The Ultimate Durham Wedding Venue Guide

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Cozy inns, lush gardens, renovated industrial spaces in the heart of the city – no matter what kind of wedding you’re throwing, our venue guide will help you find the perfect spot to host your big day

Donminique and Chaz, venue guide
Read about this intimate elopement wedding at 21c Museum Hotel here. Photo by Ariel Perry Photography

Compiled By Renee Ambroso, Brooke Spach, Anne Tate and Megan Tillotson

21C MUSEUM HOTEL

This multi-venue contemporary art museum offers more than 10,500-square-feet of art-filled exhibition and event space, a full-service boutique hotel and Counting House restaurant, which features the bold flavors of executive chef Jeff Seizer who oversees the professional catering services alongside Counting House’s culinary team. The hotel has many flexible spaces available and can accommodate groups of 10 to 250 people. For the modern couple, 21c Durham provides dedicated event staff, a honeymoon suite, luxury room blocks with special rates available for groups of 10 or more, and other amenities. Business services include a full-service, 24-hour business center; state-of-the-art AV equipment; complimentary hard-wired and wireless high-speed internet access; and mail and package services. Contact Tiffany Clark at [email protected] or 919-956-6712 for more information.

RATE RANGE Main Gallery (Galleries One and Two): $1,000-$5,000; Second Floor Galleries (All): $1,250- $2,500; Gallery Three: $900-$1,750; Gallery Four: $400-$750; Gallery Five: $500-$900; Gallery Six: $400-$750; Gallery Seven: $200-$350; Conference room: $350-$600; The Vault: $400- $750. (Seated events with banquet rounds are not available in The Vault.)

ARROWHEAD INN

The on-site event coordinator will help you plan every aspect of your event at this lovely inn, set on 6 acres in North Durham. Ideal for smaller affairs of 30 guests or fewer, the inn specializes in garden weddings and can provide space for an indoor reception as well as accommodate sleeping for up to 18 guests in its nine rooms. Contact [email protected] for more information.

RATE RANGE $2,000-$20,000

Risa and Matt, venue guide
Read about this picture-perfect wedding at Bay 7 at American Tobacco here. Photo by Fancy This Photography

BAY 7 AT AMERICAN TOBACCO

The American Tobacco Campus offers an elegant event space for occasions that transcend the day to day. With a capacity of 400 people, Bay 7 is one of a kind and features exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, steel girders and a balcony. The Angus Barn now oversees Bay 7 and serves as the exclusive caterer and events manager. For more information, visit angusbarn.com or call 919-781-2444.

BELT LINE STATION

This unique, fully inclusive venue has three distinct areas: the train station platform (that has retractable walls), an outdoor patio and an indoor venue with a bar, dance floor and restrooms. The indoor capacity is 100 people, and the outdoor capacity is 200 people. Belt Line Station provides all-inclusive services such as event planning, Southern food, beverages, serving staff and more. Request rate information by contacting [email protected].

Belt Line Station Bride and Groom, venue guide
Belt Line Station. Photo by Kivus & Camera

THE COOKERY

Boasting more than 12,000 square feet of exposed brick walls, distinctive metalwork salvaged from Durham landmarks, an expansive ballroom, a Front Room with ceilings that stretch 20 feet high with a mezzanine, an outdoor cobblestoned garden and a courtyard, The Cookery’s grounds are a perfect setting for myriad private celebrations. The unique space can accommodate seated dinners and wedding ceremonies for up to 330 guests (cocktail-style events that do not include a ceremony can accommodate 500 guests) and is ideal for weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners and post-wedding brunches. Rates range depending on the date – contact [email protected] to inquire for custom-pricing packages.

The Cotton Room, venue guide
Read about this brick-and-blush wedding at The Cotton Room here. Photo by Morgan Caddell Photography

THE COTTON ROOM

Situated on the third floor of a historic building in the renovated Golden Belt Campus, the 10,000-square-foot space gets natural light during the day and features authentic exposed brick walls, wood floors and timber framing. Located on East Main Street, it’s an easy walk or cab ride for guests who might want to hit the town after any event. The Cotton Room can hold up to 430 guests and provides all-inclusive services such as event planning and decoration. Request rate information by contacting [email protected].

COURTYARD DURHAM NEAR DUKE UNIVERSITY/ DOWNTOWN

This Courtyard by Marriott features a 1,250-square-foot venue that is split evenly between two rooms; each can accommodate up to 49 people in a theater set-up, or 40 for a reception/banquet setting. The hotel also offers accommodations for out-of-town guests.

