Photographs by Glenn Guiao

A comprehensive list of 23 Locations to get engaged or propose in around Wilmington, NC

To the newly engaged and significant others who are researching for a place to do your photos.

Glad you made it here!

After photographing a bunch couples, friends, and families in Wilmington, NC I think I have a pretty good grasp of the layout.

I thought I'd shared locations into a blog post.

Time of day Recommendation

For the most part, the best time of day to photograph is during golden hour.

Approximately about an hour before and 15-30 minutes after the sunset.

Lets Get Started

Here's a list that will help you decide where to get engaged by Wilmington's Engagement Photographer

Couples find themselves in tuned with the sound of the beach


Fort Fisher

My first location is Fort Fisher, NC.

This place is probably, if not, the most photographed place I've ever seen.

The number of photographers that come out here is insane. More than any beaches(even California) I've ever seen.

And I understand why.

Families see white sandy beach, large bouldering rocks, the trees that arch over the long meadows, the boardwalk on the historical side of the area.

The light that streaks over the sky every after a rain.

Fort Fisher is THEE place to plant your knee in one ground and propose(or maybe, even wed!)


New Hanover Arboretum

This place is another location I would recommend for an engagement or proposal session.

A few reasons why:

  • Open space
  • beautiful trees
  • Japanese house
  • large bamboo shoots
  • a koi pond

This place is only a few acres and should take about about less than 30 minutes to go all the way around.

There is a clear path that goes around the arboretum. And all you really have to do is follow it and it will take you back to the entrance.

I'd recommend to couples New Hanover Arboretum for those who might not want to get distracted by any on-lookers.


Downtown Wilmington

I live about 3 minutes downtown(5 if traffic is horrendous.)

For 2 years, I've came to know and love this place because of it's small town/city charm.

Shout out to Cape Fear Beer and Wine if you're looking for a few drinks before going to our session.

But if not, fret not. I've got just the thing to make you comfortable in front of the camera. And its easier than you think! There's a downloadable PDF called "How to get engagement photos that SLAY"

Make sure you send your info up there so I can send it to ya!

But first, here are a few out of many locations in Wilmington to get Engaged or show up for a proposal!

  • The Riverfront
  • Parking Decks(Market St. next to Slice of Life Pizza
  • Near 128 South Venue(Front Street + Ann)
  • In front of Elija's(S Water Street + Ann)


Johnnie Mercer Pier

Everyone knows the pier on Wrightsville Beach, this place is flocked with hundreds of people who come and visit Wilmington everyday!

You'll find locals fishermen who would go out fish during their downtime, families who want the ocean breeze. It's also the best spot to watch surfers make their round each time they catch the wave.

Why would it be in this list, Glenn?

Well, its because, I would recommend it for a certain vibe. It's definitely not where you'd propose.

The concrete rails have fish guts on them and you might not want to ruin your clothes.

But it would be perfect for a couple sessions who want that surfer kind of vibe.

There's a $2 fee, parking is about $5/hr.


Abbey Nature Preserve

About 20 minutes Northeast from Downtown Wilmington is a nature preserve with lots of turning trees into oranges and a boardwalk that sits above the water and creates symmetry to your photos. I think it's the most beautiful place to photograph your engagement.

Location: Google Maps

Best time to photograph: Early morning, about 1 hour before sunrise, and late afternoon, 1 hour after the sunrise.


Dram Tree Park

This location is not much to many people, but I see a TON of potential here.

First off, I can point out the obvious, which is the iconic Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

The pros is that golden hour here is beautiful, not much foot traffic.

Another is the ramp, I can use this to photograph you against the concrete wall, to give it more industrial look.

Then cons, its very noisy because of the cars on the bridge.


Greenfield Lake

Another popular spot for engagement or proposal session is Greenfield Lake.

This place is HUGE.

So make sure that when you arrive, you'd let me know which side of the parking spot you've marked in.

Where the best place to take photos is pretty much anywhere around the lake. Just follow the paths and if you find a cabana(or gazebo) just get a couple of photos there.

There's also this huge bridge that I took my couples once and we saw a bunch of turtles that are just swimming around and I thought that was neat.


Airlie Gardens

Another highly rated, highly photographed in Wilmington, closer to Wrightsville Beach is Airlie Gardens.

The garden has a lot of spanish moss, beautiful symmetry, however you can't really get any golden hour unless you get a permission. Also, its $150 to have a professional photographer there.

And if you must have your proposal and engagement session there,

Here are few places where you can tackle this beautiful garden without having to aimlessly walk around.

RED: Driving into the Garden via Airlie Forest CT.

YELLOW: Office

PURPLE: Points of Interests

BLUE: Path to take

Do not go through the office because thats a different part of the garden.

Just walk in and tell them that you're there with a photographer.

They'll ask you if you have a photographer's pass($150.)

Which you'll need to purchase beforehand.

You then turn back towards the parking lot and go through these points of interests.

The third star is the Gazebo.

