Want a Beach Wedding? Think OBX!

Why bother with all the hassle of an international destination wedding when you can enjoy a stunning beach wedding closer to home? The Outer Banks of North Carolina offers couples looking to say ‘I do’, a variety of stunning beachfront venues to choose from.

Renowned for their beauty and their vastness, the beaches on the Outer Banks are some of the best on the East Coast and with more than 100 miles of shoreline, there’s a perfect beach out there with your name on it!

obx wedding

But the Outer Banks isn’t just about the beach, there are also gardens galore!The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo offer a variety of gorgeous and unique settings for your wedding ceremony including The Great Lawn, The Sunken Garden, and The Queen’s Rose Garden. Once your ceremony is over, the grounds offer stunning locations for your wedding photos, and with 3 onsite reception options –  The Reception Hall, The Rose Garden Tent, and The Great Lawn – your guests won’t have to venture very far when it comes time to get the party started. It truly is the perfect all-in-one wedding venue!

Elizabethan Gardens Wedding

If you looking for a place for you and your guests to stay, you will be happy to know that there are countless – and we mean COUNTLESS, vacation homes for rent on the ocean in the OBX. Some of the homes are mammoth – sleeping 20+ people, and would be perfect for an intimate, destination wedding. Why not have all of your guests stay at one place? And if you are on a budget you can get an awesome deal on these vacation homes by renting off-season.


The numerous piers on the Outer Banks make for excellent portrait locations and at Jennette’s Pier you can host your reception while dining and dancing over the Atlantic Ocean – an experience you and your guests won’t soon forget!

bride and groom walking down dock

bride and groom on the pier

When having a destination wedding, it’s important to keep your guests entertained all weekend long, and the Outer Banks have no shortage of attractions and activities to keep everyone busy. From touring historic sites, to getting your adrenaline pumping with a kiteboarding adventure, to relaxing at the spa, there’s something for everyone! Why not book a 4 x 4 Tour of Corolla to catch a glimpse of the Spanish Mustangs of Corolla? These wild horses have roamed the area freely for 500 years. Seeing these wild horses roam the beaches is a beautiful experience that you will never forget.


Or perhaps hang gliding is more your speed! Jockey’s Ridge State Park has the tallest sand dunes on the east coast, making it an ideal spot for hang gliding, kite flying, and sand boarding. And with over 400 acres to explore, year-round nature programs, and picnic facilities, Jockey’s Ridge is the perfect pre or post-wedding day outing.

Jockey's Ridge

To learn more about what the Outer Banks has to offer for you and your guests, sign up to their eNewsletter or request a free copy of their travel guide here.



Photo Two: Still Frames PhotographyPhoto Six: Intimate Weddings; Photo Seven: Sun Realty


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The Neckline: Bridal Fashion Inspiration

Wedding dress designers are using the neckline to create stunning details and dress silhouettes. Sheer and illusion necklines are a popular bridal trend that add embellishments and jeweled touches to the dress. These dresses have a subtle sensuality that creates some interest to traditional wedding dress styles.

This dress gives a feminine twist to a t-shirt style by having a sheer neck and cap sleeves. The floral appliqué adds to the overall look.


A scalloped edge on a high neckline looks lovely in a textured fabric.


Alternatively, keeping the detail to the bottom of the dress creates a nice contrast with a clean, illusion neckline.


Fine lace with a high-neck is a delicate choice to balance out the volume of a high and low skirt. Complement an illusion neckline with a matching sheer veil for an ethereal look. What is also really great about these necklines are the modesty that they provide for revealing styles.

http-::blog.theknot.com:2014:01:29:6-unique-ball-gowns: http-::matthewmorgan.net:blog:sunstone-winery-villa-wedding: http-::www.pinterest.com:pin:338332990731383256:

These necklines also look incredible on a sleeved dress, while still giving the impression of a strapless dress underneath. With a sleeved dress you can get away with more embellishments, including the cuffs. If you’re not really into the princess style dresses but still love the volume on the bottom, this neckline will add something new. A long-sleeved lace top with a high neck is a gorgeous idea for a fifties themed wedding.

http-::burnettsboards.com:2013:03:chaviano-couture-2013: http-::www.stylemepretty.com:gallery:picture:867433: http-::www.claryphoto.com

Give the strapless dress a makeover by still sticking to the same silhouette but having an unexpected sheer top. It’s a very subtle look that allows for extra details and embroidery to finish higher up on the décolletage.


