Destination I Do
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Vintage Vows In North Carolina

Words by Natalie Long
Photos courtesy of Dana Laymon

Shannan and Lee wanted a destination wedding where their heart is – Kure Beach, North Carolina. “We did not seek out a destination wedding because we wanted to get married somewhere exotic or far away,” says Shannan. “Our reason was simple: we wanted to return to a place we had considered home…”

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“Though we moved away from the North Carolina coast in 2012, we knew no other location could be considered for our wedding,” says Shannan.

Telling the guests was an easy task because many of the couple’s friends and family reside in North Carolina or were used to once visiting the couple there. “They were more than excited to have us ‘back home’ for our special day,” says Shannan. “Many of our guests decided to use our wedding as an excuse for a beach vacation and grouped together to split large beach homes.”

The Fort Fisher state historic site is one of the most beautiful places on the island and I have always dreamed about tying the knot under the area’s gnarled oak trees with a hint of sea breeze in the air,” says Shannan. The site is only used for tours, war reenactments and small events because it holds a lot of history being it was a Civil War fort and WWII airstrip. 

The site allowed the couple to have the wedding reception on the same property. Although there were many rules because the land is a natural habitat for wildlife and ocean animals, everything went smoothly and the stars provided a beautiful backdrop. “Our wedding reception is actually the last to be held at this site because of concerns with the lack of light at night,” recalls the bride.

The planning process went very smoothly because the couple knows the area and had friends and family willing to check on the different planning aspects. “I believe our wedding actually would have cost more money if we held it in the Washington, D.C. area, where prices are much higher for everything wedding-related,” says Shannan. The only thing I think we spent more money on than expected was lodging, since we needed somewhere to stay during the days leading up to the wedding and the night of the wedding.”

The wedding had a rustic and vintage feel. “I found old barn windows at an annual flea market in Virginia and used them both for the wedding – one to showcase a photo collage of our years dating and another to show our seating chart with names printed on floral, vintage-like paper,” says Shannan. “My mom sewed lace on burlap to be used as runners and painted black anchors on burlap bags, which were filled with saltwater taffy for wedding favors. My wedding programs – which resembled the front page of a newspaper – also were DIY and paid homage to my career as a journalist.”

“Home really is where your heart is, and though we now live somewhere else, we still consider ‘the island’ home,” says Shannan. “We could not have imagined having our wedding anywhere else.”

Shannan’s Tips:

  • If you have connections in a place, use them.
  • Call on friends or family for recommendations or ideas, especially if someone knows an area well.
  • If you’re able to visit a far away location, time your visit with a wedding show or book appointments with potential vendors far in advance.
  • Take advantage of organizations and agencies that have a mission to help visitors. Local chambers of commerce are a perfect place to start!

Vendors: Photographer: Dana Laymon, Wedding Planner: Roberta Danford, Florist: Verzaal’s Florist, Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas, Cake: Creative Cake Design by Tammy Hodge, Hair & Makeup: Beauty South, Gown Designer: David’s Bridal, Groom/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Vera Wang, DJ: Mike Worley with Edge Entertainment, Linens/Tables/Tent/China, etc.: L&L Rentals, Caterer: Middle of the Island

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