d’oeuvres waiting for them and champagne to toast. The couple loved spending some quiet moments together after the ceremony.
Just married boat rideCoastal weddings in North CarolinaBride and groom boat rideBride and groom on boatWeddings by the beach in NCWedding pictures by the waterSpring wedding colorsNorth Carolina wedding magazinewedding hashtagsWilmington wedding receptionWilmington wedding venuesWilmington brideWhite and lavender wedding cakeScarborough Fare wedding catererWIlmington wedding cateringSignature wedding cocktail ideasTented weddings Wilmington NCRiver Forest Manor Belhaven NCRECEPTION & REHEARSAL DINNER VENUE The River Forest Manor & Marina  | CEREOMNY LOCATION Bonner’s Point in Bath, NC | WEDDING DESIGNER & FLORIST Val Conger with Your Perfect Day | MINISTER Justin Hepler | CATERER Scarborough Fare | PHOTOGRAPHER Dana Jo Photography | BRIDAL GOWN Alexia’s Bridal | BRIDAL SHOES Alex Marie | BRIDAL JEWELRY Nadri Jewelry | BRIDESMAIDS Azazie | HAIR BoHa Studio | MAKEUP DollFace by Melissa | MEN’S FORMALWEAR Russel’s in Washington, NC | CAKE Vanilla Bean Bake Shoppe | RECEPTION MUSIC Bill & Bill Masterpiece DJ’s

Top 12 Warehouse Wedding Venues in the NC Triangle

SB&G‘s Favorite Urban Chic Event Spaces in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill

Weddings today are all about customization, and the uber popular warehouse event spaces serve as perfect blank canvases on which couples can reflect their own love story, personalities and aesthetic preferences. These industrial venues abound in the Raleigh-Durham area of NC, due to the revitalization of our downtown areas over the past decade. Historic buildings and factories are being repurposed and turned into stunning wedding and reception venues that offer charming features like brick walls, wood floors, giant windows, or exposed beams. For the perfect mix of modern elegance, check out our list of urban chic warehouse wedding venues in North Carolina.

1 – Bay 7
Formerly a tobacco warehouse, Bay 7 is located in the heart of American Tobacco Campus, the mixed use area that has led the renaissance of downtown Durham. This means your wedding party can catch photos on the lawn under the iconic Lucky Strike tower or by ATC’s waterfall park. Accommodating up to 400 people, this is one of the largest non-hotel event spaces in the Triangle Area. The space is rustic with an upscale vibe, featuring century-old brick and wood, and a wrap around top balcony. Unlike some warehouse venues, Bay 7 receives a good amount of natural light through its panoramic windows and sky-lights. It also offers the luxury of a bridal suite. Even if you have been to a wedding at Bay 7 in the past, you might not know that it is now operated by the renowned Angus Barn, which is also the exclusive caterer. That doesn’t mean that only steak is on the menu (although we highly recommend going that route). Angus Barn isn’t just known for their melt-in-your-mouth beef, but also a full range of seafood and dessert options, customized menus, and most importantly, the finest service.
Reception at Bay 7 Durham

2- Top of the Hill Great Room
Calling all UNC Chapel Hill alum! Sure, you spent many an afternoon sipping Blueberry Wheat beers on the rooftop of “TOPO,” but did you know that there is an incredible event space on its lower level? Located in the space once occupied by the legendary Carolina Theatre on Franklin Street, The Great Room’s exposed brick and soft industrial feel gives a grateful nod to Chapel Hill’s past while simultaneously embodying its bright future with clean lines, hardwood floors and subtle interiors. Completely flexible menus and floor plans with a completely flexible planning staff allows each client to tailor their next event exactly to their liking. And there’s a built in after-party spot in the Back Bar, which is open to the public but rentable for private events.
Top of the Hill reception Chapel HillJoe Payne Photography

3- Bridge Club
The newest and most intimate venue on the roster, the Bridge Club, is located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of a beautiful historic bank building in downtown Raleigh. Conceived by James Beard Award-winning chef Ashley Christensen, it is the upstairs neighbor of her restaurant Death & Taxes. The 2nd floor is designed like a loft apartment with leather couches, cocktail tables and a fully loaded demo kitchen. This space is perfect for intimate weddings or rehearsal dinners for under 100 guests.  The 3rd floor has sweeping ceilings and incredible views, and could serve as its own venue or can be paired with the other floor for transitional events (think: wedding cocktail hour or after party). Raleigh foodies will be pleased to know that the menu consists of many favorite Christensen crowd-pleasers, and is happily quite flexible and affordable. SB&G votes Bridge Club as the #1 place in the Triangle for grown-up weddings.
Bridge Club RaleighPhoto courtesy of Bridge Club

4- The Rickhouse
Located in the Central Park district of downtown Durham, The Rickhouse boasts restored and reclaimed wood and exposed brick throughout. In addition to an inside space that comfortably seats 400, it has a large, partially covered concrete deck overlooking the famed Durham Athletic Park, the original home of the Durham Bulls (remember the “BULL DURHAM” Downtown Durham?). The Rickhouse has another unique story: it is home to a distillery that is close to completion. A panoramic view of the stainless steel factory through giant glass wall offers a distinctive and memorable backdrop to your ceremony or wedding band.Reception at The RickhouseRiley MacLean Photography