Lin and Joel, venue guide
Read about this couple’s ceremony at Duke Chapel here. Photo by Live View Studios

DUKE CHAPEL

Host your ceremony in this venue that’s available exclusively to Blue Devil families. To wed inside this iconic Durham landmark, surrounded by 77 stained-glass windows under stone vaulted ceilings, one member of the couple, or one of their parents or grandparents, must be a Duke graduate, full-time student or full-time employee. Weddings of up to 500 guests can be accommodated and include help from a wedding coordinator and music guidance from the Chapel organist. The ceremony can also be livestreamed for guests unable to attend in person. Reservations for the sanctuary can be made up to one year in advance. Rates are available upon request via email at [email protected].

DURHAM ARMORY

The recently renovated 8,000-square-foot ballroom features exposed brick walls and a parquet floor and is located in the heart of the city on the corner of Foster and Morgan streets. The ballroom comfortably seats 400, and the overlooking balcony adds an additional 314 seats. Amenities include a coat room, snack bar, tables, chairs, audiovisual equipment and parking for loading and unloading is permitted under the carport in the back of the building. Guest parking is available on the street or at the Durham Center Garage at 300 W. Morgan St. Outside caterers have access to a warming kitchen that includes an industrial gas stove, triple sink, microwave, refrigerator and ice machine. Alcohol is permitted with insurance, an ABC permit and security.

RATE RANGE Security deposit without alcohol is $300, and with alcohol is $350. For a city resident: Mon.-Thurs. (four-hour minimum), $50/ hour; Fri.-Sun./holiday (six-hour minimum), $60/ hour; meeting room only (four-hour minimum), $25. For a non-city resident (hour minimums the same): Mon.-Thurs., $65; Fri.-Sun./holiday, $75; meeting room only, $30. Application fee without alcohol, $15, and with alcohol, $50; food fee, $25; set-up and dismantle (per 100 guests – max $200), $50. The rental times are Sunday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., and you must reserve for a minimum of six hours. Durham Parks & Recreation, which manages the property, provides tours of the facility every first and third Monday from noon to 6 p.m., no appointment necessary. Call 919-560-4355, ext. 27202, or email [email protected] for more information.

DURHAM ARTS COUNCIL

Plan your special day at Durham’s favorite art-filled event space. Choose from a combination of spaces, like two unique galleries filled with rotating, curated exhibits, the sun-filled Pavilion and other meeting areas throughout the building. Rooms can be rented alone or combined to create your ideal wedding space. Amenities such as furniture rental and kitchen access can be added. All rental rates are based on a four-hour event time, plus a complimentary two hours to set up before the event and one hour to clean up afterward. Rates range on evenings and weekends from $80 for the Holmes Conference Room to $815 for the Pavilion with its balcony for a four- hour time slot. Additional hours typically range from $20 to $45, depending on the room. Pricing and amenity flexibility allow clients to build their own package, with the Pavilion, Allenton Gallery and the catering kitchen combination as the most popular for a ceremony and reception for around 80-100 folks, which starts at $1,460 plus fees. Email [email protected] for more information.

DURHAM CENTRAL PARK

The Pavilion at Durham Central Park is a 9,000-square-foot, open-air venue with smooth concrete floors, surrounded by a lush lawn that can accommodate up to 300 guests. This outdoor space has access to water, electricity, bathrooms and storage. Rental costs range from $20 to $60 per hour, depending on season and day of the week, and is only for the space – additional fees can include bathroom cleaning fees, storage fees, lawn-use fees, food truck fees and WiFi fees. The rental does not include tables, chairs or other items. In the spring, summer and fall (winter weddings are not recommended), an average wedding rental is around $800-$1,200. On the east side of the park is The Leaf, a more intimate space with a 50-person capacity limit next to Mount Merrill and the Great Lawn. The rental cost of this uncovered, outdoor space is $15 an hour. Email [email protected] or call 919-794-8194 for more information.

Durham Food Hall event space
Durham Food Hall. Photo by Fancy This Photography

DURHAM FOOD HALL

With three private venues to choose from or combine, the Durham Food Hall offers more than 2,400 square feet of private event space. The Walker Stone Room is the most intimate space at 410 square feet and features a 14-foot custom brass and maple table made by Bull City Designs. Its seated capacity is 10-20 people, and standing capacity is up to 30. The Loose Leaf Event Gallery is an open, 1,350-square-foot space decorated with modern chandeliers and a 10-foot bi-fold door that opens into the Riggs Lounge, a third, 650-square-foot room with luxe finishes and large, copper top bar with additional plush banquette seating. The Gallery’s seating capacity is 150 with a 200-person standing capacity. The Lounge can seat 26 people, while up to 60 can stand. Packages and catering from all nine DFH vendors are available, and guests are free to wander down to the public hall below to order a meal or drink on their own, too. Contact [email protected] for more information.

