If you are not the type of couple that is looking to have a huge wedding ceremony and celebration, but you love the look and feel of getting married on the beach, then Cape Cod can be the perfect place for your elopement!
I have worked with a handful of clients throughout the years who have wanted to have a smaller private ceremony with just the bride and groom and sometimes with just immediate family and there are a lot of perfect locations on Cape Cod to do such a thing.
The ceremony is typically held on a beach on Cape Cod and there are so many to choose from! For a small elopement for 2-10ppl I would say that a permit is really not required for a beach ceremony, especially if you are not using chairs or any decorations. Other places we have seen elopement ceremonies are:
The clients that we have worked with in the past are usually looking for very nice, private dinner after they get married. We recommend places all over the Cape, but here are some of our favorites for a nice dinner to celebrate together:
Most elopments do not need to hire many vendors for their ceremony, but most consider hiring the following vendors so that they can enjoy the day and capture beautiful memories.
So I am a firm believer that every wedding is unique in its own way and that all couples can really make the day reflect their personalities, but there are certain formalities that every planner, venue manager or catering manager will ask about. It doesn’t mean that you have to include it in your day, but these are the most typical things that we see at events and we won’t judge you if you want to remove it from your day or even add something else in that is more special to you and your family!
Once the guests have been seated there is usually some sort of formal introduction. This can be the entire bridal party including parents and grandparents, it could be just the bridal party or could even be just the bride and groom. If you prefer not to be introduced that is fine too! If you do choose to have an introduction, you will need to know how you would like to be introduced - Mr. & Mrs., by your first names, by your nicknames, whatever you choose! Your band or DJ will be in touch with you about the specifics, have fun with it!
After the introductions is typically when the bride and groom will have their first dance. You may have taken dance lessons and this is your time to show off your moves, or you may hate dancing and will ask your bridal party and/or other couples to join you halfway through. Whatever makes you comfortable!
There are many toasts that can take place on the wedding day from the host giving a welcome toast, to the maid of honor and/or best man and even the couple. You will need to discuss with your family who would like to toast and when. Sometimes it is more appropriate for certain family members to toast at the rehearsal dinner instead of the actual wedding day. On the day itself I recommend keeping it to 4 toasts or less - that would include a welcome toast (typically given by the father of the bride), the maid of honor toast, the best man toast and a thank you toast from the couple.
As dinner is winding down the couple will typically cut the cake before the party really gets started. This can be announced with a song and everyone’s attention on you or it can be what I call “stealth” where just the parents and the photographer/videographer are invited over to witness it. Obviously others will see it happen as well, but it will not be made a spectacle.
A great way to open up the dance floor after dinner is with the parent dances. This is where the bride will dance with her dad and the groom will dance with his mom. We do see a lot where just the bride will dance with her dad or where they will share one parent dance together. Another fun idea is to invite other father/daughter or mother/son pairs that are there that night to join halfway through the dance
Bouquet or Garter Toss
Although the bouquet toss and garter toss are not seen too much at weddings anymore I still wanted to include it. This is totally up to you and is usually based on your crowd. Do not do a bouquet toss if only 2 people there are single! Maybe consider giving your bouquet to the couple there that has been married the longest or present it to a grandmother or your mother.
Happy New Year!
As I sit here and reflect on 2014, I am so grateful for all that we accomplished. It is amazing how much love, support and recognition I continue to receive from my clients, local vendors, and my friends and family. I truly feel blessed. We are excited to look ahead at all of the wonderful clients we are already working with as well as our plan to share some new and exciting things in 2015.
Here is a look back at some of the highlights of our 2014 season. Onward and upward to 2015!
Winning Cape Cod SCORE's Small Business Owner of the Year Award!
Cover of Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine
15 Tented Events from Bourne to Provincetown
(photo by emilie inc.)
