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Discover Johnston County Weddings – NC’s Best Kept Secret

Plan Your Country Wedding Weekend in Johnston County, NC – Rustic Wedding Venues and Family Entertainment 

Step away from the noise of the city and step into the peaceful romance of the countryside in Johnston County, NC. Plan your dream country wedding in an area where southern hospitality is second nature. Tour Johnston County’s wedding venues. This includes vineyards, historic homes, horse barns, and even a working distillery. Your wedding guests are sure to find charm, history, and elegance at your Johnston County wedding weekend. Conveniently located 30 minutes from Raleigh, Johnston County is the perfect country wedding destination. While the county’s multiple small towns are easily accessible, they also provide a cozy distance away from the city. Relax and “unplug” in Johnston County’s picturesque setting. 

Worried about guest accommodations? Don’t. Johnston County has plenty of hotel accommodations at affordable rates. The Visitor Bureau will even set you up with hotel room blocks and welcome bags for your guests! How awesome is that? Stop by their over 80 outlet shops at Carolina Premium Outlets, or take the family to the Ava Gardner Museum. Seeking an adventure? Check out Johnston County’s “Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail,” which takes you on a tasting trip through the area’s best sipping spots. Let us show you why Johnston County, or JoCo as the locals fondly call it, could be your upcoming wedding destination!

Bride and Groom pet horse at Johnston County NC rustic country wedding weekend Rachel Red Photography
PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography

Why Johnston County is the Perfect Country Wedding Weekend Destination 

Think outside of the city to find beautiful, affordable wedding venues that speak to the heartland of North Carolina. Just 30 minutes outside of Raleigh is Johnston County – a dream country wedding destination. JoCo is home to some of the most charming and quaint small towns, including Smithfield, Benson, Four Oaks and Clayton. Wedding venue options include Portofino (a gorgeous horse farm), the Preston Woodall House (a historic bed and breakfast), and more! Check out our blog on the top 6 wedding venues in Johnston County.  

Johnston County’s wedding venues are the perfect backdrop for any NC love story. Meadows, forests, historic barns, and waterways create dream photo backdrops for your wedding portraits. While you treat yourself to a day of shopping or spa retreat with your friends, your wedding guests will have an endless list of activities fit for the entire family. 

Southern Bride and Groom stroll in NC country of Clayton, Johnston County Wedding Destination Rachel Red Photography
PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography
Johnston County Country Wedding Weekend Reception Table Setting Under Live Oak Tree on Farm Rachel Red Photography
PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography

Raise a Glass to the Groom, and a Weekend Wedding Adventure in Johnston County

Send your 21 and up wedding guests on the Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail, a North Carolina adventure unlike any other. Johnston County has an infamous history of producing illegal spirits, a heritage today which lays claim to creating the NASCAR industry. In 2009, their award-winning wineries joined together to form the Muscadine Heritage Wine Trail and it has now expanded to become the JoCo Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail adding two breweries and one distillery. Wedding guests can tour local vineyards, find out more about making craft beer, and discover the legacy of five generations of moonshiners, in the community known as Broadslab.

Is alcohol not your thing? Try unleashing your inner history nerd at the largest Civil War Battlefield in NC at Bentonville or Johnston County’s other amazing history museums. Bet you didn’t know that there’s a little bit of Hollywood in Johnston County! The Ava Gardner Museum and Heritage Trail will show you where this incredible lady was born, where she grew up, attended dances, and key landmarks associated with her family here.  

A Wedding Weekend Guide for Foodies in Johnston County, NC  

You cannot go to Johnston County, NC without trying their famous barbecue. It’s the law. Have one of JoCo’s southern style cookin’ restaurants cater your wedding. Redneck BBQ Lab offers not only an amazing restaurant, but can do large scale catering, and a food truck! Take your friends and family on JoCo’s BBQ Trail Map, and hop from one family-run restaurant to the next. Taste some of the world’s best “Eastern Styled BBQ, Chopped and Sauced”. We promise, you’ll be going home with a bottle of that secret southern barbecue sauce in your suitcase! 

If you consider yourself a “foodie” and want to support locally sourced foods from the area farmers, you will find that in JoCo as well. Several chef-owned eateries are available in Smithfield like Simple Twist, in Clayton at Manning’s, and The Clayton Steakhouse. One of our favorites includes Under the Oak Cafe, where they source fresh food from their farm, host weddings, and design wedding cakes!  

Southern Easter Style barbecue buffet for wedding food in Johnston County NC

Johnston County Entertainment For the Entire Family

One of the best things about Johnston County, is that there is something for everybody. Drive your family down a dirt road and pull over at Smith’s Family Strawberry Farm or the Boyette Family Farms. While you breathe in that sweet country air, you’ll be making precious memories with your kids as they pick fresh strawberries or pumpkins. Don’t forget to explore Johnston County’s hiking and biking trails. JoCo’s greenways and trails are beautiful and accessible to people of all ages. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, plan a day trip to the beach – it’s only an hour and a half away! 

Rustic Country Chic Wedding Venue Portofino in Johnston County, NC with Horses by Rachel Red Photography
PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography
Bride and Groom Strolling at Portofino Rustic Country Chic Wedding Venue in Johnston County NC
PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography

Explore Country Wedding Venues – About Johnston County Visitors Bureau

This blog has been sponsored by the Johnston County Visitors Bureau, one of the Preferred SB&G Vendors. “JoCo” is home to many rustic wedding venues in NC, all within an hour of Raleigh. We hope you will take a look at the JoCo CVB as a service for your own wedding day. This group loves weddings and offers their assistance, free of charge. They will provide suggestions beyond the ones mentioned above, for ceremony and reception sites. They also help with securing wedding room blocks, visitor information for your out-of-town guests, and gift bags for event attendees. #VisitJoCo 

Johnston County Visitors Bureau

234 Venture Drive, Smithfield, NC 27577


Sales Manager: Sarah Elizabeth Campbell 

Business email:

Merrimon-Wynne-House-Raleigh-NCSanderling Resort Southern Destination wedding venue in Outer Banks NCGreat-Room-at-Top-of-The-HillWashington Duke Inn
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