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Sarah D’Ambra Photography Captures Dream Engagement

A Dream Engagement package that took our couple, Chelsea and Tony, from the shores of Nags Head to the relaxing historic First Colony Inn also included a romantic Outer Banks photo session captured by the talented Sarah D’Ambra of Sarah D’Ambra Photography.

Sarah D’Ambra, the creative visionary behind the stunning bridal portraits for the 2013 Dream Wedding winner, guided the lucky couple to the pristine section of beach just below Jennette’s Pier, a stretch of beach famous for its picturesque backdrop and pier architecture.

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“I always enjoy shooting at Jennette’s Pier because of its unique architecture, as it adds a little something more to the beach,” said Sarah. “One of my favorite features of this pier is the shaded area underneath where the concrete pilings create these eye catching leading lines that translate well into artistic photography.”

The love and excitement in a couple’s eyes as they begin planning their future together touches us all. Whether you’re a newlywed, or married for decades, chances are you’ll never forget those early moments of anticipation as you embark on your journey together.

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Now, thanks to the artistic work by Sarah D’Ambra Photography, Chelsea and Tony will have these beautiful images to cherish for years and anniversaries to come.

Excited to be part of the Outer Banks Wedding Association’s Dream Giveaways once again, Sarah is eager to see what the future holds for these couples.

“This is my second year in a row as a featured photographer for the dream wedding and I can’t explain how exciting it is!” exclaimed Sarah. “Personally, I am truly thrilled to be a part of this event again and hope to be able to continue to contribute to the dream team in the years to come,” she continued.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach WeddingOuter Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach WeddingOuter Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC beach Wedding

To learn more about the 2014 Dream Winners, follow our blog here. If you’re interested in learning more about Sarah D’Ambra Photography, click here.


Dream Engagement Weekend in Nags Head

Just over two months after winning a Dream Engagement package at the Outer Banks Wedding Association’s annual Wedding Weekend & Expo in January, Chelsea Bean and Anthony Katz returned to their favorite place, Nags Head, to enjoy their Dream Engagement weekend. First, the lucky couple settled in for a two-night stay at First Colony Inn, a historical Outer Banks hotel with true southern charm and the welcoming hospitality visitors have come to expect here on the Outer Banks. After checking in, Chelsea and Anthony were surprised with a gift basket filled with gourmet popcorn from Outer Banks Kettle Corn and a dozen mouthwatering chocolate truffles by Atlantic Cake Company.  However, the breathtaking room at the First Colony Inn, along with the goodie basket, were only the beginning of their romantic Nags Head getaway.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

The talented Sarah D’Ambra of Sarah D’Ambra Photography captured the weekend’s blissful moments during an engagement portrait session with the couple. In addition, the Dream couple took their love to new heights as they soared high above the Outer Banks in an airplane tour that took them over The Wright Brother’s Monument and Jockey’s Ridge State Park with OBX Airplanes. No weekend on the Outer Banks is complete without some time in the sun, so our lucky couple escaped to our famous beaches to relax and unwind between their engagement photo session and plane ride.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach WeddingOuter Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

A busy weekend means a big appetite and Chelsea and Anthony were able to enjoy some of the Outer Banks’ best culinary dishes as they dined at the Beachside Bistro at Sea Ranch Resort and Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar. The Dream Engagement Weekend was filled with quiet alone time, exhilarating new adventures and romantic moments for this newly-engaged couple. Beginning with the walk up the First Colony Inn’s steps where Chelsea was met with a beautiful and heartfelt proposal from Anthony to the new adventures experienced during this Dream Engagement weekend, our lucky winners have created Outer Banks memories that will last a lifetime.

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Photo provided by family friend

Dream Engagement Vendors

First Colony Inn

Outer Banks Kettle Corn

Atlantic Cake Company

Sarah D’Ambra Photography

Sea Ranch Resort’s Beachside Bistro

OBX Airplanes 

Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar

HLR Designs Creates “Dream” Save the Date

Whether a wedding comes about quickly, or is planned over a year in advance, it’s important the invitations appear thought out and well executed. This piece of paper is the first impression guests will receive of your wedding, letting them know what to expect from your big day. This isn’t to say only those with unlimited budgets will impress but getting input from a professional can help an idea come together much easier and more creatively.

Heather Rollins, the creative mastermind behind HLR Designs, has worked with a number of brides including past Dream Wedding winners, and she’s already begun working with the current Dream Wedding winner on a unique creation that will wow guests and reflect the beach feel this lucky couple wants for their big day.

