Your cocktail hour at your wedding is the kick off to your celebration, so we want to take some time today to discuss this hour of fun and how you can best use the time and the space during these 60 (or 90) minutes.
how long should it be?
Most cocktail hours are an hour, obviously, but from time to time, if the time line allows, we recommend extended cocktail hours with a max of an hour and a half. Extended cocktail hours work best when you plan to take all of your photos after your ceremony and when your cocktail hour is immediately following. This allows for more time for photos and almost guarantees that you and your wedding party can join the tail end of cocktail hour. Last year we also had cocktail hours that took place before the ceremony (gasp!) where the couple mingled with the guests before saying "I Do".
DEcor & Signage
Enhancing your cocktail hour with fun signage, furniture and decor is always a great idea! Here is a short list of items that you could incorporate in to your cocktail hour:
Photos - Do we Have to Miss Cocktail Hour?
If you are dead set on getting to your cocktail hour, we recommend one of two options for your time line. Either plan to do a first look and take all of your photos before the ceremony, or plan to allow for a 1.5 hour cocktail "hour". With the first look, you not only get the chance to see your fiancé privately before the day gets crazy, but you also get to have all of your photos done before the ceremony, which means more cocktail hour for you! If you want to keep the surprise factor until you walk down the aisle, then plan to have an hour and a half cocktail hour so that you can take photos for the first hour and join the last 30 minutes of cocktails. On the fence about a first look, check our our blog post about "First Look VS Down the Aisle" to help you decide.
Happy New Year!
2018 is here and we can't even believe it! 2017 was an amazing year for us here at Cape Cod Celebrations and once again I cannot express how grateful we are for the support and love we receive from friends, family and vendors in the industry.
Here is a look back at some of the amazing things that happened in 2017!
Whether throwing a formal affair, backyard clambake or something in between, our couples are always looking for something to enhance their guest experience. We LOVE giving guests an activity to amp up the #social. It's a great opportunity to show off a little personality on your wedding day! Check out our favorite guest activities below!
FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART
No matter the size of your wedding or wedding venue, tableside or lawn games can be a great way to start conversation! Never underestimate the nostalgia factor of playing games.
For the foodies & connoisseurs
Does your group get together on the weekends and have endless conversations over drinks and eats? Why not have that experience at your wedding as well? We say YES!
Some of our favorites include: The classic Cape Cod Raw Bar, Cigar Bar, Wine Tasting, Bourbon Bar, Olive Bar, and Pizza Bar.
Or go bigger! Food Trucks can serve your entire wedding cocktail and dinner. Or have a different truck for cocktail hour and then your dinner. Sometimes a Food Truck menu can give your guests more selection to choose from! (Wedding Planning Tip: Keep it simple! Having too many options can slow down your food service!)
FOR THE THE EXPERIENCE ENTHUSIASTS
For a one of a kind moment many of your guests will not forget, consider adding a live event element to your wedding day. The excitement of a live performance can be a welcome respite during a wedding dinner or a enhance the romance of a wedding ceremony. Consider one of the following for your Cape Cod wedding: Choir, Bagpiper, Magician, Mariachi band, Aerialist, Salsa dancers, Caricaturist.
FOR THE PARTY ANIMALS
Dancing all night can make a wedding guest hungry! A late night snack can keep your guests happy longer and keep them from calling it an early night! We especially love stations where guests can customize their selection or walk away with more than one item! Think sweet or savory to entice them off the dancefloor!
Try: S’more’s Station, Candy Bar, Make Your Own Sundae Station, Dessert Station (Donuts, Macrons, & More!), Cotton Candy Machine, Kettle Corn Machine
FOR THE SOCIAL BUTTERFLY
FOR THE TRADITIONALIST
Finally, the tried and true option of a photo booth, whether from a professional or DIY, is always a crowd-pleaser and always create some memorable moments. A new twist on the photo booth, the video booth, allows guests to leave you live messages that are cut into a video for you following the wedding.
Or if a photo booth isn't in your budget, try an alternative guest book with a Polaroid camera, flip camera, Ipad or digital guest book.
Grooms! You bought the ring, you planned the proposal, you asked the question and you got the answer....That’s just the start. If your other half says they are good to manage all of the details of your wedding planning, we would recommend doing the opposite! Part of wedding planning is sharing your decision making and honoring your relationship. A big way to do that is take initiative! Take some items off your partner’s list, share the tasks that you can make decisions on together and remember to compromise. Here’s a quick guide to your responsibilities after the big YES!
