Dan & Shannon

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Dan & Shannon

Engagement Story

Dan and I had been dating for almost four years.  We lived together, owned a house, had two dogs.  We were planning a Labor Day Weekend party at the house with all of our closest friends and family.  As usual I was still getting ready when some of our friends and siblings started to arrive early.  As I was running around, Dan came outside asking about a pair of board shorts in his hand. When I grabbed them from him, hidden in his hand was a ring box and he got on one knee and asked me to marry him in front of everyone “who arrived early”. My reaction was “are you serious?”, which is now an ongoing joke.  I obviously said yes and we celebrated the rest of the day!

Why did you choose the Outer Banks & The Black Stallion?

We were looking for a destination wedding, not too far from home.  We had both vacationed all along the Outer Banks as kids but hadn't been back in years.  Once we started looking and reviewing vendors in the area, we knew this was the place for us!  I also loved the idea of renting a large house and doing everything the way we envisioned!  As we both are from large families, The Black Stallion was a perfect location for us!  I loved the layout of the house and the idea that we could be there with our immediate families for the week!  The pool, pool house and bridal suite/cabana was a big seller ;)  We booked and planned the entire wedding without ever stepping foot in the house, and once we arrived it exceeded our expectations!  Our friends and family are constantly asking when we can go back for a "reunion"!

Description of wedding

We wanted our day to be a reflection of us as much as possible.  We took inspiration from the beach and the ocean.  We wanted a natural look to go with the setting and feeling of the Outer Banks, and being from Long Island, the beach and the ocean are a big part of our lives.  Sea glass colors, greens and blues, and greenery and macrame were a big part of our decor.  We wanted a boho beach feel with a laid back vibe, with the hopes of everyone having a great time!  We were able to accomplish everything we wanted for our wedding at the Black Stallion!  We had the most wonderful week ever, and each part of our day was special in its own way, but we both agreed that the late night pool party with all of our wedding guests was our favorite memory!

Any advice to couples currently planning a wedding?

Hire a wedding planner!  Especially since you'll probably be planning from a far!  This was by far the best decision I made!  Ashley from Southern Hospitality Weddings & Events was AMAZING and so knowledgeable, helpful, patient and easy to work with!  

Also I would say to hire your photographer for the entire night (or extend them day of).  Ryan and Rach were hands down the best photographers!   However, there was so much more that happened once they left that I wish was a part of our photos (the late night pool party!), that I regret not having them longer!

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Jeff & Julie

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Jeff & Julie

Engagement Story

Julie and I met exactly 5 years ago and our journey started immediately with moves around the Philadelphia area to as far as Des Moines, IA!  We got engaged in July 2015 in Dewey Beach, DE.  Julie’s best friend Lindsay came down for the weekend and she was part of the plan and Julie and I walked out our first morning there for a family vacation week to see the sunrise over the Atlantic and I popped the question!  Her friend Lindsay was hanging back and capturing every piece of it, and it couldn’t have been more perfect as we both love the beach and love sharing moments like this with friends and family members.

Why did you choose the Outer Banks & The Black Stallion?

I can’t tell you how many times I was asked this the week leading up to our wedding.  Believe it or not, Julie or I had never been to the Outer Banks prior to making the decision that it was the place 24 hours after being engaged.  We had done the city weddings, we had been to the beach weddings in the Delaware area but this was totally different.  Somewhat “destination” as most families had a 5-hour drive to get there, and we loved the idea of something different.

Now, as far as the Black Stallion goes, I may have been somewhat “planning” this for a long time.  One summer many years prior to meeting Julie I had just wrapped up a week at the Delaware beaches with friends and when leaving we all said how cool it would be to do something similar, but in the OBX.  So, me being the planner that I am, I immediately started looking up houses.  Well at that time, I think the Black Stallion was brand new and first house that would pop up on Twiddy’s website when you searched.  We clearly couldn’t afford that as a group of friends in the middle of peak season, but I couldn’t help but flip through the photos.  I sent the link to the house to my father and said “how cool would it be to get married here….”  And his response was, of course, “gotta find the right girl first bud….”.  And the rest is history…..

