You have decided that Cape Cod is your perfect location for your fairytale wedding, the location is booked, the scene is set, but now it is time to find your vendors. From florists and photographers, to DJs and caterers - everything is available to you right here on Cape Cod. Cape Cod is a destination wedding location and a majority of the couples that get married here are not residents, but have a history of coming to the Cape with their families for years. And because of the destination value, many businesses have started on Cape Cod to work with these couples on their dream wedding. So today, I am going to give you the top reasons why you should hire Cape Cod vendors, instead of considering those who may have to come over the bridge.
1. In the Know
If you hire a Cape Cod vendor 9 times out of 10 they are going to be in the know about your venue. Local photographers can recommend places near by to take photos, local caterers will know the ins and outs of certain venues - like what you can and cannot do on site - and other vendors will most likely have best practices at that location. Cape vendors also know about, and how to deal with, traffic and how to get around it! And that can be a big deal!
2. Bridge Traffic
If I have to pick a number one, this would be it. Cape vendors do not have to deal with bridge traffic! Most weddings are on weekends and most of the traffic coming to the Cape is on weekends - so if you hire local vendors, they do not have to worry about how early they have to leave so that they won’t be sitting in traffic trying to get over the bridge to your wedding!
3. Keep it Local
If you haven’t heard it before, Cape Codders are big believers in shopping locally to support our economy here on our little slice of heaven. So when it is possible, locals shop local and we all love when visitors shop local as well. It just means that the more that comes back into our community, the more we can keep the Cape striving and a fabulous place for couples to come to get married every year!
4. Locals know Locals
It is always so refreshing for any vendor to work a wedding and know most of the other vendors you have selected for your event, especially when they are all from Cape Cod. When you are working with your planner or catering manager, ask them about locals they they recommend and who they have had great experiences with. This will help you to narrow down those in the community that will fit your style, budget and needs.
As a planner on Cape Cod, I do try my best to stay local as often as I can. From time to time, my couples have already booked their photographer, band, or other vendor from off Cape and it is my job to be sure the vendors are educated on how to get to the locations and warn them about possible traffic. So if you do end up booking someone from off Cape, be sure that they are well aware of the travel time to your venue and that they leave at least 2 extra hours in the summer on a weekend to ensure they get to where they need to be on time! I can’t tell you how many times I have had a vendor stuck in traffic!
So you have made the easy decision - you want to get married on Cape Cod because it is your most favorite place in the world and you want to share it with all of your closest friends and family. Now when your guests make the trip to come and share in your celebration, it is a great idea to also share with them some of your favorite things to do while on Cape. From visiting the islands andProvincetown, to mini-golf and the Wellfleet Drive-In, there are so many unique things to do here that make the Cape that much more special to you. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite things to do on Cape Cod, but we are sure that there are many things that you have been doing or places you have been going for years either visiting here in the summers or living here all of your life. We recommend sharing your list with your guests either on your wedding website or in your welcome bags as guests arrive to the Cape.
I know this is the obvious one, but take it one step further and let them know about your favorite beach to visit and why. Tell them about the best spot to sit, the secret parking spots or the best beach for sunset.
The Cape has hundreds of great restaurants, and I am sure there are a couple in your favorite Cape town that you have to visit each time you come. Most of your guests will be making a weekend out of your wedding and may not be coming to a rehearsal dinner on Friday or may need a good place to grab a sandwich before your ceremony. Give them a list of the best places to go and recommendations - list the bride and groom’s favorite dishes, let them know if a reservation is needed or if they should call ahead for pick up.
The Cape is known for its whale watches so be sure to include information on where they can go and how long it takes to get to each location. Most of the whale watching cruises require reservations, but also offer coupons. If you can, include the coupon on your website or in their welcome bag.
If your guests are making a vacation out of your Cape Cod wedding, they should definitely spend a day on either Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. Ferries are available to Nantucket from Harwich and Hyannis and to Martha’s Vineyard from Hyannis and Woods Hole. Flights are available to Nantucket as well from Hyannis every hour. I am partial to Nantucket, but both are such unique locations and a great place to explore in a days time.
