j.dreelinbeachproductions003_400The Outer Banks Wedding Expo was this past weekend, so this is probably a good time to talk about the business side of getting married on the Outer Banks. There is, of course, romance and love (hopefully) involved in getting married, but there is certainly money to be made as well.

Although specific numbers are hard to come by, a conservative estimate puts the number of weddings on the Outer Banks (Carova to Ocracoke) at a little over 3000. The amount of money the industry produces is huge. The average wedding costs somewhere around $29,000-30,000, and that figure does not include lodging.

It is in lodging that the greatest opportunity for homeowners lies.

Because the majority of Outer Banks weddings occur in the shoulder seasons (September/October and April/May are the most popular times), being a part of the local wedding scene offers homeowners tremendous opportunity for increased revenue outside of the summer season.

Unlike a wedding in a hometown, everyone who is coming to an Outer Banks wedding is coming from somewhere else, and they need some a to stay. At its simplest level, a homeowner may wish to make sure their home is available when a wedding party comes to town. George Bell, event coordinator for Resort Realty, notes that wedding parties like to be in close proximity to one another and knowing housing is available makes that job easier. “At Resort Realty, we’ve done a really good job of keeping everyone together when additional lodging is needed,” he says.

Homeowners may also wish to include their property in the Resort Realty event home listings. Although there are additional opportunities for income when a home is listed as an event home, there are expenses involved as well.

“When someone says they want to be an event home, I walk through the house,” George says. “I want to make sure the house can handle 50 or 60 people. We want to look at the septic system and make sure it’s adequate. At the very least, the home must be well maintained. The lawn neat, the walls painted. If we take a picture, it has to look its best.”

“It is important that the homeowners educate themselves,” George goes on to say. “It (an event home) comes with additional wear and tear. You might as well not even stock your house with wine glasses. They’ll either get broken or leave with the guests.”

There is an event fee that is charged–typically $1500-2500–but much of that fee may be consumed by maintenance costs, breakage and commissions. Nonetheless, homeowners generally realize some additional revenue from the event fees, according to George.

It should also be stressed that event homes are not solely for weddings. “Family reunions can be just as big. Sometimes bigger,” George points out.

There are two wedding organizations on the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks Wedding Association is by far the largest and has been around for some time. OBXbrides is a newer, much smaller organization. OBXbrides will hold a wedding show on March 24 at the Sanderling Inn and Resort in Duck.