Wedding Advice

Outdoor Wedding Venues in Raleigh NC

January 25, 2023

Go explore all Walnut Hill has to offer! From our white pavilion to our manicured lawns it is the perfect place for your I Dos.

Looking for the perfect outdoor wedding venues in Raleigh NC? You’ve come to the right place. Walnut Hill is a family-owned estate and wedding venue that offers a range of gorgeous outdoor event spaces for both intimate and grandiose celebrations. We’re confident that you’ll find the perfect outdoor wedding location on our beautiful property.

Here is a list of the picturesque outdoor ceremony and reception locations at Walnut Hill, along with some need-to-know tips about outdoor weddings in NC.

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Venues

If you’re dreaming of an idyllic outdoor wedding ceremony in Raleigh NC, we have five unique locations to bring those dreams into reality.  Would you like lake views, a modern open air chapel, a stunning garden, an ancient tree backdrop, or a charming open lawn?  We have it all.

The Open Air Chapel

Read all about the construction of our Open Air Chapel here!

With grand views of our lake, this unique ceremony location is unlike any other in Raleigh! With the exceptionally unique design, the open air chapel combines the feeling of being in a classic white chapel with modern elements such as our side windows and front door that gives the bride the entrance and walk down the aisle that every little girl dreams of growing up. 

Lakeside Canopy

covered outdoor wedding ceremony venue in Raleigh NC
Photography: Fabiana Skubic

Our Lakeside Canopy venue is very comfortable during the summertime, thanks in part to our fans and the relaxing breeze from the scenic lake nearby. This location is also fully covered, which offers some much-needed shade on sunny days and protection from the rain if there’s a drizzle that day.  No rain plan needed!

Along with being fully covered, the Lakeside Canopy comes with real flooring and market lights that give a magical feeling to the entire space. It’s a stunning choice for an outdoor wedding in Raleigh NC, while also serving as a reliable plan B for other locations if it starts to rain. 

Pavilion Gardens

Lake View Lawn outdoor wedding ceremony at Walnut Hill
Photography: Fabiana Skubic

Our Pavilion Gardens location consists of a manicured garden semi-circle off the main pavilion. This space offers so much in terms of natural beauty, including a lake in the background and countless flowering rose bushes and peonies from the garden. 

The main star of the Pavilion Gardens is the grand Pavilion. Our elegant white barn Pavilion, which is also one of our most popular reception spaces, has sliding barn doors that create a dramatic and fun entrance for the bride, groom, or wedding party.

Osage Orange Tree

outdoor wedding ceremony venue with giant tree

The Osage Orange Tree location is situated at the front of our lovely estate house, which makes for a truly grand entrance! This location has a more grandiose and dramatic vibe than our other ceremony locations, namely due to its massive and majestic 300-year-old tree. Our beloved tree is situated on a wide-open lawn with lots of other trees and manicured gardens. Our guests simply adore what this location adds to their wedding photos. 

Lake View Lawn

Couples are drawn to our Lake View Lawn location for its incredible view, which includes our carefully maintained lawn, vibrant lake, gazebo, and an eye-catching fountain. 

One of the many features that makes Lake View Lawn unique is that it’s anchored between two trees, giving it a mystical and romantic vibe. Lake View Lawn is, without a doubt, one of the more charming and tranquil outdoor wedding venues in Raleigh NC. 

Outdoor Wedding Reception Venues

If you hope to celebrate your special day with an outdoor wedding reception, we have the stunning locations you’ve been looking for. We have three lovely spots for your outdoor reception, including:

The Pavilion

For couples eager to have an outdoor wedding reception, our modern white barn Pavilion is the best of both worlds. It functions as both an indoor and outdoor venue, as the 60-70 ft wall completely opens to reveal an amazing view of the lake. 

If you’ve been dreaming of an outdoor reception but are concerned about the weather, the Pavilion is the perfect fit. If it starts to rain, guests can easily walk back inside the pavilion without losing the feeling of being outdoors. 

