The 20th Annual Outer Banks Wedding Association Wedding Expo demonstrated conclusively how important the wedding industry is to the Outer Banks. Filling the front area of First Flight High School with vendors, about 1000 or so guests came to see what an Outer Banks wedding is all about.

The wedding industry has become a significant part of the Outer Banks economy. Confirmed figures are hard to find because it’s difficult to pin down exactly how many weddings are performed between Corolla and Ocracoke, but even conservative estimates put the number over 2000.

The industry has evolved. Still servicing weddings primarily, increasingly Outer Banks businesses are looking toward other events. With event homes that are designed to handle 50, 60, 70 or more guests at a time, Brindley Beach Vacations is looking toward family reunions and corporate retreats as well as weddings as an important part of the Outer Banks experience.

Wedding, though, are at the heart of what the events are all about, and the Wedding Expo highlights all that is best about the local hospitality business.

There were around 20 food vendors on hand this year the offerings went from good to amazing. Personal favorites? The coconut shrimp with a sweet pepper sauce from Sugar Creek was fantastic. And the beef brisket Currituck Barbecue included in its lunch tray was wonderful. But that is just a small sampling.

The food, as great as it is, is just a small part of what the weekend in all about.

Getting married is a very personal thing and brides and grooms like to meet the people who are going to help make the day special. The Wedding Expo is a great time to do that.

There are still online resources, email, text and any combination of social media—as well as occasional visits, but the Expo put everything together at one time and one place, giving couples the best opportunity to see the skill and expertise that is so much a part of Outer Banks hospitality.