This embroidered panel gives the dress a vintage inspired twist.


Photo one: weddingsparrow.co.uk; Photo two: Jessica Kettle; Photo three: adambarnes.com; Photo four: theknot.com; Photo five: matthewmorgan.net; Photo six: pinterest.com; Photo seven: burnettsboards.com; Photo eight: josevilla.com; Photo nine: claryphoto.com; Photo ten: greglewisphoto.com; Photo eleven: pinterest.com 

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10 Ways to Use Greenery in your Wedding Decor and Save Money!

For a twist on your floral arrangements, using foliage and greenery will give you a lush look for your wedding decor. Rosemary, mint, ivy and fern can all be used to create some stunning looks in addition to crisp leaves. There are so many ways that you can incorporate them into your table settings and beyond for a fresh and simple style. We’ve picked out 10 gorgeous ways for you to use greenery and save money!

1. Woodland Runner

To celebrate nature on a budget, a runner filled with moss, fern and leaves will wow your guests. This is a great idea for dressing up wooden tables, especially if you add candles and glass vases. This would look particularly lovely for an outdoor ceremony and will turn a backyard reception into an effortless woodland wonderland.

Ruffled - photo by http//arinabphotography.com/ - http://ruffledblog.com/greenery-filled-wedding-ideas/

2. Green Crown

Floral crowns are a good way to update your bridal hairstyle with the use of bold blooms. If you prefer more of a minimal look, a green crown still has plenty of impact.


3. Cake with Vines 

A tiered buttercream cake looks delicious as it is, but for a simple decoration, adding some olive leaves has a very Mediterranean look.

Ruffled - photo by http://mymintphotography.com/ - http://ruffledblog.com/backyard-brownwood-wedding/

4. Ceremony Backdrop

If you have a raw space to fill then you can get really creative with your decor. A ceremony backdrop is one of the ways that you can make the venue your own, with a personal touch. Lanterns and candles add some mood lighting, while the hanging greenery adds a rustic look.

Ruffled - photo by http://emilywrenweddings.com/ - http://ruffledblog.com/front-palmer-philadelphia-wedding/

5. Nautical Wreath

A great project to try out is creating your own wreath of greenery as a decoration. Add a length of patterned ribbon to include your color palette or theme.


6. Candles and Foliage 

When it comes to centerpieces, sometimes less is more. A bowl filled with fern, leaves and a candle, is all you need to add some inexpensive interest to a white tablecloth.


7. A Refreshing Bouquet 

Who needs flowers when you can have a bouquet like this?


8. Simple and Stylish 

Table runners are a great finishing touch, and swapping fabric for greenery will work well for a clean and nature inspired setting.


9. Scented Lights 

Hanging leaves from your lights has a stunning look. You can go one step further by using fresh herbs, which will also give off a lovely and welcoming aroma. A wonderful idea for an Italian inspired wedding.


10. On the Back 

Most chairs can do with a bit of a makeover; a leafy wreath with a few blooms will be perfect for the bride and groom chairs.


Photo one: ruffledblog.com; Photo two: bridalmusings.com; Photo three: mymintphotography.com; Photo four: emilywrenweddings.com; Photo five: greylikesweddings.com; Photo six: rusticweddingchic.com; Photo seven: stylemepretty.com; Photo eight: loftphotographie.com; Photo nine: greenweddingshoes.com; Photo ten: southernweddings.com

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Carlos and Joice’s Spanish Palace Wedding

With an international guest list consisting of 70 of their closest friends and family, Carlos and Joice wanted two things on their wedding day:  a non-tradtional venue that could accommodate their small group without the space feeling empty, and a caterer that would be flexible enough to allow them to serve a variety of cuisines from around the world. With the help of their wedding planner, LalaBlu, the couple were able to easily fulfill both of these wishes as they exchanged their vows on the grounds of a 16th century palace in Spain and celebrated with a multinational cocktail and buffet reception, making for a truly special and memorable day for both the newlyweds and their loved ones.

