Our favorite wedding venues in Durham, NC.
The venue that you choose for your wedding ceremony & reception plays an important role in setting the tone of your photographs. To help you find the most picture-perfect spaces around, we've put together this guide to some of the best wedding venues in the Durham area. We truly hope you find it to be a helpful planning resource. If you have any questions or would like some more personal recommendations, we'd be so happy to help. Please, be in touch anytime!
1. The Cookery
The Cookery is not just a hub for local food entrepreneurs, but a very cool venue to have your rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, or post-wedding brunch. Highlights of the space include a mezzanine (that is wonderful for taking photographs from!), a glass garage door that opens to their outdoor patio, a chalkboard that is perfect for personalizing, & an incredible salvaged (full) bar that features local NC beers on tap. This past year, The Cookery did some major expanding & added a gorgeous ballroom, bridal suite, and garden that is perfect for outdoor ceremonies. All together, The Cookery grounds can now accommodate up to 330 guests. The venue does require you to use one of their prefered caterers, but you are welcome to use any other vendors you please (florists, photographers, etc.). Rental on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday ranges from $3,000-$5,500 (plus any applicable bar and catering minimums) & includes seating, tables, and tableware for up to 200 guests.
reviews: the knot, Weddingwire, yelp
2. The Durham Hotel
The Durham Hotel is one of my favorite places to celebrate special occasions or take folks who are visiting Durham & I'm so happy that they have recently started to do weddings. If flawless mid-century design and James Beard Award-winning food sound like your jam: well, this is the wedding venue for you. Their current offerings for weddings include a daytime ceremony on their roof & exclusive use of their private dining room or main restaurant for the reception of your dreams. Their main restaurant and outdoor patio can accommodate 100-150 guests, but I'd say their space is even better for more intimate celebrations. The Durham Hotel has 53 guest rooms (perfect for out-of-town guests) & a penthouse bridal suite with a private balcony.
3. The Cotton Room
The Cotton Room is an all-inclusive venue that offers award-winning catering and in-house event planning, floral, & decor services. Gorgeous bridal & groom suites, lounge furniture, & complimentary use of the space for bridal/engagement portraits(!) are some of the great features that are included with your rental of The Cotton Room. They are a full-service event venue that requires you to use their in-house catering, but they do offer a large variety of menus & bar packages to choose from. The Cotton Room is available for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and engagement parties. Rental of the venue for your ceremony & reception ranges from $2500-$5500 (plus any applicable bar and catering minimums) & includes seating, tables, linens, and tableware for up to 200 guests.
reviews: the knot, wedding wire, yelp
4. SARAH P. duke gardens
Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a unique venue in that it offers a gorgeous, natural setting for your wedding right in downtown Durham. If you are looking to hold your ceremony & reception at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Doris Duke Center has a large hall that accommodates 150-200 guests. Sarah P. Duke Gardens can also be rented just for ceremonies & offers a few different location options for you to exchange your vows. The available ceremony locations can hold 50-140 guests. There is a lot more information to be found about having your wedding celebration here on their faq page. Rental rates for a ceremony AND reception at Sarah P. Duke Gardens range from $3500 - $7000.
Reviews: the knot, wedding wire, yelp
5. 21C MUSEUM HOTEL
This venue is the perfect place for an artsy couple who favors modern design. Venue spaces at 21C Museum Hotel are available to rent for rehearsal dinners, ceremonies, & receptions of various capacities. Amenities at 21C Museum Hotel include multiple art galleries for guests to explore, an in-house catering & event team, a honeymoon suite, & in-house spa. Another added bonus is that they offer room blocks with special rates to groups of 10 or more, so it's a great place for your out-of-town guests to stay once the party dies down.
