With its beautiful ocean views, waterways, forests and hidden gems, Eastern North Carolina is a special event just waiting to happen. From rustic country barns to royal, beachfront elegance, there’s a venue to suit every taste and style. And with stunning views from just about vantage point, you can’t go wrong choosing to share your nuptials on the Crystal Coast.
For brides looking at outdoor venues, professionals suggest having a back-up plan with a secondary inside location just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. Some of the area’s venues already have a contingency plan in place, with room to move the festivities indoors in a pinch, while others do not. So make sure this important query is on your list of questions to ask while visiting sites in the area.
The abundance of beach-front summer rentals can provide the ideal location for a wedding. Not only do they often provide access to the beach and serve as a hub for planning, but they can provide lodging for the wedding party, access to restroom facilities, plenty of room to get ready and an ideal site to hold the reception that follows. Many rental agencies offer wedding and event planning services on-site, making it easier than ever for the bride to enjoy a stress-free wedding.
Whether you plan on getting married in the middle of tourist season, or during the quieter off-season months, most of the area’s favorite attractions are open year round and ready to greet your family. Here are some of the area’s most popular sites:
Beaufort Historic Site – Located on Turner Street, the grounds of the Beaufort Historical Association provide a picturesque setting for special events. Say your vows on the site’s expanse of lawn and have your portraits taken on the porches of the beautifully restored buildings. Visit www.beauforthisotircsite.org or call 252-728-5225.
Butterfly Kisses Pavilion – This rustic barn-like setting in Newport can easily be dressed up or down depending on the feel of the wedding. A small outdoor trellis provides a great location for the nuptials. Can accommodate up to 240 guests. To learn more, call 252-223-2766 or visit www.jsnursery.com.
Front Street Village – On the site of the former Beaufort Fisheries along Taylors Creek, Front Street Village is a planned community under development at the end of Lennoxville Road. The beautiful waterfront boathouse and its top deck event space are ready to host the perfect event and the grounds are ideal for a tented affair. On-site planning and catering available. Call 252-838-1524 or visit www.frontstreetvillage.com.
Cape Lookout National Seashore – For a true beach-front wedding, Cape Lookout National Seashore is a perfect blend of privacy and history. The 56-mile stretch of North Carolina’s Outer Banks features a lighthouse and gorgeous waterfront spots. The site is available only by boat, however, passenger ferries on Harkers Island and Beaufort are happy to accommodate. Call 252-728-2250 or visit www.nps.gov/calo.
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center – Located at the end of Island Road, next to the National Park Service, this newly-completed facility has a large meeting space and plenty of picturesque settings for those all-important photos. Can accommodate up to 400 guests. Call 252-728-1500 or visit www.coresound.com.
Crystal Coast Lady – Licensed for 150 passengers, the Crystal Coast Lady has all ABC permits in place and is available for private parties of all types. The 75-foot vessel has covered decks and plenty of outdoor space. Visit www.crystalcoastlady.com for more information.
Doubletree by Hilton – This oceanfront resort offers all-inclusive packages, taking the stress out of planning your special day. Rooms and dining on-site, pier, pool and beach access. Call 252-240-1155
Dream Maker Wedding Estates – With three unique locations, these wedding specialists have a site to match just about everyone’s taste. Say your vows at the historic Octagon House, the restored Palo Alto Plantation or the private soundside Watson House. To learn more, visit www.dreamweddingestates.com.
Emerald Isle Beach & Pool Club – On Coast Guard Road in Emerald Isle, this private club offers beach or garden weddings with ocean views as well as indoor space and private changing areas. Visit www.emeraldislebeachclub.com.
Fort Macon State Park – The park encompasses 385 acres of beach, dunes and maritime forest with the fort serving as the centerpiece. A beach access site offers a bath house and plenty of parking. For more information, call 252-726-3775.
The History Place – In downtown Morehead City, this museum by the Carteret County Historical and Genealogy Society includes auditorium space for 165 people, seated. The staff assists with set up and clean up, taking the stress off the wedding party. To learn more, call 252-247-7533 or visit www.thehistoryplace.org.
The Islander – Located in Emerald Isle, the Islander offers all-inclusive packages and features 80 guest rooms, eliminating the need for wedding day transportation. Can accommodate up to 200 guests. Visit www.islandernc.com or call 252-354-3464/
Morehead City Train Depot – The town’s historic train depot, located at 1001 Arendell St., features a catering kitchen and tables and chairs for about 75 people, making it ideal for a small intimate wedding or reception. Call 252-808-0440.
NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores – The aquarium lets guests get up close and personal with shipwrecks without getting wet, stare down a 350-pound sand tiger shark, watch river otters play and touch a stingray. Popular for weddings and special events, the site has accommodations for groups of 130 up to 1,500. Call 252-247-4003 or visit www.ncaquariums.com.
Neuse Breeze – Located along the Intracoastal Waterway, this scenic home is available for a variety of special events. One guest house is located on the property. Indoor and outdoor settings available. Visit www.neusebreeze.com or call 252-447-2937.
The Ocean Club – With accommodations, a spa, indoor and outdoor space, event planners and technical staff, the Ocean Club and OC Spa & Wellness Center can provide for just about everything a bridal party may need. With sound and ocean access, a pier and pavilion, the site also has a variety of photo options. For details, visit www.oceanclubeventsnc.com.
Tryon Palace – Located in New Bern, this centerpiece of the colonies was recreated in the 1950s and opened as a museum. Various locations on the grounds are available for special events with varied capacity. Indoor and outdoor settings. To learn more, visit www.tryonpalace.org.