5- Market Hall
Market Hall is a historic multi-use space located in the center of City Market in downtown Raleigh. This unique and beautiful building has undergone several renovations and reinventions over the last 100 years, and celebrated its Centennial in October 2014. Say your wedding vows on the cobblestone streets, or transform the venue into a romantic ceremony site with draping and lights. The white walls lend themselves to any wedding look from funky to elegant. Market Hall in Raleighf8 Photo Studios

6- 214 Martin Street
Also in City Market is a new venue developed within the same historic building as Market Hall, but with a totally different vibe. 214 Martin Street is the perfect blend of handsome, industrial elegance and classic urban architecture. This space contains century old brick walls and 20-foot ceilings. There is a second-level mezzanine that is perfect for a lounge area or even a dramatic bridal entrance down the grand staircase. 214 Martin has its own catering company led by the talented Matt Thompson (they also do offsite events). The team that runs this venue also operates Showtime Events, so they have all the products on-hand to transform the space in many different directions!
214 Martin Street weddingPhoto courtesy of 214 Martin Street

7- The Cookery
Born of a membership kitchen for food entrepreneurs in the historic Durham Food Co-Op building, The Cookery is now one of the most sought-after event venues in Durham. Beautiful exposed brick walls are complemented beautifully with its signature metalwork salvaged from Durham landmarks (you’ll notice similar looks at Dashi and Ponysaurus Brewing Co, other projects by owners Nick Hawthorne-Johnson and wife Rochelle Johnson that also make cool out-of-the-box event venues). A large mezzanine offers guests a bird’s eye view, and an outdoor patio can be tented for extra seating, cocktail hour, or a ceremony. Weddings at The Cookery in DurhamSouthern Love Studios

8- The Stockroom at 230
Smack dab in the middle of downtown Raleigh on Fayetteville Street, the Stockroom at 230 is an expansive space that manages to feel romantic and cozy at the same time. Its exposed brick walls are complimented by hardwood floors and high lattice ceilings creating an open, relaxed vibe. An elevated platform at the front of the venue is the perfect place for cocktail hour, cake cutting, or even live music. Another fun feature is its chalk wall! (And don’t forget to ask about their bridal suite upstairs called The Glass Box). The Stockroom is under the Empire umbrella which operates several favorite Raleigh restaurants like The Pit, Sitti and Gravy. Brides who book here can use Empire Catering at a special rate, or bring in their caterer of choice.
Stockroom at 230 wedding
Michael Moss Photography

9 – Chatham Mills
The historic Chatham Mill Property, just a hop skip and a jump down the street from downtown Pittsboro, has a fantastic event space. A large room with exposed white brick walls, Chatham Mills can host large weddings up to 250. Ceremony options range from indoor, to on the lawn with a water tower backdrop, to amid the lovely flowers of the pollinator garden.
Chatham Mills WeddingDara Blakeley Photography

10- Melrose Knitting Mill
Another new downtown Raleigh venue can be found in a restored warehouse space above Babylon restaurant. A stunning urban space with tall ceilings, arched windows and an open floor-plan, Melrose Knitting Mill allows brides to create their own wedding fantasy. Unlike many downtown venues, ample, free parking is available onsite. The delightful menu comes from the amazing Babylon kitchen.Melrose Knitting Mill Raleigh wedding venuef8 Photo Studios

11- The Cloth Mill at Eno River
Finally – Hillsborough has a large event space! Just outside of downtown, The Cloth Mill at Eno River is located in the historic Eno River Mill campus (along with Mystery Brewing). It’s the newest business adventure from Nicole Clayton, owner of On the Rocks Bartending, LLC. It features exposed brick walls, massive windows, high ceilings, original wood beams and columns, and a lovely courtyard. This space can be tailored to any size wedding but is especially great for those looking to throw a large bash as it can seat up to 500!
The Cloth Mill on the Eno Hillsborough evnet spaceStephen Thrift Photography

12- Traine
Nestled in the historic Seaboard Railroad Station nestled beetween William Peace University and Glenwood South Raleigh, TRAINE features original brick walls, wood timber beams and a sliding garage door that opens onto a beautiful outdoor deck. This venue just opened and is available for tours and booking.
Traine Raleigh wedding venuePhoto courtesy of Traine

Great Gatsby Wedding for the First Gay Couple to Marry in NC

You might remember the news stories about Chad Biggs and Chris Creech, the first same-sex couple to marry in North Carolina when the legislation passed last October. Almost a year later, on NC Pride day, the couple celebrated their union with a classic wedding ceremony at Melrose Knitting Mill in Raleigh followed by a stylish Gatsby-themed reception at The Cookery in Durham. You can find their wedding featured on the pages of SB&G’s 2016 magazine, with additional images by the talented Southern Love Studios featured below.

Chad and Chris’s relationship began on their very first date in 2006. The two men bonded quickly while they enjoyed watching Chad’s daughter Sabre play with Chris’s two young foster sons. Eventually, the foster children were reunited with their family. They remain close to the couple and all the children were there as a part of the family for the union nine years later.

