Are you dreaming of wedding full of “southern charm” without the barn?  How about getting whisked away to a Manor, a Plantation, or even a Victorian Home?  There are several options with years of experience and even some brand new ones opening this fall in the Triad & Triangle area.  We had the pleasure of touring several this spring.  While most are better fitting for smaller intimate weddings, but there are a few that can host over 150 of your closest family and friends.  So break out your best vintage china and ask your catering company for their best recipes for cheese biscuits and shrimp & grits because we are sharing some of the best hidden Southern Charms of the Area.

One of our first stops was The Matthews House in Cary.  They have the sweetest garden lying next to the main house that sets the tone for a beautiful ceremony with several options for locations for the “I Dos.”  The House has rooms available for the couple to get ready prior to the wedding.  There is a lovely front porch and courtyard that offers a great holding place for guests during the cocktail hour so they don’t see your reception area until you are ready to be announced. 
(photos are from their facebook/website)

Their ballroom can host up to 170 guests and they could seat more if you are willing to
add a tent in the courtyard area.  They offer four and eight hour packages and catering packages starting at $42 per person.  Beer and Wine are welcomed starting at $21 per person.  (plus tax and gratuities) They offer an onsite bakery, black linens, China, place settings, tables and chairs.   Other than their in-house catering, you can bring in all of your own other vendors.  Add as many flowers as you can to this charming house because too many will never be enough to accent its true beauty.   Be sure to take advantage of the small balcony over the front door.  This would be an perfect photo opt of first talks without seeing one another by having the bride in the balcony and the groom standing in the doorway awaiting the start of the ceremony.

Traveling back from Cary we stopped in Graham and found a yellow Victorian House which is actually the home to the Alamance Arts Council.  This venue can host up to 60 inside and up to 175 on their front lawn with a tent.  The art of the walls change with every series so if you are a fan of art this is a great venue for you.  As a coordinator, I’ve had several brides host their bridal lunches, morning of their weddings brunches and even rehearsal dinners at the Captain White House.  You can rent the entire house for the day evening for $900 additional for Sundays).  The sky is the limits because you can bring in all of your own vendors.  However, if you don’t have a caterer, Marg has been catering here for years.  Beware, no red wine can be allowed in the house due to the artwork. 

There is a small garden to the side the house to offer a ceremony area for small intimate affairs, a large front lawn you can dance the night away under the stars and several rooms on the main floor to offer a unique layout for smaller weddings and receptions.  It’s okay to think outside of the box and host your wedding inside an Art Museum with a Southern Vintage Backdrop.  The front porch will offer several options for great photos to create your own work of art to last a lifetime.  (photos are from their facebook/website)

Back on the road we stopped in to see what all the buzz was about at The Burke Manor Inn in Gibsonville.  When Lori & Lil took over the Manor a few years ago they could see it being one of the most well-known venues in the area.  They brought in a “French Flare” to what the Inn already offered.  While they specialize in French cuisine, their in-house catering can create magic from the kitchen!  They have catering packages starting at $27 per person but are willing to customize their packages to make it your day.  The Burke Manor Inn offers packages between $700-$3800, so they can handle almost any size wedding and budget.  Don’t want to get married in their gorgeous garden because of the fear of rain or a hot summer day, have no worries they have a chapel just a few block away to rent for $950 for indoor church ceremonies.  

The Burke Manor Inn is a full scaled Bed and Breakfast.  As a coordinator, I would

highly recommend renting the entire house for the whole weekend maybe even a few days prior the wedding to truly submerge yourself, family and wedding party into the house.  Host your rehearsal dinner in the main restaurant, brunch for the bridal party in the lower level of the restaurant or even front porch, then spend the day getting ready in the larger suite and the guys can hang out by the pool while all the preparations take place for the Big Day.  From the Gardens the front porch or walking downtown Gibsonville there are so many options for a photographer to create memories. 

There’s one more stop on our Victorian Tour and that’s The Gardens at Gray Gablesin Summerfield.  Danielle has really made her father proud by the amount of passion she has for this “old home.”  Over the last few years they have done major renovations to the gardens and rental space areas.  They have a 50×60 foot frame tent that is nestled right off the main ceremony location.  However, their newest addition is probably one of their best!  They just added a new cocktail patio will a HUGE built in bar with their own duck pond.  I could get lost in their pathways leading back and forth from the gardens, to the cocktail patio and the main tented reception area not because they are too long or hard to follow but because they are breathtaking.  

This venue is a photographers dream!  I have stolen my bride and groom for tons of

“stolen moments” & stolen kisses in the vine-covered back walkway, the front porch, the tall staircase in the main house, the pergola in the garden, the sweet wishing well or just hanging out by one of the fish ponds.  The Gardens at Gray Gables has separate dressing areas for the bride and groom which really allows them to arrive a little earlier and get settled in for the day.  As a coordinator, having a holding space for both wedding parties prior to the ceremony is important.  This is an area lunch or a snack can be served prior to the long day’s festivities.   They even have a playground to entertain the kids.  While they do have a preferred vendors list and even a wedding director they love meeting new professional vendors and encourage event planners and coordinators.  The Gardens at Gray Gables is large enough to spread everything out without feeling lost and separated from the main activities. (photos are from their facebook/website)
We also wanted to let you know about an up and coming Plantation that is in Alamance County.  The White Horse Plantationthat opened in the spring 2015.  This venue was THE place to go in the 80’s & 90’s.  It once was one of the premiere restaurants in the area that hosted all sizes of events.  You can rent the entire house and 200 person ballroom for the day or even the entire weekend to have the rehearsal dinner in the main house and the reception in the ballroom.  There are four different ceremony locations outside including a magnolia tree,

an old barn, a small open field, and a shaded area.  The brick patio is a great location for cocktail hour and this venue even has its very own “Fox & Hound” styled English Pub.  There are separate areas for the bride and groom to get ready and lots of spaces for all of your vendors to set-up, prep and work from without being right on top of one another.  They are currently hosting tours and are offering incredible specials for the first few couples.  Contact Jennifer Ball with Knot Your Average Events for a private tour.  We have a satellite office onsite
We’ve really enjoyed this adventure to search out some of the best little hidden charms throughout the Triad & Triangle. There are so many ways to add country without going rustic.  Vintage lace should be your base over soft pastel colors.  Think lots of layers of pearls, vintage china, lots of romantic candles and soft floral.  Peonies is the first flower that comes to mind when thinking Southern Weddings.  Then add large and small garden roses, hydrangea, snap dragons, and lots of greenery and baby’s breath.  Use antique silver and gold pieces to accent the old world southern charm.  Keep the Southern Style throughout your dinner menu offering shrimp and grits, ham biscuits, pork chops, warm soups for the fall, and spring salads fresh from the garden.  Don’t forget no Southern Wedding is complete without a huge dessert bar styled after Grandma’s Easter Sunday Brunch.  Offer cakes, pies, cookies and all the sweet treats you can imagine.  So no matter what city you are getting married in, there is a little slice of Southern Charm waiting for you to come and personalize.