OBX Wedding Expo Brings Vendors, Couples Together
Sponsored by the Outer Banks Wedding Association, the 21st Annual Outer Banks Wedding Expo had a lot of what grooms, brides and their families have come to expect from the January gathering: a chance to meet under one roof some of the best of the local vendors and business offering event and wedding services.
An interesting trend that seem to be developing is how popular the Wedding Tour has become.
Although the Expo is the centerpiece of the weekend, the Wedding Tour is increasingly an important part of the event as couples look to get a better feel for the homes and locations that are available to them.
This year the Tour had 45 stops on it with locations from Corolla to Manteo. That is the most stops the tour has ever hosted, and couples this year seemed to concentrate their time at a few stops, rather than trying to get to everything.
What the tour does, is give couples a chance to see in real time the facilities that they may be using.
Our Carolina Designs team featured two event homes on the tour this year, both located in Kill Devil Hills, very close to each other.
Oceans 18 (#245) and Ocean Dreams (#063) are oceanfront properties designed to handle large gatherings.
Although the number of bedrooms give an idea of the size of the homes, it equally as important to focus on some of the features that will help a large gathering have a great time.
How large are the areas where guests will congregate? Will a caterer be able to use the kitchen facilities? Almost every event home on the Outer Banks has a pool, but how well equipped is the pool area to handle 45 or 50 guests? Are there other amenities the people staying in the homes may like? Oceans 18 and Ocean Dreams have theater rooms and in-home theaters are popular with our guests, but there may be other features that guests may like. Game rooms, as an example, are very popular.
Are there other features that standout? We really liked the master bedroom in Ocean Dreams with the miniature kitchen and stocked wine cooler.
The two Carolina Designs homes featured in the tour seemed to hit all the items on the list of what makes an event home special, and for couples looking for that type of facility, they provide a good example of what is available.
The tour also gives businesses and vendors the opportunity to engage with couples on a more personal level. That is certainly true in the homes that were featured on the tour, as well as in the restaurants where a more varied menu than what can be offered at the Expo is available.
However, because there are so many vendors and so much information in one place, the main event continues to be the Expo. It can seem overwhelming. There were somewhere around 150 vendors this year at the First Flight High School where the event is held.
Those vendors include quite a number of caterers (helpful hint: arrive hungry, leave full) photographers, videographers, musicians, hair and makeup specialists, officiants, and event planners.
Since very few couple who are getting married on the Outer Banks live here, wedding or event planners will really help things go much more smoothly. They know the vendors, they know the locations and the insight and advice they can bring to planning a wedding will contribute to having things run much more smoothly.
Interestingly in talking to vendors there was an emphasis on how important it is for couples to feel comfortable with them and for them to feel comfortable with the couple. To a person, they felt it was important to take the time to get to know the photographer, musician or wedding planner.
One additional note we do wish to make about our event homes. Although they are often thought of as a venue for weddings, in fact, they are ideal for other events as well. For a large family gathering, they provide a wonderful setting for everyone to come together in one place.
Our event homes also offer a great opportunity for corporate or company retreats. Especially for a corporate event, those typically occur in our offseason when our rates are at their lowest.