THE DURHAM HOTEL

This mid-century venue in the heart of downtown offers seasonal menus and locally sourced drinks. Its private dining room, restaurant and rooftop lounge are all available for ceremonies, rehearsal dinners, receptions and more. A combination rental of the restaurant and the private dining room can accommodate up to 150 guests. Catering, beverage service, staffing, tables, chairs and some decor is available in-house. Pricing and inclusions vary depending on date and venue. For more information, contact [email protected].

STANDING/SEATED CAPACITY LIMITS FOR RENTAL SPACES Mezzanine Private Dining Room: 65 standing, 50 seated; Roof: 125 standing, 55 seated; First-Floor Restaurant: 125 standing, 100 seated; Restaurant and Mezzanine: 150 standing, 150 seated (split between two floors).

THE EXCHANGE

This industrial chic venue is located in a historic red brick building just minutes away from downtown. The Exchange serves as a blank canvas for any theme you desire and allows all vendors. It can seat up to 80 guests. The venue rate is $350 an hour and includes 80 white padded folding chairs, linen and cocktail tables, ten 60-inch round tables, eight 6-foot rectangular tables, an audio system, two wedding party suites, pre-strung market lights, a kitchenette and more. For more information, contact Blaire Malachi at [email protected] or 919-251-6197.

FOREST HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD CLUBHOUSE

This large clubhouse is located in the heart of the Forest Hills neighborhood and can accommodate up to 80 people. It features a spacious kitchen, restrooms, heating and air conditioning, and comes equipped with eight 60-inch round tables, ten 8-foot banquet tables, and 60 chairs. Outside is a large lawn. Outside catering is welcome, and there is a kitchen available. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted.

RATE RANGE Security deposit, $200; rental fee per hour (three-hour minimum) for a city resident is $30, $45 for a non-city resident. Additional fees include the rental application ($15) and a food fee ($25). Rental times are Sunday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to midnight. Durham Parks & Recreation, which manages the property, provides tours of the facility every first and third Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m., no appointment necessary. Call 919-560-4355, ext. 27202, or email [email protected] for more information.

THE FRUIT

This 22,000-square-foot warehouse-turned-venue is often used for musical performances, art shows and more, and all areas of the space include a state-of-the-art sound system and bar service. The black box theater side of the venue can seat up to 300 people, with enough standing room for 600 people. The warehouse section of the building offers a “flexible use” area, which can be divided into different sizes and similarly holds up to 600 for large dances. Finally, there’s a basement bar and dance area that includes artsy lounge rooms, great for up to 150 people, but only accessible by stairs. The staff is entirely composed of artists and photographers who are best reached via the booking page on durhamfruit.com or [email protected]. Pricing is mid-range for Durham, with all proceeds going to help emerging and alternative artists in the region.

HISTORIC DURHAM ATHLETIC PARK

Located just a mile north of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, this is a perfect venue for baseball fans and movie lovers alike, as the 1988 hit romance/sports film “Bull Durham” was filmed here. This venue can host events for up to 5,000 people on the playing surface or around the ballpark. For more information, contact Scott Strickland at [email protected].

HOPE VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB

The historic country club offers multiple spaces with golf course views, including the 1926 Tudor-designed Club Room, a main dining room with crystal chandeliers and a terrace patio. The newly renovated French, Terrace and Renaissance Rooms are other options that offer flexible configurations and classic- yet-modern style. Country club staff help guide in the planning process, and a culinary team provides the cuisine. For more information, contact Travis Dickerson at 919-251-5495.

CAPACITY LIMITS FOR RENTAL SPACES Main Dining Room/Clubroom: 350 capacity for plated dinner, 240 for buffet; French and Terrace Rooms: 60 guests for plated dinner; Covered Terrace Patio: 120 guests for plated dinner.

RATE RANGE $2,500 for four hours. French and Terrace Rooms, $300 for four hours. Outside Terrace Patio pricing is based on the season.

JB DUKE HOTEL

This hotel, conveniently located on Duke University’s campus, offers a tranquil retreat distinguished by its first-class service, attention to detail and beautiful setting. Dance under the crystal chandeliers of the opulent ballroom or enjoy the serene greenspace of the courtyards and terrace. Seasoned wedding consultants can assist in planning every detail of the special day, which includes a complimentary suite for the couple on the night of the wedding. For more information, contact Diane Tighe at [email protected] or 919-313-2158.