Estate House Lawn

The Estate House Lawn is located right by our 300-year-old Osage Orange Tree. The lawn is a nice open space, perfect for dancing, chatting, dining, and celebrating your special day! The Estate House, which is often used by brides as their entrance for the ceremony, serves as a beautiful backdrop for the reception.

Center Lawn

The Center Lawn is located between the Pavilion and the Estate House, making it the center of the entire property. What’s great about the Center Lawn is that it gives you the freedom of celebrating outdoors while still being close to our Pavilion, which offers nice lighting, restrooms, and a bar. 

Many couples opt to dine and have their first dance on our Center Lawn before heading inside the Pavilion for the rest of the reception and dancing after the sun goes down.

5 Tips for Outdoor Weddings in Raleigh NC

Our experienced team at Walnut Hill has seen it all when it comes to outdoor weddings. Here are our expert tips if you’re dreaming of an outdoor wedding.

1. Have Backup Options (Other Than a Tent)

The weather here in North Carolina can change in an INSTANT, no matter the season. You need a team on your side that’s prepared for everything, from an unexpected heatwave to a torrential downpour. 

Some venues will offer a tent as a backup option, but tents truly aren’t the best option for inclement weather. Sailcloth tents aren’t 100% waterproof, and tent flooring can be costly and difficult to find on short notice. 

When you choose Walnut Hill, you never have to worry about getting caught in the rain. We always have alternatives to ensure the comfort of you and your guests, including moving an outdoor wedding into our covered Lakeside Canopy or Pavilion.

2. Choose Your Date Carefully

When it comes to outdoor weddings in Raleigh, here’s what you need to know about choosing your date: 

  • January and February are the coldest months, so they’re not ideal for an outdoor celebration. 
  • March is still chilly but doable so long as guests head inside after sunset. 
  • April’s weather may sound lovely, but we can’t recommend a Raleigh outdoor wedding in April.  April is pollen season, which turns everything yellow and may irritate or trigger allergies. 
  • As for the warmer months, May and early June are ideal since late June to September can be a bit too hot. 
  • Some prefer to wait until October and November once things have cooled down, though you may want to rent a backup patio heater. 
  • Early December is sometimes okay for an outdoor dinner, but you wouldn’t want to be spending too much time outside.
Outdoor Wedding Venues in Raleigh NC
Outdoor wedding ceremony photo by Mackenzie Kern

3. Take Catering Into Account

If you plan on having an outdoor wedding in NC without a structured venue, you must consult with your caterers. They may have certain requirements, such as having their own tent. Please note, at Walnut Hill, we have catering prep space for all of our reception locations. 

4. Make Sure You Have Restroom Facilities

When planning an outdoor wedding, it’s critical that you have the bathroom situation sorted out beforehand. You don’t want your guests to have to walk down the street to use the bathroom. You also want to ensure that you have an appropriate number of bathrooms available for the number of guests you’ve invited. 

While portable restroom trailers may be an option, they are generally expensive and will add to the overall cost of your wedding.  Choosing a venue like ours with nearby permanent restrooms is a great option.

5. Choose a Venue with Ample Space

One of the major benefits of an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception is having lots of open space. If you choose a cramped and more restrictive venue, that’ll take away from the comfort and freedom that comes with an outdoor celebration. 

Venues with limited space are also unlikely to have alternative solutions should the weather change suddenly. With Walnut Hill, you’ll have all the open space you need to have the outdoor wedding of your dreams. Even if the weather changes unexpectedly, our covered Pavilion with its large wall that opens will get you as close to an outdoor celebration as is possible.

Contact the Friendly Team at Walnut Hill

If you’re looking for an outdoor wedding venue in Raleigh NC for a stunning destination wedding, Walnut Hill is the place for you. We love to share the elegance and inspiring landscapes that our charming property has to offer.

We book up quickly for prime dates for outdoor weddings.  Don’t wait—Inquire about your date today by filling out our inquiry form

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