After hearing the story of their marriage and in an effort to honor the legalization of same-sex marriage in NC, The Cookery approached the couple and offered to donate its space and services for a formal wedding reception. Although Chad and Chris were saving funds for a celebration, they were able to host a much grander event when several other wedding vendor friends asked to contribute towards their day. As the lead planner of Chad Biggs Event Planning & Design and the exclusive event planner at Babylon and the Melrose Knitting Mill in Raleigh, Chad was able to coordinate his dream wedding with the help of the team of local wedding professionals!

For Chad and Chris, the day was a tribute to equal rights for all. Video footage of their October 10, 2014 marriage at the Wake County Courthouse played on a big screen as they entered the reception – a reminder of how significant this moment was not only for them, but also for same-sex couples across NC.

Guests enjoyed a beautiful reception event with glittering gold details, jewel-covered floral arrangements by Expressions of Love Florist, and a customized monogram design in an art deco style that showed up throughout the wedding from the program to the cake topper. The menu from Donovan’s Dish included Southern favorites such as chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits, and was accompanied by signature cocktails. The party-era theme and upbeat music inspired the crowd to dance and even enticed a few to sing along.

Earlier, during their first look photographs, Chad presented Chris with a new David Yurman band and he shared, “This moment, that location and those rings signified the beginning of a new chapter of our lives that we would welcome with friends and family, exactly how we would have wanted it to be when we first legally wed.”
Gay wedding photo ideasGreat Gatsby themed wedding invitationsMens wedding bandsSame sex couples wedding photo ideasCandid wedding photographyGold and white wedding programsPink and purple wedding bouquetsFather and daughter at weddingFlower petal aisle runnerChad Biggs Event Plannig at Melrose Knitting MillSurprise marriage proposals NCFirst gay couple to marry in North CarolinaBubbles for wedding sendoffWedding ceremonies at Melrose Knitting MillSouthern Love Studios wedding photographyChalk signs at wedding receptionMarriage Equality in NCUrban wedding venue The CookeryGuest book design ideasCrystal and diamond wedding decorGold and white wedding colorsWeddings at The Cookery in DurhamWine bottle wedding favorsTent at The Cookery DurhamLove wins in NCClassic car rentals in Raleigh NCPHOTOGRAPHY Southern Love Studios | REHEARSAL DINNER Babylon Restaurant and Lounge | PLANNING & DESIGN Chad Biggs Event Planning & Design | CEREMONY VENUE Melrose Knitting Mill | RECEPTION The Cookery | CATERER Donovan’s Dish | FLORIST Expressions of Love Florist | PARTY RENTALS American Party Rentals | PHOTO BOOTH TapSnap | ACCOMMODATIONS Hyatt House Raleigh, North Hills | MINISTER Dr. Brent Myers | VIDEOGRAPHER Focus Media | MEN’S FORMALWEAR Jos A. Banks (Cameron Village) | BRIDESMAID DRESSES MAGGI Bridal | CAKE Simply Cakes | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Versace cologne | BEER Ponysaurus Brewing Co. | CALLIGRAPHY Calligraphy by CarrieMarika Wendelken and Meghan McFarland | CEREMONY MUSIC Laura Byrne, Harpist & Pam Nelson, Flutist | RECEPTION MUSIC Spin DJ Services and Numinous Steel | TRANSPORTATION ABC Worldwide, The Bridge Bus, and Royal Parking | HAIR Simple Bliss Manuel Eason & Matthew Melino | MAKEUP Maria Franco | WEDDING FAVORS Bottles of +&+ Cava with a tag that reflected the date Chad & Chris 10.10.14

What’s New with Wedding Venues in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill

The Triangle Area of NC is experiencing an exciting growth period which is having an effect on the world of local weddings: lots of new restaurants, hotels, and event spaces are opening, and many established ones are investing in makeovers and expansions. We’ve put together a report of what’s new with wedding venues in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill in our recap below.


Celebrating a centennial birthday last year is a unique and beautiful building that’s undergone several restorations, and its most recent reincarnation is MARKET HALL. This 6,700 square foot space is located in the center of City Market in downtown Raleigh and has an open layout with exposed white brick walls, high ceilings and industrial barn shroud lighting.
Market Hall Raleigh Wedding VenuePhoto by f8 Photo Studios

Also downtown, MELROSE KNITTING MILL is a renovated warehouse right above BABYLON restaurant. Tall ceilings with exposed beams, arched windows across the walls of old brick, and over a dozen Swarovski crystal chandeliers above an open floor plan that can accommodate over 200 guests, allows couples to create an elegant or eclectic celebration.

THE MERRIMON-WYNNE CARRIAGE HOUSE , designed to beautifully complement the historic Merrimon-Wynne House, is nearing completion and will open in April. The Carriage House will mix glamorous elements, such as large crystal chandeliers with rustic designs like exposed wood beams and a cupola. The space can host a seated reception for up to 225. Guests will enjoy the large glass doors that open out to the lawn as well as a grand sliding glass door that reveals a covered pergola.