MILLENNIUM DURHAM

The hotel’s Brightleaf ballroom is 3,864 square feet, can hold up to 500 people and is accessible from the hotel’s main lobby. On the second floor of the hotel is the Greenbriar ballroom, which is the same size and capacity as the Brightleaf. For information on rates, contact Jessica McCabe at [email protected] or 919-382-5010.

MOREHEAD MANOR

The bed and breakfast can host an intimate wedding for up to 50 guests in its newly landscaped garden, inn or carriage house. It provides tables, chairs and linens, and offers the option of professional catering and other wedding services. Wedding packages can be customized to meet the needs of guests, and rates start at $750 for a ceremony of up to 20 people. For a ceremony and reception, rates begin at $4,200. Contact Monica R. Edwards at 919-687-4366 or [email protected] for more information.

Kassy and Brandon at the Museum of Life & Science
Read about this DIY wedding at Museum of Life and Science here. Photo by Samantha Floyd Photography

MUSEUM OF LIFE AND SCIENCE

Tie the knot in a treehouse, wed among butterflies or party next to a spaceship at this iconic local museum. Four different “Wonder Wedding” themed packages are available: Museum Wonder, Magic Wings, Wings and Wonder and Woods and Wonder. Each package features different selections of museum exhibits, with the option of fun add-ons (like liquid nitrogen margaritas or a train ride along the Ellerbe Creek Railway). Up to 180 guests can be accommodated for a seated reception. Limited tables and chairs are included. The museum also offers “Intimate Wonder,” a micro-wedding option that includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, cake and flowers. For more information, contact the rentals team at [email protected] or 919-220-5429, ext. 400.

STANDING/SEATED CAPACITY LIMITS FOR RENTAL SPACES Magic Wings (all outdoor): 180 people for a full wedding or 200 for reception only; Museum Wonder: Standing capacity is 200, seated capacity is 175 people in the exhibit space; Wings and Wonder: Capacity depends on the reception space selected, but could be up to 175 people in the exhibit space; Woods and Wonder: Capacity depends on the reception space selected, but could be up to 200 people (if tent and lawn are selected).

RATE RANGE Magic Wings and Museum Wonder start at $4,500; Wings and Wonder and Woods and Wonder start at $5,500; Intimate Wonder starts at $2,500. (Pricing evaluation underway this winter; some pricing is likely to increase effective Jan. 1.)

MYSTIC FARM & DISTILLERY

Enjoy idyllic views of the working farm and distillery on your big day. It has 800 square feet of indoor space (capacity of 180) featuring full AV facilities, mesh seating, a kitchen and coffee service. The venue includes an outdoor area (capacity of 200) and a large, covered porch overlooking the pond and fields. Both indoor and outdoor spaces can accommodate up to 300 guests. There is an option to include an interactive distillery tour and tasting experience to your event. Contact [email protected] for more information.

RATE RANGE Fri. or Sat. afternoon/evening, $5,500; Sun., $4,000; Mon.-Thurs., $2,200; all events require a $2,500 facility damage deposit.

NASHER MUSEUM OF ART AT DUKE UNIVERSITY

The spacious atrium, with room for 250-plus guests, evokes the feel of an outdoor piazza, but with all the modern comforts of an upscale indoor venue. The surrounding exhibition galleries create an artistic backdrop for unique events, while exclusive gallery access during events builds memorable experiences for guests. The Nasher Museum provides fully customizable event services from top caterers in the region. To submit an inquiry regarding weddings, visit nasher.duke.edu/event-rental.

PARIZADE

Incorporate an elegant Mediterranean feel into your wedding with two distinct event spaces and a variety of plated dinners. There are four dinner tiers, ranging in price from $35 to $63 per person. The outdoor courtyard features a stunning garden and water feature, with room for a seated ceremony of 120 or up to 80 for a seated reception. The club room can hold 50 for a seated ceremony and up to 72 for a reception. Contact event director Jennifer Kessing at 919-286-9712 or [email protected] for more information.

RATE RANGE Club room, $250 rental free for four hours; courtyard, $500 rental fee; $2,000 food and beverage minimum.

PINE & POPLAR

A unique combination of high-class and laid-back atmosphere in a bright and modern downtown location. Couples can select their own vendors, and customizable bar packages are available. Rates start at $3,500. The space, which also features a 1,500-square-foot outdoor patio, can seat up to 130 guests and includes banquet tables and chairs, AV equipment and a catering prep kitchen. Email [email protected] for more information.

