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All Aboard: Belt Line Station in Durham

Durham’s Belt Line Station is the perfect setting for this speak-easy inspired wedding design. A styled wedding and Heart of NC Weddings‘ annual vendor mixer took place at Belt Line Station. This open-air wedding and event venue was once a train platform. It still enjoys views of the train tracks, making it one of the most unique venues in Durham. Belt Line offers enclosures for cooler weather. However, on the lovely summer day of this photo shoot, we took advantage of great weather and enjoyed the open air!

Tropical Speak-easy Wedding Design at Belt Line Station

Above, enjoy the film trailer by The Axtells. This photo-video team also did the gorgeous photography!

By Caitlin Yaede

What was once a bustling train depot in downtown Durham has been transformed into one of the Bull City’s most unique wedding and event venues. Belt Line Station sets a rustic-yet-stylish scene in the heart of Golden Belt Campus, a mixed-use warehouse district. The former train platform is a versatile space that can host gatherings of up to 200.

The exposed brick walls are a favorite feature. Plus, couples love the spacious getting-ready suite it shares with sister venue The Cotton Room, located in an adjacent building. (Click here to view a styled shoot and surprise engagement that took place at The Cotton Room!) Both are managed by Raleigh’s TC Hospitality Group.

The 327,000-square-foot Golden Belt Campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and sprang forth during the heyday of the brightleaf tobacco industry, which sustained the cotton and textile mill that produced the packaging for cigarettes until 1996. Most of the buildings were creatively renovated into residential, office, gallery and retail space in 2008, with Mill No. 2 – adjacent to Belt Line – following in 2018. This rich history is ever-present in the venue’s character, with many original details – like aged, weighty wooden beams and railroad tracks – remaining.

Heart of NC Weddings editorial shoot director Becca Taylor took full advantage of the venue’s adaptability to design a Prohibition-inspired styled wedding that meshes contemporary tones with 1920s refinement. The earthy palette of Belt Line’s brick backdrop pairs perfectly with blush, gold, white, cream and green shades – echoing features of its indoor getting-ready suite – while tabletop details evoke the glitz and glamour of a Havana speak-easy. Stephanie Axtell and Charles Axtell of The Axtells: Wedding Photography Films captured every angle of the venue’s historical beauty through drone footage, videography and photography.

Models and real-life newlyweds Leigh-Kathryn Bonner and Jeremy Wall’s tasteful attire brought a fresh take to the rustic outdoor space. A polished Aesling dress from Raleigh’s Gilded Bridal with a high neckline, flowing train and sheer sleeves captures current trends while adding a hint of drama.

Unique Tahitian pearl ring and earrings from Jewelsmith, and Leigh-Kathryn’s own engagement ring complement this modern glam style. Neutral makeup and a slicked-back updo by Pinup Studio pair perfectly with the dress and jewels. The groom’s outfit – a navy suit and blush tie from Bernard’s Formalwear – adds a casual element to the couple’s look.

Tableware and linens from Curated Events Raleigh in muted blush, gold and ivory tones maintain a cohesive look among the decor and Petal & Oak’s white floral designs with ample greenery. Finished with matte black metal chairs, this table illustrates how modern styling enhances the reimagined train platform.

Custom menus and acrylic place settings created by Revel NC carry over to an intimate indoor reception at TC Hospitality’s speak-easy-inspired bar, Cock & Bull, which is directly adjacent to Belt Line Station. Luxurious ivory and gold salad and dinner plates match bold floral chargers and bring life to the table. Petal & Oak’s white rose centerpieces sit in detailed vases, adding to the glamour of geometric light fixtures that illuminate the space. Gold silverware and ribbed glassware reflect trends of the Roaring ’20s. Heart of NC Weddings vendors gathered in the space for a lively mixer following the photo shoot and enjoyed a variety of small bites and a sprawling charcuterie spread prepared by Belt Line Station, plus a DIY aromatherapy bar.

Heart of NC Wedding’s Annual Vendor Blender at Belt Line Station

A decadent two-tiered cake by S. Richardson Cakes, accompanied by an array of bite-sized treats, stole the show. The dessert is adorned with arches that echo the bar’s design. A modern acrylic backdrop from Revel NC complements the dessert display. Stylus S.E. supplied the tunes while guests posed for ZimZoom Photo Booth’s 360-degree video booth and open-air photo booth, outfitted with a pastel backdrop to fit the Havana theme. ZimZoom’s booth provides not only entertainment, but also mementos for each guest to bring home.

This intimate venue proved to be the perfect canvas for a vintage theme. This styled wedding recalls the enchanting glitz of a speak-easy soiree with a dash of chic modernism. Golden Belt Campus’ rich history surrounds Belt Line Station, making the venue an ideal backdrop for an unforgettable wedding and reception.

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