All the beaches near Wilmington NC allow for beach weddings. Your options are Wrightsville beach or the Pleasure Island area which consists of Carolina beach, Kure beach and Fort Fisher. On these beaches there are several places that offer the choice of having your wedding ceremony on a private pier directly over the beach or in a gazebo, which eliminates the problem of walking in sand. These are all public beaches so you will not have the beach to yourself. If you would like to have a more private ceromony on an undeveloped beach, you can take your wedding party to Masonboro Island by boat. It is located between Wrightsville and Carolina beach.
Wrightsville Beach Weddings
For a beach wedding on Wrightsville Beach, you will need to apply for a special event permit through the parks and recreation department. The fees depend on how many guests are in your wedding party.
If you will have 200 or more people, you may need to provide portable toilets and will need a Group Activity Permit. This permit is approved by the town's Board of Aldermen, which meets twice a month, so you will need to plan on obtaining this in advance. Approval is usually a formality, but expect to have a plan to address parking. Parking spaces near the beach are scarce on summer weekends and you cannot reserve spaces.
The parks department recommends using a shuttle service to get your guests to and from the beach and avoid parking hassles or you can use a valet parking service. Call the Wrightsville Beach Parks & Recreation department for permits and more details at (910) 256-7925.
Pleasure Island Beach Weddings
The name "Pleasure Island" refers to the southern end of New Hanover County, including the towns of Carolina Beach and Kure Beach and the Fort Fisher area.
Carolina Beach Weddings
Carolina Beach does not require permits for beach weddings, but tents and chairs are not permitted. You can get more information by calling the Carolina Beach Parks & Recreation department at (910) 458-7416.
Kure Beach Weddings
The beach does not require a permit for small beach weddings, but does not permit chairs or other elaborate set-ups. For information contact the Event Marketing Coordinator for Kure Beach at 910-458-8216.
Fort Fisher Weddings
The Fort Fisher Historic Site is just south of Kure beach and has four areas available for weddings. There are
two gazebos, one at the northern end and one at the southern end of property. Both gazebos over look the Atlantic Ocean with
one of them being on the beach.
Two grove of trees are also used - one overlooking the ocean and one overlooking the Cape Fear River behind
the fortification remains. There is a permit fee for the use of the grounds for a three hour block of time.
The permit includes the use of the Visitor's Center parking lot, signage indicating weddings and use of the site's restrooms. To
get more information see the Fort Fisher Historic Site website. You
can also call (910) 458-5538 for more information or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is adjacent to the Historic site and located south of the Historic site's southern gazebo.
Weddings are allowed on the beach front area however you need to complete a Special Activity form and pay a small fee. You can get
the form and more details from the North Carolina Parks website or
by calling the Recreation Area's Ranger station at (910) 458-5798.
Getting Married in North Carolina
You do not have to be a resident of North Carolina married here, but you do need a license. You can get one from the Register of Deeds office in any county in North Carolina. There is no waiting period, blood test or physical exam and once issued the license is valid for 60 days.
In New Hanover County, where Wilmington and the surrounding beaches are located, you can apply for a Marriage License between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday at the Branch of Vital Records Department Office located at 24 North Third Street. It is located in Room 101 in the basement of the Courthouse. The phone number is 910-341-4538.
The fee for a marriage license is currently $50. Certified copies are $10 each. All three of the following forms of identification are required for both the Bride and Groom.
- Valid driver's license or DMV picture ID card
- Certified copy of birth certificate
- Valid Social Security card
- All applicants under 18 years of age must have parental consent
- If you have been divorced in the last 60 days you should bring your divorce papers