RED: Driving into the Garden via Airlie Forest CT. YELLOW: Office PURPLE: Points of Interests BLUE: Path to take


Satellite Bar

Description: I suggest grabbing a quick drink before and after the shoot. Tip the bartender, of course and ask them if you could grab a few shots in front of their bar. The area features lots of red bricked walls and olden windows.

Location: Google Maps

Best time to photograph: 1 hour before Sunset and 1 hour after Sunrise


Snow's Cut Park

Description: Snow's Cut is a park located underneath the Carolina Bridge in Wilmington, NC. According to Google, this park may be closed. NPS says the park is open. When you're doing an engagement session, please be mindful of the people staying in RVs. This park is a snow cut bridge that has been turned into a pedestrian park. It's a really neat place for an engagement session! The only thing to be aware of is that there are people living in RVs down there, so just be respectful of their space. Thanks!

Location: Google Maps

Best Time to Photograph: Could be great anytime of the day but like many shoots, early in the AM or 1 Hour Prior to sunset.


Long Leaf Park

Description: Quite a busy park with kids running around. There is a pond on the south east end of the park which can be a great option early AM.

Location: Google Maps

Best Time to photograph: Very early in the AM, 1 HR before sunrise

How to slay your engagement session


Shell Island Resort - North End Marshes of Wrightsville Beach

Description: There's a path/trail that will take you into a small inlet of water, unfortunately there isn't much shade around.

Location:Google Maps

Best Time to photograph: Very early in the AM, 1 HR before sunrise or sunset


Jack Parker Beach

Jack Parker Beach is one of the most popular spots for engagements, weddings, and other special occasions. The beautiful ocean views and the stunning sunset make it a perfect place to capture memories that will last a lifetime. However, because it is such a popular spot, you may not always find the seclusion you are looking for. There may be other photographers and couples taking pictures, and the beach may be crowded with people enjoying the sunny day. But if you are willing to share the space, Jack Parker Beach is an absolutely amazing place to have your engagement or wedding photos taken. So if you are planning a special event, be sure to consider Jack Parker Beach as your perfect photo location.

Link #1


Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach is a beautiful place to take engagement photos! Most of my couples choose Carolina Beach because it is so convenient to them, but there are many other beautiful places to photograph in North Carolina. I would love to hear from you if you are considering Carolina Beach for your engagement photos! Wilmington engagement photographers like myself are excited to capture your love story in this beautiful place. Carolina Beach has so much to offer engaged couples looking for the perfect place to have their photos taken. The water is gorgeous, the sand is pristine, and there are endless possibilities for beautiful backdrops. I would be honored to capture your Carolina Beach engagement photos and help you create memories that will last a lifetime. Contact me today to learn more!


The Cotton Exchange

This historic building is a major part of Wilmington's identity. Situated in the heart of the downtown area, it's the perfect place to start your life together.


Orton Plantation Gardens

These gorgeous gardens are a must-see in Wilmington. With their lush vegetation and tranquil ponds, they're sure to set the mood for a romantic proposal.


The Riverwalk

Wilmington's Riverwalk is a beautiful spot for a leisurely stroll or a romantic picnic. It's also the perfect place to get down on one knee and ask for your partner's hand in marriage.


The Bellamy Mansion

This antebellum mansion is one of Wilmington's most iconic landmarks. Its elegance and history make it a truly unique place to get engaged.


Battleship North Carolina

Another unique spot for an engagement is Battleship North Carolina. This WWII battleship is now a museum, and it offers stunning views of downtown Wilmington and the riverfront area. It's also a great place for history buffs to get engaged!

wilmington nc wedding photographer


Poplar Grove Plantation

Poplar Grove Plantation is a historic plantation that dates back to 1795. With its beautiful grounds and historic buildings, it's no wonder that this plantation is one of Wilmington's most popular engagement spots.


Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach State Park is a beautiful location for engagement photography. The park covers 761 acres on Pleasure Island and offers a variety of landscapes including forests, fields, and beaches

If you’re interested in seeing an example of engagement photography at Carolina Beach State Park, you might want to check out this blog post by Junebug Weddings. 

It features a cozy campfire engagement session that took place at the park’s forests, fields, and beaches


Downtown Rooftop Parking Lots

There are 2 major parking lots accessible to the public, some, not so much as they might be privately owned.

  • 2nd Street Public Parking. This one works really well if you're looking to add the Wilmington Bridge. There's tons of parking and theres a good view of the sunset.
  • 3rd Street Public Parking

St. James Episcopal Church

This church that was built in the early 1700s went through sever iterations of changes through out the 300 years it stood on Market and 3rd Street.

  • I also think its the perfect place to get engaged or couples photos after a court house wedding
  • The best time is about 1 hour before sunset
  • You can park a car in front of the church during our session.
  • Its completely free.
  • Check if a wedding is at hand. Sundays and Saturday mornings is usually busy with mass
Editorial and Fine Art Photographer | Wilmington, NC

Capturing Memories

Hi guys! my name is Glenn, and I'm a Wilmington engagement photographer. I specialize in couples photography, and I love capturing the special bond between two people in love. I'm passionate about my work, and I believe that engagement photos should be a fun and memorable experience. I'm confident that I can capture the love and connection between you and your partner.


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