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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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A few weeks ago, we gathered at the beautiful Carolina Inn to enjoy one of our favorite Southern Weddings Christmas traditions–our annual Gingerbread Barn Building Competition! This was the fourth year we’ve gathered with friends for this fun event, and I daresay, the barns get more and more impressive by the year. While this makes our job of judging harder, it is always so much fun, and this year was no exception. We’re so glad that Rachel of Blue Barn Photography was on hand to capture every graham cracker roof, pretzel path, and animal cracker reindeer our talented friends created!

The Carolina Inn is magical during the holidays, and we’re glad so many people donned their most festive attire! Aprons are a Gingerbread Barn Building staple.

We are SO grateful for our dear friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Randi of Sugar Euphoria, for providing the royal icing everyone used on their barns! This stuff was barn building gold–it was super easy to use and it dried in a jiffy. Thank you so much, Randi!

Along with the grand prize, honorable mentions are awarded for Most Architecturally Creative, Most Structurally Sound, Best Story, and Social Media Favorite. The competition is fierce for every category!

Once time was up, we began the grueling process of judging the barns. Here, we’re cracking up over the story behind “Team Awesome”‘s barn. They wrote a hilarious version of the Sweet Tea Society manifesto about a pair of Beltie cows tying the knot, that included lines like “They believe in history, heritage, and eating grass.” Too funny! While we discussed the finalists, everyone got a chance to check out the Southern Weddings Shop pop-up shop and flip through V7.

Finally, it was time to announce the winners! This barn won the grand prize, thanks to its impressive design and structure, festive decor, and sweet story–it was a replica of the barn where two of the architects, Kathryn and Zack, had recently gotten engaged!

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us at this year’s competition–we can’t wait to see what y’all come up with next year!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Maghon Walker reply

    LOVED this event again this year ladies! It is always a ‘sweet’ time!

  2. avatar amy reply

    So beautiful, so festive, loved all the pictures

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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And the effortless Southern splendor that is Hannah + Chas’ wedding continues with a down-home potluck reception at Broadacres Farm. Yes, guests did, indeed, bring their favorite dishes to share with the newlyweds! Emily especially loves the authentically handmade quality of H + C’s celebration. Case in point: the three-tiered, bunting-bedecked cake made by a family friend. Sigh. To join her family + friends in some authentic square dancing, the bride changed into a short, vintage frock and sweet Anthropologie cardigan. Again, we say: sigh! Haven’t quite had your fill? Visit Alea Moore’s blog for more!

See all the photos from Hannah + Chas’s wedding in their Real Wedding Gallery!

Describe your wedding flowers: a vendor at our local Farmer’s Market provided buckets of flowers the day of the wedding. Our moms, sisters and girlfriends fashioned bouquets the morning of the wedding.
Describe your wedding cake: I found an adorable wedding cake on Green Wedding Shoes that I felt would fit well with our non-theme theme. We had three simple round cakes set on a cake tier with colorful paper garland and flowers encircling it. My baker is a long time family friend that bakes cakes on the side to save funds for her own daughter’s wedding. She collected local ingredients and whipped up a fabulous dessert.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Juggling finishing my master’s thesis, starting a new job, moving, and planning a wedding in 5 months. We were really nervous about the weather and had the big challenge of planning a wedding for well under $20k. But everything truly turnout out perfectly!!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My favorite memory by far is our first dance. The sun was just beginning to set and cast a warm orange glow over the field and barn. We ran out of time to rehearse a dance, but when the band started to play the waltz, Chas knew exactly what to do and I was happy to follow. I had no idea my dress would twirl out so beautifully but was so excited it did! In that moment it hit me: I just married the most wonderful man in the world and we will have a beautiful life together!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are blessed to both have found our callings in the professional world as a farmer and lactation consultant and are excited to help as many folks as possible. We now live on the farm where our wedding was held with a beagle, 4 hens, and Elvis the rooster. We look forward to hosting friends and family for more farm dinner potlucks and impromptu dance parties. We are so excited to learn what it means for our generation to farm and live simpler, sustainable lives.

Written with love by Katharine
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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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