2014 Outer Banks Wedding Expo—Great Food and a Great Time
By Kip Tabb –
Going to the Outer Bands Wedding Association Outer Banks Wedding Expo is fun—there’s just no other way to describe it.
Outer Banks event vendors and businesses have done an extraordinary job of transforming First Flight High School and First Flight Middle School into a series of mini venues and storefronts. Some, of course, much more complex and striking than others; couples and families are about to embark on one of the most joyous moments in their lives so almost everyone is in a good mood; and just about every restaurant and caterer on the Outer Banks is there and most of them are pulling out all of the stops.
As a side note to the catering and food—it is entirely possible to gain three or four pounds over the course of the two day event, and still not sample everything. Although there is an extraordinary range of food choices, two things are clear—shrimp and grits comes in a wide variety of styles and flavors and all of them are good, and every Outer Banks restaurant and caterer knows how to do pulled pork and do it right.
The bottom line, though, is the bottom line. Weddings and events have become a huge part of the Outer Banks economic picture and the industry continues to grow. Last year’s attendance at the Wedding Expo was a record setting 1200 visitors; the final count is not in yet, but it appears as though this year was slightly better.
Weddings alone would seem to account for $240-250 million of the local economy and that doesn’t include events—family gatherings, business meetings—a growing segment of that industry.
The need to accommodate all those guests and provide a site for the event is why so many of the biggest names in Outer
Banks property management were there as well as almost every bed and breakfast, hotel and motel on the Outer Banks.
In walking around the event, the remarkable diversity of the businesses involved becomes apparent. Event planners and event homes are well-represented; caterers, photographers, videographers, hair and make-up—it’s all there, and all necessary.
The draw to the Outer Banks is that it is a beautiful destination, but because it is a destination, staging a wedding becomes a little more complex and requires some extra layers compared to a ceremony at home.
That, however, is the why, the where and the business of staging a wedding on the Outer Banks—and none of that touches on how special the location or the people involved are.
People come to the Outer Banks because of its beauty, but they get married here because of the professional level and range of services available. Walking around the expo—and there is a lot of walking to do—that becomes apparent as couples and their families huddle with vendors to discuss details. The discussions certainly seem professional, yet there is a lot of laughter involved as well.
That’s how it should be. Getting married, for all the stress the ceremony holds, is ultimately an amazing experience—a way to celebrate with family and friends a lifetime commitment, and the hope and joy that promises. To do so at a place of wondrous natural beauty seems to be the icing on the wedding cake.