THE GLASS BOX is the newest addition to THE STOCKROOM AT 230. This stylish penthouse suite of the five-story building is bathed in natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows and and has a spacious and private outdoor balcony with a city view. The space can host up to 45 people, ideal for small events and showers. It is available to rent as a bridal or “getting ready” suite both to Stockroom brides, as well as to brides having their wedding at one of the other downtown locations.Bridal party at The Glass Box in RaleighPhoto by Casey Rose Photography

Outside of downtown, but still inside the beltline, you’ll find the GLENWOOD CLUB. This rebranded venue located in the former Woman’s Club is a Southern classic event space that offers comfortable seating for up to 250 guests, newly refurbished bridal and groom suites and onsite parking. Glenwood Club is exclusively catered by IRREGARDLESS CAFE & CATERING, known for their farm-to-table cuisine for the past 40 years.

Right across the street from Crabtree Valley Mall is the RALEIGH MARRIOTT CRABTREE VALLEY, which has been refurbishing guest rooms, meeting spaces, public spaces, the restaurant, and – most exciting to those betrothed – a new event space dubbed the GLENWOOD BALLROOM. Check in with their event staff to find out when the revamp will be completed.


THE MAYTON INN is a brand-new 45-room boutique inn in the heart of downtown Cary. This Georgian-style hotel encompasses a luxury atmosphere along with advanced green technologies. The first floor boasts elegant event space, lounge, and a full bar and restaurant. This new property comes from the owners of the elegant KING’S DAUGHTERS INN in Durham.
Stay at The Mayton Inn Cary NC


Converted from the iconic, mid-century Home Savings Bank, THE DURHAM HOTEL offers an intimate 53-room boutique hotel experience, including a stylish penthouse suite. Along with a locally-inspired menu served in the retro-styled restaurant lounge, there is also a stunning rooftop bar.
Rooftop at The Durham HotelPhoto by Riley MacLean

Also in the middle of the downtown action is 21C MUSEUM HOTEL. This visually impressive fusion of a modern art museum inside a warm, welcoming boutique hotel (another renovated former bank building). It features 10,500 square feet of exhibition and event spaces filled with innovative art and a distinguished grand ballroom. The entire top floor is the penthouse suite with a private balcony and expansive view of downtown.

If you’re looking for a great place for a room block, be assured your guests will enjoy staying onsite at AMERICAN TOBACCO CAMPUS (ATC) at the new ALOFT property. There are plenty of restaurants and bars on campus, as well as the Durham Bulls Stadium and The Durham Performing Arts Center (as well as the BAY 7 event space).

Chapel Hill – Hillsborough

Over the summer, THE SIENA HOTEL made impressive changes to its AAA four-diamond rated dining room, IL PALIO. The restaurant was completely revamped with new floors, ceiling, tables and chairs to create a beautiful contemporary ambience that’s wonderful for an elegant rehearsal dinner or intimate reception seating up to 46 people.

THE CAROLINA INN also gave their formal dining and event space, CAROLINA CROSSROADS, a major renovation this summer. There is a more casual, open look and energy, along with a new outdoor area featuring a fire pit and lounge-dining seating. The bar is a welcoming focus and place to meet friends, with its central location and wrap-around seating. Along with a new look comes a new menu.

At last, there is a large wedding venue in historic downtown Hillsborough! THE CLOTH MILL opened December of 2015 in the historic Eno River Mill campus and hosts events up to 600 guests. This authentically renovated 10,000 square foot warehouse boasts urban industrial allure with exposed brick walls, massive windows, original wood beams and columns, and expansive open-air courtyard.
The Cloth Mill on the Eno Hillsborough evnet spacePhoto by Stephen Thrift Photography

Our region has long been a mecca of marvelous venues ranging from distinguished clubs and fine hotels to country mansions and estates and more recently, some finely refurbished city jewels. Follow the SB&G blog for updates on what’s happening with weddings in mind throughout the Triangle and beyond.

To learn more about these venues and more, be sure to visit SB&G’s Venue page.

Winter Events Recap: Wedding Shows and Venue Openings across the Triangle

Winter is an exciting and busy time in the wedding industry. With many couples getting engaged over the holidays, wedding shows are plentiful and packed throughout the Triangle. It also tends to be a good time for venues to make updates to their facilities, or better yet, aim for a grand opening just in time for brides and grooms to start booking their events in the warmer months ahead.

Here, we recap some our recent adventures across the Triangle – including big annual wedding shows and the grand opening of gorgeous new event spaces that we just can’t get enough of! Take a look…

Forever Bridal’s The Wedding Show
At the first wedding show of the new year, we handed out our recently released 2016 edition of Southern Bride & Groom and got great feedback from vendors and brides who were getting their first glance!

We also showcased a new design for our booth that complemented the theme of our cover – modern Southern elegance. With a light wood plank backdrop from Get Lit Special Event Lighting and magnolias and other greenery from Eclectic Sage, many brides were inspired to snap pictures on their phones as they stopped by, documenting ideas for their own rustic chic wedding decor.
SBGMag at Forever Bridal Show in RaleighForever Bridal Shows at Raleigh State FairgroundsMelrose Knitting Mill Raleigh Event VenueWedding fashion shows in Raleigh NCPhotos by Southern Love Studios

Bridal Showcase at The Carolina Inn
Every year, we look forward to the Annual Bridal Showcase at the historic Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. The setting is intimate and elegant – a chance for brides to meet the Inn’s planning team along with many other top notch vendors from the area, showcasing food and drink, florals, music, and everything in between.