The NotWedding Cape Cod 2014 at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel
(photo by Eric Foley)
35 Happily Married Couples
(photo by Stacey Hedman)
5 Life Celebrations - Birthdays, Anniversaries, Oh My!
Let’s be honest. Everyone knows that the wedding night is all about being on the dance floor and having a blast with your friends and family. And one of the hard parts of planning for this portion of the evening is giving your band or DJ the song choices you want to hear that night. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind and help you through the process of selecting your songs.
Have a Dance Party
One of my close friends, who is a music fanatic, decided to have a dance party at their house to go through song choices that they thought they would want to hear at their wedding. If they played the song and you couldn’t dance to it, they took it off the list. What a fun way to narrow down ideas!
There are so many first dance songs out there to choose from, but what I recommend is to choose one that really speaks to you, even if it is not a typical first dance, love song. One of my best friends had her first dance with her husband to Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” which totally reflected their personalities and was one of their personal favorites. Make it your own!
So in all of the years I have been wedding planning I have had mixed thoughts on the dance lessons. Here is what I have ultimately decided on – if you are going to take dance lessons, just learn how to dance more than just swaying and turning in a constant circle. Maybe add a dip or spin in here or there, but learning a full on dance from start to finish is just tricky. And all you are thinking about at that moment is what step you are supposed to do and if you are going to mess it up instead of focusing on dancing with the person you just married. My two cents!
If you are going to dance with your mom or dad, I recommend choosing the song with your parent and making sure both of you are comfortable with it. Some couples even choose to do the dances as one parent dance where the bride and groom are on the dance floor at the same time with their mom and/or dad. Another way to make it a bit less awkward is to ask other father/daughter or mother/son pairs at the wedding to join you half way through the song.
Do Not Play List
This list is very important!! A lot of bands and DJs here the same songs (organized dance songs are typically on this list) but you need to think of songs that annoy you, make you think of an ex or just are terrible dance songs. Be sure to include all of these on your list and be specific with your band or DJ about those songs and if you will allow for requests.
Leave it to the Pros
When it comes down to it, I highly recommend making your lists of songs and then just leave it to the pros. They do this every weekend and know what the crowd wants at certain times. Don’t expect them to play straight from your playlist the entire time. Be open to their interpretation of the crowd. And hire the best! The band or DJ is not a place to skimp in your budget! Ask for references and check out reviews online!
"I always welcome song ideas from the bride and groom. When choosing music, it's a good idea to use popular songs that most people will know at your wedding. Most of the time if people don't know it they won't dance or they'll leave the floor.” - DJ Danny Walsh
When you get into the last couple of months of your planning process and you have some extra wiggle room in the budget, it is a good time to look into fun wedding add ons to your party. There are so many new ideas out there, way more than I can list here, but we have come up with a list of great wedding add ons that would work well at any Cape Cod wedding.
Food Trucks are so much fun and make a great late night snack option! Food Trucks have been all over the big cities for a while now and the trend has finally hit Cape Cod. There are a number of different food truck vendors on Cape Cod from Wellfleet to Falmouth that you can book for your wedding. Fiddlesticks, DPM and CDogs to name a few!
Photo booths are a great way to entertain guests, act as a favor and make memories! There are not many specific photo booth vendors on the Cape, but there are many photographers that offer the photo booth as an option to their packages. Most booths do take up some space, so be sure you have the room in your venue before you book.
Flip Book Booth
Similar to a photo booth, but with a bit more action, you will find a Flip Book Booth. Here is where your guests can get dressed up in fun attire and make a mini 8-second video that is instantly turned into a flip book to take home. Personalize the cover with your wedding colors, names, etc. It is one of our favorites!
This one has not yet officially made it to Cape Cod, but I was fortunate enough to have fun with one while I was at The NotWedding in NYC this past April. The company is called The Haiku Guys and is definitely a topic conversation. Give the Haiku writer a topic of your choice and come back later for your very own personalized Haiku. Super fun and they will travel!
Live Wedding Painter
Your wedding photos are one thing and are definitely worth splurging on, but how cool would it be to have someone there painting your ceremony or your first dance or your reception live?! Many local artists offer this service, just ask! It is very interesting for your guests to watch, but also serves as an amazing keepsake from your day!
