An Outer Banks Wedding
A formal hometown wedding is the only way to go for some couples. Acknowledging family culture and traditions in a church or in their own backyard is the wedding they have always imagined.
But for other couples, an Outer Banks destination wedding allows them to celebrate their own personal style, ease family stress, and take a vacation all at the same time.
How do couples plan an OBX wedding from a distance?
Often the marrying couple has been vacationing on the Outer Banks for many summers and already has favorite restaurants, rental homes, and wedding sites in mind. Newcomers need not fear, however. Today’s technology makes it a cinch to plan from a distance.
Rebecca, who is planning a spring OBX wedding says, “Vendors from most places that are considered destination sites will be familiar with conducting business via Skype, FaceTime, email, etc. I hired my DJ, photographer, officiant and bakery for the cake without ever seeing them. I went off reviews online. I checked WeddingWire, Yelp, Google, and any examples of their work I could find to make sure I was comfortable with my choices. The only thing I wanted to check out and book in person was the venue.”
Everyone has their pet concern that requires an in-person meeting. For one bride, it will be the venue, for another it will be wanting to taste some of the caterer’s samples.
Caitlyn who is worried about personalizing the vows says, “The only vendor I’m kind of concerned about not meeting is the officiant.”
Consider this. In a small community such as the Outer Banks, our cadre of wedding professionals is an even smaller subset of the local population. They have witnessed each other under the most stressful of circumstances, and they know which ones are reliable, distinctive and who make customers happy. Ask them who they would hire if their own daughter or son were getting married.
Nancy, an officiant echoes that advice and says, “Once you find one vendor, ask for recommendations. I’m frequently the first one booked and I recommend venues, florists, photographers, musicians/DJs, etc. who I know will perform well.”
While you should certainly consider recommendations, as well as consult preferred vendor lists, don’t let these take the place of the research you need to do to be sure the vendor is the right match for you.
A Word About Stress
Bridezillas are not born. They are created. A formal wedding can mean conflicting family traditions in competing hometowns. Plus, at a typical wedding, the couple is trying to see everyone while hosting three or four events over a two-day weekend.
Destination weddings are on vacation time. Couples are usually needed onsite a few days early to fill out vendor paperwork and get marriage licenses (see An OBX Wedding Checklist pg. 43) so by the time your big day arrives, you’ve had a few days of playtime with far-flung friends and family in smaller get togethers.
Want a surefire way to cut the guest list and costs down to something manageable? A destination wedding guarantees that folks who are there to celebrate are your closest family and friends. No one is there because they feel obligated. And the ones who do show up are ready to have fun! The Outer Banks is filled with honeymoon-happy resorts ready to make your time here a dream vacation for all guests.
According to The Knot, more than 50 percent of all couples end up spending more than what they budgeted for a wedding. Combine that with the average cost of a U.S. wedding in 2016 was $35,329 and it all adds up to a great argument to have a destination wedding.
Meghan, a recent OBX bride from New Jersey, says her mother was confused about the destination wedding concept. “Mom was concerned about the distance. The no church thing. But our planner did such a good job setting the stage for a beach wedding, that now, even my toughest critics have not stopped talking about our wedding.”
Pick Your Season ~ Pick Your Date
While peak tourist season for our beaches is during the summer, many marrying couples choose spring or fall. During these “shoulder” months, rates are low, summer traffic has thinned, and the weather leans toward the spectacular. Also, with Saturday check-ins at many rental homes, couples frequently do not plan to tie the knot on a Saturday.
Year after year, the Outer Banks shows up on several Top Wedding Destinations lists on websites such as Wedding Wire and The Knot.
When describing the Outer Banks as a top wedding destination spot, The Knot reports, “With 130 miles of open, unspoiled beach, the Outer Banks region, a string of barrier islands covering nearly half the North Carolina coast, will make you feel as if you’re in your own private retreat for your wedding.“
So take your pick. Say your “I dos” on windswept sand dunes, under a rustic fishing pier, with a sound front sunset, at the base of an iconic lighthouse, or in vineyards or gardens. It’s the dream wedding and vacation of a lifetime.
An OBX Destination Wedding Checklist:
While no one wants to focus on paperwork, you do want your nuptials to be legally binding. We have put together a handy checklist of logistics that are relevant to getting married in North Carolina – and on the Outer Banks in particular.
• While you can use any Register of Deeds in NC to get your marriage license, many couples choose the county where they will be marrying. Both the Hyde and Currituck county offices are on the mainland. There are no satellite offices in Corolla or Ocracoke. The Dare County Register of Deeds Office is in Manteo.
• The most common mistake that couples make when they show up to obtain a marriage license at one of our counties’ Register of Deeds office is that they don’t bring the correct paperwork. Both Dare and Currituck counties have a downloadable worksheet, Preparation of Marriage License that will help you avoid the same mistake.
• No appointment is necessary but both of you must appear in person to apply for a North Carolina wedding license.
• Your marriage license must be signed by two witnesses and returned to the county office in which you were married within 10 days after the marriage ceremony.
• Marriage certificates are not automatically mailed out to newly married couples; they have to be requested from the same county where you were married. To get a copy of your marriage certificate, download the request form that is available on each county’s website and follow those mailing instructions.
• Consider sending “Save the Date” notices a little earlier for destination weddings with information about the location for your guests
While just about any Outer Banks wedding professional is accustomed to working with out-of-town couples, ask any potential vendors about your preferred methods of contacts: Skype, text, email, etc. ♥
Susan Selig Classen has been living, writing, and editing on the Outer Banks for over ten years. Her other published work includes articles in AOPA Pilot, Convention South, and Brain Child magazines. Susan was formerly the editor for Three Dog Ink Media.