As the backdrop of SB&G’s Downton Abbey themed style shoot in this year’s magazine, The Carolina Inn always inspires and impresses.
Publishers of Southern Bride and Groom Magazine Southern Bride and Groom at The Carolina Inn               Photos by Mikkel Paige

Grand Opening of The Cloth Mill
The Cloth Mill at the Eno River officially opened its doors in December, followed by a grand opening celebration that had us swooning for this gorgeous new space! The Cloth Mill is located in historic downtown Hillsbrough and offers a unique urban wedding and event space with exposed brick walls, massive windows, high ceilings, original wood beams and columns, and and outdoor courtyard.

The Cloth Mill is the newest business adventure from Nicole Clayton, owner of On the Rocks Bartending. When Nicole started On the Rocks in 2013, she envisioned expanding her bartending business into a special events venue. In early 2015, she came across this former 10,000 square foot fabric warehouse space and saw its huge potential.

Gather Together Events helped organize a great-gatsby styled opening event. We loved seeing the space all decked out with lighting and decor from Showtime Events. Sophisticated centerpieces and flowers were on display from Eclectic Sage and Edible Art’s gold and blue cake was a showstopper. They also created custom cookies that featured The Cloth Mill’s logo! And Raleigh area caterer Donovan’s Dish treated guests to a delicious kabob carving station.
Wedding venue in downtown Hillsborough NCWedding decor ideasGreat Gatsby themed event decorWedding decor by Showtime EventsGather Together Events at The Cloth MillGet married in a historic venue in NCElegant and classic flowers at weddingEclectic Sage Raleigh NC floristEvent flowers by Eclectic SageNicole Clayton owner of The Cloth MillCloth Mil Event Space NCSouthern Bride and Groom at The Cloth MillDrapery used in wedding decorC and D event wedding plannersBlue and gold color palette inspirationDonovan's Dish Raleigh catererCustomized cookies as party favorsVintage furniture rentals for wedding decorThe Cloth Mill on the Eno Hillsborough evnet spaceImages by Stephen Thrift Photography

Grand Opening of The Mayton Inn
In early February, downtown Cary welcomed Wake County’s first boutique hotel, The Mayton Inn, which we couldn’t wait to visit for a sneak peek! The property is owned and managed by the folks behind Durham’s popular boutique hotel, The King’s Daughters Inn.

With 33 unique guest rooms and 11 deluxe rooms, this stylish Georgian-style inn is perfect for small weddings. It even has its own detached bridal suite – a small historic house that was given to The Mayton Inn for restoration and a whole new purpose.

There is also an onsite spa, a lovely dining room that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, and a wine cellar. The 3,000 square foot outside terrace overlooks a lush green park.

But the hotel isn’t just pretty, it’s also sustainable…boasting new green technology, such as solar panels on the roof and a rainwater cistern to keep the landscape lush during a drought.

The first wedding at The Mayton Inn will place in April!
Cary Boutique Hotel The Mayton InnUpscale bar at Mayton Inn Cary NCWedding guest accommodations near RaleighStay at The Mayton Inn Cary NCBoutique hotels near Raleigh NCDining at The Mayton Inn Cary NCPhotos courtesy of The Mayton Inn

Proposal Inspiration from the NC Hot Air Balloon Festival

It’s that moment that changes your lives forever and marks the start of two becoming one – full of the most joyful emotions. If you have a groom who is organized enough to plan documentation of this occasion, lucky you! If not, you can always reenact the scene at your engagement session.

Last spring, WRAL sponsored the first hot air balloon festival at Bennett Bunn Plantation in Zebulon, just a few minutes outside of Raleigh. This picturesque country property with historic tobacco barns, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, beautiful pastures and a gazebo, hosts weddings and events in their rustic stone and timber lakeside lodge. The festival hosted dozens of hot air balloons in Bennett Bunn’s expansive fields, and made the perfect photo-opp for a proposal picnic-styled shoot that SB&G put on with the help of Erin McLean Events, featured in our 2016 magazine.

The day was mostly beautiful, but blustery winds grounded the balloons while our now newlywed couple, Brooke and Jason McDowell, enjoyed the time together with the picnic fare. For a proposal or engagement shoot, include pretty details for the photos, such as food, flowers or a favorite quote on a mirror or a chalkboard – along with a picturesque location. The beautiful diamond ring from Diamonds Direct Crabtree sparkles on a summer day.

Enjoy the colorful and fun images captured by photographer Jamie Blow below, and take note of ideas for your own creative proposal or engagement shoot!
Hot air balloon engagement photos in NCPink peony bouquetBennett Bunn Plantation NC wedding venueHot air balloon festival in north carolinaDiamonds Direct engagement ringsChalk board signs in weddingsNorth Carolina engagmenet and wedding photographyCute engagement photo ideasOutdoor picnic engagement sessionsPicnic engagement session by Jamie Blow PhotographyPink engagement and wedding inspirationPastel and pink color pallette for summer weddingVENUE Bennett Bunn Plantation | PHOTOGRAPHER Jamie Blow Photography | STYLING & FLORALS Erin McLean Events | CHALKBOARD SIGNAGE Pen Pointed Calligraphy | EARRINGS & ENGAGEMENT RING Diamonds Direct Crabtree

Thank you to the other shoot participants: Hot Air Marketing, producer of the WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival; and Ramey Rhodes, local fashion designer of the bride-to-be’s dress.