It goes without saying that Cape Cod has some wonderful homemade ice cream shops. Many award winning! If you are not having an ice cream station at your wedding, then be sure that you let your guests know of the best place(s) in town to grab a scoop earlier in the week. My personal favorites are Cape Cod Creamery in South Yarmouth and Sundae School in Harwich & Dennis.
Main Streets & Shopping
Many towns on Cape Cod are known for their Main Streets and the great shopping, restaurants and things to do. If most of your guests are staying walking distance from a downtown area, or a quick drive, it is great to give your guests directions on how to get there and the best places in town to shop. Even include a Main Street map if available and circle your favorite locations to shop, eat and play.
Now every town on Cape Cod and everyone’s experience on Cape Cod are different, so your list may be bigger, shorter or more personalized, but if your list does not include at least one of the above I would be surprised! Just remember, most of your guests have never been to the Cape and would love the inside scoop on what to do. Providing this information ahead of time, so they are not trying to find you while you are trying to finalize wedding plans, is the best way to do it!
The Knot Best of Weddings 2013!
Last week I received an awesome phone call from my Knot sales person - and for the first time it was not a sales call! She was calling to tell me that Cape Cod Celebrations had won TheKnot.com's Best of Weddings 2013 award for wedding planners on the Cape! How freaking exciting! So, needless to say, this Thanksgiving I was extremely thankful for my awesome clients over the past 5 years. The award is based upon the reviews we have received on TheKnot.com andWeddingChannel.com, as well as a super secret rating system, which put us at the top of their list! So thank you to everyone who has worked with us, supported us and reviewed us - without you Cape Cod Celebrations would not be where it is today! And a huge thank you to Ashley and Mandee for being there along the way as we grow to be one of the Cape's best wedding and event planning businesses! Here is to an amazing 2013 season with another group of fabulous couples!
Thank you so much!
I met Liam and Christine back in 2011 at my office in Dennis and I knew right off the bat that I wanted to work with this fun couple. They have been dating forever and you could tell they were meant to be together right off the spot. And it is not all of the time that the groom tags along on the first planner interview, so at that point I knew Liam was a great guy!
Christine and Liam hired me for day of services, which means that I worked with them a bit leading up to the week of the wedding - working on time lines, details and such - and then attended the rehearsal ceremony and was with them the full day of the wedding - what a perfect day!
When I met them, they had most of their vendors selected, and lucky for me, I knew and loved them all! Some of the highlights of this wedding was their barefoot ceremony on the beach by officiant Joan Gilbreth, their first look at Bourne Farm and their sparkler photos with Kelly Hike. Enjoy some photos of the wedding below thanks to Kelly and her sister Alissa! At the bottom get a sneak peak of their wedding teaser video from Justin at Mayer Video! And thanks Christine & Liam for being such an awesome couple to work with!
Venue - Sea Crest
Photographer - Hike Photography
Cake - Delicious Desserts
Officiant - Joan Gilbreth
Florist - Alan's Flowers
DJ - Danny Walsh
Videographer - Mayer Video
Invitations, Ceremony Programs and Table numbers - Dulce Press
Tania and Jeff reached out to me last September to discuss their Cape Cod wedding plans for July 4th 2012 - I remember our first conversation as I was in up state New York at one of my best friend's weddings, but wanted to be sure I could speak with them and answer any questions they had about my services. It was a second marriage for both Tania and Jeff and their children were a very important part to their wedding.
After researching homes to rent and have a wedding on property, they decided to have their wedding of 35ppl at the Sea View in Dennis. Their ceremony was on a small public beach across from the Sea View officiated by Faith Lavender. At the Sea View, we set-up their dinner tables and a small dance floor in the bar area and they had late night s'mores and watched the fireworks from the patio. And because the 4th was also the groom's son's birthday, they surprised him with an ice cream truck! It was a fun night for Tania and Jeff with close family and friends.