There are so many other fun options to add into your wedding from little details like straws and personalized pint glasses to candy buffets and sundae bars! If you want to add in something clever, think about what best reflects you, your family and your party!
Cape Cod Celebrations has been fortunate enough to have an amazing young woman interning with us for the past 2 years and who will be joining us again this summer, but not only as our intern, but also our new admin!
Olivia has been studying event planning at UMASS Amherst and will be graduating a semester early this fall - smarty pants!
Words cannot express how grateful I am that Olivia found us. Her drive and attention to detail is well beyond her years. And in her 2+ years with us she has been on site with me to trouble shoot events with no air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year, but also to be thankful for beautiful days like the one above at Chequesset Golf Club.
We love you Olivia! Thank you for being so awesome!
You have found the venue, you have found the dress. All of the details are coming together, but now you have to figure out what the heck to feed your guests! From a laid back BBQ to a 4 course lobster dinner, here are some things to consider when choosing your Cape Cod wedding menu.
First things first. If you are going to be serving alcohol, there has to be food served with it. So depending on the length of your cocktail hour - anywhere from 30-90 minutes - be sure that you have some sort of food available for your guests to enjoy while sipping on a cocktail. If you are trying to mind your budget, why not just go with simple cheese and crudite displays. You can skip the passed hors d’oeuvres. If you want to provide more than just cheese and vegetables, you can also consider doing a raw bar or an action station where the chef prepares something fun for your guests - like the Chowder Station from The Casual Gourmet. If you want to have food passed, we recommend that you choose at least 5-6 different hors d’oeuvres and you can count on one of each kind per person. It is always a good idea to feature meat, seafood and vegetarian options. Some Cape Cod favorites are scallops wrapped in bacon, mini lobster rolls and shrimp cocktail.
“If you and your fiance are true foodies for whom each meal is an adventure, but your family are very simple eaters, choose some exotic hors d’oeuvres and a more mainstream entree for dinner," says Olive Chase, President of The Casual Gourmet.
Station Style Dinner
Station styled dinners have become quite popular and are just a bit different than your typical buffet style dinner. Station style dinners are set-up around your reception space with different selections like a salad station, a carving station and a pasta station where chefs are usually right there preparing the food for your guests as they come up to the table. Some couples use stations as a way to turn their reception into more of a cocktail party, instead of a sitdown dinner.
A buffet styled dinner is just as you remember it - one or two long tables set-up where guests are called up table by table to serve themselves. Some couples think that buffet style dinners can be more affordable, but depending on your venue or caterer, they can sometimes be more costly due to the fact that they have to factor in for guests who take more than their share, or want seconds. So save time, it can be nice to start the meal with a served or pre-set salad so that guests do not have to get their salad at the buffet along with their dinner.
Plated meals are the most popular of choices for weddings. I highly recommend going with a three course meal - salad, entree and wedding cake. The appetizer course always seems like a waste to me, especially seeing that your guests just came off of a heavy cocktail hour and because it adds more time to the service of the food. I also recommend avoiding giving your guests a choice of a meal - like beef or fish. Why not offer a duet entree of beef and fish and if there are guests that do not like beef or fish, they can request to have just one or the other. And don’t worry - all venues and caterers will be prepared for any vegetarians and allergies, as long as you provide them with the count ahead of time.
Ask Your Caterer!
"Make your caterer your friend! Ask what their specialties are and how they will be preparing your food at the site you have chosen. Will they cook on-site even if the venue has no kitchen or bring in food already prepared? Make sure they are receptive to your food tastes and are able to produce the meal you have in mind," said Olive. If you don’t know, do not be afraid to ask! This is most likely the first and last wedding you will ever have, so be open about what you like and do not like!
Who? What? Where? When? Always big questions come up when figuring out who will toast the happy couple the weekend of their wedding. Here are some key ideas to help scheduling your toasting throughout your wedding festivities.
