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Outer Banks Weddings

This is my personal advice to anyone who is getting married on the Outer Banks.  These tips are for Bride, Groom, Mom, Dad & anyone else that has to deal with parts or all of the planning process.


As many women become engaged, they start thinking about a perfect "date" for their nuptuals.  And although, picking a date that has a good "ring" to it, may sound alluring, STEER CLEAR!  The Outer Banks is quite the wedding mecca these days, and with the number of brides coming down between April and November to have their dream wedding, dates go fast!  But this doesn't mean all of the dates.  So when you and your fiance are deciding on the best time for your wedding, take a few things into consideration.  Your date isn't always just your date.  You have to be able to secure each one of your vendors, most importantly, your venue, such as The Pavilion at Pirate's Cove Marina, and your accomodations, such as, Pirate's Cove Vacation Rentals!!! :)   Then think about your caterer, and coordinator!  Whether your coordinator is one from home, or someone you choose here, it all depends on availability.  So my first piece of advice is this:

First thing's first!

1.  Pick a few different weekends for your wedding-- these can be a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, or three different Saturdays in one month. 

2.  Using a coordinator?  Depending on whether you want a full service coordinator, or just a day-of-coordinator, think about that.

3.  Create a budget.  This is imperitive to your choice in venue, accomodations, etc.

4.  Choose a venue, place a hold, or secure your date immediately.  We give you a two week hold for FREE here at The Pavilion, but not all places are the same.  Just be sure you secure your venue first. 

5.  Choose your "hub".  Lots, and all of my brides come down for a Sunday-Sunday rental home, making the house their hub for the week, where all the last minute, and set up plans are centrally located.  The nice part about The Pavilion, is the neighborhood of over 550 homes, where you and all, or just some of your guests can stay.  Just walking distance from your venue!  But regardless of where you are holding your festivities, it is important to secure your accomodations as far ahead of time as possible.  Keep in mind, there are peak, and off peak seasons in the Outer Banks, so watch the price jump at the end of may and fall back at the beginning of September. Your May-August rental home prices are much higher than the off-peak season.

6.  If you chose your venue, but haven't secured it with a contract, bring down your Fiance, and parents.  Mom & Dad have a very judgemental and practical eye, less hazed than an excited and overwhelmed Bride.  So get their input if you can.  It will help you in the long run. Then secure your venue with the required deposit.  The Pavilion at Pirate's Cove Marina requires a 50% deposit, the remaining price is due 30 days prior to your wedding.

Now that that is taken care of...

Now that you have your primary staples completed, being your Venue, Accomodations, and Coordinator, you can begin the working process...  This is where most brides tend to become overwhelmed.  This is also where I start to constantly remind my brides that THIS is the most exciting time of your life, you only get to do this once, so enjoy it as much as you can! 

There are a few things to consider when choosing your remaining vendors.  These things are very important, and your coordinator cannot choose them for you, unless of course you don't have any idea, or want anything to do with the process, which is fine too, it gives your coordinator free rein to do whatever they'd like to do!

But this is checklist time:

Photographer- make sure you choose a photographer who has a personality compatible with you and your fiance.  Photographers are NOT all the same.  Sometimes the photographer who does your engagement shoot, isn't the right photographer for your reception, so just be sure you make the right choice.  Also, be aware of what you get out of the package, whether you want the digital files, or just prints, make sure you secure these requests beforehand.

You'll need a photographer for - Engagement Photos (optional) Bridal Portraits, Ceremony and Reception, and Trash the Dress (optional)-- also, the trash the dress shoot doesn't have to be the actual dress you wore to your wedding, thrift store pick ups, white summer dresses, can all be stand ins for this occasion!

Caterer- extremely important!!!  The entire beach is flooded with various caterers.  A good amount of the caterers in the area are also restaurants, so do a little taste-testing around town before the real tastings.  If you don't have time or the cash on hand for that, then ask your coordinator/venue/locals that share a similar palette as yours.  Whether you want a full service caterer, or just some light appetizers, the caterers in the area have lots of options, and can even bring the booze, bartenders and alcohol licenses!

Musicians- Band or DeeJay, that is the question.  Bands and DJ's are traveling peoples.  So you could bring someone from home, or choose someone from here.  And its the OBX, people love coming here for "work".  If you want someone in town, there are plenty of options.  Remember, your options are pretty much all of Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach/Norfolk) -  Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington etc.  The Outer Banks is somewhere bands like to travel.  Remember, some bands have agents who have certain requirements, so be aware of these policies. 