Vintage Chic Wedding at The Sutherland

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Beth and George’s vintage chic wedding at The Sutherland in Wake Forest, captured by one of Raleigh’s top wedding photographers, Dara Blakeley Photography.

Beth had been living in NC with her aunt and uncle and working as a school teacher while George was working from home. Since neither had ample opportunity to get out and meet people, they joined and it wasn’t long before Beth noticed his profile and chose to have their first date at the Milltown in Carrboro.

One evening, George took Beth to one of her favorite restaurants and the place where they first fell in love – Acme restaurant in Carrboro. He hired a photographer to capture the special moment and even secretly packed Beth’s makeup bag knowing she would die if her makeup was running in public! They shared a celebratory bottle of champagne and then went to see the Broadway show Beauty and the Beast. It was an all-around magical evening.

With help from SB&G’s venue guide, Beth and George found The Sutherland – the perfect place for a vintage chic Southern wedding! Beth is from NJ and George from PA, but the met and fell in love in NC. They wanted to share some of that Southern charm with their guests who flew in from many different states.

Beth spent a lot of hours perusing Pinterest boards to get the exact look she was trying to capture: an outdoor wedding with a vintage feel. She rented vintage items from Themeworks and bought other items from Etsy, local antique shops and Pottery Barn. Blush and white flowers and a classic buttercream cake with roses added to the elegant look.

Beth’s dad is her best friend and she knew there were two things she wanted to remember forever: his reaction to seeing her in my dress and their choreographed fast dance. They had a blast breaking it down on the patio!

At the end of the night, the couple was whisked away in an old-fashioned Excalibur and treated like royalty at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, enjoying a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. After the party, it was a nice treat to walk the trails and enjoy the calming atmosphere as husband and wife.

Not only did Dara Blakeley Photography capture stunning images of the bride and groom, but she also portrayed every vintage-inspired detail of this gorgeous wedding in the images below.
Cute wedding photography ideasPink and white wedding flowerssilver wedding shoesbridal perfumeKids at weddingwedding garterStarbucks for weddingRaleigh groomCustom ring boxesrose and hydrangea bouquetswedding ceremony ideasOutdoor ceremony at The SutherlandDara Blakeley wedding photography

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The Sutherland exceeded our expectations. Getting ready in the bride and groom quarters was breathtaking,” says the bride. “We had both the ceremony and reception outside at The Sutherland and Ashlee covered it all! She ensured our guests were comfortable and that I was calm. She took care of everything.”

Dara is the most soothing person you want at your wedding,” shares Beth. “She was able to make me laugh when I was nervous; she just has a special charm about her. I didn’t meet her prior to the wedding, but when I did, it was like I had known her for years. She was so fun! Kathy works with Dara and she is the perfect partner to this dynamic duo.”Black and white wedding photographyCaterer
“Of course, we did our homework before picking a caterer. Donovan’s Dish bends over backwards for their clients. Most caterers have group tastings, but they decided to do a private tasting. Everything was delicious. They also set themselves apart at the unveiling of the pavilion at The Sutherland, serving some of their famous shrimp and grits and guests loved the pasta station. While we didn’t get to eat much of our dinner at our wedding, Donavan’s ensured that we had a meal to enjoy in our getaway bag. They also heard that I was donating my flowers to the Ronald McDonald House and helped pack our leftovers for us to donate,” Beth noted.

Edible Art Bakery let us come in for more than one tasting to ensure that we were set on the flavors of our cupcakes and cake. Their cupcakes are huge! We had ordered a little extra and ended up passing them out to family and friends, along with neighbors the next day. Our cake had one tier of almond and the other lemon and both flavors were to die for!” the bride says.
Classic white wedding cakesVENUE & PLANNING The Sutherland | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | CATERER Donovan’s Dish | REHEARSAL DINNER Over The Falls in Wake Forest | BRIDESMAID LUNCHEON Sergio’s Pizza | GOWN Pronovias from I Do I Do in New Jersey | SHOES Blue by Betsey Johnson | JEWELRY Nadri from Nordstroms | WEDDING RINGS Diamonds Direct | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Jenny Yoo | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Oakley sunglasses | HAIR Manhattan Hair and Nail in NJ | PERFUME Versace Bright Crystal perfume | | MINISTER Michael Mullins | CEREMONY MUSIC Save The Date (cello and violin duo) | RECEPTION MUSIC Brian Pate Entertainment | CAKE Edible Art Bakery | FLORIST Embellished Blooms | VIDEOGRAPHER Wrinkled Blanket | PARTY RENTALS CE Rentals and Themeworks | VINTAGE DÉCOR | INVITATIONS Winkflash & American Wedding | FAVORS Sweet Water Italian Ice | TRANSPORTATION Classy Transportation | BRIDE & GROOM ACCOMMODATIONS The Umstead Hotel & Spa

Rustic Fall Wedding at the Piazza at Portofino

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Meagan and Christopher’s rustic fall wedding at the Piazza at Portofino in Clayton, NC.

