When planning a Wilmington wedding, you may have a long to-do list. From securing your dream venue to booking local vendors, the journey to the altar can be exhausting. Fortunately, the planning process is not all business. There are many exciting parts, like your Wilmington, NC engagement shoot!

Even if modeling isn’t your thing, it’s a fun opportunity to dress up, explore new sites, and capture charming moments with your partner. Before you select a date with your wedding photographer, though, you’ll need to find the perfect location. The good news is coastal NC offers many stunning backdrops, so you’re sure to discover the right spot (or multiple) for your engagement photos.

Here are six of the best destinations for a unique Wilmington engagement shoot!

Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher offers outstanding landscapes if you’re searching for a gorgeous backdrop. Located 18 miles south of Wilmington, Fort Fisher provides beautiful views of Zeke’s Island, the Cape Fear River, and trails through the salt marsh. Your photograph will love capturing the live oak trees off the coast and the sun setting over the water!

As for our animal lovers, the warm season features sea turtles on the sandy shores for a cute photo op. Then after you complete the engagement shoot, enjoy a picnic and hike!

New Hanover County Arboretum

Are you a fan of flowers and herbal gardens? If so, New Hanover County Arboretum is the perfect destination for your NC engagement photo session. Featuring over ten specialty gardens, couples will love the diverse scenery. Explore the Native Plant Garden with cherry laurels and southern magnolia for lush greenery, or experience the Japanese Garden with ferns and sweeping Japanese apricot trees with pink and yellow blossoms in the late winter.

Top off your engagement pictures with hybrid tea roses from the Rose Garden for a colorful photoshoot. 

Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier

sunset at Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier

For couples who love fishing, Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier provides everything you need and more, from tackle shops and rod rentals to gift shops for beach essentials. Set in the heart of Wrightsville Beach, the pier extends 1200 feet into the waters and presents outstanding views of the Atlantic Ocean.

With shots of the waves and a gorgeous coastline, this is the perfect setting for engagement photos in Wilmington, NC! 

Abbey Nature Preserve

Abbey Nature Preserve

Home to old farmlands, mill ponds, trails, and forests, Abbey Nature Preserve transports visitors to a peaceful oasis. Explore the 65-acre tract and capture magical moments along the dam, cedars, and pines. The mill pond, surrounded by trees, offers breathtaking views, while the trails invite candid shots on your walk.

Besides the moss and woods greenery, this location also offers vibrant yellow jasmine flowers in the spring for that pop of color. 

Greenfield Lake Park

Couple engagement photo at Greenfield Lake Park

Photography: The Vibrant

With 190 acres to roam, Greenfield Lake Park is a must for an engagement shoot in Wilmington, coastal NC. Get swept away by the wooden walkways along the waterfront and the lush green fields lined by cypress trees. Greenfield’s lake is a crowd favorite, setting the stage for romantic pictures couples will love to share with friends and family.

After taking your engagement photos, enjoy a picnic on the field, a show at Hugh Morton Amphitheater, or a kayak ride on the water. This destination provides plenty of fun surprises. 

Airlie Gardens

Couple holding each other at the Airlie Gardens

Photography: Chelsea Renay

If you’ve always dreamed of happily ever after, you can enter a real-life fairytale with Airlie Gardens. This beautiful location offers garden scenery, such as Camellia and Spring Garden. Scattered across the live oaks, you will find antique camellias and a lovely fountain by the wildflowers blooming in the summer. 

Walk through the Butterfly House and let their vibrant wings make a statement in your engagement photos. You can also enjoy spectacular sculptures, like the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel. Come on a sunny day to see the full effect of the glass bottles.

Note: Airlie Gardens requires a reservation and a fee for private engagement shoots.

Whether you’re a fan of coastal backdrops or thriving gardens, Wilmington offers a diverse selection for all couples. So set aside time with your significant other to determine the spots that best represent your love. It may be a park from one of your dates or a new location that just felt right.

Create a list and highlight your favorite locations for your Wilmington, NC engagement photos. 

If you’re searching for more ideas for your photo session or a local wedding DJ to make your special day even more magical, get in touch today! We look forward to bringing your wedding day vision to life.