Photographer - Vince DeWitt
Hair - Bridal Hair Professionals
Officiant - Faith Lavender
Venue - Sea View
There are so many places to choose from to share your special day with everyone you know and love on Cape Cod! Where to begin?! Here are some tips on the best ways to narrow down your options when deciding on a place for your dream wedding on Cape Cod.
1. Guest List
The first step in your wedding planning process is to put together your guest list. Once you know how many people you will be inviting, realizing that if it is a true destination wedding that usually 20% do not come, you will be able to start your search. Some of the people on your list you may be able to peg as not coming right off the bat, but you invite them anyway! Having a guest count will then help you to narrow down your options of where on Cape Cod you can comfortably fit that many people!
Setting your budget is the next most important thing to do before looking at your reception options. You need to have a good idea as to how much you want to spend on food and beverage per person. Some locations will also charge a room rental fee, while others will have a food and beverage minimum spend to use certain rooms. Also, remember when looking at venues to see if their tax and service fees are included or added on top of their listed price, as it can be upwards to 26% more.
3. Mid, Upper, Lower, Outer
Next you need to decide where on Cape you want to have your wedding. Did you summer in Falmouth or Chatham and really want to show your friends and family your most favorite area of the Cape? Or have you never been to the Cape and just want to find the location that suits your budget, style and guest count? Explore the Cape and be sure to find a location that is comfortable for you. Don’t forget to take into consideration the travel of your guests. Having a wedding in Sandwich or Falmouth is a lot easier for traveling as opposed to Provincetown or Wellfleet.
4. Waterview or No Waterview
Although the Cape is surrounded by water, there is not a huge selection of wedding venues with a waterview. And of those that are on the water, they tend to be on the higher end of the budget - such as Chatham Bars Inn,Wequasett, Wychmere and Ocean Edge. You can still find some great waterview options around the Cape that may work into your budget, don’t forget to ask about Fridays or Sundays as well for better rates (see tip #6). If waterview is not a requirement, there are tons of hidden gems on the Cape like golf courses, farms, restaurants, etc. that are beautiful!
5. Ceremony On-Site, Off-Site, or in a Church
Are you planning to get married in a church? On the beach? On a venue’s lawn? When looking for reception locations you need to take all of this with you before you decide to book. And if you are looking to get married in a church, you need to start that search as well, as lots of churches have requirements on who can be married there and timing can also be tricky.
6. Friday, Saturday or Sunday
If you are not dead set on a Saturday wedding, you should really explore the options of Friday or Sunday weddings when you speak to your different reception locations. Some may have lower rates for days other than Fridays, as they are not in as much demand. Be sure you get all of the details on your options before making your decision. And remember, if you mean a lot to your guests they will be there on a Wednesday if they had to!
7. Time of Year
Some properties offer DEEP discounts for winter weddings on Cape Cod. If you are a winter person, look into having your wedding December thru March and you can save a boatload! If they are open, venues are desperate for business during those months - you could probably even name your price! (Ok, well maybe not go that far!)
Many couples choose Cape Cod for their wedding because they want to have their feet in the sand when they get married, or at least have their ceremony outside at one of the many picturesque locations around the Cape. Although weather is always a factor when you have an outdoor ceremony, the risk is completely worth it when you end up with that perfect, sunny Cape Cod day. Below I list some great locations to consider if you are planning to get married outside on the Cape, as well as how to plan the proper rain plan.
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!
Most Cape Cod weddings take place June-September, in the heat of the summer when the Cape is a very happening place to be! When planning your wedding here during these months it is nice to give your guests a heads up on different places to stay with a range of price options and the bridge traffic, especially with good and bad times to travel. And when deciding on fun and creative ideas for your summer Cape Cod wedding, consider the following ideas to keep your guests cool, your photos fresh and your evening comfortable!
Lemonade - If you are having an outdoor ceremony it is nice to offer your guests lemonade (and/or water) as they arrive. It is most likely that they will not be covered by a tent or shade, so if it ends up being 80+ degrees on your wedding day your guests will thank you!