Meagan and Christopher are high school sweethearts who dated through college and were engaged during Meagan’s last semester of graduate school. Chris proposed at their favorite vacation spot on Lake Gaston, NC.

With a vision to have a very rustic, yet natural theme to their wedding, the couple were immediately drawn to the beautiful views and rustic setting of Portofino – a residential community, equestrian center, and event piazza located in Clayton, NC. “We loved the fact that the ceremony and reception could be held on the same property but in a different location,” says Meagan, who also appreciated having the upstairs of the barn suite to get ready and stay in the night of the wedding.

To top it off, they were very impressed with the help they received from Sandra Thompson, the event coordinator at Portofino. “She was so welcoming and inviting the first time we met her, we couldn’t imagine working with anyone else,” Meagan shares. “She went above and beyond to make sure our wedding day was perfect and something we would never forget. We are very fortunate to have crossed paths with such as caring and genuine person.”

The color palette was classic – rich navy blue, cream and white. The flowers were prepared by a florist from Harris Teeter in Cameron Village in Raleigh and the bride was thrilled with how the white hydrangeas and roses added elegant accents to the barn-like setting.

Of course, the equestrian center and the ground of Portofino provides many beautiful backdrops for photographs. Diane McKinney’s gorgeous photos below tell the story of this adorable, long-time couple and their joyous fall wedding.

There is no doubt this family knows how to have a good time – they even have a family tradition of throwing the groom in the pool at the end of the reception!
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Sweet Southern Outdoor Wedding at the Burke Manor Inn and Pavilion

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Aprille and Joseph’s sweet Southern outdoor wedding at The Burke Manor Inn and Pavilion in Gibsonville, NC.

Joseph went looking for an apartment one day, and along with finding a place to rent, he found his soulmate. Aprille was working as a leasing consultant at the complex. She and Joseph soon became close friends and chatted while they were both there, but when Aprille left the job, she thought that would be the end of it. Luckily, they reconnected on Facebook have been together as a couple ever since.

Because they both have children from previous relationships, Wednesday nights were set aside as their official date nights when they were both free. Joe had his heart set on proposing to Aprille on April Fool’s Day 2015 which fell on a Wednesday night. He planned to take her out to a nice restaurant and have an evening to celebrate, but on that night, Aprille’s son was sick so they stayed home. They ended up watching a movie after putting her son to bed and Joe proposed right there on the couch. Sometimes the best things come out of the worst situations!

The Burke Manor Inn had everything Aprille and Joe wanted in a wedding venue: A beautiful ceremony garden, a covered reception pavilion in case of a late summer afternoon thunderstorm, and the Inn had enough room for both families to stay for the whole wedding weekend!

During the planning process, Aprille swore by Pinterest. “The best thing that we did was write everything down in detail with what we wanted at the wedding and I provided pictures for the vendors. It allowed each vendor to know exactly what we wanted,” she shares.

All the kids were a part of the wedding, of course, including Joe’s two sons as the “best men” and Aprille’s son, the ring bearer. In the photos below, Spotlight Photography captures the close bond they all share and the jovial mood of all the wedding guests. The smiles on everyone’s faces tell it all!

With the help of the staff and team at Burke Manor Inn, which provided an experience their wedding guests are still talking about, along with the mother of the bride’s handy work (she altered Aprille’s wedding gown and made all the tablecloths for the ceremony and reception), Aprille and Joe enjoyed a beautiful Southern summer wedding.The Burke Manor Inn in NCwedding ring boxLace wedding gownCute first look photosWhite bridal bouquetWedding ringsRoses at weddingSouthern weddingsNorth Carolina brideWedding photographyPink wedding bouquetsPink and lace bridesmaidsGroomsmen socksWedding venues in NCWedding decorPink corsageWedding programsOutdoor wedding ceremonyRing bearerOutdoor wedding at Burke Manor InnSouthern bride and groomPink and white wedding flowersBurke Manor Inn PavilionSugarland wedding cakeNorth carolina weddingMonogramed wedding favorsTan suites on groomsmenGetting married at the Burke Manor InnReception at the Burke Manor InnReception in the Burke Manor PavilionBurke Manor Inn weddingVENUE & CATERER Burke Manor Inn & Pavilion | PHOTOGRAPHY Spotlight Photography | REHERSAL DINNER Buffalo Lanes bowling’| MINISTER Ken Tilley | GOWN Romona Keveza from Bridals by Lori | SHOES Boston Proper | BRIDESMAIDS David’s Bridal, Greensboro | MOB Dillard’s | HAIR Stephanie Beaver | MAKE UP Brooke Miles | JEWELRY Jason’s the Art of Jewelry, Reeds Jewelers, and Perry’s Gold Mine | BRIDESMAID GIFTS Cross necklaces with personalized charm | FORMALWEAR Men’s Wearhouse, Burlington | GROOMSMEN GIFT Golf Outing at Shamrock Golf Club | FLORIST Sedgefield Florist | CAKE Sugarland | STATIONER Juliepatoolie’s | FAVORS Mini fans from Quality Logo Products | DJ & LIGHTING K2 Productions | ACCOMODATIONS Burke Manor Inn

A North Carolina Wedding that Marries Duke and UNC

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Joanna and Shenduo’s stunning North Carolina wedding that marries Duke and UNC – the couple’s alma maters. Joe Payne Photography captured the lovely couple in these two iconic settings.

