6 Small Town Wedding Venues in the NC Countryside

Explore Johnston County to Find Some of the Best and Most Affordable Rural and Rustic Wedding Venues in NC – All Within an Hour of Raleigh

Think outside of the city to find unique, affordable wedding venues that speak to the heartland of North Carolina. Just 30 minutes outside of Raleigh is Johnston County – a dream rural landscape with an abundance of Southern hospitality. Johnston County is home to some of the most charming and quaint small towns, including Smithfield, Benson, Four Oaks and Clayton. Couples will find history and elegance in several picturesque yet affordable NC wedding venues including vineyards, historic homes, horse farms, barns, and even a working distillery. The best part about Johnston County is that while it’s easily accessible from the Raleigh area, it is remote enough for you and your guests to feel like you are experiencing a retreat. These are some of the best country, historic and rustic wedding venues in NC – fit for any Southern destination wedding!

Bride and Groom Strolling at Portofino, one of the Rustic Wedding Venues in NC

Johnston County NC Wedding Venue Guide-

Enjoy our highlights of some of the best wedding venues in Clayton, Smithfield, Benson and surrounding towns. Each of these wedding venues are within a short drive from Raleigh NC, but feel like true Southern destinations.

Preston Woodall House – A Unique Historic Bed & Breakfast and Wedding Reception Venue near Raleigh in Benson NC

The Preston Woodall House has been one of Southern Bride & Groom magazine’s recommended vendors for many years. The owner, Joel Hurley, is such a kind person and enthusiastic wedding coordinator that he alone would make it worth your trip to visit the property, which is located about 30 minutes from Raleigh in downtown Benson.

Of course, when you drive up to the Preston Woodall House, you will understand that this is a unique NC wedding venue that speaks for itself. It is a 1910 Queen Anne residence, with vibrant details both inside and outside. The couple and their closest family members will love being able to get ready for the wedding on site, and stay for the weekend in the 13 bedroom bed and breakfast. The Preston Woodall House offers a wide variety of wedding packages and takes care of many of the details including food and coordination.

Portofino – a Horse Farm Community and Barn Wedding Venue in Clayton NC

If you are looking for a NC wedding venue with horses, we feel that Portofino is the most elegant and picturesque hidden gem in our state. This top-notch 400-acre gated horse community offers a club house for special events, with gorgeous views overlooking rolling pastures. They also have a large and handsome horse barn, which can be used for the wedding ceremony, and also makes an incredible backdrop for photos. The barn even has an upstairs bridal suite with accommodations. This Clayton farm venue can accommodate 100 guests at the clubhouse for an indoor reception, or 200 outside for a ceremony. There is room to tent for even more guests.

Rustic Country Chic Wedding Venue Portofino in Johnston County, NC with Horses by Rachel Red Photography
VENUE Portofino | PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography

Gregory Vineyards – an NC vineyard wedding venue near Raleigh

Did you know that North Carolina ranks the tenth state in the US for wine production? The climate in NC actually allows for every single type of grape to grow, that means a wine to please everyone at the table! It is no surprise that vineyards are one of the most beautiful settings for a wedding. But you might not realize that there is a lovely vineyard near Raleigh that does wedding events! If you are interested in a NC vineyard wedding venue that is both beautiful and affordable, check out Gregory Vineyards. This 120-acre winery and working farm offers romantic waterfront views as well as two indoor banquet facilities.

Clayton Center – a Historic Theater and Wedding Venue

Clayton’s historic ambience and small-town charm make a unique backdrop for your special day. In the heart of town, the Clayton Center has a stately, impeccably restored 1926 auditorium. The theatrical lighting and excellent acoustic qualities in the auditorium, combined with two backstage dressing rooms and other amenities, place the spotlight right where it should be – on the bride and groom.

The Clayton Center’s most popular reception space is the 4,000-square-foot Lobby Gallery. With its exposed antique brick, atrium-like openness and overhead Terraces, the Lobby is the perfect space for mingling and dancing for up to 350 people. As a built-in bonus, the main floor of the Lobby features high quality, local art exhibits to complement your décor and add to your guests’ experience. There are no required vendor or catering restrictions at The Clayton Center.

The Farm in Selma – a Rustic Wedding Venue in NC

The Farm offers two beautiful rustic locations. The Farm at 95 and The Farm at 42 both have indoor and outdoor spaces available for rent – so no matter how you envision your reception, they can accommodate you. Your reception at The Farm will have a down-home vibe with the lush, picturesque fields of the Eastern North Carolina countryside as the backdrop. They rent the space out on a nightly basis, and only hold one event a night, so your reception is sure to be private and intimate.

On the property, there is a brand-new indoor banquet hall that holds more than 400 people, as well as tables and chairs for all your guests. This rustic space is flexible and versatile, and features a food-prep area perfect for your caterer. Additionally, it has a dance floor, and provides audiovisual equipment for your use.

Outside, in addition to the large acreage of farmland, there is an outdoor amphitheater and a large parking lot with more than enough parking for your guests.

The Barn at Broadslab – a New Barn Venue in Benson NC

For a unique event experience and or farm destination wedding, contact Broadslab Distillery. Located along the whimsical woodland acreage of Benson NC, The Barn at Broadslab is full of intricate wood and stone details that will wow your guests. The Barn at Broadslab will accommodate up to 500 people for weddings and events. This venue has everything you need, including a bridal suite and groom’s room, a majestic fireplace, an outdoor patio with a cozy fire pit, restrooms, and a prep kitchen and food hall.

Explore JoCo Weddings – 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 listed 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.

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