So you said no to a church. Now what?


One of the hardest things I have faced so far being a good ole southern girl is the fact that we are not getting married in a church. When I tell people the venue DF and I have chosen they look at me like I am a bare footed heathen. No it’s not a church people. It’s way cooler and a space where everyone will feel comfortable and welcome. And no we aren’t having a traditional pastor either but instead one that I found online that also performs Handfastings. You see, in our great ole state of NC you have to be married by an ordained and recognized clergy or a registered officiant. Your buddy with the online ordainment just will not work because in NC it won’t be legal. Good thing I found this out now because we entertained the thought of having a friend marry us.

Back to the church thing. What other options do you have? Plenty! You could get married outside, in an old building, in a warehouse space, in a museum, in someone’s back yard….the options are endless. Below I have listed a few of my favorite places in the Raleigh, NC area to get married. These places are definitely different and have a little bit of an edge to them. And none will break the budget! In fact, one of the spaces is free! Please comment and add your own ideas if I miss a favorite.

  • Umstead Park, Cary. Picnic shelters. These shelters rent for only $100 a day and provide a great natural outdoor space to get married in. The rental is for the entire day but there is no alcohol allowed in the park.umstead
  • The Borden Building, Raleigh. This is a very old, historic house located in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The house and grounds rent for all day for under $1000. No open flames or smoking on the premises. The amphitheater can also be rented alone or with the house for an additional cost.


  • Shelley Lake, Sertoma Arts Center, Raleigh. This is a great outdoor location with walking trails, playgrounds, bridges, and a fantastic Art Center that can be rented for events. It does get busy on the weekends so book your rental far in advance.

Shelly lakesertoma

  • The Demonstration Gallery at the NC History Museum, Raleigh. Super cute little space that seats about 50 with vaulted ceilings and an awesome crystal chandelier. The rental is $300 for the space and may be rented during or after hours. The big windows overlook downtown Raleigh.demobox
  • The Bridge Club, Raleigh. This cool little bar on the corner also serves some pretty fantastic food. Upstairs they have two spaces that would be awesome for a small wedding. You can either rent both or just one depending on your needs. If you do chose to have your reception there though I believe you have to use their caterer. Which is still very reasonably priced and amazing!BC_3NorthBC_3East
  • Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh. This is a really neat space. Very old brick walls and lots of openness. Lot of flexibility here. Not sure exactly what the cost is for rental.

bruning coalburning coal

  • The Architect Bar, Raleigh. If you like an intimate environment in a freaking awesome old building then this is the spot for you! They do allow outside catering and they provide the alcohol if a reception is to be held there. The space price varies but I believe it is over $500.architect-bar-1Host-Event4
  • Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve, Raleigh/Wake Forest. This beautiful space was snatched up by the city and turned into a protected park. It used to be a horse pasture during it’s first life. The space has unpaved trails and the use of a picnic shelter which is first come first serve. This spot would be perfect for a small wedding with just a few gathering to witness. And since it is a city park the cost would be free!HSFBannerA0215_N100_webview

There’s a few options to get your brain working. I personally love all of these because each is so very different and not traditional at all. Remember…it’s your wedding so make it a reflection of you and your partner and the love you have for one another. At the end of the day, your union and partnership is the only thing that matters!


Cheers, Gigi



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s