Shenduo and Joanna met while he was studying at Duke University and she was studying at UNC-Chapel Hill. Their relationship officially began on a starry night in the forest of the Great Smoky Mountains, surrounded by thousands of fireflies – a romantic night Joanna says she will cherish in her memory forever. As two young students in love, they spent a lot of time studying together in almost every library of the two schools.

A year later, Joanna graduated from UNC and moved to New York and their long-distance relationship began. It was on Joanna’s birthday, soon after the move, that Shenduo flew to visit her and showered her with gifts, including two best-seat tickets to one of the most popular Broadway musicals, a lavish dinner at a three-star Michelin restaurant, but the best gift of all was still to come!

After dinner, Shenduo suggested going to Brooklyn Bridge Park to enjoy the night view of the Manhattan skyline. When they arrived at the riverside, he said he had another gift for Joanna – a handmade photo card, on the front of which was a picture taken by him showing the tennis court near his apartment where they used to play tennis together. In the center of the court in the photograph, there were hundreds of tennis balls, which were placed in the shape of “I [heart] Jo.” On the inside of the card was a handwritten love note and some letters in bold red that spelled out, “Marry Me.” It wasn’t until that moment that Joanna realized this night of surprises had all been part of an elaborate proposal! It was the most picturesque scene as Shenduo got down on his knee in front of the sparkling Manhattan skyline.

It’s no surprise these Duke and UNC alumns chose the iconic Duke Chapel in Durham and The Great Room at Top of the Hill restaurant in Chapel Hill as ceremony and reception venues – a tribute to their relationship that bloomed on both campuses. They knew they would be leaving North Carolina after Shenduo graduated, so they wanted to make their last romantic memories there.

Joanna chose pretty pastel colors in shades of pink, worn by her bridesmaids and in the elegant bouquets by Tre Bella Flowers, for her late April wedding. As a nod to Duke and UNC, they chose Duke blue for the groomsmens’ ties and Carolina blue for the reception table linen. Other personal details included a backdrop wall decorated with with gold alphabet letter balloons spelling their names and vintage heart-shape marquee lights. They also ordered a customized cake topper from Etsy and Chinese favor boxes that represented “double happiness,” along with customized M&Ms.

Even though it turned out to be a rainy spring day, photographer Joe Payne captured stunning images, showcasing the tranquility of the day, the closeness of the couple, and the breathtaking beauty of the setting.Durham brideJoe Payne Wedding PhotographyBridal tierraChinese wedding in AmericaDiamond wedding bandsRed wedding shoesRaleigh wedding photographersWhite boutonniereDurham bride at the Duke ChapelRainy day weddingBride and groom at Duke ChapelPink and white bouquetsDurham bride at Duke ChapelRainy day wedding picturesBlack and white wedding photographyMarried at the historic Duke ChapelDuke Chapel CeremonyDuke Chapel wedding photographyDuke and UNC weddingDurham NC wedding venuesCustomized cake topperChapel Hill receptionWhite wedding cakeChinese wedding favorsTop of the Hill reception venueChinese wedding traditionsSparkler exit after receptionSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS

“We were very impressed by Joy Payne’s professionalism, efficiency, humor, and most of all, amazing photos! He has the great ability to capture the important moments without letting you realize he exists. On the wedding day, Joe really devoted the whole day to us. He even came earlier than the time we had asked him to, in order to catch every tiny moment. Joe gave all the photos to us in a very timely manner. You can tell he really put a lot of effort into digital editing – editing each photo individually based on the subject, light, atmosphere, etc., while many other photographers only use one or two pre-settings for all the photos. We really had a great time with Joe, and we felt very lucky to have him as our wedding photographer,” says Joanna.

” We feel blessed to have found The Great Room at Top of the Hill as our reception venue. The staff there are very professional, thoughtful, and experienced. What I liked most about them on our wedding day was that they took care of every detail without us having to worry about anything. We were thrilled when we saw the wall decor they did for us – it was even more adorable than what we could imagine! We also got a lot of compliments about the food and drinks. Thanks to their great work, we were able to fully enjoy every moment of that beautiful night with our guests and it left such an unforgettable memory in everyone’s mind,” Joanna shares.

“We chose Tre Bella Flowers because they were quite responsive and gave us a clear price breakdown quickly when we were doing inquiries. Everything about them is professional and efficient and the price is also very reasonable. I couldn’t have love my bridal bouquet more! I really appreciate their work,” Joanna states.

VENUE Duke Chapel | RECEPTION The Great Room at Top of the Hill Restaurant | PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Payne Photography | BRIDAL SHOES Badgley Mischka & Salvatore Ferragamo | FLORIST Tre Bella Flowers | CAKE Guglhupf | INVITATIONS Grapevine Print & Design | GUEST ACCOMODATIONS Arrowhead Inn Bed & Breakfast | TRANSPORTATION Classy Transportation & Smith Luxury Limousines