Each town on Cape differs for their regulations, but here are some things that you should be aware of and look out for when asking the town for their details. Most towns have a small fee to have a permit for the ceremony - ranging from $15-$30. At most beaches, you have to set-up 30 minutes before the ceremony and take everything off the beach within 30 minutes after the ceremony and if the beach is packed full of people, without a permit you can’t really ask anyone to move. Also, some towns allow for only one permit per day, so be sure to get yours early. Visit the town website or town hall to get the best and most up to date information.
Venues with Beach Access
The easiest way to ensure a smooth beach ceremony is to choose a reception with beach access. They can then be in charge of setting up the site, ensuring other beach goers are close to out of site, and take down your set-up after the ceremony takes place. Most venues will have a fee for a ceremony on site, but others include it in their fees.
Chairs or Standing
When considering a beach ceremony at a public beach and the set-up and clean-up have to be done promptly, you will have to make a decision if it makes more sense to bring in the chairs and break them down or to just have a couple of chairs for parents and elderly guests and the rest of your guests standing. Most ceremonies last anywhere from 10-30 minutes long, so after timing out your ceremony, make the call that is best for your budget and your stress levels!
Time of Year & Time of Day
One of the biggest things to consider when having a beach ceremony is the time of year you are getting married and the time of day you choose. Always check the sunset calendar before planning when you will have the ceremony. Also, if you are getting married on the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day your guests would have to pay for parking until 5pm and beaches will be packed until around around just before dinner time.
Check the tides! If you choose to get married on a north side beach at high tide, there may not be much beach for you to have your ceremony on. Ideally, with north side beaches, low tide is the best due to the fact that you have more of a choice of locations for your ceremony and typically beach goers are far out on the flats.
Beach ceremonies are beautiful, romantic and ultimate “Cape Cod”, but just remember that there are lots of things to bring together to make it all happen!