Description of wedding

Many times in conversation with Kerri and Dorothy we would reference the theme “simple, yet elegant”.  This was evident in how they reflected our taste in the wonderful design and flow of the wedding that was absolutely breathtaking.  Black Stallion is such a perfect “blank canvas” if you will, and although there have been many weddings there that were stunning, there is always the opportunity to do something different.  One was having the ceremony in the driveway facing the great greenery the property has to offer.  Aside from that, we were very much focused on lighting and flow so that it was an intimate evening that people just had a great time.  That plan didn’t fail and I think the picture speak to it!

Any advice to couples currently planning a wedding?

Yes, only one.  I know budgets are very tough with weddings as it’s such a large expense and easy to get carried away but you need to make room for a wedding planner.  Kerri from the Proper Setting was a life savior, and there is no way we would have pulled off what we did without her.  And what’s great is you gain the friendship of an amazing person in the process :)

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Wes & Rachel

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Wes & Rachel

Engagement Story

The week of our 4 year anniversary we flew to Key West. Every time we took a vacation together my friends would say, "Is this it? Is he finally going to propose??" I would always say, "I don't think so..." Although it had crossed my mind when we first got there, 3 days into our vacation it had slipped my mind. That evening we met up with friends at sunset festival at Mallory Square. I was taking pictures of the sunset and street performers with zero idea what was going on behind me. Wes was on one knee waiting for me to turn around. I thought for sure it was a joke until I realized everyone was taking pictures of us and that was a real diamond ring he was holding!  

Why did you choose the Outer Banks & The Black Stallion?

I started vacationing every September in OBX in 2005 and brought Wes the first time in 2012 after we started dating. He loved it as much as I do. Every September, our favorite part of our OBX vacations are the pool parties with friends. 

After we got engaged and started talking about what we wanted for our wedding, we both brought up having it in OBX when we go down for our annual September vacation. Little did Wes know, I had seen The Black Stallion on Twiddy's website about 2 years prior and bookmarked it in my head. I fell in love immediately but thought, "the only way we could stay here is if it was for a wedding or something..." When I showed Wes the house, he also immediately fell in love with the idea of hosting the ultimate pool party for our wedding and we immediately went into planning mode. 

Description of wedding

The theme of our wedding was FUN! We did not want to follow the inflexible timeline of a typical hotel venue or the rigid rules of a ceremony venue, which is why we chose The Black Stallion. We've been to so many weddings where it seems like everyone is just going through the motions: sit at the ceremony, wait during the cocktail hour, sit at your table, wait for food, etc. Lets just go straight to the fun! 

We had a pre-cocktail hour for guests in the main house when they first arrived while the wedding party were having their own in the pool house. Once we were all ready to start the ceremony, guests took their drinks to the backyard for a short, sweet, and fun ceremony. Afterwards, we went to have a few pictures taken in the pool house while everyone returned to the cocktail hour. Then it was straight on to the pool-side reception for dinner, a lot of dancing, and some impromptu swimming! By the end of the night, everyone ended up jumping in the pool, including the photographer, videographer, and caterer!!! 

Any advice to couples currently planning a wedding?

Figure out together what is important and what is not important when you picture your perfect wedding day. For us, the most important thing was everyone feeling welcome, having fun, & lots of food and drinks. Things that were not important: flowers, center pieces, & useless decorations. This really helped when it came to budgeting.

That being said, the BEST money we spent was on our Day-of Coordinator, Mandy Harlow. We did all the planning up to the day and then we just needed someone to follow our timeline, make sure people were where they were supposed to be, and get everything done so we did not have to worry about it! Our entire day went off without a single hitch and it is all thanks to her. 

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Andrew & Emily

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Andrew & Emily

Engagement Story

Andrew and I grew up in the same zip code and first met in middle school where we dated for a week of barely talking and just holding hands. Fast forward to college, Andrew went to McDaniel College in MD and Emily went to University of Maryland, College Park. We had remained acquaintances through middle and high school but the extent of our connection after that was social media, until we both decided to get dogs our junior year. Going into senior year, Emily posted a picture of her dog to Facebook for his first birthday and Andrew quickly commented saying that he had a dog the same age. We exchanged phone numbers to "get our dogs together for a play date" but it quickly became apparent that we had much more in common than just our dogs. After 5 years of dating, Andrew and Emily went on a family vacation to the Outer Banks with Emily's family where Andrew surprised Emily by proposing to her during what she thought was just an obligatory family picture session on the beach. We celebrated with family we love, on the beach we love, with champagne :)  

Why did you choose the Outer Banks & The Black Stallion?

