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Need wedding venue/catering advice - Charlotte, NC

I have worked the food-and-wine industry in Napa and San Francisco for over decade, but because my fiance's aging parents can't travel out west, he would like the ceremony to occur over Thanksgiving this year and we'll have some West Coast party for our foodie friends in December or January or next year.

We are middle-aged and I am far from a Bridezilla, but the food *is* important. The initial plan was to find a small B&B or Inn where my fiance and I, his children, and a few of my family members could stay. We would have Turkey Day with my fiance's family but have the wedding and reception on Saturday. The whole wedding party will only be 20 or so guests.

The problem is that most of the places I have already checked with are completely booked (Duke, Ivy, Morehead, Van Landingham, and Alexander). My bro-in-law-to-be has offered his living room and that is the LAST thing I want to do.

So I need my Chowhounds to help me find a place for atmosphere and good food. Maybe get married at City Hall and find a great restaurant? I don't know the area at all. His parents are in their 80s so we can't drive too far (I got a lead on a place in Lincolnshire, but that seems to be an hour away from the family's home).

Also, I need a line on a good cheesemonger. Instead of a classic wedding cake, I want something like this and hope a good caterer can help me put it together: http://www.finecheese.co.uk/our-chees...


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  1. http://www.charlottesgotalot.com/wedd...

    Also, look into Aria, Aquavina, Carpe Diem. You didn't indicate a budget so maybe the Ritz-Carlton? Congrats and good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: southernitalian

      Thanks - with only 20 people, I'm not sure I am worried about a budget.

      Frankly, the Ritz looks cold and uninviting - very, very corporate.

      I'll start perusing the other site. Maybe we'll just marry in the bro-in-law's living room and find a decent restaurant for the meal. Are the three you mentioned above Charlotte's best?

      1. re: CarrieWas218

        Definitely among the best. They also get lots of mentions for weddings, rehearsal dinners, etc.

    2. Can your in-laws-to-be travel by car for an hour or two? If so, you could expand your search radius to the Asheville, Southern Pines, Greenville/Spartanburg, or Columbia SC. Three hours would get you to Charleston.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mpjmph

        No, I don't think at 80+ years, they will be interested in driving more than an hour anywhere...

        Carolinadawg, I have sent an email to Dunhill and have not heard back from them.

        Here are the places I have contacted:
        Alexander Homestead (unavailable)
        Duke Mansion (booked)
        Dunill (waiting to hear)
        Fuquay Springs (waiting to hear)
        Graylyn Estate (waiting to hear)
        Inn of the Patriots (waiting to hear)
        Ivy Place (booked)
        Morehead Inn (booked)
        Robins Nest (waiting to hear)
        Van Landingham (booked)
        Victorian Villa (will only book parties in excess of 60 people)
        Wadsworth Estate (waiting to hear)
        Wisteria Inn (waiting to hear)

        Any food comments on the above would be appreciated!

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          You need to check the location of some of those. I think Fuquay Springs Inn is in Fuquay Varina, about 2 hours from Charlotte. Graylyn is about an hour and half away. Inn of the Patriots is about an hour away, I think. Most B and B's and small inns only do breakfast, so a caterer will be needed in many cases. I have no knowledge of Charlotte caterers, sorry!

          1. re: carolinadawg

            That's what I am learning, yes... I spent the afternoon playing with Google Maps to figure out this stuff!

      2. You might want to look into the Dunhill Hotel, its an older, renovated place with lots of charm. Don't know if it has a room that would accomodate the wedding ceremony, but it does have a top floor suite that might be big enough. Plus, it adjoins the Harvest Moon Grille, an outstanding (imo, not everyone agrees) farm to fork restaurant.


        1. One of my friends is looking at Savour Charlotte to get married. Looks like a beautiful space from the pictures and this is right in Matthews.


          1 Reply
          1. re: vttp926

            I forgot about this space. This is where "Dino's" use to be.
            I can't remember what the inside looked like when it was the restaurant. I went once and it was not a great experience.
            Looks very pretty now.

            Also saw a new "Gourmet Creations" coming soon (not sure if the storefront will be done in time for you) in Ballantyne. Some sort of caterer? It's in the same plaza as Urban Fitness. Off Johnston Rd. Charlotte.

          2. Have you looked into the Mint or Bechtler Museums? I believe, though I'm not sure, they have small areas available for rent, as well as larger venues.Something Classic, the in-house caterer, has a good reputation, and so does the museum restaurant, Halcyon, also owned by Something Classic.

            1. If you go to www.charlotteobserver.com/carolinabride/, you might get some ideas from other Charlotte weddings, Congradulations.

              1. Look into Foundation for the Carolinas too. I was just at a meeting there and it looks like they have some really nice rooms. The room we were in had doors leading to a rooftop patio with views of the city.

                Roosters in South Park has a separate wine bar area across from the main restaurant that maybe you can rent out?

                1. Hi Carrie,

                  I work pt in the wine retail industry and the owners of the wine retailers where I work use this guy for catering events and they speak highly of his food & professionalism: http://www.chefcharlescatering.com/in...

                  Another very reputable caterer in town is Something Classic. The parent company also owns Halcyon & Fern, two great restaurants in town.

                  The best cheesemonger in town, hands down, is Regina at Dean & DeLuca Southpark. She is extremely knowledgeable and so generous, friendly and helpful. I cannot say enough good things about her.

                  When you contact the caterers they will be able to help you with sites & venues. They'll have the inside scoop on all of that.

                  Good luck & congrats!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lynnlato


                    This is brilliant help! Looks like Morehead Inn might be available (and they require their catering) but I still want the cheese and my sis-in-law-to-be didn't think there would be anything better than Sysco-offerings.

                    I'm having some locals investigate some locales but knowing there is a Dean & Deluca is very, very helpful!


                  2. The Bechtler suggestion is a great one as far as setting - they have options that are all good if you like art. The roof at Foundation for the Carolinas suggested earlier is good too, but weather could be a concern.

                    If the dinner is on Thanksgiving day, you might try calling smaller restaurants that would consider hosting a private party. Not sure if Customshop or 5Church generally serve on the day, but they would be my top picks based on food alone.

                    For cheese you might also consider talking to Rachel at Orrman's. http://www.7thstreetpublicmarket.com/...

                    1. Have you tried Whitehead Manor in south Charlotte? They have two facilities, a lovely old home and a newer (also lovely) meeting/reception facility. They are great to work with: http://www.whiteheadmanor.com/

                      I can also recommend Chef Charles, as mentioned below. I've attended private parties he's catered; his food is terrific and the hosts say he's great to work with.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sashapt

                        Sashapt, I looked at White Head Manor but was really hoping for a place where we could stay and have the ceremony at the same place. It might end up that we are in the local, cheap hotel and then driving to the event space, but it is a last choice...