Area Adds To Event Venues Inventory

By Susan Hance, posted Nov 21, 2014
The Burgwin-Wright House is just one of several new venue options for wedding organizers and party planners. (Photo c/o Burgwin-Wright House)
Colonial-style gardens and a quaint courtyard at the circa-1771 Burgwin-Wright House are now available for rent, adding to a number of new wedding and event venues that have opened doors in the Wilmington area this year.

Some recent improvements at the Burgwin-Wright House were funded by a $25,000 grant from the Isabel James Lehto Foundation, according to a press release. Antique-looking brick replaced gravel walkways in the orchard, while path and accent lighting were installed in the gardens, setting aside seven separate levels in the venue. The kitchen was also updated to make it caterer friendly.

“Friends remember Mrs. Lehto as one of the most active and devoted members of the N.C. Society during its 120-year history,” Joy Allen, executive director of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of North Carolina (NSCDA-NC), said a news release. The nonprofit group owns and operates the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens.

A grant from Residents of Old Wilmington provided lighting for the façade of the house and the front lawn.

The venue is suitable for events such as luncheons, cocktail parties, receptions and dinner parties. Brides scheduling an event there can also use the courtyard and gardens for a photo shoot, free of charge. Others pay a fee to stage portrait photography in the venue.

“Wilmington definitely has become a wedding destination,” Allen said in a recent interview.

“It’s quite common for historic museums to rent their gardens or inside space. It’s a good way to earn money for the upkeep of the property and operations. This type of venue has become popular nationwide and should be a good revenue stream.”

Over in Leland, The Barn at Rock Creek, which held its grand opening this summer is a family affair with owners Donald and Mary Padgett, Lesley Padgett Taube and Seth Padgett.

Taube, event coordinator, says it took off faster than they imagined.

A venue that will handle 150 people inside the barn, with outdoor seating on the patio for 75, there’s also plenty of room on the 13 acres of land to set up tents.

The land where The Barn at Rock Creek is located came into the family when Mary Ward Padgett’s father, Robert G. Ward, bought the land.

In October of 2012 Robert G. Ward’s granddaughter, Lesley, became engaged to a Leland man and her wedding dream evolved into The Barn at Rock Creek.

Donald Padgett drew up blueprints for the barn and had a hand-painted, four-panel fence built around the entire property, with oak trees planted along the sides. Then he had the hand-painted 3,800-square-foot barn built, encircled with flowerbeds and an eight-foot ceremonial arbor with the wood line as a backdrop.

Sten and Lesley Taube married at The Barn at Rock Creek in May 2014. Now it’s a venue for weddings, parties, dances and other celebrations.

For the future, Taube is planning a bridal suite upstairs and more.

The Loft on Front is an old space with a new look and purpose. Located in historic downtown Wilmington, The Loft offers small parties an intimate place for rehearsal dinners, birthday and holiday parties or office luncheons, said owner Ray Baca, who rebranded the space this summer.

It accommodates groups of 50 seated or slightly more for cocktail-style events.

The Bridal Suite inside The Loft on Front creates a convenient space for brides and their bridesmaids. Large mirrors and salon chairs make it easy to do hair and makeup on site. While the bridal party gets ready and sips champagne, the space provides a beautiful setting for

If the Bridal Suite isn’t needed, the furnishings can be removed, Baca said. The suite is also available for bridal luncheons, pre-bachelorette parties, bridal showers and other events.

And closer to Wrightsville Beach, a new wedding and event venue is under construction, with plans to by the spring or summer of next year.

Wrightsville Manor will accommodate 265 people in the inside space, with close to 6,000 square feet of space including caterer space and other rooms, owner Chrissy Sweyer said.

She and her husband, both originally from Wilmington, recently moved back and bought the 1.25-acre undeveloped lot last year for the site, which is on Allens Lane behind Lumina Station.
There will be space for wedding ceremonies inside and out as well as reception areas, Sweyer said.

“We just started now, really putting it together,” Sweyer said about the upcoming construction project.
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