Sand & Sea, You & Me

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beach wedding decoration

Main Photo by Julie Dreelin

Gingersnaps Photography

Imagine yourself looking around at the sun, the sand, and the sea. To your right and left, there are family and friends. In front of you, you can see your future. Yes you guessed right, it is your wedding day! The day that you have dreamed of your whole life is here, and you have chosen to tie the knot on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

These beautiful barrier islands give you an assortment of diverse options for setting the stage on your wedding day. Your choices can range from a fanciful ceremony held at a historic landmark, to a more simple occasion allowing the complete natural beauty to decorate your special day. Let’s face it folks, it doesn’t get any more scenic than the stunning, picturesque Outer Banks.

When planning your wedding day, there are a few questions you should begin asking yourself. What does your budget look like? How many guests will you invite? Will the ceremony and reception be indoors or outside?

Gingersnaps Photography

Julie Dreelin

What will the theme and decorations look like?

After deciding on some of these major elements, what once seemed like a jigsaw puzzle will soon piece together and the end result will finally be in focus. Try to fully envision exactly what you wish your day to look like. No matter your preference, whether it be elegant or effortless, the Outer Banks is capable of ultimately making it whatever you wish it to be. An Outer Banks wedding is a momentous and meaningful event for everyone involved. Your guests will love the cozy small-town feel, and you will love the fact that your most cherished day was celebrated on an island of paradise.

When planning an outdoor event, you will want to decide on what type of structural equipment to have. Mother Nature could have very different plans than you do for your special day, so be sure to have a backup plan that covers your entire day, from start to finish.

Tents, gazebos, and canopies are just a few of the many rental options. The Outer Banks has some amazing wedding rental companies that can help you work out any concerns regarding weather that you may have. Having a backup plan (think ‘Plan B’!) is crucial especially if any part of your day will be spent outdoors.

Matt Lusk Photography

Tuck Away with Tents

Weather can be unpredictable on the Outer Banks (think rain, wind, and sand), so deciding to use a tent for your outdoor ceremony and/or reception is ideal. Aside from using a tent for the obvious practical reasons, there are a few different options that you can choose from. The most popular styles include frame tents and pole tents.

Matt Lusk Photography

There are tents with clear tops that allow for a natural light setting, and there are all-white tents that give off a more elegant appearance. Be sure that your tent comes with enclosure options, so that you are prepared for Mother Nature.

Depending on the size of your wedding and number of guests, you may want to consider using a large tent for the ceremony and then a number of smaller tents to enclose the seating areas, dance floor, walkways, etc. This can allow for a more spacious and comfortable venue for your guests to freely move around.

Tables and chairs are another major factor when planning the environment inside the tent. The style of party you are wanting to host is key and will help you to decide exactly what the seating will look like. If you are going low key, arranging bar stations and stools to look more like a “cocktail party” can be unique. If you are going with a seated or buffet dinner, you will need the exact number of tables and chairs to accommodate each one of your guests.

No matter which type of tent you choose, the many different styles of decorating it are endless. Greenery, string lights, floral garlands, and sheer fabrics are just a few of the many options you have to make your wedding tent shine and sparkle. After all, the tent is the one main feature that will house your entire wedding and will hold all of the day’s memories inside its walls.

Beaches of the Outer Banks have become a very popular choice in destination weddings. With that being said, each town and its beaches come with different rules and regulations. Some areas may require you to purchase a permit if you are looking to get married on the beach. Be sure to do your research, or hire a wedding planner to sort out all of the logistics for you.

Just remember, you can’t exactly pick your weather but you can be prepared for it!

Gingersnaps Photography

Decorating Your Day

With a background as spectacular as the deep blue Atlantic, there really isn’t a need to go overboard with your decorations. Allow the natural side to play a major role in the theme of your big day. Having a beach wedding can allow for an effortless, yet elegant look. Take for example, an arbor or arch. Either can provide a great centerpiece or focal point for your ceremony. You can decorate it any way you choose- flowers, fabrics, shells, sea glass, etc.  Maybe even consider building your very own arbor or arch out of driftwood from the sea. Allowing the sunset and some candles to light your surroundings can be another simple approach if you are having an evening ceremony. Just be sure to place the candles inside of hurricane globes to keep them from blowing out in the wind. How you choose to use chairs can also be a way of adding some ‘glam’ to your decorations. Dress up chairs by adding covers or embellishments to all or just specific seats. Consider adding wooden signs to the back of the bride and groom’s chairs that read just that- “bride” and “groom”. Add some fabric drapes or floral strings to other chairs to add a bit of flare throughout your setting.

And don’t forget that the ocean has a wide variety of beautiful decorations to offer, from seashells and sea glass to driftwood, starfish, and sand pebbles. Have fun with your decorating, but also allow nature’s essentials to come into play to highlight your setting.

Neil GT Photography

Meet at the Altar

Having a structure that resembles an altar can be a very important, personal, and meaningful component to some couples. The altar is the epitome of what the wedding is all about and why it is occurring in the first place. It is the exact physical location where you will become husband and wife, and that spot will forever be ingrained into your minds and onto your hearts. It holds very deep and powerful spiritual meanings for some. No matter how you choose to decorate your altar, keep in mind all the while of its great significance, and the beginning of a journey that it represents.

Matt Lusk Photography

Make Your Space Glow

Lori Douglas Photography

Using different lighting styles to illuminate your wedding is quite the trend these days. Lighting has vastly evolved from the days where you simply needed to brighten up a reception building and to setup the dance floor lighting. Fast forward to the present day, brides are using lighting to set the mood and create a very specific ambiance, while showing off the wedding theme. Using creative lighting approaches can also aid and benefit your photographer to get those perfect, romantic shots.

Lighting options are endless; consider using string lights, floating lanterns, chandeliers, bistro lights, hanging candles, and luminaries. You could even use Edison lights to outline and radiate the bride and groom’s pathway.

Another seemingly new trend is to decorate your venue with oversized light-up block letters. You can use these to either spell out certain phrases that describe the bride and groom, or as a joint monogram for the newly married couple. This trend could be fun with thinking of cute sayings such as, “I Do” or “Mr & Mrs”.

However you choose to light up your wedding tent, keep your theme in mind, and allow your creativity to flow and enhance your surroundings.

As you are making all of your wedding day decisions, keep in mind that informality is key. Beach weddings tend to be laidback affairs so think natural, flowy, casual, and simple! Amidst all of the planning, organizing, and decision making, try to keep that end result in clear focus. The day that you exchange vows with the love of your life will surely be unforgettable and meaningful. The backdrop for your special day is of course crucial, and nothing quite compares to a romantic seaside wedding. After all, your wedding day is a new beginning, and you will be overwhelmingly satisfied and grateful that you chose to start your “happily ever after” right here on the charming Outer Banks of North Carolina. In fact, you’ll be happier than a seagull with a french fry! ♥

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