Wedding photography for joyful couples that specializes in capturing both stunning portraits and candid moments to help you remember both the look and feel of your wedding day.
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How to to Plan a Wedding in Raleigh, NC

bridesmaids laughing at the Stockroom at 230 wedding venue in Downtown Raleigh

4 Steps to Have the Best Raleigh Wedding

Raleigh, North Carolina, is a beautiful and vibrant city known for its Southern charm, stunning historic yet modern venues, and friendly atmosphere. If you’re planning a wedding in Raleigh, you’re in for a treat! In this blog post, I’ll guide you through the steps to plan a wedding in Raleigh and highlight some of the city’s best offerings to make your special day unforgettable.

bride and groom smiling at the Capitol in Raleigh, NC

Step 1: Determine Your Vision for the Day

The first step in planning a wedding in Raleigh is to determine your vision. There are a few different things to keep in mind here, such as wedding size, style, and season. Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • Do you want a big traditional wedding, a micro wedding (typically less than 50 guests), or an elopement (such as at a courthouse or a park)?
  • Will you have your ceremony at the venue or at a church?
  • What style best aligns with you: rustic, modern, industrial, classic, quirky? This will be key when you choose your venue.
  • Which season do you want for your wedding? Spring and fall are the most popular times to get married in Raleigh, with many vendors booking out their fall more than a year in advance.

bride and groom kiss at their wedding in Raleigh, NC

Step 2: Set Your Budget

The next step of planning is to set your budget. Determine how much you and your fiancé are willing to spend on your wedding day and stick to it. Consider costs such as venue rental, catering, photography, entertainment, and other essentials, as these will take up the most of your budget. Thankfully Raleigh offers a variety of options to suit all different price points, but it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your financial limits or you will end up spending more than you intended.

I also want to point out that while many websites and blogs will list $30,000 as the average cost of a wedding in North Carolina, this includes weddings in rural towns and small weddings and elopements as well. The average wedding in Raleigh with 100 guests and professional vendors will probably cost you more (unless you DIY quite a bit). There is absolutely no shame in budgeting less, but it’s important to have the right expectations. 

bride and groom laugh at their ceremony at the Stockroom at 230 in Raleigh

Step 3: Choose Your Venue, or Planner

You need to book your wedding venue first, as this sets your date and allows you to book all other vendors. The only exception is if you want to hire a full-service planner. Some venues only work with certain planners, so if you have someone in mind that you know you want to work, make sure you book him or her first. Otherwise, start with your venue. 

Raleigh boasts an array of stunning wedding venues, from elegant historic homes to charming barns and outdoor gardens. I particularly love the variety of modern industrial venues in the area. When choosing a wedding venue, consider your wedding style and the number of guests you plan to invite. Also check to see if the venue allows you to bring in your own catering and other vendors or if you have to choose from their list. A few popular Raleigh wedding venues include The Maxwell, The Stockroom at 230, and the historic Merrimon-Wynne House. You can find a list of several of my favorites here: 11 Amazing Venues Near Raleigh, NC. Make sure to book your venue well in advance, as these spots can fill up quickly, often over a year in advance.

bride and groom portrait outdoors in front of tree line in Raleigh

Step 4: Hire Local Vendors

One of the advantages of planning a wedding in Raleigh is the abundance of talented local vendors. If you already know of a vendor that you’d like to work with, go ahead and reach out to them. You want to make sure they’re available for your date, and it’s never too early to reach out. That being said, there are certain vendors that tend to book up earlier than others, such as photographers. 

If you are reading this and you realize you’re a little late to the game, don’t worry, as there is always someone available – they just may not have been your first choice. If you are someone who is planning your wedding only a few months out, consider a Friday or Sunday wedding. These days don’t fill up as fast as Saturdays and you may have some better luck pulling your vendor team together. 

Work with your vendors, in particular your planner, to carry out your vision for the day. Yes, wedding planning can seem stressful, but when you have the right team it can actually be quite fun! Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, and keep the end goal in mind: marrying the love of your life. 

wedding rose petal send off in Raleigh


Planning a wedding in Raleigh, NC, can be a delightful experience with the right approach. By casting a vision, setting a budget, choosing the perfect venue, and working with local vendors, you can create a memorable wedding day that reflects your style and personality. Whether you’re a Raleigh local or planning a destination wedding, the city has everything you need to make your dream wedding a reality.

Happy planning and best wishes for your Raleigh wedding!

Looking for some more inspiration? Here are a few of my favorite real weddings in Raleigh, NC

Classy, Modern Wedding at the Stockroom at 230 in Downtown Raleigh

All Saints Chapel Raleigh Wedding

Spring Wedding at the Upchurch | Cary, NC

Union Hall Wedding in Raleigh

The Photographer Behind the Lens

I'm Megan, a wedding photographer based in Raleigh, NC who is obsessed with telling love stories through the art of photography. I'd love the chance to tell your unique love story, too!

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