Special thanks to Jairo Crena for sharing all the photos from their special day with us!

Segovia wedding

Joice, 25 & Carlos

Segovia, Spain

Wedding Date: September 13, 2014

Number of Guests: 69

Wedding Cost: Around $42,000 USD

Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: Palacio de Hoyuelos

wedding flowers in bike basket wedding dress hanging up wedding flowers in watering can flowers on stairs bride portrait Spain weding ceremony bride and groom walking hand in hand

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We wanted an intimate wedding because we only wanted the people who really know our history, and who were present during our relationship before we were married to be part of this important day for us. We did not want to compromise on the guest list by inviting people who we do not know well or with whom we have not had a relationship with for years.

wedding dress hanging up bride getting ready black and white bride portrait wedding bouquet groom on balcony

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate weeding?

It was challenging to have something that was small but nice, and would fit our guest list. It was especially challenging when it came to finding a venue and a caterer. We didn’t want to miss any details, but we didn’t want something that was too over-the-top either.

intimate wedding portrait
bride and groom walking in countryside

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

It was hard to decide who to invite and who not to, but once we wrote our draft list, we only changed five people, more or less.

The important thing is to make the first draft with just your partner. With our intimate wedding, it was important that our parents understood our desire to keep it small. Usually in bigger weddings, the bride and groom don’t know some guests and we didn’t want that.

bride and groom in spanish countryside
bride and groom walking in countryside

Did you have any “issues” with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Yes, some catering companies generally have a minimum, as do some venues, which is challenging when you have a small guest list. This is not usually a problem, however, if you really want the venue or caterer and are willing to pay the minimum charge.

Since we did not want a typical venue, we looked – with the help of our wedding planner, Lalablu Wedding Planner & Designer – for a venue that would fit 70 people comfortably, but wouldn’t feel empty. The caterer gave us the flexibility to choose meals, as it was an international wedding and we wanted that the guests to be able to taste everything.

bride walking down the aisle with her father outdoor wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

It was a non-religious ceremony with a master of ceremonies provided by LalaBlu Wedding Planner. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes, and was customized with personalized vows and some interventions chosen by our guests. We had live music playing in the garden and our guests were seated close to us so they could feel like they were a part of what was happening.

Spanish wedding ceremony bride and groom walking down the aisle wedding ceremony recessional bride and groom leaving ceremony

What were the highlights of the reception?

We had a cocktail reception and then a buffet where we served a mix of Brazilian, Japanese, and Spanish food. Everyone loved the quality and quantity of food we served. It was a huge success and we loved the flexibility we had to serve different types of meals.

Spanish wedding reception Spanish wedding reception wild daisies Spanish wedding reception bike with wedding sign and flowers

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

You don’t feel overwhelmed by too many guests; you just feel surrounded by people who love you, and you can spend more time with them.

intimate-wedding-segovia-spain-joice-carlos-94 wedding guest book table intimate-wedding-segovia-spain-joice-carlos-9 intimate-wedding-segovia-spain-joice-carlos-91 intimate-wedding-segovia-spain-joice-carlos-97 wildflower centerpiece intimate-wedding-segovia-spain-joice-carlos-29 wedding cigar table wedding dessert table Spanish wedding reception wedding favors wedding favor table wedding favors Spanish wedding reception Spanish wedding reception

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Enjoy every minute, and above all don’t be sad if someone can’t make it; we all have commitments and sometimes people aren’t as close as we think they are. Planning a wedding is not easy, and there are a lot of details to consider when it comes to having an intimate wedding. In our opinion, it’s important to hire good professionals, and use the services of a wedding planner because they make it easy.

wedding portrait


Wedding Planner and Master of Ceremonies: LalaBlu Wedding Planner & Designer 

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Palacio de Hoyuelos

Catering: El Laurel de Elena y Lola

Flowers: Arbolande

Photography: Jairo Crena

Videography: Bodamovie

Music: Grupo Swan

DJ: T-Sound

Bride’s Dress: Oh que Luna

Bride’s Shoes: Magrit

Groom’s Clothes: Ermenegildo Zegna

Make-up & Hair: Victoria Doncel

Stationery: El Vals de Amelie

Wedding Cake: Oh my cake

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Genna and Ian’s Cozy Philadelphia Restaurant Wedding

With only eight guests allowed at their Philadelphia City Hall ceremony, Genna and Ian had no problem limiting their guest list to immediate family only (even if they did sneak in a few extra guests than they were permitted!). The newlyweds followed their short, but sweet civil ceremony with a cozy reception at their favorite restaurant that was full of good food, great family, and lots of love – making for the perfect ending to an already perfect day.