However, the first task at hand was to let this couple’s guests know their original date had changed due to them winning the Outer Banks Wedding Association’s Dream Wedding giveaway at the 2014 Wedding Weekend & Expo.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

“Their wedding was originally planned for Sept 11th and their Save the Dates had already been sent,” explains Rollins. “We didn’t want to confuse anyone with receiving a second Save the Date card, so we thought it would be a unique and cute idea to tell people this is a different event than the first one they planned.”

Don’t you just love the wording, “We said September 11th but WE WON our Dream Wedding”?

Experienced with working with brides of all budgets and ideas, being part of the Dream Wedding remains a memorable experience for Heather – one she hopes to continue year after year.

“My first experience with the Dream Wedding was really a dream,” recalls Heather. “Sometimes you really make a connection and I was so happy to create invitations for such a giving couple. They [Tamarra and Ray] are really the reason I keep doing it. I saw what joy the entire experience brought them and I want to offer that to more people.”

Click here for more information on this talented paperie, located right here on the Outer Banks, or to follow the newest chapter of the Dream Wedding giveaway, please stay tuned through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

2014 Wedding Weekend & Expo Highlights

The 2014 Wedding Weekend & Expo was an incredible success thanks to the hardworking vendors and team at the Outer Banks Wedding Association. Thank you to all the brides, and their guests, who attended the event. We are thrilled to help each of you plan your dream wedding here on the Outer Banks.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to see more wedding ideas, read in-depth highlights on our talented vendors, and learn what makes the Outer Banks a premier destination wedding location.

Video by Douglas Kenyon Video

Duck Woods Country Club: Expo Sponsor Spotlight

The Outer Banks Wedding Association’s Wedding Weekend & Expo is just around the corner and over the next two weeks, we will be featuring each of our talented and generous sponsors who work tirelessly to ensure this annual wedding planning event showcases everything the Outer Banks has to offer brides!

Duck Woods Country Club is “The Perfect Environment” here on the Outer Banks. Whether you’re planning a small intimate wedding or a raucous reception to entertain a large number of guests, the talented staff at Duck Woods Country Club will ensure your day exceeds your expectations.

Outer Banks Wedding Expo, Destination Wedding, Outer Banks Wedding

Their experienced team takes pride in creating a unique dining experience for each event and encourages brides to think outside the box when it comes to planning their reception menu. Whether it’s regional cuisine or an old recipe you’d like the Executive Chef to recreate for your day, personalizing your menu, offering your guests a one-of-a-kind experience, is a benefit of hosting your event at Duck Woods Country Club.

This stunning facility is equipped to host everything from ceremonies, receptions, rehearsal dinners, bridal luncheons and much more! If you can envision it, Duck Woods Country Club staff can create it.

We encourage you to stop by their booth, #41 and #42 in First Flight Middle School, and talk with their team about the benefits of a beautiful Country Club wedding in traditional Outer Banks style.

Wedding Weekend Tour Stops

We know how important it is for brides to visit venues and get a feel for the space; to envision their wedding day in that location. We also know how important the catering component is to a wedding reception. While our Wedding Expo is loaded with information as well as taste testings and interaction with nearly 300 Outer Banks Wedding Association vendors, we created the Wedding Tour to give brides a more in-depth look at the locations available to them on the Outer Banks, as well as those who serve the delicious cuisine so many couples rave about for years after their wedding.

We encourage you to meet with vendors at the Expo and then swing by their location and step inside for an idea of what it will feel like on your wedding day. Here is a list of current Wedding Tour stops; however, the list grows weekly so be sure to check back and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for a current list. Visit us here to purchase your Wedding Weekend & Expo tickets.

Outer Banks Wedding

Wedding Tour Stops

Vendor: 108 Budleigh

Secondary Vendor: Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar (Sat night only)

Offering: Venue available to tour

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: Argyles Events & Catering

Tour Time: Night Tour Only


Vendor: Avenue ~ Grille and Events

Offering Food and wine tasting

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: Chilli Peppers Catering

Offering: Will have variety of food prepared for tastings

Tour Times: Day and Night Tour 


Vendor: Coastal Provisions Market

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Cypress House Inn

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: Days Inn & Suites Mariner

Offering: Suites available to view

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Days Inn Oceanfront – Wright Brothers

Offering: Suites available to view

Tour Times: Day Tour Only


Vendor: First Colony Inn

Offering: Rooms to tour, refreshments provided

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Fishbone’s Sunset Grill

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Venue: Hilton Garden Inn

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: It’s Royalty Salon Spa & Nails