We chose the Outer Banks because we both have been vacationing here since we were little. We love the calming atmosphere Outer Banks offers and we thoroughly look forward to when we can get away from the rush of the DMV area to be there. We went with The Black Stallion because we are both very family oriented and we wanted a place where both our families could spend time getting to know each other before we joined our families on our big day. We loved that we could have everything (rehearsal dinner, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, reception) in one central location and we really fell in love with the beautiful details and backdrop that the house provided.

Description of wedding

We got extremely lucky as our wedding was the week of Hurricane Irma. I remember driving down the week before the wedding and hearing about the storm and having a close to mental breakdown, all I could hear was the reiterated warnings we had heard when we booked for September, "you're booking during hurricane season?!?" We watched as they predicted the hurricane to hit the Outer Banks the weekend of my wedding and then were overwhelmed with relief as mid-week the forecast predicted it to stay in Florida. We had planned for most of the events to be outdoors, including ceremony and dinner. Needless to say, we were blessed! 

Our wedding day was absolutely beautiful with weather in the 70's and only a few clouds! We had our ceremony in the backyard with guests seated in chairs in the grass with the gorgeous trees as our natural backdrop. We wanted to keep with the beauty of the greenery the house already offered so we chose to use rustic, natural tones with white flowers and lush greenery on the dinner tables. We separated our ceremony and dinner with a cocktail hour in the event room, then proceeded to dinner outside around the pool, followed with dancing back in the event room.

We featured a bourbon and cigar bar in the "man cave" on the first floor of the cabana and my dad custom built a donut wall where we served Duck Donuts for dessert instead of cake. They were delicious! We ended the evening with a sparkler send off in the backyard where we had just said our "I do's".

Any advice to couples currently planning a wedding?

I would recommend hiring your photographer for the whole night. We thought that not much would happen after a certain point, but a lot of great moments ended up being missed that I wish we had captured.

I would also definitely recommend The Black Stallion as your wedding venue. We really enjoyed the integration it provided for our families leading up to the wedding and the size of the house provides many different areas to set up and utilize. We love this house!

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Chris & Taylor

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Chris & Taylor

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Mike & Lauren

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Mike & Lauren

Engagement Story

Lauren flew to meet Mike at his "work" trip in California for a short vacation weekend.  Mike had secretly arranged a whole weekend in Napa Valley.  The first morning he took Lauren on a private tour of Opus One Winery and had the rooftop terrace roped off to enjoy a glass of wine and the scenery.   That's when he surprised Lauren and got down on one knee.  They celebrated the rest of the weekend with excitement, love, and lots of wine!

Why did you choose the Outer Banks & The Black Stallion?

Mike's family vacations together every year in the Outer Banks.  Lauren joined his family for their first summer vacation together in 2013 and have gone every year since.  When we decided we wanted a destination wedding we knew it was the perfect spot!

We love entertaining our friends and family at home, so when we were deciding how we wanted to plan our wedding, we thought it would be perfect to rent a large home to hold both the welcome party and the wedding celebration.  By renting a home we could spend more time with our loved ones and enjoy the whole week with our favorite people.   We looked around at different event homes, and after seeing the Black Stallion we knew instantly it was the one!  It was so beautiful and perfect for what we imagined.

Description of wedding

Mike and I wanted our wedding to be classy and elegant, but with a non-traditional or laid-back atmosphere.  We envisioned neutral colors and classy touches for decor.  We told the decorator and coordinator we wanted most details white and clean and they took care of the rest!  We wanted to focus on our guests and our top priorities were food, dancing, and fun.  We hoped our guests would feel as if they were at a intimate family party.  

