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Though my husband and I have traveled all over the Southeast since we moved to North Carolina seven years ago, there’s one major destination we’ve so far missed: the Outer Banks. I know, I know!! From what I’ve heard, North Carolina’s Outer Banks offer some of the dreamiest beaches in the South, and hold so many memories for generations of vacationers. No surprise, then, that so many couples choose to get married there. Whether you’ve been visiting our beaches for years or your wedding weekend marks the start of a lifetime of new memories, here are five reasons you might choose to marry on the Outer Banks!

1. Dreamy seascapes and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. No matter which venue you choose, your views are guaranteed to be beautiful and memorable. The natural, unspoiled coastal surroundings of the Outer Banks offer unparalleled backdrops for saying “I do.” The natural light from sunrise to sunset is a wedding photographer’s dream, too!

2. The professionalism and reliability of a tight-knit vendor community. Booking vendors who work together often with the common goal of making your wedding day meaningful, fun, and stress-free is every bride’s dream! Headaches from planning remotely are alleviated by working with local vendors who are grounded in the area, can steer you in the right direction, and offer you a native’s tips and tricks.

3. The ability to accommodate any size, style, and budget. From intimate garden fêtes at The Elizabethan Gardens to coveted Jennette’s Pier vows, romance between the vines of Sanctuary Vineyards, a close-knit gathering on the soundside waters of a private home and dock, or a blow-out bash at one of the grand remote wedding homes up and down the barrier islands, the opportunities are endless when you plan a destination wedding on the Outer Banks. With their wide range of venues and savvy wedding vendors, celebrations can be extremely budget-friendly.

4. Award-winning food for every palette. The Outer Banks is known for fresh seafood! Serve your guests delicious, fresh-caught, local seafood, or fill up your menu with fine, gourmet twists on Southern classics. From BBQ to fancy feasts, there are many caterers who can tailor a menu to your tastes, no matter how refined or laid-back.

5. Perfect for friends and family mini-vacations. If the idea of a vacation with all of your loved ones is even more appealing to you than a wedding, the Outer Banks is a perfect spot! In addition to its sprawling beaches, the Outer Banks has national parks, the Wright Brothers Memorial, the largest sand dune at Jockey’s Ridge, and three lighthouses. There are also endless watersports and activities, and ample opportunities to simply lay in a hammock :)

Planning an Outer Banks wedding? One of your first stops should be the Outer Banks Wedding Association. It’s a one-stop shop for couples interested in saying “I do” on the shores of North Carolina. They’re hosting their 19th Wedding Weekend & Expo on January 14 and 15, 2017, which offers a great opportunity to see venues and meet vendors face-to-face (a valuable way to start long-distance planning!). The OBWA’s social media accounts and annual magazine are also great ways to gather inspiration for your OBX celebration!

All photos in this post by Courtney Hathaway, from Darlene and Ryan’s wedding in Nags Head!

This post is brought to you by the Outer Banks Wedding Association – thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    Pineapple bowling on the beach, anyone?! While this oh-so-Southern twist on a cocktail hour staple has to be my favorite element from today’s wedding inspiration, there is so much more to love! The team at JLeslie Designs blended coastal and traditional Southern style together effortlessly, from the monogrammed details to the framed family photos to the oyster-topped cake. Take a peek below, and let me know your favorite part in the comments!

    Big hugs to Marianne Lucille for these photos!

    From Jenna Coleman of JLeslie Designs:

    In planning for a summer styled shoot, we noticed that few seem to take advantage of the beach landscape that is so close to us here in Savannah. It makes for the perfect wedding backdrop, though it is often only chosen for the ceremony. We decided to plan our shoot for the dunes area just before the flat of the beach, but with the lighthouse in the background. We wanted to incorporate Savannah Vintage Rental’s unique pieces to really create a sense of a room in such a vast setting. We went with the Hayes gown by Sarah Seven because of its feminine feel and movement, perfect for the breeze of the beach. We incorporated oyster elements in the invitation design, and from there, we decided to do oyster place cards and use oysters as a cake topper to tie in the concept. I wanted any of my wood signage to have similar tones as driftwood to create a natural look. This shoot was a joy to design, a dream to work with these vendors, and a blast to model in!

    Photographer: Marianne Lucille Photography | Design and Signage: JLeslie Designs | Bridal Salon: Ivory and Beau | Venue: Tybee Island | Calligraphy: Ashley Curry | Cake Baker: Baker’s Pride Bakery | Cookies: Byrd Cookie Company | Hair stylist: Foil Hair Salon | Florals: Joshua Grotheer Designs | China: Lillian’s China | Bride’s dress: Sarah Seven | Rentals: Savannah Vintage Rentals

    emily Written with love by Emily
    5 Comments
    1. avatar Hannah reply

      Love this shoot! The pineapple bowling is a brilliant idea – I’ve never seen anything like that before!

    2. avatar Joshua Grotheer reply

      Many thanks for featuring our shoot! It was a dream to work with such wonderful friendors here in Savannah.

    3. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

      The coconut pineapple bowling is too cute!! Your wedding’s location lends itself to instant personalization opportunities. Thinking of ways to inject that personality into features you already know you’ll have – like lawn games – is a great way to engage guests.

    4. avatar Marianne Brown reply

      This shoot was so fun! I had an amazing time getting everything together and working with all the vendors involved. This shoot definitely has lots of that laid back southern charm personality to it. Thank you again for featuring the shoot on your beautiful blog!

