This article was written for our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.

Your wedding album tells the story of the day you proclaimed your love for your significant other and celebrated with all of your family and friends. Flipping through the photo album (or scrolling through Instagram), you may reminisce about the inside of the church where you exchanged vows, the wedding party, the outside gardens, and decadent desserts that guests enjoyed.

Wedding albums from nuptials in Washington, N.C., often depict waterfront walkways and gazebos adjacent to the pier. The historic inns, gardens and quaint homes give this charming town a storybook feel that’s the perfect backdrop for a wedding.

Washington, a welcoming community that loves to host weddings, is located on the Pamlico Sound on the Inner Banks of North Carolina. Little Washington, as it become known, even has the oldest surviving church in the state – St. Thomas Episcopal Church, its age reflected in nearby old oak trees graced by soft mosses. Many matrimonies have taken place here.

“Washington offers many wedding locations, including open-air spaces, quaint farms and horse barns, and revitalized historic buildings,” said Beth Glisson of Cotton Sails Design and Events, a wedding planning service. Glisson has helped people say, “I do,” for almost three decades. “Washington is the perfect place for a wedding.”

Washington Civic Center

Need pastries for a wedding breakfast? Glisson noted that local bakeries proudly prepare “bridal boxes of yummy pastries and croissants.” Additionally, Washington’s upscale wine shops, local eateries serving blue crab specials and excellent dining spots like the Bank Bistro, where the liquor is held in a bank vault, make for festive celebration locations.

Glisson recalled a memorable wedding in which a couple went all out with vibrant colors that adorned the local Civic Center, a venue that can accommodate small to large weddings. Glisson contrasted that to a wedding with another couple who decorated a historic inn with gorgeous white flowers, brass candles and beautiful crystal that resulted in a simple, elegant wedding.

Washington Civic Center Events Coordinator ReAnne Mayo emphasized that Washington has a whole host of wedding venues, whatever your taste may be.

The Washington Civic Center, for example, is a short walk from the Pamlico River and can host 500 guests in its grand ballroom. If you’re looking for a countryside setting, Fox Hollow Farm, located on a 70-acre farm, accommodates 300 people. For a more rustic theme, you might like the Southern Pamlico Event Hall, where you can enjoy a down-home, country barn wedding. For wedding backdrops, Mayo suggested the gazebos on the beautiful grounds of Festival Park overlooking the Pamlico River or the sunset vistas on Stewart Parkway, a 150-foot walkway along the river.

Additionally, Washington has many historic venues, including the Elmwood 1820 Bed and Breakfast Inn. The inn has a 200-year history and was previously a hospital during the Civil War, a stop on the Underground Railroad and headquarters of the Army. After purchasing the private home in 2015, owners Richard Smoot and John Butler opened it as an inn a year later with a guiding principle that they “want guests to live and relax in their home away from home.”

As a hub of hospitality in Washington, Elmwood has been the selection for many weddings.

Smoot and Butler recalled one wedding where the bride arrived by horse-drawn carriage to the inn’s stately entrance. The long, curved grand staircase was the perfect place for the bride to make her debut.

The innkeepers are redesigning a space that will soon become a bridal suite.

Smoot and Butler also recalled some of their favorite cakes from years past – a pickup truck with golf clubs in the back, finance ticker tape wrapping a cake for a couple who worked in the financial district and a cake designed to look like a bushel of oysters.

When it comes to the main course, Southern cuisine, fresh seafood and cathead cheese biscuits are among Washington’s special dishes. Mayo said that the locals recommend stopping at Bill’s Hot Dog Stand for another Washington “delicacy.”

“Our Southern charm definitely shows through,” Mayo said of local staff who go out of their way to make wedding parties feel welcome.

During their stay, your family and friends can also enjoy activities like kayaking on the sound, biking downtown, antique shopping, wine tasting, stopping for ice cream or just walking along the waterfront.

“Washington is the quintessential little river town, with a downtown that beckons you, storybook churches, a variety of restaurants with fresh seasonal foods and a strong sense of community,” Smoot said about the magic of Washington as a wedding destination.

This article was written for our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.

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