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Jeanette’s Pier

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Mulligan’s Bar & Grille

Offering: Wine and cheese on covered deck/light hors d’oeuvres/live music

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar

Offering: Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments provided – The Proper Setting as sec. vendor

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Our Lady of the Seas Church

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Outer Banks Inn

Offering: Rooms to tour


Vendor: Ramada Plaza

Offering: Tour of ballroom and sleeping rooms


Vendor: Sanctuary Vineyards

Offering: Winery as venue, fully decorated

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: Sea Ranch Resort

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: Seaside Vacations – The Drake at Founder’s Ridge

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: Shutters on the Banks Hotel

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Stripers Bar & Grille

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: The 4 Capes Wedding Houses – Cape Ann

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: The Tranquil House Inn

Tour Times: Day Tour Only


Vendor: The Good Life Gourmet

Secondary Vendor: Kim Kalman Music

Tour Time: Day Tour Only


Vendor: Trio Wine, Beer, Cheese

Offering: Tour of mezzanine


Vendor: Twiddy & Company Realtors

Offering: Tour Pine Island Home

Tour Time: Saturday Day Tour Only


Vendor: Village Beach Club

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Vendor: Village Realty

Offering: Event Homes to tour – Kill Devil Hills and Corolla

Tour Time: Night Tour Only


Vendor: Wild Horse House – transportation offered

Secondary Vendors: Bells & Whistles, Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals, The Proper Setting, Red Sky Cafe, Beer Garden, Just Desserts

Tour Time: Day and Night Tour


Stay tuned for more vendors…

Expo Details: Wristband Discounts & Deals

The Outer Banks Wedding Weekend & Expo is just around the corner and many of our Outer Banks Wedding Association vendors are eager to give brides discounts throughout the weekend! From local eateries to boutique hotels, we encourage you to take advantage of the numerous offers available from our vendors. 

To receive these discounts you simply need to purchase your Wedding Weekend & Expo ticket here for just $20! Upon checking in at our OBWA Welcome Center, you will receive a wristband that you will entitle you to each of our event offerings and discounts. Not able to pre-register? No problem! You can purchase your ticket at the Expo for $25 and still take advantage of all the available discounts.

These lists and offerings will be updated regularly, so be sure to follow us here, and on Facebook and Twitter, for the most current deals!

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, Wedding Expo


Where to Sleep:


Days Inn Oceanfront

Discount: 15% off, 2 nights free noon checkout

Deal: Complimentary hot breakfast


Days Inn & Suites Mariner

Discount: 15% off, 2 nights free noon checkout

Deal: Complimentary hot breakfast

*afternoons daily – popcorn, hot apple cider, cookies


The Tranquil House Inn

Discount: 10% off nightly rate 


Sea Ranch Resort

Discount Rate: Oceanfront $59, Oceanside $49, Oceanfront 2 bedroom $99 (quad occupancy)


Shutters on the Banks Hotel

Discount Rate: Oceanfront $79


Ramada Plaza

Discount Rate: Ocean View $69, Dune View $59, Street View $49 – pet friendly!

Deal: Complimentary app at Peppercorn’s


Outer Banks Inn

Discount: 20% off nightly room rate


Nags Head Inn

Discount: 15% off nightly room rate


Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, Wedding Expo


Where to Eat:


Currituck Barbecue Company

Deal: Free drink with purchase of platter


Black Pelican Catering

Discount: 10% off


Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar

Discount: 20% off entrées and desserts


Mulligan’s Raw Bar & Grille

Discount: 10% off food (excluding alcohol)


The Good Life Gourmet

Discount: 20% off breakfast, served ‘til 1pm daily (excludes beverages and alcohol)


Stripers Bar and Grille

Deal: Free appetizer sampler (6-9pm)


Argyles Events & Catering

Discount: ½ price entrées and drink


Trio Wine, Beer, Cheese

Deal: $5 wine station credit  


Nags Head Golf Links – Player’s Grille

Discount: 10% off food


Currituck Club – Bunker’s Grille

Discount: 10% off food


 Stay tuned for additional discounts!

Wedding Weekend & Expo Dream Giveaways Announced!

