Marriages Made in Heaven

With a variety of delightful natural settings, Airlie Gardens is an iconic location for a Wilmington wedding.

Airlie Gardens is a dream to experience any day, but it’s an especially dreamy setting for a wedding. With its 67 acres of thriving gardens, robust oak trees, historic structures, bubbling fountains and truly unique gems of nature, it’s no wonder Airlie Gardens is the most popular outdoor wedding venue in the Cape Fear region.

Nicole Licari, who has worked at Airlie Gardens the last six years and currently serves as the special event program coordinator, manages the venue for any kind of event being held — family reunions, memorial services and weddings.

“When a couple chooses to get married at Airlie, it’s been on their mind a long time,” Licari says. “Which is really exciting because it shows that a lot of people who grew up coming to Airlie end up dreaming of having their wedding day here. They’ll come to us not even sure yet of a date or vendors or much else for the day — they just know who they want to marry and that they want their wedding at Airlie.”

There are four event spaces throughout the gardens, and each offers something unique:

Oak Lawn — Imagine having a 500-year-old oak tree as the centerpiece for your wedding. The Oak Lawn is the largest option for those booking at Airlie Gardens and offers plenty of space for dining, entertainment, lawn games and pictures posing with the Spanish-moss-covered Airlie Oak.

Airlie Gardens Weddings

Photo by George Creatives

Bradley Creek Lawn — Consider this a best-of-both worlds option, combining the picturesque oaks of Airlie with water views provided by both Airlie Lake and Bradley Creek. A waterfront wedding without sand in your shoes is a win-win, and the Bradley Creek Lawn offers exactly that.

Airlie Gardens Weddings

Photo by KMI Photography

Pergola Garden — Perhaps the most iconic image of Airlie Gardens is the Pergola Garden. (Seriously, if you do a quick Google search, you’ll see the phrase “Heaven on Earth” affiliated with this spot!). This is a ceremony location and delivers big on seasonal blooms and priceless atmosphere. It even sort of seems like that walkway was meant to be an aisle for brides.

Airlie Gardens Weddings

Photo by Erin L Taylor Photography

Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel — The soon-to-be-Mr.-and-Mrs. who are looking for something truly one-of-a-kind will find their wedding oasis at the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel. The sculpture built of colored bottles combines quirky artistry with the natural beauty found throughout all of Airlie. Primarily used for smaller events, this is a great spot an intimate wedding.

Airlie Gardens Weddings

Photo by Stephanie Axtell Photography

Booking a wedding at Airlie Gardens means you have a choice of backdrops for your special day, and each delivers on every level of picture-ready perfection. Licari partners with wedding planners and local vendors to ensure that every couple’s highest expectations are met.

“It’s just such an iconic location,” Licari says. “And we encourage guests to go through the entire garden when they’re here, no matter which event space was chosen by the couple. So, you kind of get multiple different venues all in one — you have your oaks, you have your water, you have your historical structures. It’s such beautiful scenery everywhere you look.”

Wedding bookings are available on Saturdays from March through mid-October from 9 am to 10 pm.

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