You've done it! Your wedding is planned, you are driving from the hotel to the venue with your wedding party, excited to marry the love of your life - and bam, traffic jam. there's people walking on the streets, you see tents up ahead and your driver says "it looks like the street is closed due to the cheese festival happening, it'll take another 45 minutes to get around this traffic." You show up to your own ceremony an hour later and you feel like your day is ruined.
Ya'll, don't let this happen to you!
If you're set on getting married in an urban area, you need to make sure to plan a wedding around anything that is happening downtown that weekend - cause in a city there is always something happening. Hillsborough street is the hub of Downtown Raleigh! With so many restaurants and shops, along with parks and scooters - there's always something new. Let me help you be prepared for the inevitable if your picking downtown Raleigh as your wedding destination.
Some Dates To Be Aware Of:
The First Saturday of February - KrispyKreme Challenge This is literally a race where people shove their face full of Kripsy Kreme donuts in the middle of it. Largely attended by NC State Students, this is a huge crowd draw for the city at the beginning of the year.
Usually the last weekend of April; June 11 - 12, 2021, Brewgaloo is North Carolina's largest craft beer festival, featuring over 100 craft breweries, 50 food trucks, and 300,000 people. This festival takes over Downtown.
May 20-22. 2021 - Thrive NC Festival Everyone loves food and when the food is sampled for free - you can bet there will be alot of people on the street for this one.
June 6, 2021 - Out! Raleigh Pride. This may not be a date to avoid for a Downtown Raleigh wedding if you are an LGBTQ+ couple - on the contrary since the parade is a Sunday, June 5, 2021 may be the perfect date to celebrate your love, so you can celebrate with your newly betrothed on a parade float the day after - what a way to start your honeymoon!
Sept 9 - 11, 2021 - Hopscotch Music Festival. This event is spread all across downtown Raleigh, with over 195 music acts in various music venues, bars, and parks across Raleigh.
An alternative to skipping these dates
Plan your wedding on the outskirts of Raleigh - look at Garner, Apex, Wake Forest or Cary. There's plenty of venues not in the hub that is downtown, that can still give you that urban feel.
Embrace the craziness and celebrate with the crowds. Make your festivities part of the larger downtown happenings.
Limit travel for your guests; reserve hotel room blocks within walking distance of the venue, keep your ceremony and reception at one venue, ask your planner to put extra buffer time in the timeline if there is travel needed between events, put a 15 minute buffer period on the invitation (and then start the ceremony whenever most people are there!)
Other events that haven't set a new date for 2021 or to keep in mind:
Artsplosure: With over 80,000 people in attendance in Downtown Raleigh, this fun art festival makes getting around Raleigh a little hard.
Packapalooza: With over 80,000 people in attendance, majority college aged students - this can be a really fun experience, but it will be busy on and around Hillsborough St.
Sunday - August 1, 2021 3pm-9pm ( Evening Event )
Sunday - September 26th, 2021 12-6pm
Sunday - November 7th, 2021 12-6pm
North Carolina State Fair, October 14 - 24, 2021
Although not directly downtown, this fair pulls thousands of people into the area, so account for that in your planning process.
Because of 2020 COVID cancellations and projections of re-opening - Fall 2021 is going to have A LOT of happenings. October is historically busy wedding month, so keep these festival reschedules in mind when planning your date!
It's also important to remember as we get into the Holiday seasons in November and December, parades and parties increase with something almost every weekend! There is so much to do in Raleigh around this time, but not necessarily a reason to not have your wedding during this time. Work with your wedding planner to figure out the best time to start the festivities and the best venues for minimal traffic or noise disruptions.
Don't let a transportation issue get in the way of your happily ever after! Let's plan your perfect timeline together and make your wedding day the best that it can be, no matter the happenings around it!
If you want to check your date compared to popular Downtown Raleigh events, use this link. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list and there may be other events to look for - looking at the NC State game schedules are a great place to start, if you are getting married close to campus.