Thanks to Inna Spivakova of Peach Pear Plum Photography for sharing Genna and Ian’s special day with us!

Philadelphia garden wedding

Genna, 26 & Ian, 26

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Wedding Date: November 20, 2014

Number of Guests: 12

Wedding Cost: $4,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: City Hall

Wedding Reception Location: Talula’s Garden 

bridal veil on chair

close-up of bride and groom holding hands

black and white bride portrait

bride and groom kissing

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom portrait

just married sign

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

We both believed that our wedding day should be a celebration of our love, not focused on a party for other people. We both come from large families and having an intimate party for just our immediate family members was more meaningful for us.

short wedding dress hanging up blue suede wedding shoes bride getting her make-up done bride putting on lipstick bride doing her hair bride in blue suede shoes bride getting her hair done bride putting on her veil bride in blusher veil groom pinning on his boutonniere groom getting boutonniere pinned on groom portrait

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

The biggest challenge for us was keeping our plans a secret. Only our immediate family members who would be attending the City Hall ceremony were aware of our plans. We were married soon after we were engaged so we took quite a few people by surprise! Otherwise, planning our small event was very easy.

first look session first look session first look session

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

No, we knew right away that we only wanted immediate family present for both the reception as well as the ceremony.

bride portrait

groom portrait

bride and groom kissing

wedding portrait

bride and groom portrait in Philadelphia

bride and groom in Philadelphia

bride and groom laughing

bride and groom kissing in front of cityscape

bride and groomportrait

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom kissing

bride and groom walking in Philadelphia

bride and groom outside city hall

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

City Hall in Philadelphia only allowed for eight people to attend the actual ceremony. We were actually very lucky because we did manage to sneak in a few extra family members! This limitation was actually more helpful than hurtful in our planning process because it helped us draw a line between who needed to be there and who would like to be there. We explained to close friends who knew of our elopement plans the limitation and they were very understanding and supportive of our decisions to keep our wedding very small.

philadelphia building

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The ceremony itself was very brief, which was exactly what we wanted. It focused on only the necessary words that joined us as husband and wife. The judge who performed the ceremony was very kind and made us feel comfortable in such a brief span of time. The one notable hiccup was that the judge called us by the wrong names at first – which helped break the ice and made everyone laugh! Our family was able to gather around us in a half circle, which felt so intimate and special.

bride and groom in elevator bride and groom silhouette

What were the highlights of the reception?

With our small party size, we were able to have our reception at one of our favorite restaurants in Philadelphia. We planned our dinner ahead of time with a coordinator and they had menus printed with our names and dinner options for our families. There was plenty to eat and drink, even for those members of our party who had dietary restrictions. Everyone in our party was happy and it was a perfect ending to our special day.

restaurant wedding reception bride and groom at restaurant bride and groom sitting on patio bride and groom kissing on patio

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

We were able to focus on each other and the commitment we were making and not on a big party with lots of friends and family members. It was important for us to have a photographer to capture moments from our private day to share with family and friends later and accompany stories from our celebration. At the end of our wedding day, we had no regrets about our decision to have an intimate gathering in celebration of our marriage.

bride and groom kissing in restaurant wedding rings on menu bride and groom having a drink at the bar

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

If you and your partner have decided that an intimate wedding is for you, don’t feel guilty about this decision. Some family members may make you feel bad for your choices, but it’s important to remember that your wedding is about you both as a couple, and not your family and friends. At the end of the day, if they love you, they will support your decision.

bride and groom sitting at the bar


Reception Venue: Talula’s Garden

Photography: Peach Pear Plum Photography

Flowers: Pure Design Flowers

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