WEDDING PLANNING STAGE
Traditional planning would dictate a number of responsibilities that would be split between the couple and others that would be shared. In today’s world of wedding planning, most couples choose to tackle their wedding planning differently based on their lifestyles. No matter how you split the deck, here are some of the big items that are typically on your list! (Wedding planning note: Always include your other half before final decisions!)
Logistics: Date, venue, budget, guest list, registering. Be present and open, and you’ll roll through your decision making together!
Wedding Party. Choosing your grooms party and other attendants. (ie: ring bearer, ushers)
Vendors. Sharing your opinion on & finalize contracts with vendors. Take more of a lead with the vendors that most interest you. (Think band or DJ, bar vendor, and officiant to start.)
Attire. Choose your attire for yourself and your party: Coordinate with your future spouse on style but, try to manage all of the trickier details of ordering and scheduling. If you need tips on where to start, check out our latest blog!
Honeymoon. Dream up ideas of what the ideal culmination to your wedding planning would be for you both.
Guest List. Get your people’s details! You can always enlist family to assist in collecting mailing addresses.
Transportation. If needed for your wedding, taking on transportation for your guests, wedding party & yourselves for before and after the wedding can be a huge help!
Rehearsal dinner. A project usually for the groom & his family… many couples see the rehearsal dinner as the kick off for their wedding weekend. Whether it’s a small gathering of immediate family and wedding party or an event for all of your guests is a joint decision but, from there it’s yours.
Arranging the marriage license. Each state has different requirements and deadlines for application. Make sure you have all of your information in line, your wedding planner and/or officiant can help!
Bachelor Party. Whether you have known your best person for a year or a lifetime, giving them a style and direction for your groom celebration can only help make it a memorable event.
Share Information. Giving the wedding party and family a heads up about all the where, whens, whys and hows in the weeks before the wedding helps keep the stress level down and everyone on time and excited!
Since you have a wedding planner (or at least we hope you do!), kick back and leave the timeline to us! As the groom, the wedding weekend can be a whirlwind of hugs, congratulations and reminiscing. The tips below can help you make the most of your weekend!
Be Present. The celebrating and toasting to the couple can be constant. Keep in mind the weekend and events can be long. Find times to connect throughout the day and the weekend to check in with one another. It’s your wedding, cherish and remember it!
Exchange Gifts. A trend making a comeback in weddings is to exchange gifts. The expense doesn’t have to be great, a handwritten card is a beautiful gesture!
Rings. Make a plan for who will manage the wedding bands on the day of. The fewer exchanges of hands, the better!
Tipping. We hope you love your vendors and want to extend your thanks! Knowing who you would like to give gratuities to, what form of payment you plan to provide and arranging them before the wedding day will save you scrambling on the day of!
De-Stress the Situation. Should anything affect your wedding day schedule, and sometimes things do happen, have your partners back. Big picture: You are married!
Extend a Thank-You. Some couples choose to extend their thanks to all of their guests from attending their wedding on the wedding day. If standing up and giving a toast isn’t in your comfort zone, consider a note in your welcome bag, ceremony program or at the place settings.
Give Special Gifts. There are many people who play a part in making your wedding weekend happen, from parents to your groom party. Depending on how far they have trekked and your budget, it’s customary find a way to say thanks.
Making the Return. Small detail but, have an idea of who is responsible for returning attire and what date they have to be returned by. Enlist backup if need!
Take a breath (enjoy the Cape) and ride the newlywed high!
Thank You Notes. With all of the events surrounding a wedding, keeping track of the gifts and who they came from can be a big undertaking! Grab a chair, few hours and your favorite playlist and send thanks to your friends and family!
Happily Ever After! Your married life has just begun. Enjoy your honeymoon and future together! On to the next steps of your journey!
Hello Grooms! This post is dedicated to you and your groomsmen and what the heck you should wear on your wedding day! There are so many options out there and we have narrowed it down to some of our favorites on and off Cape for suits, tuxes and more. Read on for some great advice on how to get your attire together for your and your groomsmen!
Rent or Buy?
The first thing you need to decide is if you will rent or buy your suit, tux or casual khakis and button down shirts. What we suggest is asking your groomsmen first what they would prefer. With suits and tuxes, sometimes your groomsmen may all agree they would rather spend the money on a new navy suit instead of just renting. Or if it is a tux and none of your guys want to own a tux, then you plan to rent. With the more casual look of trousers and a button down shirt, purchasing is always the best option. But giving your groomsmen the option will help you to narrow down what stores you consider renting or buying from.
