North Carolina-Outer Banks

Newbie here-Hatteras Bride to be!


I've been stalking the boards for a while but think i finally have my "ultimate" ideas in place. This is a second marriage for me, so our wedding party would be our kids only, with about 40-50 guests.  After vacationing in the OBX most of my life, and scattering my father's ashes there, there's no other place I want to get married.  Here's my dream: Late Sept/Early Oct Casual wedding either at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (or near with the lighthouse in the background) or on the beach of an event home sometime in the day.  Then, to save money, skip the dinner (have guests do their own thing and come back later) and have a "bonfire reception" at dusk/dark with light refreshments, drinks and a kicka$$ bonfire, with live acoustic music, our first dance by the moonlight and fire, and smores and popcorn around the fire! 

NOW--is this even possible?  I've looked into great houses in Hatteras, but not sure about having tents on the beach (for the music, food, etc).  I've searched the web for info and can't seem to find details on event tents on the beach.  I would even be ok with a couple smaller ones.....

I would also like to light the way to the tents with some kind of candlelight (or lanterns of some sort).  Of course Pinterest has helped with lots of ideas but many of them are on the West Coast where the rules are very different from East Coast beaches. 

One obstacle i think I'll run into is the pics in the dark may be tough to get but i'd think a good photographer could work some magic. 

So, any advice or guidance you might have is totally welcome!  Thanks in advance!

Re: Newbie here-Hatteras Bride to be!

  • Hi!  I think that sounds like a great idea in theory but from what I am aware of bonfires are illegal on the beach in the OBX!  Can someone else confirm that?!?
  • Hi and welcome! A couple of things to consider... I'm sure most of your guests will be traveling to the Outer Banks for your wedding and will have travel and lodging costs. That being said, your reception is viewed as a thank you to those guests who have come to celebrate with you. I would really encourage you to provide them with a dinner of some sort, whether it is just deli trays from Harris Teeter.

    I do believe that small fires are allowed in Hatteras, I don't know what is termed a small fire though. In regards to the tent, from what I've read online, it is suggested to contact the area you want to get married in for their specific rules.

    I would suggest that you have your ceremony, whether at the lighthouse, or in front of your rental, have a dinner back at your event house, and then have the fire idea afterwards. Most of us have worked within a budget and I completely understand wanting to save money, but please make sure your guests are treated well.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Hi and welcome!  

    Last I heard, it was still legal to have small bonfires on the beach on the national seashore as long as you get the permit for it.   However, they have to be below the high tide "water line." 

     As far as tents go, on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore I'm pretty sure it can't happen, especially for the "party" aspect of it.  I haven't really heard of people wanting to do the actual reception on the beach also so I'm not sure.  

    For my wedding, I did have 4 benches and tiki torches out (instead of alter) for about 1 hour max and no one bothered me.  It wasn't allowed but I risked it.  I wouldn't have thought to put tents out on the beach though.  

    As far as the food part of it, I agree with OBX.  Your guests are travelling a long way I'd guess, I'd rethink not serving them dinner and letting them do their own thing.  I know for me, I love to travel to destination weddings, but I kind of expect dinner of some sort to be served.  

    Laura & Dusty - September 7th, 2010!
    Hatteras, North Carolina
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    UPDATED 11/05/10 Lots of Wedding PICS!
    UPDATED 07/28/10 My Planning Bio Anniversary
  • Bonfires are typically allowed on the national seashore, BUT if there's a drought then it's a no-go. 

    I don't think tents are allowed on any of the beaches in the OBX, especially the national seashore which has more restrictions on seating, decor, etc. than most towns up north.

    I agree on the dinner aspect as well  I don't mean to be rude, but I would be upset if I wasn't offered something to eat... even pizza.  Many OBX brides do bbq, which is considerably cheaper than most reception meals, but I would reconsider sending people to do their own thing. 
    image June 22, 2012
  • Thanks for all of your comments.  I should have said: Let them do their own thing for dinner time, and feed them lighter finger type foods around 7 and when it starts to get dark, move down to the bonfire.  But I do agree with you that some people may be a little salty that they weren't fully fed.  I will re-think this part.  I was hoping to get around the SEATED part of the reception because i don't know if i'd have the space around the pool to seat everyone.  Maybe with the right house, it would work out.  I was kind of thinking about doing cocktail tables around the pool with food, then have popcorn and smores, dances, etc by the fire. 

    Maybe i'm just dreaming.  Don't you hate when you have your dream all thought out and start to realize it may not be do-able? 

  • You can have a fire below the tide line but it has to be out by 10pm so that might put a damper on your party. There are a lot of event homes on Hatteras. Love Boat is my favorite so far and most people have a tent in the back yard with plenty of room to seat 50.
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