PNC TRIANGLE CLUB

A perfect venue for baseball fans, the entire stadium, outdoor picnic areas, stadium concourses and luxury suites at the PNC Triangle Club at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park are available to rent for your event on non-game days. The Triangle Club can accommodate up to 250 people and features full views of the field, audio and visual components and a full bar. Bull City Hospitality handles all catering needs, ranging from ballpark favorites to fine dining entrees. Suites can accommodate 12-16 people.

The Rickhouse
The Rickhouse. Photo by Morgan Caddell Photography

THE RICKHOUSE

Located in the Central Park District of downtown, The Rickhouse boasts restored and reclaimed wood and exposed brick throughout. In addition to an inside space that comfortably seats 325 for a dinner reception or 500 for a cocktail-style event, it has a large, partially covered concrete deck overlooking the historic Durham Athletic Park, the original home of the Durham Bulls. The Rickhouse is equipped with an audiovisual system, a dressing suite, a built-in dance floor, and tables and chairs for up to 200 guests. Serving as a backdrop to this incredible space is Liberty & Plenty distillery. To schedule a tour or inquire about the venue, visit rickhousedurham.com or contact [email protected].

SARAH P. DUKE GARDENS

The public botanical garden boasts gorgeous locations for weddings and rehearsal dinners. No matter the season, the gardens offer spectacular views and a perfect setting for special events. The Doris Duke Center offers space for an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception and can accommodate up to 150 guests. Visit gardens.duke.edu/rentals for more information.

SHERATON IMPERIAL HOTEL RALEIGH- DURHAM AIRPORT AT RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK

This Sheraton Imperial Hotel has a total of 32,000 square feet of event space, including its 1,750-square-foot Crystal Coast Ballroom and 11 other event rooms. In-house catering professionals are available to prepare and serve meals. Various wedding packages are offered.

Suite Four wedding venue
Read about this fall-themed wedding at Suite Four here. Photo by One Vision Photography

SUITE FOUR

Located in the heart of the industrial district of downtown, Suite Four combines modern and industrial feels in its 7,500-square-foot warehouse space. Details of exposed brick, an abundance of natural light, high ceilings with skylights and other unique features make this multifaceted venue fitting for a variety of events and groups. The six event spaces available accommodate groups of 50 to 400, with indoor, outdoor and even a rooftop option. For more information, visit suite-four.com.

SPRUCE PINE LODGE

This 1940s vintage log building features a massive stone fireplace and is located 12 miles north of downtown in the Lake Michie recreation area near Bahama and has 2,500 square feet of floor space divided into four rooms. Outside catering is welcome, and there is a kitchen available with a stove, refrigerator, microwave and ice machine. Alcohol is permitted, but insurance, an ABC permit and security are needed. Its maximum capacity is 120 people, and the space has eight 60-inch round tables, thirteen 8-foot banquet tables and 120 chairs available. The lodge is surrounded by hiking trails, a large lawn, playfield and picnic shelter, which are all available for use, in addition to Lake Michie’s nearby camping, boating and fishing facilities.

RATE RANGE Security deposit with alcohol, $250, and without alcohol, $200; rental fee per hour (six-hour minimum) for city residents, Mon.- Thurs., is $40, and Fri.-Sun./holiday is $50; for non-city residents, Mon.- Thurs. is $55, Fri.-Sun./holiday is $65; application fee without alcohol is $15, and with alcohol is $50; food fee is $25. The rental times are Sunday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to midnight. Durham Parks & Recreation, which manages the property, provides tours of the facility every second and fourth Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m., no appointment necessary. Call 919-560-4355, ext. 27202, or email [email protected] for more information.

UNIVERSITY CLUB

Located on the 17th floor of University Tower, this private club is best known for its spectacular views and elegant touches. It can accommodate up to 120 guests seated or 200 reception-style with additional space available for ceremonies. Call 919-493-8099 or send an email to [email protected] for more information.

RATE RANGE $600 to $2,400 rental fee, plus food minimums based on time of day and date.

WASHINGTON DUKE INN

Nestled on 300 acres that overlook the Duke University Golf Club, the inn and golf club are known for beautiful grounds, award-winning dining and unparalleled service. In addition to 271 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, the inn can accommodate groups of 2 to 600 among its event spaces. Seasoned wedding consultants can assist in planning every detail of the special day, which includes a complimentary suite for the couple on the night of the wedding. For more information, contact Diane Tighe at [email protected] or 919-313-2158.


For a full comprehensive guide to venues and vendors across the Triangle, visit Heart of NC Weddings magazine.

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