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June Wedding Bells

Fay Mitchell

June weddings have been popular from ancient Roman times. The name of the month derives from Juno, the goddess of marriage. Couples marrying in that month were thought to receive blessings of prosperity and happiness. June 1 was also the date of the festival celebrating the marriage of Juno and Jupiter.

Wedding celebrations have changed since then, and many couples today eschew going to the chapel. The chance to relate to history also has a strong appeal, and state historic sites can offer a charm and authenticity found nowhere else. From the unsurpassed view of the Atlantic Ocean at Fort Fisher, to the blazing mountain autumn splendor at Vance Birthplace, a historic site venue can offer the timeless. No matter the time of year, making your personal history with a historic site wedding rental can enrich your memories.

Fort Fisher

Couples can choose from among six locations at Fort Fisher -- the North or South Gazebo, the Ocean Grove (north, center or South) or the spectacular Fort Grove. This Civil War site was also the setting of a love story, as Daisy Fisher left her home in Rhode Island to come live with her husband, Col. William Lamb, commander of the fort during the Civil War.

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson

Another favored site near Fort Fisher and Wilmington is Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson, which is both a colonial and Civil War site. Once home to colonial governors, Brunswick Town was burned to the ground in an attack by the British. Later Fort Anderson, a Civil War fort, was built there, which like Fort Fisher, fell to the Union Army. Yet the frame remains of St. Phillips Anglican Church, from the original settlement of Brunswick Town, along with wonderful views of the Cape Fear River from the bluffs. Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs married his much younger second wife in the unfinished St. Phillips. Lucky couples have discovered this hidden gem! Most wed in St. Phillips, but some are enchanted by the beauty of the bluffs.

Historic Edenton

Founded in 1722, Edenton has been called the “prettiest little town in the South,” and offers several choices for wedding venues. The most popular is the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse and Green with its broad lawn adjacent to the Albemarle Sound. The colonial gardens of the James Iredell House also offer a lovely location. The deck of the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton Bay provides a singular and memorable setting overlooking the bay.

Historic Bath

Another spot of idyllic beauty is Bonner’s Point at Historic Bath, which was founded in 1705. It provides tantalizing views of the Pamlico River lined by majestic elm, walnut and dogwood trees. North Carolina’s first port and first town, Historic Bath also was once home to North Carolina’s most notorious pirate, Blackbeard. Weddings may be held at Bonner’s Point, overlooking Bath Creek, or outside in the yard of one of the historic homes. A wedding or reception also may be held at a former church site nearby.

Tryon Palace

They say every fairy tale should include a palace, and Tryon Palace provides several enchanting options for a fairy tale wedding at the reconstructed colonial home of Gov. William Tryon. Completed in 1770, it was known as “the finest government house in the colonies.” The North Lawn provides a magnificent view of the palace, while the expansive South Lawn is encircled by trees and gardens and provides a view of the Trent River. The Commission House can host small weddings and rehearsal dinners and includes a lovely garden.

Several other gardens of various sizes are available for weddings, and come with a mixture of gardens, beds and seasonal plantings. For wonderful waterfront views with indoor ambience, there are several spaces in the North Carolina History Center. Bates Commons offers a protected courtyard and a wetlands garden boardwalk, while Mattocks Hall provides grandeur with a sweeping atrium ceiling and columned corridors.

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Located along the scenic Manteo waterfront, Roanoke Island Festival Park commemorates the first English settlement in the New World. This historic and picturesque venue is a popular wedding destination for many couples. Brides and grooms can wed along the sound on the outdoor Pavilion or on the Elizabeth II, a representative 16th century sailing vessel modeled after a ship used in the 1500s.

One of the most well-known couples on Roanoke Island was Ananias and Eleanor White Dare, parents of the first European child born in America in 1587, Virginia Dare. A voyage to England departed that August to bring supplies back to the 150 colonists. Spats with Spain, privateers, and financing difficulties prevented a successful return voyage until August 1790. When it arrived, they discovered that the colony was deserted and the settlers were never found. This unexplainable event is America’s longest unsolved mystery, better known as the “Lost Colony.”

Somerset Place

Once one of upper South’s largest plantations, Somerset Place offers the unique opportunity to marry under a 170-year-old Magnolia tree. The picturesque outdoor settings include formal gardens, an expansive lawn, and views of nearby Lake Phelps. With the backdrop of the splendid Collins family home, and the tranquility of old and stately sycamore trees, an elegant and serene wedding can be yours.

Duke Homestead

Imagine your wedding in front of the 1852 Duke family home, where Washington Duke of Durham built the family fortune, established a tobacco empire that under his sons became the American Tobacco Company. It was at this homestead that Duke’s daughter Mary Elizabeth, was wed to another tobacconist in 1873.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum

The handsomely renovated Kimball Hall at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum offers an elegant, spacious venue for a wedding or reception. Located at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, Kimball once served as the dining hall for Palmer Memorial Institute, a premier boarding school for African Americans until 1971. Various areas of the grounds also are available.

A wedding reception for Nat King Cole was held at Dr. Brown’s home in 1948, in his second marriage to Dr. Brown’s niece, Maria. It is likely that high school romances also bloomed at the boarding school among students often together for months and years.

Vance Birthplace

Nestled in Reems Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Vance Birthplace State Historic Site offers a breathtaking setting for a wedding. The rugged 1800s log cabins offer a hardy backdrop for weddings set on the grounds of the home of a North Carolina Civil War governor. None of the historic buildings are available to rent. This pioneer farmstead has captured the imagination of many couples, and it is named a great place for your elopement wedding by Wedding Spot. Always splendid, the blaze of autumn foliage makes a singularly magnificent and memorable wedding locale.