Growing up here, I have always loved the history behind the Duke Mansion. When I met Laura Stump the other week, I knew I wanted to have the Duke Mansion as one of my vendor spotlights. I can't wait for you to learn more about this wonderful place.
Duke Mansion has been around for a long time. What made you decide to go into the wedding business?
This is our 100th year anniversary! We started doing weddings back in 2010 and have loved every season since! The Mansion is such a special place and we wanted to be able to share that magic with brides and grooms. It only seemed like a natural progression for us to expand from social and corporate business into weddings.
Does Duke Mansion being a non-profit provide any hurdles with weddings?
We are very proud of non-profit status! All of the money that we take in from weddings and other events goes back into sustaining and preserving the house. We do have certain rules and little quirks that are associated with a historic property, however, since our goal, first and foremost, is to preserve this amazing property!
What sets Duke Mansion apart from other venues?
I may be a little biased here but I think we offer our couples unparalleled service, 4-diamond accommodations, and superior catering and beverage options. We pride ourselves on the quality of our staff – from the smiling face at our Front Desk to the servers at your event, to the sales team members planning your event – we truly want our couples to feel like this is their home for the weekend and to walk away loving every minute of it! I also think we have done our pricing and packages really well and give you more for your money than many other properties.
Since you have rooms on site, do most of your bridal couples spend their wedding night at the mansion?
Yes! We have 20 rooms on site and most of our weddings choose to rent out every single one of them! That means you have the entire Mansion to your selves for both Friday and Saturday evening. Since we are a bed and breakfast, you also have a private breakfast for your group before and after the wedding. Each room on property is decorated different or has some unique feature about it! Our second floor rooms offer spacious screened-in porches and the third floor rooms each of their own interesting detail like stained glass or a skylight.
I didn't realize that you had that many rooms. It's perfect for the bride and groom and their wedding party.
What different packages do you offer your couples?
Our weddings are ideal for a party of around 150. We offer both plated and reception style events, depending on what your style is! We also are happy to host your rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bridesmaid luncheon or engagement party! The more the merrier!
What is your favorite part about the weddings?
I always look forward to the dances and the toasts! I can’t help but get a little choked up during the first dance and the parent dances. Especially if the groom or father of the bride starts to get teary eyed...I’m a goner!
I love that.
Do you have a favorite fun story?
We love it when our couples do something that is totally fun or unique to them as a couple! This past June I had a bride that had been a member of the NC State dance team in college. She, along with her dance team girlfriends, broke it down on the dance floor with one of their choreographed routines! She killed it and the crowd loved it!
Another wedding, this past weekend, had a celebrity appearance by, none-other than, Sir Purr of the Carolina Panthers! That cat boogied his tail off on the dance floor and the guests all got a good laugh out of it!
How long in advance do you typically start working with a bride?
My colleague, Vanessa Evans, generally books wedding a year or more out. We only do 25 weddings a year, so it really helps us to set a standard of excellence. Not only does it help us to focus more intently on our brides but it also is for the good of the house. It allows our historical gem time to breathe and to stay as beautiful as one has come to expect! Once the wedding is booked it will either be detailed by myself or Vanessa. We are your venue contact and will help with the details like the menu and setup of the day. We are your main point of contact here from the day you sign your contract, through your wedding day. We get emotionally invested in your weddings, too!
Do you provide someone dedicated to the couple on the day of the event to help them?
We do not provide a day-of-coordinator, but we always highly suggest that our couples hire a full-service wedding planner, or a month-of planner at least. We LOVE working with planners because it makes everyone’s job so much easier! The planner is an expert in this industry! I have yet to meet a bride that has regretted hiring a planner, but plenty that have regretted not hiring one! They are worth their weight in gold! If you do have your ceremony here, a ceremony coordinator is included in your ceremony fee with us. They are just like the ladies you would find at a church that help you get down the aisle. I am also here for the entire night to ensure that all of your rentals I ordered are on time and correct and that your food and beverage are on point. A wedding planner and I work together to ensure that your day runs smoothly.
What size wedding is typical for you?
All of our weddings are booked for between 100-150 people. This size wedding is easily able to hit our food and beverage minimum and fits in the house comfortably. Since we only do 25 weddings a year, we do not offer an intimate wedding package.
What trends do you see with the current brides?
We are seeing A TON of gold, blush, and ivory weddings right now. It seems to be the hot color palette of the year! Since our venue is so traditional, it lends itself well to a neutral color scheme with pops of blush or peach.
Is there one thing that you feel is important for brides to ask or know when choosing the perfect venue?
There are definitely certain things to look for or ask during your site tour. What is included in the estate or rental fee? Do the menus look tasty? Can you have a ceremony on site? Do you enjoy the venue coordinator that is showing you around? We want to make sure we are good fit for you and that you are good fit for us, too! It should be a happy marriage between bride and venue!
Finally, if you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?
I want all of our brides to know what we truly want to see your wedding dreams come true! We are emotionally invested in this wedding too and really do want to ensure that your wedding day is everything that you dreamed of. So if we have to shoot down one of your ideas…it’s only because we are following the rules! Promise!
Thanks to Laura for sitting down to talk with us today. If you are interested in learning more about the availability of the Duke Mansion for your wedding, be sure and email them or give them a call. For more information and to see how other brides are enjoying their events at the mansion, be sure to follow them on social media.