A Charming Outer Banks WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Brooke Mayo Photographers
When Brittany and Jennifer got engaged, there was really only one place in the world they considered for their destination wedding. “Our first trip as a couple was to the Outer Banks. After our first trip, we returned to the Outer Banks every chance we could and, eventually, we became engaged on the beach at sunrise during a trip to the Sanderling Resort,” says Jennifer. Consequently, the couple’s venue, Sanderling Resort, was also a no-brainer. Jennifer and Brittany’s family and friends weren’t surprised by the decision and were excited to visit, since most of them had never been to the area before. “Brittany is originally from Illinois, I’m from Massachusetts and we live in DC, but knew we wanted our wedding to be on the ocean. A large portion of our family and friends would have to travel long distance anyway, so we figured no one would take issue with a long weekend at the beach!”
While the couple was confident in their decision to marry in Outer Banks, North Carolina, they did take a risk when it came to the wedding date. “We knew planning our wedding smack in the middle of Atlantic hurricane season was a risky decision because our vacation plans had been impacted by hurricane season in the Outer Banks before,” explains Jennifer. “We were worried our guests would invest so much time, money and effort into getting to OBX, only to be caught in a hurricane. The Sanderling presented us with a contingency plan and assured us they would pull off our big day – hurricane or not! The weekend leading up to the wedding and the afternoon of our ceremony were warm and sunny, but the entire week following was practically a monsoon – phew!” These two got lucky when their risk paid off, and if it weren’t for the staff at Sanderling Resort, they might have made a safer, less desirable choice.
“It’s obvious the team at the Sanderling help couples plan a lot of destination weddings,” reflects the couple. “They made the process organized, fun and as stress-free as possible! Alicia, our wedding coordinator, was always available via phone or email and she was a great resource to run ideas by and to talk us off a ledge when we felt things were becoming overwhelming. [Also,] the Sanderling hosts a wedding expo for couples each spring, so in one weekend we were able to meet and lockdown all of our vendors, sample reception food options and spend time planning logistics with our wedding coordinator face-to-face.” Since the couple had a strong support system via their venue, they did their best to provide the same courtesy to their guests. “We had guests traveling from as far away as Ireland and, because there is no direct way to reach the Outer Banks, we shared advice on the most convenient airports, driving routes and various accommodation options. We provided maps, information about local grocery stores, restaurants and suggestions to explore our favorite sites on the island.”
Not surprisingly, Jennifer and Brittany’s loved ones returned the favor by helping to plan and execute lots of DIY details. “With the help of our amazing friends and family, we became professional crafters! We picked strawberries and blueberries to make jam for our wedding favors. We drank a lot of wine, saved the bottles and collected old license plates to create unique table numbers. We also recovered an old, wood pallet to create a photo collage. My aunt made one of those destination sign posts, marking the mileage from OBX to some of our favorite travel destinations. Finally, our family and friends allowed us to pilferage treasures from their homes such as old cameras, trunks, etc. to serve as décor,” explains Jennifer.
The couple also got creative when it came to their budget. “Because guests were required to travel for a few days anyway and many of our guests have nontraditional work schedules in the healthcare industry, we were able to plan our wedding for a Monday, which helped us save literally thousands of dollars,” says Jennifer. “Weddings are expensive no matter where you are, but considering we were at a gorgeous, top-notch resort right on the water, I think we got a great deal.”
In the end, Brittany and Jennifer’s destination wedding went even smoother than they had hoped. “I think all our guests appreciated the remoteness and relaxation of OBX – it gave them a chance to get away from the real world for a few days. All of our guests, family and friends were able to spend time catching up or getting to know each other for the first time. By the day of the actual wedding, most guests had met each other and everyone was loosened up and ready to party!”
Vendors: Photographer: Brooke Mayo Photographers, Ceremony/Reception Site: Sanderling Resort, Wedding Planner: Alicia Tonione with Sanderling Resort, Stationery: Minted, Cake: Great Cakes! in the Outer Banks, Hair & Makeup: Sanderling Resort, Ceremony Music: Matt Sickels (acoustic guitar) with Six Stylez, Reception Music: Six Stylez, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: “Keira” dress by Jenny Yoo, Gown Designers: Allure Romance from Manhattan Bridals in Dedham, MA & GBG Collection from Global Bridal Gallery in Alexandria, VA.
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