Tuesday, June 28, 2022

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher invites couples to wed by the sea

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is becoming a popular wedding venue. (Port City Daily photo / DIANNA DAMES)
The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is becoming a popular wedding venue. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY BELLA ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

KURE BEACH — “It’s a special couple that chooses to get married at the aquarium because it’s such a unique niche market,” said Keely Herron, special events coordinator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Averaging at about one wedding per week during the spring and fall, the aquarium has grown to become a noteworthy venue competitor as soon-to-bes look to stray away from the standard ballroom setup.

With a blue overcast lighting reflected throughout and restless marine life as an animate backdrop, the location is all but standard when it comes to wedding ceremonies.

The upper and lower floors of the Marine Building house the esteemed Cape Fear Shoals, which is a two-story window exhibit showcasing aquatic including stingrays and sharks.

Herron admitted her favorite money shot of the bride and groom includes the shoals. “I love when couples have their dance floor right in front of it. The photos of their first dance in front of those two huge windows is just gorgeous.”

In addition, the Marine Building harbors what Herron called “a lava lamp of jelly fish.” Sitting below an installation of an artificial school of fish, is a mezmerizing jelly fish tank. The tank holds dozens of electric blue, bioluminescent moon jellies that visitors seldom overlook.

The Cape Fear Conservatory is also open to rent. Freshwater organisms such as turtles, alligators, snakes and a few select fish reside in this area. Brick pathways wind the public around each exhibit in this building.

Patches of vegetation and huge windows that allow sunlight to stream in can give guests the feel of being in an indoor forest. Ceremonies are rarely held here, but it is a popular spot for cocktail hour.

The aquarium also bids the opportunity to hold engagement photo sessions, but not many take advantage of the opportunity.

“I think it’s because people don’t realize it’s an option,” Herron said.

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is becoming a popular wedding venue. (Port City Daily photo / DIANNA DAMES)
The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is becoming a popular wedding venue. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY BELLA ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Two less populated areas that have the potential to result in eye-catching engagement photos are Lorikeet Landing and the gardens behind the aquarium. These spaces offer a more rustic vibe for those who want to save the quirkiness of the complete aquarium experience for their wedding day.

Lorikeet Landing, an exhibit only open through Oct. 1, includes a pathway leading up to an enclosed dome filled with tiny multicolored tropical birds free to land on guests. The short gravel path leading up to the dome sets a picture-perfect scene with bright green shrubbery and pops of color from assorted flowers.

A similar spectacle lies in the Memorial Garden behind the aquarium and it’s even more expansive. The garden guides visitors on a wooden above-ground pathway past small bodies of water holding more marine life. Lumber bridges and footpaths engulfed in a frame of lush foliage can craft an enchanted woodland themed shoot.

For more information on having your next event or wedding at the aquarium, visit its website

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