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Please Help Us Find a Chapel Hill Wedding Venue for June!!

Murse Jan 18, 2010 02:21 PM

Hi all,

My gal and I are planning a Chapel Hill-area wedding for approximately 150 guests in June 2010 (soon!). We're both new to the area and thus not up to speed on our venue options. After a certain point, Google tends to repeat its results, mostly in uninspiring Yellow Page-ish format. But always the optimists, we're convinced that there's some place out there that we just don't know about yet.

In no particular order, our criteria are:

- Within 45 minute drive from downtown Chapel Hill
- Primarily outdoors, with indoor option in case of bad weather (and so my grandmother doesn't overheat)
- Able to bring in our own caterer (I've already seen that Allen & Son does weddings!)
- Quirky without being inconvenient or too weird. (Subjective, I know. We like the idea of a farm/barn, and I've romanticized the possibility of finding something like an abandoned schoolhouse, defunct social club, or shuttered historical society building that we can clean up.)
- Cheap.

Thus far, here are the places we're going to be calling and/or checking out:

Ayr Mount
Carol's Garden Inn
Celebrity Dairy
Elodie Farms
Forest Hills
Happy Trails Farm
New Hope Camp
Pine Lake Pavilion
Sarah P. Duke Gardens & Doris Duke Center Garden
Snipes Farm
Spruce Pine Lodge
Valhalla Retreat Center
The Inn at Bingham School

Pretty conventional, I know. Would love to hear from anyone who has any other suggestions. Thanks, everyone...

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  1. carolinadawg RE: Murse Jan 18, 2010 02:25 PM

    My cousin had his wedding at Fearrington House Inn a few years ago. It was very nice and is worth checking out.


    1. a
      anne7134 RE: Murse Jan 18, 2010 03:31 PM

      Goldenbelt in Durham has a nice event space
      American Tobacco Campus's event space on the same side as Tyler's, but upriver a little is very nice - I peeked in after a wedding as they were cleaning and it looked lovely
      I think that Harland's Creek Farm offers event space and they will have beautiful flowers in June.

      1. f
        foodjack RE: Murse Jan 18, 2010 04:46 PM

        We went to a wedding in November, and the reception was at Pine Lake Pavilion. You'd probably be able to do the wedding and reception there all in one place. It was both spacious and beautiful. Lots of room and the view of the lake as well. It was also secluded. I got the impression that the wedding was on a budget, so it may not be too expensive either.

        On the down side, we did have to help clean up after the reception. Putting away tables and chairs. Most people chipped in, and it wasn't too bad. The parking lot is a ways away from the pavilion, and the walk on the path through the woods was tricky for ladies in dress shoes. However, you can drive the loop to the pavilion to drop off the ladies, and then park the car.

        Overall, it was a nice place, and you should check it out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: foodjack
          Jesco RE: foodjack Jan 19, 2010 06:25 AM

          Ayr Mount in Hillsborough might be a nice idea, it is worth driving over there to check it out.

          1. re: Jesco
            romansperson RE: Jesco Jan 19, 2010 08:03 AM

            Ayr Mount is lovely - we live nearby and use the walking trail fairly often. I don't know how much use of the house you would get, but the grounds are very nice and it surely wouldn't hurt to investigate.

            I've also heard very nice things about the Barn at Valhalla (that it is pretty, inexpensive and the owner will go out of his way to be helpful), but I have not as yet attended an event there.

        2. s
          sisterbeer RE: Murse Jan 19, 2010 07:00 AM

          I highly recommend Celebrity Dairy. Not sure if they allow outside caterers, but it's worth asking.

          1. b
            brokegradstudent RE: Murse Jan 19, 2010 07:14 AM

            I've been to several very nice weddings at Duke Gardens.

            The Inn at Bingham School is wonderful but I seriously doubt they could do an indoor alternate for 150 people...If you rented a tent, probably but not indoors.

            Another option that people seem to use is Rock Quarry Farm on NC 54.

            3 Replies
            1. re: brokegradstudent
              cervisiam RE: brokegradstudent Jan 19, 2010 11:43 AM

              i'd be surprised if all sites in duke gardens were NOT booked - don't people camp out 1 year in advance to book it?

              1. re: cervisiam
                dfilpus RE: cervisiam Jan 19, 2010 12:22 PM

                The camping out happens for June weddings in Duke Chapel. But, the gardens are probably booked up for June by now.

                1. re: dfilpus
                  romansperson RE: dfilpus Jan 19, 2010 05:08 PM

                  I wonder if the Nasher Art Museum would do a wedding? Their cafe has a nice outdoor patio and it is close to the gardens.

            2. meatn3 RE: Murse Jan 19, 2010 04:28 PM

              If Raleigh is an option, here is a link to facilities available through the city:


              We attended a wedding at Fred Fletcher park a year ago. The wedding was outdoors in a garden area. The reception was a 2 minute walk away at the Borden Building. They had their own catering (friends of theirs did an amazing vegetarian meal) and the space worked well. They had approx. 120 - 150 guests attend.

              Happy planning!

              1. r
                rafeco RE: Murse Jan 19, 2010 07:32 PM

                I attended a lovely wedding at Elodie Farms in October. It's a great venue. But I worry that 150 guests would be too many for them. The wedding I went to had roughly half that many and things were pretty cramped, but a lot of that was that the festivities moved inside when it got unseasonably cold. I think had the event been able to take place outside, it would have seemed a bit less cramped.

                Haywood Hall in downtown Raleigh might be an option, and the rose garden at Raleigh Little Theatre is really beautiful for a wedding.

                1. m
                  Murse RE: Murse Jan 20, 2010 03:16 PM

                  Thanks for your tips, everyone! We've got our work cut out for us!

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