The Dream Wedding is the most anticipated event of our annual Wedding Weekend  & Expo so we added a twist to make the 2014 event even better! Instead of just one large giveaway, we are offering the chance to win three different Dream Giveaways here on the Outer Banks! During the Wedding Weekend a spring engagement session, summer wedding, and fall honeymoon will be given away to three lucky couples! The Outer Banks is such a unique area and we want to showcase more of this picturesque destination! Plus, we know many of our brides who attend the Expo may already have the details of their wedding planned, making it impossible to try for the ultimate Dream Wedding. However, this year, you’ll be able to enter to win a Dream Engagement Weekend, a Dream Honeymoon or the Dream Wedding!  Check out the details for each prize package and start crossing your fingers and tossing lucky pennies into the wishing well – the Wedding Weekend & Expo is just around the corner!

Outer Banks Wedding

Dream Engagement Weekend in Nags Head, April 11-13, 2014

Nags Head offers a blend of old and new Outer Banks style. The town is known for its sunrises and sunsets, picturesque beaches, and delicious restaurants. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate their engagement at the beach? One lucky couple will get to spend a weekend at the First Colony Inn in Nags Head celebrating their engagement. They will be greeted in their room with goodies from Outer Banks Kettle Corn and Atlantic Cake Company. Sarah D’ Ambra Photography will capture their love during an engagement portrait session at a location picked by the couple. Following their photo shoot, the couple will grab lunch at Sea Ranch Resort and then take a tour of the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. After spending some time at the beach, the couple will end their day with dinner for two at Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar.

Dream Wedding in Corolla on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Corolla is located along the northern Outer Banks in Currituck County. The village is known for its lighthouse, pristine beaches, wild horses, and natural landscapes. Corolla’s contemporary, yet luxurious atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop for a Dream Wedding. Be sure to save your Dream Wedding date with Save the Dates by HLR Designs. The 2014 Dream Wedding and Reception will be held at the sweeping and magnificent Whalehead Club in Historic Corolla. The venue has acres of spacious lawn with beautiful waterfront views of the Currituck Sound and sunsets. Barbara Mulford of @ My OBX Officiant will marry the lucky Dream Wedding couple while Kim Kalman Music plays ceremony music in the background. The bride and bridesmaids will be as beautiful as ever with HD makeup by All Eyes on the Bride, while the groom and his best man will be outfitted in tuxedos by Black Tie Affair – the only full-service bridal boutique on the Outer Banks. Following the ceremony, guests will stroll back to the reception site decorated by Bells & Whistles where they will be entertained by The Spiritual 80’s Live Band. Metro Rental, Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals and I Do OBX Chairs will provide all rented materials including chairs, a 40×60 trac tent, linens, and a dance floor. During the reception, guests can have fun at the photo booth provided by Photo Booth Snapshots.com. Putting the sweetness in this Dream Wedding cake is Great Cakes! of the Outer Banks. The entire Dream Wedding package will be coordinated by Brenda Zielger of To Have and To Hold OBX and the wedding day will be captured by the lens of ALC Wedding Photography. ColemanShots will hit the beach with the bride for a ‘trash the dress’ photo shoot on the beautiful beaches of Corolla. During the wedding week, the Inn at Corolla Light will provide two nights free for the bride and groom and 10% off for any of their guests that week.

Dream Honeymoon in Manteo, September 15-17, 2014

Historic Manteo is located in the center of Roanoke Island and is renowned for being one of the first English colonies. This quaint town is the perfect place for newlyweds to bask in their post wedding bliss. During the Outer Banks Wedding Association‘s Wedding Weekend, one lucky couple will win a Dream Honeymoon weekend in Manteo! The couple will spend their weekend at the soundfront Oasis Suites‘ honeymoon suite styled by Holiday House Weddings & Events, and will enjoy a welcome gift basket from Holiday House Weddings & Events and goodies from the OBX Romance Store. The newlyweds will get to taste two Manteo restaurant favorites- The Brine and Bottle and Stripers Bar and Grille. To completely indulge in honeymoon bliss, the couple will get a free romantic tour of the Elizabethan Gardens.

Outer Banks Wedding

As you can see, these giveaways offer something for everyone and we couldn’t be more pleased to showcase our beloved Outer Banks in each of these three areas. Tickets are on sale now at the discounted price of $20, so hurry and get your tickets early! Be sure to bring your bridesmaids and loved ones – they’ll want to see your face when you are announced as one of our Dream Giveaway winners! Click here for tickets and more information on this wedding planning extravaganza!