    5. avatar The Best Bachelorette Party Destinations in the South That'll Have You Packing Your Bags – Loverly | Your Virtual Wedding Planner™ reply

      […] Photo by Marianne Lucille via Southern Weddings […]

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    We believe that preparing for your marriage is an incredibly important aspect of wedding planning, so I love how Karina and John used their time of engagement to do just that. Throughout the process, they practiced compromise, balanced priorities, and threw in a whole lot of fun along the way, all while keeping their focus on creating a strong marriage. With the help of their planner, Ashley Huffman Sanders of LFF Designs, Karina and John threw a wedding that felt like “a fun, Southern shindig,” inspired by their summers spent on the Carolina Coast!

    Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Routh for sharing this sweet day with us!

    Wedding dress shopping was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning. My mom and I had scheduled an appointment at one of the larger wedding dress shops in town, but about a month before the appointment, I saw on Instagram that a new shop in town was having a trunk show that weekend. I called, and on a whim, my mom, two friends, and I went in for an appointment. I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted and picked my dress out right off the rack. It was the third wedding dress I tried on and I knew it was the one. We bought it that day.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We had our ceremony and reception at a private home along the Intracoastal Waterway. Some friends of ours were also married there and we knew it was a very special place. It meant a lot to us to get married and celebrate right along the water where we’ve made so many memories together over the years.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we used a traditional Episcopal wedding service. My uncle married us, which was extra special because he also married my parents.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We hired a ukulele player for our ceremony, which was so much fun. He played traditional wedding ceremony music with an island vibe. Our first dance was to “Magnolia Wind” by Guy Clark. That song seemed to capture our relationship perfectly and we both loved it.

    We chose not to do a first look. My husband is pretty traditional and really wanted to see me for the first time when I was walking down the aisle. I’m so glad we made that decision because when our eyes met for the first time, it was such a magical moment!

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We both grew up in North Carolina and wanted the wedding to feel like a fun, Southern shindig. We served all Southern foods: deviled eggs, fried chicken, bourbon-glazed pork, mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, collards, hoppin john, and cornbread. We also had boiled peanuts, mini Moon Pies, and Pepsi for a late night snack. John and his groomsmen wore seersucker suits with bow ties, and part of the groomsmen gift included an NC flag Freeker (knit koozies made here in Wilmington).

    We had a four-tiered cake with textured white buttercream frosting. Each layer was a different flavor and so delicious! The cake was decorated with flowers and greenery.

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I knew when we started planning an outdoor wedding that the weather would be a huge factor. The forecast looked pretty promising for our big day–just a slight chance of storms. All throughout the ceremony and cocktail hour, the weather was perfect. Just as we sat down to eat dinner though, the sky turned black and the wind really picked up. A few cocktail tables blew over and a tablecloth caught on fire! The cake almost blew over, but was saved by my quick thinking cousins! The radar showed a crazy storm headed our way. We rushed to cut the cake and prepare for the rain to come when suddenly, the sky cleared. It never rained. The light coming through the clouds as the storm passed was absolutely beautiful. Our photographer captured a picture of that sky over our tent, and it is my absolute favorite photo of the night. Once the threat of pouring rain was over, the band cranked up and we danced the night away!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I met through mutual friends on July 4, 2009 at Wrightsville Beach. We spent such a fun day boating with friends, and we really hit it off. We exchanged numbers that night and spent the next day together. He cooked me dinner the following week and I was sold! We dated for close to seven years before getting married–part of that time was long distance while I attended graduate school. John was so supportive and drove to Durham nearly every weekend so we could be together. We both knew if we could survive that separation, we could survive anything together. After school, I moved home to Wilmington and we got engaged the following year.
    Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged in November 2014 at Wrightsville Beach–where we met and where we spend most weekends in the summer. It was the day after my 30th birthday, and John woke up extra early to suggest we go to breakfast and then for a walk on the beach. I could tell he was a little nervous while we were walking along the water and thought something was up. A few minutes later, he was down on one knee. Later that night, we surprised all of our friends with the news at a party. It was a perfect day.
    When did y’all get married? April 23, 2016
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 175
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a pearl bracelet from my mother-in-law, which served as my something borrowed and old. I wore Duke blue nail polish on my toes for my something blue. My dress, veil, shoes, and earrings were all new.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Wedding planning, in many ways, was good practice for married life. There was lots of compromising, budget discussing, and balancing of priorities. We managed to have a lot of fun throughout the process, and constantly reminded ourselves that our marriage was much more important than the wedding.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we’re enjoying a low-key summer with family and friends and saving for our first home.

    Photographer: Anna Routh Photography | Planner: Ashley Huffman Sanders of LFF Designs | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Fiore Fine Flowers | Wedding Cake: One Belle Bakery | Caterer: Gibbs Catering | Rentals: L&L Tent and Party Rentals | Lighting: High Performance Lighting and Power | Band: Mr. Potato Head Band | Ukulele: Kent Knorr of North Carolina Ukulele Academy | Paper Products: Reeves Engraving | Bride’s Gown: “MJ101” by Madison James | Bridal Salon and Veil: Coastal Knot Bridal | Hair Stylist: Kelli Kuperus and Megan Gregory from Sea Grass Salon and Day Spa | Makeup Artist: Amy Kennison | Bride’s Shoes: “Danya” by Naturalizer | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | Trolley: Azalea Limo

    Anna Routh, Fiore Fine Flowers, One Belle Bakery, and Coastal Knot Bridal are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    1 Comment
    1. avatar Karina + John » Anna Routh Photography reply

      […] Thanks also to Southern Weddings for featuring this sweet wedding recently. Check it out here. […]

    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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