Looking back on the day a rain storm came through right before the wedding ceremony and didn't stop.  It was the only 4 hours of rain the whole week! We ending up holding the ceremony and dinner indoors last minute. The ceremony inside the home at the fireplace couldn't have been more beautiful.  Eating and having the bars indoors made our guests mingle more than they may have, and hit the covered dance floor all night!  Everything worked out perfectly.

Any advice to couples currently planning a wedding?

Don't worry or stress about the small details.  Little things most likely won't go as planned, but you will still have one of the best days of your life.  Enjoy the day and laugh!  Everyone will have fun and remember the love and smiles surrounding the day.

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Daniel & Danielle

Daniel & Danielle

From New York City

Our engagement story

We both quit our careers in finance at the same time and traveled to Southeast Asia for 3 weeks.  Daniel had watched a movie about magic tricks on the plane ride over and decided to propose using a card trick.  We were in an incredibly beautiful place called HaLong Bay on an overnight boat and the passengers were going on an excursion.  Daniel convinced me to stay behind, saying that he'd rather read (he "inceptioned" me by planting the seed that it would be awesome to relax and read and then I ultimately made the decision for us to stay behind).  As we were lounging on the deck, he pulled out a deck of cards.  He had me pick a card and then proceeded to spend 5 minutes shuffling the cards in different ways.  He then showed me a card that wasn't mine and said, "well, if that's not your card, then your card is under your chair".  Under my chair was the 7 of diamonds (my favorite number and my last name) with "will you marry me" written on it.

Why we chose The Black Stallion

We had a few ceremony locations in mind, but we fell in love with the spot on the golf course when we visited in 2015.  It was beautiful and so close to our reception site!  We didn't want a "traditional" wedding in a ballroom.  We wanted to have as much of the reception outside as possible.  The Black Stallion is the largest house in the Outer Banks and has a lot of outdoor space, which was amazing because we could have the entire reception outside!

Why we chose the outer banks

We wanted a destination that was exotic and fun, but not too far for the majority of our guests that are mostly from the Northeast.  Our wedding was only our second time in the Outer Banks! We are now planning to vacation there regularly.  

Some unique touches

We wrote our own vows for the ceremony and really made sure that the entire thing was about us.  Daniel's uncle officiated the wedding and one of my best friends did a reading.  We really optimized our reception for fun - we didn't have a sit-down dinner, had a bourbon bar during the cocktail hour, had the biggest dance floor that we could and played so much fun dance music.  

We decided early on that we were going to make everything in our ceremony and reception fit our personality and not include anything we didn't want. We didn't do a wedding cake or toss the bouquet, it didn't feel very "us".  Daniel did a dance with his three sisters, which was really special - and at the end they pulled his dad onto the dance floor. It was a very touching moment and definitely honored his mom's memory. 

Some stories from the wedding

On the morning of our wedding, Daniel went to breakfast with his dad.  It wasn't planned.  Daniel was kicked out of our room pretty early so that the girls could get ready and they made an impromptu decision to have a father-son moment.  The morning after our wedding, we woke up around 8am - so excited to be married!  So, the two of us went to breakfast together (at the same place).  Thinking back on it, Dan had breakfast with his closest living relative both mornings and it just happened to be two different people!

When we woke up the morning after the wedding.  We quickly realized that Zoe was not in the room with us.  Panicked, we ran outside screaming her name and then into the main house calling out to her.  We were on the verge of tears when my mom told us that she slept with her the night before!  

Advice for other engaged couples planning a wedding

Definitely hire Kerri!  She was truly amazing and a life saver!  At the very least hire a day-of-coordinator, you want to enjoy your day and soak in every moment!  

Don't sweat the small stuff - at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what the flowers look like, how your bridesmaids style their hair or where people sit - it is about surrounding yourselves with your closest friends and family to celebrate your love.

Buy a pair of wedge sneakers!  My feet were killing me by the end of the cocktail hour (even though I broke in my shoes).  I didn't have to worry about my dress dragging on the ground because I had a pair of Nike wedge sneakers.  No one even noticed and I was able to dance the night away!

I wish that we hired our photographers until the end of the night.  They did an AMAZING job, but there were some great moments at the end of the reception that weren't captured in our professional photos.

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