Refreshing Signature Drink - There is no better time for a fun, cool, refreshing cocktail than at a summer wedding, so check with your bartenders or catering staff to see what kind of beverage you can mix up for guests when they arrive from the ceremony. Some popular ideas are Mojitos, Cape Codders, Dark & Stormys or play mixologist at home and come up with something you love!
Parasols - Parasols are great for photos and a great way to shade guests on a hot summer afternoon. Leave some at the entrance to your ceremony location for guests to take with them. Or just buy some for your bridesmaids to use in photos - even if they are not used to shade anyone, they make a great photo opp!
Beach Photos - Not sure if I need to say this, but I will. If you are having a summer wedding on the Cape try and fit in a couple of pics on the beach. Even if it is just you and your new husband at sunset, it is romantic and screams “I got married on Cape Cod!”
Bug Spray - For those of you really baring the elements with a tented event in the summer, be sure to have lots of bug spray on hand for your guests. You can put some around the entrance to the tent and near the portable bathrooms. If you do not have a steady wind that evening the bugs can be killer!
Bonfire - If your wedding takes place somewhere with a bonfire option - do it!! Summer bonfires are awesome for guests to warm up after the sun sets and is great for s’mores for kids and even for the guys to smoke those celebratory cigars!
Pashminas - Even though you may have an 80 degree day for your wedding, once the sun sets on Cape Cod the air can get cool. At least supply your bridesmaids with something to cover up with, as typically the girls have on less than the guys and are always shivering! If you can, put a basket of pashminas around the dance floor or by the bonfire as well for other woman to take home.
Flip Flops - A basket of flip flops around any dance floor is key - especially for all of the lovely ladies in their super high heels! To be able to kick off those shoes and not have to dance barefoot, or carry an extra pair of shoes with you to a wedding, all of the woman will thank you! Maybe even the guys too - their fancy shoes are never always comfortable!
Excited news!! A couple of months ago I was approached by writer Susan Santangelo who has written Moving Can Be Murder and Retirement Can be Murder. She was at the end of writing her new book - Marriage Can Be Murder - and asked that I help her with the destination wedding tips at the end of the book. We came up with a list and it was published and her new book that launched this week! She is going to be doing a book signing today (June 30) at noon at the BARN & Co. and details cape cod on Route 6A in Dennis - stop by and check it out! I would love to be there with her, but I have to be in Wellfleet working a destination wedding! Stay tuned though because we will be planning a fun launch party in the next month or so!
Planning Your Cape Cod Proposal
So you have decided she is the one, you have bought the ring, you have asked her family and now it is time to find the perfect Cape Cod location to pop the question. Lucky for you, Cape Cod is very picturesque and has a lot of hidden romantic locations, so it really shouldn’t be so hard to do, right? Well if you find yourself running in circles you can always hire a professional proposal planner to wow her!
Here is our list of some of the best locations on Cape Cod to get down on one knee.
Lighthouses - There are 16 lighthouses on Cape Cod, not including Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Choose one in the town you grew up in or visited when summering on the Cape.
Beaches - Not to be captain obvious, but any Cape Cod beach at sunset would make a perfect backdrop for your proposal! Choose one that has meaning to both of you.
The National Seashore - From Fort Hill to Coast Guard Beach and more, there are plenty of perfect locations on the National Seashore for your popping the question.
Monuments & Towers - Pilgrim Monument, Scargo Tower, the Jenny Lind Tower just to name a few! There is nothing like proposing with an aerial view!
The Islands - Have a connection to the islands, Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard would each supply you with a variety of locations to ask her the big question.
Now it is not always about the location, but also about the memories of the proposal and how you can share the story with friends and family. If you can, hire a photographer to capture the moment from behind the scenes and then go right into your engagement shoot. Or be sure to have a camera on hand for some long-arm shots or to hand off to a passer by so that you can capture the moment!
If you need assistance with your proposal or you just really want to wow her, contact us and ask about our proposal planning packages!
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.