Wilmington is a fantastic place to get your engagement photos. There are plenty of places to go and do. It's 15 minute drive to Wrightsville Beach and plenty of restaurants to reserve after your session.

Here's are the places I'd highly recommend:

  • St. James Episcopal Church
  • St. Mary's Catholic School
  • Elijah's in Downtown Wilmington
  • Downtown Riverwalk
  • Water Street Park
  • Wrightsville Beach Access #2
  • North End
  • Crystal Pier
  • Johnnie Mercer Pier
  • Jack Parker Beach
  • The River Court
  • Downtown Wilmington Rooftop
  • St. Stephen AME Church
  • Airlie Gardens
  • Greenfield Lake
Guy kissing her at St. James Episcopal Church
Couples under an awning at St. James Episcopal Church
Couples proposing at St. James Episcopal Church
Couples just got engaged at St. James Episcopal Church

St. James Episcopal Church

This is hands down my FAVORITE place to get engaged or have your proposals done in Wilmington. It requires little to no planning, no reservations, or fees. You can park inside the church. Here are the pros and cons.


  • Close to the Restaurants Downtown Wilmington
  • Wide open courtyard
  • Gothic and European architecture
  • Fantastic arches
  • Free parking
  • Shade when it rains
  • Little to no foot traffic


A ton of photographers shoot there and might have service going on. So plan ahead of time.

Best Time of Day

When planning your photoshoot, aim for about an hour before sunset to capture the enchanting golden hour light that bathes the church in a warm, ethereal glow. Find Wilmington engagement photos here.

No fees to shoot there

bride posing at airlie garden
wedding at airlie garden
Groom posing in front of the winding trees and spanish moss at airlie garden

Airlie Gardens

Airlie Gardens feature a ton of Spanish moss, large oak trees, turtles, themed gardens, sculptures. You can be in awe just by looking at their lawn because they maintain it so well.


  • Beautiful grassy area with a large oak tree
  • A ton of themed gardens for different photo ops
  • You can ask for a golf cart


Their do charge to stay open later. Especially at sunset. At that point, if you want to save a bit, I would go to the beach for a second location.

My Engagement Sessions offers 120 minute session which is perfect because we can split the time at Airlie Gardens and the beach for a contrasting session.

It's $150/hr to reserve a photo session here.

Address: 300 Airlie Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403

Wrightsville Beach, NC

There are 4 different locations to go to in Wrightsville beach

North End of the Beach

To get here, you'll need to park at Beach Access 2, walk 15 minutes north, and veer away from the shore. Mind the signs during the nesting season in the winter and spring.

Jack Parker Beach(South End)

This is a beautiful flat beach with dunes, secluded paths, dunes, but it's very busy with tourists, theres limited parking, and there are sandflies(which is weird, considering that I've never experienced it in the North End

Crystal Pier and Johnnie Mercer Pier

It's my least favorite because of how often photographers take their clients here. Its over shot and there's too many tourists. But you can get symmetry from under the pier.

Parking is $6/hour(they're very strict and give out parking tickets)

Request info about North End Beach here!

6Th best place, great, but busy

Fort Fisher, North Carolina

Fort Fisher is another great place to get your pictures taken. But its over ran by photographers and tourists. There's arching trees, big boulders that separates the shore and land, two large meadows, and a beautiful boardwalk.


There's plenty of parking at the Visitor Center or the beach front.


For the perfect engagement photos, consider arriving during the golden hour when the soft, warm light works its magic.


bride and groom looking adjacent from each other
groom holds her hand
bride fixing her dress while he walks her
groom holds her hand at fort fisher
bride holding her husband at fort fisher
husband and wife near the rocks at Fort Fisher

Ton of opportunities but busy

Downtown Wilmington

I love downtown because we can complete a session at one or two locations.

Theres plenty of opportunities to take photos with your significant other. I'm not gonna list why because it's way too long.

Please see the map below!

  • Elija's
  • Riverwalk
  • Water Street Park
  • Alton Lennon Federal Building
  • Conlon Pier
  • Riverfront Park
  • Rooftop Parking Lots
  • The Riverwalk
  • Bellamy Mansion
  • The Cotton Exchange
groom kisses his fiance
groom spins his fiance around
newly engaged posing for the camera

Greenfield Lake

This place is HUGE. So huge that a session wouldn't even cover half of the lake. So were splitting this up because you can park at 3 different places. The Skatepark, Boat Ramp, Amphitheater.

The Boat Ramp

My favorite spot out of the three is located on South West of the Lake. I recommend it because you can walk to either The Skate Park or The Amphitheater. They both have different feel for the session.

The Skate Park and The Amphitheater

The Skate Park a playground, a canoe and paddleboat rental, and its only a few minutes to the bride(which is under construction as of Nov. 27, 2023).

The other is located east of Greenfield Amphitheater. There is a pergola and vertical trees that would be perfect for proposals and engagements.

couples pose in front of a vintage car and city of wilmington
couples pose in downtown wilmington with bridge in the background
black and white photo of newlyweds on top of parking deck

Downtown Wilmington Parking Deck

This is a go-to for many Wilmington Engagement photographers because it's secluded from the street, which means, less foot traffic and you can enjoy all of your PDA.

Cape fear memorial Bridge

You can see Cape Fear Memorial Bridge in the background when you're on a higher ground.

The sunsets on the west

You're on a higher ground, there's plenty of light which means you can stretch out your session a little longer than usual.

Note: This parking deck is located on Market Street and Front St.

Honorable Mentions

Here are the locations that would've made it to my favorites list but they all come with caveats, either the park isn't maintained, not enough parking, too crowded, too loud, too far, or might face some difficulties.

New Hanover Arboretum

Abbey Nature Preserve

Dram Tree Park

Satellite Bar

Snow Cut Park

Long Leaf Park

Carolina Beach

Kure Beach

Orton Plantation Gardens

Poplar Grove Plantation

Carolina Beach State Park

Green Swamp Preserve

Battleship North Carolina

One Tree Hill Locations

St. Stephen AME Church

One Tree Hill: River Court

One Tree Hill: Bridge


wedding photographer in wilmington
Meet Your Photographer

Hey Y'all

I'm Glenn, THEE "Ride or Die" Engagement and Proposal Photographer in Wilmington.

Thank you so much for checking out my top list. I try to update this post periodically to give you the BEST experience.

If you want your photos done right, fill out the form below and we'll send you a text within 24 hours.

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Airlie Gardens

Beach Access 2

St. James Episcopal Church

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Just my way to break the ice :)