If the consensus is to rent, there are many options out there from local Cape options to national stores and online rentals.
Cape Rental Options
If you want to work with a local Cape vendor we love working with Charlene at The Cape Cod Tux or the team at Puritan Cape Cod. Both offer phenomenal service and will help your groomsmen from off Cape find places to get measured, as they know it doesn't always work to get all of your guys to the Cape before the wedding!
The Black Tux is a new online rental option which we love! It is like Rent the Runway for guys (if you know what that is!). Basically they work with you one on one to select your suit or tux option, send you a sample to try on and work with you to get everyone's sizing. All of our grooms have had rave reviews after working with them!
If the consensus is to buy, you have many of the same options, from local Cape shops to national stores. We highly recommend going to a physical location to try them on if you are going to own them forever!
One of the only places on the Cape you can go to purchase a suit or tux would be Puritan Cape Cod. The great thing about Puritan is that they have three locations in Falmouth, Hyannis and Chatham!
There are so many national stores to choose from that we cannot list them all here, but we have had clients have some great luck with the following locations!
Jos. A. Bank
9 Tailors (keep you eyes out for groupons for this one!)
Still not sure what to do - ask friends and family what they did for their wedding, or ask you planner for more advice of course!
Again, a public beach is great, but parking can be interesting. If you are getting married on a public beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day do not forget that beaches charge for parking from 9am-5pm every day. So unless you want all of your guests to have to pay to park their cars, either plan your ceremony after 5pm or provide transportation for everyone. Don't forget, if you do provide transportation, your vendors will also need a place to park.
When planning a beach ceremony on any beach, it is always a good idea to consider what seating you will offer and how it is getting on and off the beach. If you are at a public beach, most restrict the time that the chairs or benches can be on the beach - for example they have to be set-up within 30 minutes before and taken down within 30 minutes of the end of the ceremony. Take in to consideration the length of your ceremony - do your guests need to be seated? And if you think they do, then consider do they all need to be seated? We highly recommend offering limited seating on the beach for just family or older guests as you can save money and time getting the chairs or benches on and off the beach.
On Cape Cod we have some serious high and low tides, especially on the north side beaches. Please be sure to check the tides to know if you will be standing on dry sand or not during the time of day you want to get married!
Location on the Beach
Please be sure to be mindful of the location you choose to hold the ceremony on the beach. Think about how far your guests and vendors will have to walk. Do your ceremony musicians need power? Also be sure to check for a power source at the ceremony location.
Lastly, consider the weather. Not only could the weather be too windy, cold or raining to have a beach ceremony, but it could be scorching hot! Be sure to be prepared for anything - have a plan B location for poor weather, fans for the heat, sunglasses for the sun, pashminas for the cold or a water station for thirsty, hot guests. Keep in mind that the one thing you can't control is the weather, but you can control planning for it!
Summers on the Cape fly by, we cannot believe we are saying goodbye to our interns! We can't imagine this summer without them. Check out the final installment of Rachel's Intern Blog!
In the words of Rachel Ayotte...
Watching my internship with Cape Cod Celebrations come to a close is not bittersweet, because quite frankly, there really is nothing sweet about it. This summer I was challenged, inspired and exposed to an entirely new profession. Trading in my summer of champagne glasses, rehearsals, beaches and brides for
textbooks and term papers is somewhat cruel. If it weren’t obvious enough, I am not
ready to return to my normal life just yet.
Over the past few months, Jamie and her team have accepted me into their Cape Cod Celebrations family with open arms. From the very beginning, they have allowed me to become a part of a family that finds success in mutual support, encouragement of growth and a fostering of diversity of thought and creativity. Their ability to effortlessly extend their family to interns like me is only a small reflection of the
true foundation of their company, and just a fraction of their integrity. Jamie and her planners are professional, “down to business” women, but they are also unwavering sources of comfort and warmth. Though my experiences throughout the summer aided me in developing new skills and honing others, as well as have pushed me to pursue opportunities outside of my comfort zone, their ability to make professional relationships more than a handshake and a signature is what separates them from
others within the industry and is what made this internship unforgettable.
