Beaches - Public vs Private
When planning a beach wedding, you need to first figure if the beach you are looking at using is public or private. If you have a house on the water, or are renting a house on the water for your event, the beach is most likely private, which makes a beach ceremony very easy for you. The only restrictions you may have to consider is if the beach is part of an association and that the association has rules on beach ceremonies. Most likely you are free to use the beach without issue.
For public beaches it can be a bit trickier. You will have to reach out to the town and get their regulations on beach ceremonies. Each town is different, but most have a small fee to use the beach and also require that any set-up and break-down happens within an hour before and after the ceremony. Depending on your time of day and time of year, you will also have to consider the parking for your guests. If it is before 5 p.m. your guests would have to pay for parking or be shuttled in. After 5 p.m. there would be no parking fee and there would typically be less people on the beach. Lots of things to consider!
Jonathan Young Windmill, Orleans
There are many windmills on the Cape - Brewster, Eastham, Chatham, Sandwich - but there is one in Orleans on the water, very close to the Orleans Inn, that is a beautiful location for a seaside wedding. Check with the town on wedding ceremony regulations.
Chatham Bars Inn, Boat House
There are many reception locations on the Cape that also offer outdoor ceremony locations as a part of the package and for smaller weddings, I would have to say that the Boat House at the Chatham Bars Inn takes the cake for me. This is one of my most favorite locations on the Cape to have a ceremony. The view is amazing, you can be in the sand or on the lawn with the same great view. And if your wedding is small enough, your back up would be inside the Boat House with the same beautiful view!
Actually located in West Falmouth, Bourne Farm is a beautiful location for those brides looking for an outdoor ceremony and reception without being on the beach. There are many locations on the farm for your ceremony as well - under a large tree, with a view of the pond and more.
The biggest plan that you need to have in place for an outdoor ceremony is a back-up plan (or two!) in case of rain, wind, hurricanes, or whatever nasty thing Mother Nature could throw your way. Usually it is pretty easy to put this plan in place - either you have a reception tent you can go under or you can schedule to have a tent put up if the weather forecast is not looking good, or your reception venue will have an indoor option for you. Yes, typically the back-up is not nearly as perfect as your number one choice, but without one you will lose your mind!