Airlie Gardens is one of Wilmington’s most highly desired wedding locations.
With its formal gardens, picturesque views, beautiful live oaks and historic structures, it’s no wonder that Airlie Gardens is one of Wilmington’s most highly desired wedding locations. The 67-acre, fully outdoor venue can hold weddings of all sizes, from intimate, couple-only nuptials to events with up to 300 guests. Airlie features multiple event lawns to accommodate both ceremonies and receptions, and the convenient location to Wrightsville Beach makes it the ideal coastal oasis for couples to tie the knot.
“Here at Airlie we have many formal gardens with seasonal blooms, which make wonderful backdrops for weddings,” says Special Events Program Coordinator Nicki Licari. “In the spring you have the azaleas and tulips, then in May you’ll see more jasmine as the summer annuals come into bloom, and then in the summer months the gardens get greener, fuller and lusher. You’re always going to see green here, and there’s always going to be Spanish moss.”
Airlie Gardens’ history dates back to 1884, when Sarah and Pembroke Jones purchased the property and transformed into an elaborate private garden. Even in its earliest beginnings, the location’s stunning setting made Airlie a perfect spot for fanciful gatherings and social events.
“I like to say that the gardens were meant for lavish parties and extravagant entertaining,” Licari says. “Prior to the county purchasing the property, the previous owners had huge parties on the grounds, and so it’s both Airlie’s unique history and gorgeous blooms that make it such a desirable wedding location.”
Airlie Gardens offers four unique event spaces, each with its own distinctive setting and stunning surroundings. With space to accommodate up to 300 guests, Airlie’s largest lawn, The Oak Lawn, can be used for both ceremonies and receptions. Here guests will find the beloved Airlie Oak, a tree that dates back to 1545 and offers a striking backdrop for any event. If guests are looking for water views, the Bradley Creek Lawn, located between Airlie Lake and Bradley Creek Pier, is another perfect spot for ceremonies or receptions of up to 300 guests.
Airlie’s most popular formal garden for weddings and photos is the Pergola Garden. As the sole ceremony-only location holding up to 300 guests, the garden’s natural aisle of seasonal blooms leads to a picturesque fountain and pergola structure. Finally, there’s the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel, Airlie’s most popular structure and piece of art. The chapel was created in 2004 as a tribute to visionary artist Minnie Evans, a longtime Airlie Gardens employee. The Bottle Chapel lawn features an elaborate sculpture of colored bottles and several other works of art, and the more intimate space is reserved for smaller events of up to 150 guests.
“Because we have so many different spaces, it looks like you’re in multiple venues, but it’s all in one,” Licari says. “You have your water views along Bradley Creek, you have Spanish moss with the live oaks, and you also have historical structures like the pergola with a lot of seasonal blooms. You can hit all of these different places and it looks like different locations, when you’re really just in one spot.”
Weddings can be booked at Airlie Gardens from March through October, and staff members are available throughout the event to assist guests as needed. Clients are responsible for providing their own catering and rentals and can request a vendor list upon booking. Couples who book their weddings at Airlie Gardens receive one complimentary portrait opportunity with their photographer for bridal or engagement photos on a separately scheduled date. Airlie Gardens is available for wedding ceremony reservations Wednesdays through Saturdays, with receptions held only on Saturdays after hours.
Want to have your dream wedding at Airlie Gardens?
300 Airlie Road, Wilmington