Florist- There are a lot of florists in the area that also do your decor, so when choosing your florist, make sure you have your color scheme in mind, as well as the feel you want to bring to your big day.  I need to give a shout out to www.holidayhouseweddings.com - Kim and Wes Stetson, you guys are great, thanks for being so helpful to my brides!

Cake- This again, is another preference made by you and you are the director of this project.  When selecting a Cake Artist, be sure you know what you want.  If you don't, and want to tell them to do whatever, go on ahead!  For those of you with a dream cake in mind, present it to your artist during the first meeting. If they can't do exactly what you're looking for, or come 99% close to it, move on to the next person.  This is important-- you'll be seeing it again a year later!!!  Don't forget to ask if they are going to make a mini for your anniversary cake, or if the top tier is what you'll be bringing home.  Talk to your caterer about cutting the cake as well, serving and getting the anniversary cake to you in the best possible manner.  Be sure to find out if you need the cake knife, etc, as well.

 Rental Company- Your coordinator can come up with a list of needs from the rental company, but if you don't have a coordinator, keep in mind you will need some very important things from them, including....

  • Tables - cocktail tables, round tables, banquet tables (depending on your venue, and what they have to offer etc.)
  • Chairs- Ceremony Chairs, Reception Chairs
  • Linens- Extremely important, rental companies usually have a huge selection of various fabrics, sizes, design, etc.
  • Tents
  • Dance Floors (if the venue doesn't already have them, The Pavilion does!)
  • Lighting
  • Paper Laterns, and other decorating items, etc...
  • Lounge Furniture
  • DJ in a Box for those that don't want a DJ or Band.
  • and much much more!

The local Rental Companies, Metro Rental and Ocean Atlantic Rentals, are very accessible and helpful!

Ceremony Site- if you plan to have your ceremony ocean side at the beach, be sure to contact the Town Hall for any regulations or permits needed for a beach ceremony.

Officiant- Lots of officiants in the area that can cater to your style ceremony, with different packages to suit your needs.

Transportation- with lots of options for shuttle buses, vans, limos, and party vans, there are plenty of options for you to get your guests and bridal party from here to there.  Talk to them about a deal if they can work one out for you- bundle the bachelor/bachelorette party into a full wedding package!

Videographer- Lots of options for videographers on the beach- but make sure you choose one that suits you.  If you want the sweet production, kisses, grandma dancing with grandpa, you hugging your friends, thats great, but if you'd rather someone to get footage of you riding your bike back from the ceremony, dancing the night away, commentary from your funny friends, upbeat music to match your reception party, then seek that type of videographer out.  Like I said, there are plenty of options, allowing you to pick and choose each vendor.

 Last but not least...

Remember your PERMITS.  For the beach ceremony, for your alcohol license, all of these things are simple, and inexpensive if they cost anything at all (Special Occasions License www.ncabc.com is just $50.00 and covers your liquor license for the entire event).

Check with your rental home, and their rules,  check with your venue, to see what time you can come in to start setting up (we give you 24 hours!) etc.

This isn't a list to live by, it's your guidance sheet!  Things you must remember, and the easiest way to do it.

If you're having trouble finding the right vendors, check www.outerbanksweddingassoc.org > click VENDORS, and choose your category.  They have a pretty healthy list of Outer Banks Vendors, which will ultimately make your selection process a breeze. While you're down here choosing your venue, etc., pick up our local Bridal Magazines - Outer Banks Bride - made by www.outerbanksweddingassoc.org and The Wedding Guide, brought to you by www.outerbanksguides.com .  They have "Real Weddings" and vendor features which can give you great ideas for your own Ceremony and Reception.  I would also recommend picking up Bride Magazine, The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, Southern Weddings, Coastal Living Magazine, DIY Magazine, and whatever else inspires you.  Although the last two magazines I mentioned aren't "BRIDAL magazines' they do bring ideas to the table, that you wouldnt think of initially.   Think- decor, candles, centerpieces, etc.  This is also a good place to choose your favors! 

Again, Brides, Grooms, Mom & Dad, please enjoy this process, you only get to do this once with your Fiance, Parents, your child, whichever it is, don't take it for granted, and don't let it stress you.  In the end, if one little thing is missing, your guests will never know the difference-- they didn't do all the leg work! YOU DID!


Love to you all!!!

xoxo, Heather






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