Who? Father of the Bride (Mother of the Bride could also do this with the FOB)
What? Usually toasts the couple and thanks everyone for coming to celebrate
Where? Typically this happens the night of the wedding
When? I like to recommend this toast right after everyone has taken their seats (after introductions and maybe even after the first dance). It typically is the first toast of the night
Who? Best Man
What? Usually toasts primarily to the Groom and their relationship, but brings in great stories about how the couple met and tries not to embarrass anyone….too much.
Where? The night of the wedding.
When? Can be after the Father of the Bride toast before dinner, or after dinner is complete.
Who? Maid of Honor
What? Usually toasts primarily to the Bride and their relationship, brings in great stories about hour the couple met. Usually less embarrassing and more sweet.
Where? The night of the wedding, unless the MOH would rather toast at the rehearsal dinner
When? After the Best Man toast.
Who? The Happy Couple
What? Usually thank their parents, the bridal party and everyone for coming and sometimes they share words about each other.
Where? This is usually at both the rehearsal dinner and the night of the wedding. The rehearsal dinner is to really thank family and bridal party with gifts and the wedding is to thank the guests for coming.
When? At the rehearsal dinner or wedding it is typically after dinner has completed.
Who? Parents of the Groom
What? Usually toasts the couple and the parents of the bride for hosting the next day
Where? At the rehearsal dinner if they are hosting
When? Before dinner is served
Who? Other Random Toasters
What? Typically the other random toasts are more like roasts
Where? At the rehearsal dinner. It is always good to let others toast you at the rehearsal dinner so that your wedding night is not full of tons of people talking which can take away from precious dance time.
When? After all of the toasting by the couple has completed.
You said yes! You have a beautiful, sparkling new ring, you can’t get the smile off of your face, so now what? Here is a list of the first 5 things to do once you get engaged. (After jumping for joy and changing your facebook status of course)
Make your guest list
One of the most important things to do once you get engaged is to put together your guest list. Without the list you cannot discuss your budget or start thinking about where it will happen. The guest list may change depending on your budget though and could even change if you find the perfect location that can accommodate more or less. But starting with this list will give you a good idea of where you can start looking.
Discuss your budget
Sit down with your fiance and discuss finances. Who will be paying for the wedding? Will it be the both of you? Your parents? His parents? Think about what you can save and how long you will need in order to be able to save it. Keep in mind that the average cost of a wedding is around $25-$35k. This may also help you to determine if you need to cut back on your list at all. And depending on how long you will need to save, will help you to pick a date.
Discuss where you would like it to take place
Start a list of locations you would love. Not necessarily venues per se, but more of cities, states, etc. If you are looking at a destination wedding, think about what things that location can offer different times of years. Consider travel, hotel rates, etc. Lots of things to consider when having this discussion, so be sure to take notes and even consider a pros and cons list to help you make the best decision.
What time of year?
Your answer above will really guide you to the time of year that will work best for you. For example, if you want to have a Cape Cod wedding, and want to have a beach ceremony, you would not choose to get married on the Cape in December.
Contact your local newspaper, hometown newspaper, or both, and announce your engagement! You can do most of this online nowadays, but be sure to have a super cute pic of you and your fiance that you want to submit along with it. You can always just update your status on facebook too, sociall media does wonders for getting the word out!
Callie wanted a tea party birthday with her friends and their American Girl dolls so my friend Jen, Callie's Mom and owner of Dulce Press, reached out to me and her team of vendors to come together and to pull of a fun tea party at her home for her daughter's birthday! Of course I said yes as we love planning and designing birthday parties whenever we can on Cape Cod - especially for a cute group of girls! We helped Jen pull together the decor and tablescape, while Judy from All About Flowers brought in stunning flowers to decorate the table and Kerry from Cape Cod Lollicakes provided cake truffles for the girls. Jen purchased fun decorations for the event, but also made a lot of it herself. From the printable, personalized napkins, to the colorful bunting and the pom-pom chair decorations, Jen can do almost anything when it comes to paper products. Ralph Alswang stopped by to capture the setting and got some pics of the girls having a fabulous time!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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