River Dunes – Oriental NC Venue Perfect for a Coastal Destination Wedding Weekend
Where the Neuse River meets the Pamlico Sound, a very special destination awaits you. Picture waterfront views, a steady breeze and the warm welcome of a Southern coastal town. For couples hoping to create an unforgettable wedding weekend, River Dunes in Oriental, NC is an ideal venue. It combines the luxuries of a destination wedding with the feeling of home and activities and venues that highlight the beauty of the NC coast.
River Dunes is not a typical, cookie-cutter wedding venue. It is a destination community, and it’s designed to be a bubble of sights and entertainment. Welcoming guests is what they do best. Which means, there is a plethora of things to do, as well as many options for how to craft the wedding itself.
Weddings at River Dunes
First, let’s talk about the wedding event locations at River Dunes! As you read, imagine how you could host an entire weekend here.
In the heart of the community lies the River Dunes Harbor Club overlooking the Grace Harbor marina basin. It’s architectural details are something to be marveled as every single aspect of the structure was thoughtfully chosen to recreate the feel of an authentic coastal homestead evolving over generations. This is a private yacht club known for its exceptional service and impressive facilities. It houses an experienced chef who uses locally sourced ingredients to create seasonal menus with local flair, giving each guest a taste of the best of what North Carolina has to offer.
Steps away from the Harbor Club, The Chapel can host indoor or outdoor ceremonies depending on the couple’s desire and guest list. Surrounded by stately, classic Southern homes with the harbor as its backdrop, The Chapel sets the tone for a fairytale wedding. When greenery is draped over its interior glass windows, or boastful roses are fastened to it’s outside stoop, it is the Chapel that every love story dreams of.
For a more casual wedding setting, or maybe for a welcome party or rehearsal dinner, look to the Lake House. This charming venue is situated on a fly-fishing lake and tucked beneath tall North Carolina Pines. It’s specialty is oyster roasts; it features horseshoes, oyster tables and a fire pit surrounded by rocking chairs. A separate screened-in Sun Porch off to the side of the Lakehouse can be used for seated dinners overlooking the lake. Add music and you have everything needed for a party fit for the North Carolina Coast.
Circling back to the southern end of the marina basin, the Boat House Pavilion and Amphitheater offer a more secluded but open location for an outdoor wedding near the harbor. This wide-open space is home to a concert stage and large grassy area that you can use as a blank canvas to create a party unique to your specific vision.
Couples can inquire about more precise locations such as the private dining room and outdoor porches or create their own space by having a tented reception. Custom game plans are always available; matter-of-fact, mixing and matching River Dunes venues for your special celebration is even encouraged!
After the following images, read more about the GUEST EXPERIENCE at River Dunes. Below, we’ve highlighted the accommodations as well as the local entertainment options.
River Dunes Wedding Gallery
The Guest Experience at River Dunes
You’ll enjoy sumptuous accommodations, delicious meals, and stunning coastal views at River Dunes. Visitors can stay in charming cottages that line the marina, visit the spa for R&R or enjoy a morning bike ride through the village.
You’ll find a full compliment of bespoke gathering places, from ceremonies in a quaint chapel to evening receptions in the Harbor Club, all surrounded by gorgeous water views and breath-taking, classic architecture.
Accommodations at River Dunes
One of the details that sets River Dunes apart is its overnight accommodations.
When you have your wedding by Grace Harbor it isn’t just a one-night celebration, it is a weekend well-spent with your closest family and friends. Imagine all of your favorite people being a brisk walk or bike ride away from each other for a full two or three days- that is your wedding when you have it at River Dunes.
There are six Harborside Cottages, ranging from one to three bedrooms, which feature private front porches facing a shared courtyard and gas-lit firepit. These accommodations are perfect for congregating and hanging out with your guests.
The Harborview Suites, there are four of these, offer spacious retreats designed more like your typical hotel room. These accommodations include morning kitchens and sitting areas with second-story waterfront views. Have guests who will want to be involved in all of the celebrations but may tuck in earlier than others? These accommodations will fit them perfectly.
The cottages and the suites are the accommodations closest to all of the amenities River Dunes has to offer as they are in the heart of the village. For more private getaways, guests can rent one of the tiny homes called “Bunkies” on Boat House Row or larger custom homes along the harbor-front. There is a perfect accommodation available for everyone on your guest list.
On-site Entertainment at River Dunes
Within the Harbor Village, guests can stop by Yawl’s Café for breakfast or lunch, embark on one of the walking and jogging trails, opt for a few hours on the water with a kayak or paddle board, or join friends for a morning tennis match on the professionally-maintained clay courts.
Visitors can also check out the dock house, which houses fishing gear, fish food and canoeing equipment, and take advantage of the stocked fly-fishing lake.
If you have guests who enjoy pampering themselves, they may be interested in booking an appointment at Natural Elements Spa for a relaxing facial, massage, manicure or pedicure before the ceremony.
When not booked for private events, the Boat House Pavilion and Amphitheater hosts a variety of outdoor performances, impromptu music nights and “drive-in” starlight cinemas.
There is something for everyone to enjoy in the River Dunes Community.
Explore Oriental NC
In the greater Oriental area – just outside of River Dunes – enjoy North Carolina craft brews in the beer garden or the front porch of the New Village Brewery & Taproom, a one-barrel nano brewery.
For waterfront dining, the Toucan Grill & Fresh Bar serves up fresh seafood and features live music on its patio over the weekends. Barcos and M&M’s Restaurants also offer a waterfront view and local seafood. If your guests are in the mood for something else they can find southern, down-home food at Brantley’s Restaurant, Italian Cuisine at the Silos, and Smoked Ribs and Barbecue at Rick’s.
Top off any dinner with something sweet by stopping into The Bean where you can get your favorite ice cream flavor scooped onto a waffle cone or your custom coffee drink of choice.