Have you been dreaming of a Hatteras Island wedding? The Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of the East Coast’s top locations for destination weddings. One of the things that’s so great about getting married on the Outer Banks is that it combines your nuptials with a vacation for you and all your guests. And a Hatteras Island wedding is that perfect combination.
A Hatteras wedding is the perfect location for a romantic ceremony by the sea. On the southern portion of the Outer Banks, Hatteras Island is more remote and quiet than the northern Outer Banks. This island features long stretches of undeveloped, natural seashore known as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There are also seven quaint, historic Hatteras Island villages – Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras Village – that feature accommodations, restaurants, shops and recreational activities. Any of these areas is a great spot to hold a Cape Hatteras beach wedding. Professional, experienced wedding vendors of all types are available to help create and complete your Hattears Island wedding.
For a Hatteras wedding, consider saying your vows on the pristine beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. With a permit and $100 fee from the National Park Service (252-473-2111; www.nps.gov), you can get married with only the ocean and the dunes as your backdrop. These are weddings for minimalists only; the National Park Service does not allow birdseed, balloons, amplified music, chairs, arbors, etc. But with the natural beauty of the Cape Hatteras seashore, who needs all that stuff? For parking reasons, it’s best to get married near a Park Service beach access, which offers some parking (carpooling is recommended) and a walkway to the beach.
Another option for a seaside Hatteras Island wedding is to rent a beachfront vacation home. All of the island’s seven villages offer luxurious oceanfront homes available for rent. Some of these are suitable for a small, casual wedding. Many times a couple will rent a large oceanfront Hatteras Island vacation home and get married on the beach and have a small reception at the house or around the house’s pool. Contact a Hatteras vacation rental company about renting a home that is suitable for hosting a Hatteras beachfront wedding and/or reception. Keep in mind that house parties are not allowed in all homes, and the number of guests allowed in a home varies. Be sure to clear your plans with the company you’re renting with. Some companies have a concierge on staff to help out with such events.
Even if you don’t plan to get married there, oceanfront homes are great places to house your wedding party and guests. Several Hatteras Island hotels and motels can accommodate everyone who attends your Outer Banks wedding.
Lighthouses are the symbol of the Outer Banks, and what better place for an Outer Banks wedding than at its signature structure, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse? Weddings are allowed at the historic properties in the Seashore, such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse near Nags Head. Again, you get a $100 permit from the National Park Service (252-473-2111; www.nps.gov). Permits are issued within 15 days so you don’t have to plan too far ahead.
Several churches on Hatteras Island allow weddings for out-of-town guests. In addition, local ministers will perform wedding ceremonies at your outdoor location.
Koru’s Beach Klub is the only oceanfront event facility on Hatteras Island. In addition to the large deck surrounding the pool, their newly built 4,000 Papawack Theater can hold up to 200 seated wedding guests regardless of the weather. Tables and chairs for up to 150 are included. Guests have access to the beach via a private boardwalk, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean will put the finishing touches on a one-of-a-kind Hatteras Island beach wedding. See more here. Hatteras Realty also rents a 6,000-square-foot house called the Love Boat specifically built with Hatteras weddings in mind. Midgett Realty recently opened Affairs, an indoor venue that helps take the worry out of what the weather might be on your special day.
Cape Hatteras Beach Wedding Tips
When considering a beach wedding on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Wind and Weather
Always have an alternative plan for your Hatteras wedding. Weather is unpredictable here. Wind – too much or too little – can ruin a beach wedding. When there’s too much wind, you may have very little beach to get married on, sand blowing on your guests and your lovely updo frapping apart. Too much wind also makes it very difficult for your guests to hear your vows or your acoustic music. Other the other hand, too little wind can mean that there are biting flies or gnats annoying you and your guests.
It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while the threat of a hurricane can put a halt to an Outer Banks wedding. Hurricane season lasts from July 1 through November 1, with the peak in late August and early September. If your Outer Banks wedding falls within those dates, you may want to consider wedding insurance to make sure your expenses are covered in case there is a hurricane evacuation. Be sure to inquire with all Outer Banks wedding vendors about their policies in case of a hurricane evacuation or other cause for cancellation.
Time of Day and Light
To get great photographs of your Hatteras Outer Banks beach wedding, you’ll need to choose the time of the wedding carefully. Sunset is not a good time for getting married on the ocean beach because there is not enough light for the photographs. You also want to plan ahead so that you are not squinting your eyes in the sunlight. Any experienced Outer Banks photographer can help you choose the best time of day for great photographs in your chosen wedding location. Another element to throw into the time-of-day planning is the tide. Beach weddings are best planned for low tide, if possible.
Be sure to scope out the parking situation before you decide on a Hatteras Island beach wedding location. Make sure there is enough room for everyone to park legally, or line up a shuttle service to bring guests to the location.
If you don’t want a bunch of bathing-suit-clad gawkers and uninvited Frisbees at your wedding, choose a location that is typically uncrowded or choose to get married there at a non-peak time of day.
Walking in Sand
Most beach brides are barefoot brides, for obvious reasons. Also consider that elderly or disabled people will have difficulty walking through the deep sand. If you’re inviting guests who may not be able to walk in deep sand, consider driving them to the location (four-wheel-drive vehicles are available in some areas of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore) or getting married near a walkway or deck, where that person can sit and watch the ceremony.
Hatteras Wedding Services
If you’re into doing your homework before you commit to a specific place, it’s easy to check out the different areas popular for Outer Banks weddings right here. Starting at the top geographically, couples that are drawn to a Corolla wedding are looking for upscale surroundings coupled with a village and attractions that offer historic charm. A little to the south, Duck weddings are convenient since all the shops, restaurants and vacation houses are in close proximity. Couples that choose a Nags Head wedding tend to be looking for more of a beachy theme with lots of excitement and action surrounding the festivities. Roanoke Island weddings can offer a small town feel set amidst gardens, a beautiful waterfront and lots of attractions nearby. Then, fully to the south, folks who choose an Ocracoke wedding are looking for a laid back experience where guests and family tend to create more of a weekend event out of the gathering.