Reviews: yelp, trip advisor
6. belt line station
Belt Line Station was once a historic train depot, but is now a truly unique, outdoor venue that can seat up to 250 guests. Rustic farm tables, an antique bar, whiskey barrel cocktail tables, market lights, rocking chairs, & complimentary use of the space for bridal/engagement portraits(!) are some of the great features that are included when renting Belt Line Station for your wedding. They are a full-service event venue that requires you to use their in-house catering (Triangle Catering), but they offer a couple of different Southern-style menu options & a variety of bar packages to choose from. Rental of Belt Line Station for your ceremony & reception ranges from $500-$1500.
reviews: wedding wire, yelp
7. The King's Daughters Inn
The King's Daughters Inn is a lovely, 17-room bed & breakfast located in a beautiful, historic building overlooking Duke's East Campus. The inn has three event spaces that are individually perfect for intimate weddings, but if you have a lot of out-of-town guests making their way to Durham for your celebration or are simply looking to make the festivities last all weekend, then the way to go is totally to book the entire place. When you reserve the entire inn (it accommodates up to 46 guests), then you get access to all three of their event spaces at no additional cost & a whole lot of other perks.
Reviews: the knot, wedding wire
8. Durham Arts Council
The Durham Arts Council is a beautiful building located right in the heart of downtown Durham. Their glass atrium (pictured above) is two story room complete with a balcony, twinkle lights, & floor to ceiling windows. As a wedding photographer who loves natural light, it doesn't get much better than working in this room. The venue offers rental of their art galleries, dressing rooms, & a catering kitchen for use by the caterer of your choice. The best part? Their rental rates are extremely affordable.
REVIEWS: THE KNOT, WEDDING WIRE
9. Museum of life + science
The Museum of Life and Science definitely makes for a very fun and very unique wedding venue. They offer an array of rental packages to choose from that include both outdoor and indoor space & are able to accommodate 40 - 200 guests. One of most exciting features of this venue is their list of available add-ons. That list includes everything from train rides to liquid nitrogen cocktails to a butterfly release. (Yes, you read all that right.) With rental of the Museum of Life and Science, you are also able take your wedding photographs anywhere on the property, which one bride summed up oh so perfectly in four little words: "bridal party with dinosaurs." Rental rates begin at $2795.
REVIEWS: THE KNOT, WEDDING WIRE
10. The nasher museum of art
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University makes for another artful & interesting wedding venue. It's contemporary design & dramatic slate and glass atrium give the venue a modern, airy, and upscale feel. It's also pretty wonderful that your guests will have exclusive access to the Nasher's exhibition galleries during your reception. The Great Hall can accommodate up to 250 guests for a seated dinner & up to 800 for a standing reception. Being an art museum, they do have a few restrictions that you might not expect for a wedding venue; ie. no red wine or candles are allowed.
Reviews: The knot, wedding wire, yelp
11. The Rickhouse
The Rickhouse is another great event venues with a superb location in the heart of downtown. Highlights of this space include a reclaimed wood & exposed brick interior, a large outdoor balcony that overlooks the original home of the Durham Bulls, a giant dance floor, an 8 x 8 chalkboard, and a seriously dreamy bridal suite. The inside space can comfortably accommodate up to 400 seated guests & each rental of the venue includes seating and tables for up to 200 guests. Rental rates for the Rickhouse range from $1500 to $4500 depending on the day of the week & if you choose to have your ceremony at the venue in addition to your reception.
A few other great venues in Durham..
The Boiler Room
The Boiler Room is a 2,195 sq. foot space located in the Power Plant gallery at American Tobacco Campus. Visual highlights of the space include expansive windows, polished concrete floors, brick walls, and massive coal-fired boilers that were used in the original building. Other cool features of The Boiler room are it's marquee sign that can be personalized for your event & it's proximity to Durham's beloved Lucky Strike water tower (and some other great photo ops). The Boiler Room can accommodate up to 135 guests & is available to rent from 9a. - 12a. every day of the week. Their wedding package is priced at $2500 & includes 12-hour access to the space, an event manager, and use of the marquee sign.
Bay 7 is located in the American Tobacco Campus & was formerly a tobacco warehouse. It is a large, flexible space that can accommodate up to 400 guests. Visual highlights of the space include century old brick, panoramic windows, and a wrap around balcony. The catering at Bay 7 is managed by the beloved Angus Barn. Rental rates for the venue begin at $3700 (in addition to their food & beverage minimum which begins at $15,000).
Reviews: the knot, wedding wire, yelp
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Looking for more information? We'd love to help!
If you have any questions about the venues above or you would like to chat about other venue possibilities for your celebration, feel free to contact us & we'd love to help. And- of course- if you are planning a wedding & you are still in need of a photographer, we'd love to hear from you, too!