At my first wedding, I assisted Stephanie. Throughout all of the new things I was learning and absorbing, I will never forget her standing beside me as the bride made her way down the aisle. I noticed Stephanie tearing up, a long sigh filling her lungs. It took me by surprise, quite frankly, to see her well up. I figured she had executed so many weddings in the past that by now, she was more than accustom to the
sound of the processional and the sight of a weepy-eyed, love-struck groom. But as the summer flew by, and every bride found herself at the altar, I noticed that each planner had a similar reaction at each wedding. Despite the countless “I do’s”, veils and vows, the emotional investment that each planner had in their clients was one that I would not consider professional. In fact, it far surpassed the bounds of business and delved into a relationship beyond the confines of contracts or professional formalities.
When Cape Cod Celebrations planners execute a wedding, they welcome you into their family and extend themselves into yours. It was a privilege to feel at home with their company, and I will sorely miss their warmth. I encourage anyone planning a wedding, or looking to intern or become a part of their team to not to be a stranger to them and the work that they do, because they will, without hesitation, take you in
as their own.
We are so excited to start our "Cape Cod Couples Tell All" series today with one of Jamie's first ever Cape Cod Celebrations clients - Scott & Leonora. Scott & Leonora were married 9 years ago today on the lawn at Chatham Bars Inn and had their reception inside the Main Inn restaurant - now called STARS. We caught up with Scott and Leonora and they were so great to answer questions for us to share with couples looking to get married on Cape Cod today.
Here at Cape Cod Celebrations we have worked with over 275 couples since we started planning in 2007, so we thought it would would be fun to follow up with our past couples years after they said "I Do" to ask fun questions about their wedding and planning process.
We will be starting this series on October 4th with one of Jamie's first couples in from 2007 - Leonora and Scott - who will be celebrating their 9 year anniversary - so fun!
Check back in with us on our blog from month to month to get the inside scoop from real Cape Cod couples as they look back on their wedding day and share great tips on what they loved, who their favorite vendors were and what they would have done differently.
Can't wait to share!
Are you a past client of Cape Cod Celebrations and want to share your story? Contact us!
After 3 months, Rachel fills us in on her experience with Cape Cod Celebrations! Might be a little different than you expect!
In the words of Rachel Ayotte...
Interning for Cape Cod Celebrations has been, as one might imagine, a fabulous flurry of dresses, tuxes, flowers and cake. It has been both exciting and educational, fun and informative. In the past few months, I have gone from a starstruck intern, drooling over pastel bridesmaids gowns and hydrangea arbors, to assisting with wedding rehearsals, managing bridal parties and collaborating with professional vendors. To say that this internship has been unforgettable would be an understatement.
Though I had expected to learn the “ins and outs” of planning a wedding and see, as I have, the bride and groom’s vision come to fruition, I have learned so much more. I expected to simply accompany Jamie and her team on site, listen in on phone calls and meetings, but they have allowed me to explore their business far beyond that, outside of the confines of a typical internship.
When I began in May, I anticipated that I would just be a useful set of hands helping to execute the summer weddings that Cape Cod Celebrations had been planning for months.The idea of being an assistant on site was enough for me, the exposure alone was of tremendous value. I would be fortunate enough to observe the team in their element and shadow them in their orchestration. I was more than thrilled to hold on to bundles of extra linens and organize escort cards if it meant I got to watch a Cape Cod Celebrations planner make a bride’s dream come true.
However, my internship has been so much more than that. Just in this past month they have allowed me to fully understand the inner workings of the business. From the very beginning stages of the process to the very end, Jamie and her team have ensured that their interns are anything but just on-site help. I have had the opportunity to explore any facet of Cape Cod Celebrations that I have been interested in learning about, from administration, to social media to understanding what it’s really like to be both a mom and kick-ass business woman at the same time (it’s a hard but rewarding balancing act, in case you were wondering). Because they have been so open and encouraging of questions as well as welcoming of curiosity in the business, I have gained knowledge from a myriad of different areas that will be applicable to any and all professional pursuits. Who else can say they learned about bustling dresses AND marketing, operations and networking within the same internship? (I can!!)
This summer I would have been more than happy to fetch coffee and fulfill an archetypical intern role, but the experience I have had thus far has surpassed that in so many regards. It is clear to anyone sitting in on our meetings or observing us on site at weddings that the Cape Cod Celebrations planners care about their interns personally as well as what they will leave with professionally once the final bride of the season has made her way down the aisle.
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
At Cape Cod Celebrations, your vision is our brand. Learn more about how we can help you pull together your beautiful Cape Cod Wedding.