The Cotton Room | Durham North Carolina Wedding Venue



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Guess what time it is! You guessed it! It’s time for another amazing Wedding Venue blog! Today we are off to The Cotton Room, located in downtown Durham! The Cotton Room space was originally built in 1887 as part of the Bull Durham Tobacco Company. It served as a cotton mill, a textile plant, a cigarette label, and box-making facility before being sold to a private developer in 2004! Steeped in history, The Cotton Room features beautiful exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, and timeless architecture. It has quickly become one of Durham’s most sought-after venues!

The Cotton Room

The Cotton Room Durham North Carolina Wedding Venue

Durham NC wedding venue

How did you get started?

For business owners, Dodd and Michelle Aldred, coming back to Durham to open The Cotton Room was almost instinctive. They were already thriving with their catering company, Triangle Catering, located in Raleigh. However, Michelle, a Durham native, knew from the moment she visited Golden Belt’s campus that there was an amazing opportunity to pay homage to Durham’s history, preserve its unique architecture, and help revitalize a campus that was once the heartbeat of the city’s downtown. As some of the pioneering entrepreneurs who were involved in downtown Durham’s renaissance, the Aldred oversaw every detail of the painstaking renovation and the creation of The Cotton Room, which opened in 2009!

Durham wedding photographer

Durham wedding photography

Tell me about your favorite wedding last season.

This is truly a cruel question, as all of our weddings have elements that we adore. However, if we must pick one we would choose Sarah Hiller and Jake Palmer’s stunning winter wedding. We worked closely with Sarah and Jake to pay intricate homage to their rich Jewish heritage. It was incredibly important to them and us that we honor all elements of their beautiful religion. As a couple, they were incredibly animated, excited, emotional, and in love. Of course, all of our couples have a beautiful love, but it was beyond clear to everyone in the room whether it be planning meetings, wine tastings or the day of their wedding that Jake and Sarah only had eyes for each other. Every detail of the day went seamlessly and there was not a dry eye in the venue during the pre-ceremony signing of the Ketubah or the ceremony itself. It truly was such a memorable wedding for all the right reasons. 

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How far out should a bride pay a deposit to secure your venue for her wedding day?

This is actually a more complicated question than most people would think. A lot of the answer is going to depend on the season/month you are interested in as well as the day of the week and even the time of day. Of course, we recommend booking as soon as you are able as most couples tend to secure their venue a year to 18 months in advance. If you are only interested in a Saturday evening during the fall in North Carolina, you are going to want to book over a year out. If you are flexible and interested in Fridays, Sundays or even moving into the winter months, you can usually find more availability closer to your date.

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What is included when a couple books your venue for their wedding?

Part of the vision for The Cotton Room from the very beginning was to create a truly all-inclusive experience for our clients. Combining local history, with creative, award-winning, southern-inspired cuisine. When booking our venue, the wedding suites, tables, charivari chairs, linens, a food and beverage planner, day of event coordination, food and beverage are all included! 

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How do you help couples customize their wedding?

Our client’s priority is our priority. We work with our clients to find out what is most important to them: decor, religion, food, and beverage etc… We then work individually with them help deliver the vision for their perfect day that also fits within their budget. 

What’s one interesting fact about The Cotton Room?

The Cotton Room was actually built in the late 1890’s, so the venue itself is steeped in North Carolina history. It was originally built to produce the cotton drawstring bags for the tobacco that the American Tobacco District produced. After that, it was also used to print the cartons for Lucky Strike Cigarette cartons. 

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What do you have planned for the future?

We have plans for expansion within and around the venue. We are also launching a blog at the end of this year that we are incredibly excited about. 

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How many guests can you accommodate?

Our capacity caps at a little over 400, however, our average size event is 100-300 people. Don’t let those numbers fool you though! We have had events for 25 people and a little over the 400 so don’t be afraid to call us and discuss your vision!

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What makes The Cotton Room unique?

We believe our full inclusiveness makes our venue stand apart. We work very hard to ensure that the day of your wedding or event, you, your family members and your coworkers are not lifting a finger. Above all else, our goal is for our clients to have the time of their lives.

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Want to see more of our favorite venues in the Raleigh-Durham area? Check out The Mayton Inn,  The Sutherland Estate and Gardens,  The Barn of Chapel Hill, Wakefield Barn and Highgrove Estate

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