Had a fabulous week at Hatteras and am now prepared to write vendor reviews for you other OBX brides, especially Buxton and Croatan Ridge brides!
Venue: Croatan Ridge, Buxton
Fabulous! Words cannot describe this 12,000 sq ft event home! It is a Sun - Sun rental through Outer Beaches Realty. We fell in love with the seclusion, fabulous sound views, amenities, and stylish comfort of Croatan Ridge immediately and felt priviledged to have it as our wedding and family vacation venue. After agonizing over when to have the wedding so our guests driving in wouldn't have to take too much time off work, we decided on Monday, so we could relax and enjoy the rest of the week with family in this beautiful place. So glad we did! The manager said most weddings there are on Fri and the wedding party spends a lot of time making things, going to pick up things etc and then has only one day after to just relax. So glad we did it our way! Had the 6:00 ceremony poolside with dinner and dancing around the pool afterward. There is a lovely air conditioned reception hall over the pool house available for an additional fee in case of bad weather. We were glad we paid to have it available, but also glad we listened to DJ John Harper and kept everything outside overlooking the fabulous view of the sound! I worried that there would not be enough room for our dancing crowd, but it was not a problem for our group of 64 guests. WARNING: The official capacity of the reception hall is 100, but if you want a seated dinner, 80 was about the most any layout could accommodate and their is a restriction about having any wedding related events in the home, so if you have more than 80 guests and it rains, you will not be able to accommodate them inside. I wish someone had told me that in the beginning. It would have saved me a lot of agony in planning "What if" scenarios.
Catering: Inn at Pamlico Sound
They catered 3 events for us: Welcome Dinner, Wedding Reception, and Morning After Brunch. Although the food was fantastic, this was my most difficult vendor. To be generous, they had a chef change and a lot of staff reassignment during my planning process, but their approach to the planning process created a lot of frustration for me. I had read some reviews on here about their communication, not being able to get menus or pricing from them etc. but after eating their food at the Inn decided to stick with them. Honestly it is not their communication that is the problem, but rather their business model as explained by Steve the owner. For someone who likes to plan ahead and have decisions made early, they were not a good fit for me. Until they get the kinks out of their process, I cannot recommend them and would not do it again. Nuf said.
Dessert: Baskin Robbins, Cary, NC
We had our hearts set on our favorite Jamoca Almond Fudge from B&R, and tried unsuccessfully to arrange a reasonably priced ice cream bar or some sort of ice cream dessert surprise for our guests instead of wedding cake. We finally decided to do it ourselves and had a family member go on a secret mission to pick up from B&R near Raleigh Sunday morning and transport on dry ice to Hatteras. The manager there was very helpful and provided sugar cones and 2 flavors of ice cream for just over $100. I had aprons embroidered with our new Mr and Mrs Names on them and we surprised our guests by serving the ice cream poolside ourselves. Loved it!
Rentals: Ocean Atlantic
Fantastic vendor! We started out a little shaky since I wasn't talking to people with experience at Croatan Ridge, but once I made contact with Chad, everything started falling into place. They were able to send me lots of layouts of tables and chairs at Croatan Ridge both on the pool deck and inside the reception hall for various numbers of guests. I had my heart set on 60" round tables for 8 (less linens, less centerpieces), but was told the pool deck would only accommodate 48" round tables for 6. In the end, we used 48" square tables for 8 and they were perfect! They delivered everything early Sunday morning and the set-up staff even called to verify the chair count, not knowing I had an extra table with no chairs for the guest book. I appreciated their attention to detail. There was a mix up on napkins not being delivered originally, but with one phone call they quickly remedied that. Lesson learned... check you linens early especially if you are not there to receive them. Another tip, if you do not see what you're looking for in their showroom, be sure to ask to see their catalogs of special order linens. I splurged on silk shantung florals in bright tropical colors and loved my linens! They set the mood for everything.
Florist: Every Blooming Thing
OMG! Jinny was fantastic to work with and the flower arrangements were GORGEOUS and lasted all week. I had tropicals set in driftwood. Just as I had envisioned. I got the idea from another vendor who never replied to my inquiries, so took it to Jinny to replicate and she was a dream! We communicated via Pinterest and email and it was a great experience. Jinny also decorated the mantle at the poolside fireplace for me and loaned me a cute sign for the guest entrance. She is local and a great source of information for all things Hatteras. She is also very helpful in layout for Croatan Ridge and very generous with loaning the things she already has, thus saving you from hauling things to OBX. Use this vendor and you will not be disappointed!
Invitations and other paper items: HLR Designs
I'm going to try to post a link to a previous review I did of Heather, My Favorite Vendor! Creative, punctual, and very responsive! LOVE LOVE LOVE! (If I can't figure out how to link to previous post, please search for HLR Designs and read my review.)
DJ: John Harper
What a great DJ! He was great to work with, and kept the party going! What a nice guy and played exactly what we asked! Highly recommend this vendor!
Transportation: Island Taxi
Great vendor! They provided a 6 passenger van to shuttle guests from 3 nearby hotels to and from the wedding at less than half the cost of the bus I thought I was going to have to use. Tommy the owner was great to work with. I also used them to shuttle two sons to the Norfolk airport from their office in Nags Head which was very easy to locate across the street from the outlets. They would have picked up from Buxton for an additional charge but we had someone going that far. Very prompt and courteous. BTW: (There is another less expensive airport shuttle from the Walmart parking lot in Kitty Hawk, but it only runs Mon thru Fri.)
Guest accommodations: Lighthouse View and Hatteras Island Inn
We recommended these two to guests in our Save the Date letter after staying in them both ourselves. We did not block rooms since Lighthouse View would not let me do that until 6 months before the wedding and wanted to send the STD earlier than that, and Hatteras Island Inn wanted the block to be on my credit card and either all for 1 night or all for 2 nights which defeated the purpose. It worked fine to let guests book their own rooms with enough notice. The only advantage would have been that I would have known who was coming before the RSVP's came in based on the reservations in my block, but I pretty much knew that anyway. Lighthouse View was the ocean front option but required a 2 night stay this time of year, and Hatteras Island Inn (previously Comfort Inn) was the budget friendly option requiring only 1 night stay. We originally had guests staying at the very nice B&B, Inn at Pamlico Sound, but they had to cancel.
Overflow Rental House: "Sushi"
After falling in love with Croatan Ridge but realizing the 8 bedrooms (6 kings and 8 bunks) would not accommodate the 34 family members and friends we invited to stay for the week, we decided to rent a second house nearby. We put reservations on 4 bedroom "Sounds Good" next door, and 7 bedroom "Sushi" two doors down. We decided to keep "Sushi" and let friends know we were going to release "Sounds Good", which they eventually rented, so we had our own little wedding compound on the street. Sushi worked perfectly for our group. We made it into the late night "Party house" for the young adult members of our group, and kept Croatan Ridge as the early to bed house for older folks and grandchildren. Great plan!
This ended up being the perfect wedding, family reunion and vacation week for us! If you are thinking of a Croatan Ridge wedding, please post your questions and I'd love to help!