Genevieve Stewart Photography & Films – Artistic Wedding Photography on the Outer Banks

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have captured on film is captured forever…it remembers little things, long after you’ve forgotten everything.” –Aaron Sussman

Genevieve Stewart Photography & Films, formerly Genevieve Stewart Moving Art Productions, is a charismatic and talented husband and wife duo who take great pride in photographing everything from a helicopter arrival to a simple Outer Banks wedding. However, this year, Genevieve and Chad Stewart had the distinct honor of being the official wedding photographer for the Outer Banks Wedding Association’s 2013 Dream Wedding.

“It was an honor to be a small part of something so big,” said Genevieve Stewart.

But in truth, photographing a wedding and capturing whirlwind moments the couple may soon forget is no small task. Trust and belief in your photographer is crucial and when it exists a truly beautiful product is created, as evidenced by the stunning images from the Dream Wedding.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

Driven by a passion and desire to capture couples simply being in love, Genevieve Stewart Photography & Films advises all of their couples to, “truly enjoy your wedding day, and for the most part, forget that we’re there,” said Stewart. “That may sound odd, but it’s true. With the exception of family and wedding party formals, our style is to be an unobtrusive as possible so that we may capture the true essence of each couple’s love and the joy of the day. If you are in love, happy, and excited, your pictures will reflect just that!”

Gone are the days of posing and smiling for the camera. Instead, today’s bride wants emotion in her photos. She wants to relive what guests were experiencing, as well as the emotion she felt, throughout the wedding festivities and Genevieve Stewart Photography & Films is the ideal team to capture such emotion.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

Describing their work as “lifestyle and photojournalistic wedding photography and filmmaking at its spontaneous and artistic best,” Genevieve and Chad aim to capture your love in its rawest form, turning it into an “elegant, playful, and timeless work of art and love.”

Whether you’re the recipient of a Dream Wedding giveaway, or simply walking through the sand to meet your groom in a small and intimate setting, Genevieve Stewart Photography & Films will capture the true essence of your day, and the love behind every smile, long after you have forgotten the smallest of details.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

 Photography by Genevieve Stewart Photography & Films 

Black Tie Affair – Outer Banks’ Only Full-Service Bridal Boutique

Much thought – ok, weeks or months of shopping – go into finding the perfect wedding dress. After that, the bridesmaid dress is selected and finally, the groom’s attire. While it may not take months of shopping (all men breathe a collective sigh of relief) it is no less important to the overall look of the wedding.

Black Tie Affair, the Outer Banks’ only full-service bridal boutique, provided the formal wear for men in the 2013 Dream Wedding, including the Dream Groom, his best-man, groomsmen, father, as well as the Dream Bride’s father.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

Many of our couples host destination weddings on the Outer Banks and might wonder how rentals work when sizing is needed. Black Tie Affair creates a smooth process that helps all couples, as well as our Dream Couple.

Meeting with Lauren and Tim to discuss how easy it is to order and pick-up rentals from Black Tie Affair, Donna Wilson began working to find a style that would suit the couple.

“Lauren came by the shop a few weeks before the wedding to pick everything out,” said Wilson. “She sent several pictures to Tim and we laughed because Tim wanted to rent the Tan Alfresco Suit and the wedding colors were black and white.”

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

In the end, the bride won out and the Dream Couple decided to go with the black suit for everyone.

Given the nature of a destination wedding, with all parties living away from the Outer Banks, Black Tie Affair had the men go to their local formal wear shop, get measurements and send to them – much like women do for bridesmaid dresses.

From there, the process went smoothly and included the traditional fitting, last minute adjustments and a few pictures before sending them down to Hatteras to begin the festivities in the days leading up to the Dream Wedding.

Having dressed many couples for their big day, Wilson knows how important the Outer Banks are to both locals and those coming here to begin their journey.

Outer Banks Wedding, Destination Wedding, NC Beach Wedding

“We have enjoyed working with wedding parties from Australia, England, Germany and those from right here in the Outer Banks,” said Wilson. “Whether you are a local or visitor, the Outer Banks community welcomes you as you are. It’s ok to have a casual wedding on the beach, a traditional wedding at a local church or a grand formal affair – there are no hard fast rules here.”

Having served so many happy couples, what is the one piece of advice couples can expect when they visit Wilson at Black Tie Affair?

“Enjoy the entire process from the moment you said yes to the day you say I do,” said Wilson. “Try not to get stressed out about the little stuff because in the end it will all come together. Whether it is rainy or sunny, this is your day.”

For more information on Black Tie Affair, or to see the complete coverage of our 2013 Outer Banks Dream Wedding, visit our blog.

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