It is that time of year when brides flock to Cape Cod for all of the wonderful bridal shows! Cape Cod Celebrations will be attending The Bridal Event again this year at New Seabury Country Club on February 10th from 12-3pm. It is a show not to be missed with fabulous vendors from the Cape & Islands Wedding Group! All Cape Cod vendors! There will also be
If you are a Bride of mine, or a Bride of one of the great vendors in the group, your ticket is complimentary! All other tickets are only $15! Be sure to secure your ticket early - can't wait to see you there!
Buy your ticket now!
How to Choose Your Cape Cod Caterer
Not every couple needs a caterer, but if you are having your wedding at a private home, under a tent, or at a location that does not provide the food, be sure to read on. The Cape has many fabulous caterers from Falmouth to Provincetown, but the question is - which one do you choose and why!
Reviews and Recommendations
When it comes to the food and service for your wedding, you are going to want to hear about each company through the voices of those couples that have used them in the past. Look for testimonials on the company’s website, on weddingwire.com and on theknot.com. Ask the company for references and reach out to past couples who have used them to get answers from a live person. Word of mouth is the best way to gather information about your prospective caterer, or any wedding vendor for that matter!
Most all caterers offer tastings, be sure you have one before you decide! I would recommend narrowing it down to 2-3 caterers based on your research and then plan to have tastings at your top choices. Most caterers charge a fee for tastings, around $30-$70 per person tasting, but if you book, that cost goes towards your deposit. Well worth it to be sure you are getting the type of food you want at your wedding!
Cost is a big factor when dealing with any vendor of course, but when dealing with your caterer it is going to come down to a couple of different things. What type of food do you want to serve? Do you want a buffet/station dinner or a plated reception? Do you want a raw bar or only passed hors d’oeuvres? Do you want the caterer to use only local ingredients? So many choices, but each one will affect the cost of your menu. For cocktail hour, I usually recommend that you have 4-5 passed hors d’oevures (1 piece per person) and at least 2 stationary items. If you are doing a buffet dinner, be sure to offer a beef and/or chicken, seafood (because we are on Cape Cod!) and vegetarian option as well as a starch and vegetable. You could do a salad on the buffet as well or do that preset. If you are doing a seated dinner, I recommend sticking to 3 courses, salad or soup, entree and cake. Remember that your guests just ate for an hour during cocktails!
Familiar with your wedding site
When researching your caterer, ask if they have done weddings at your location before. If it is a private home and this is the first event taking place there, then invite them to come and see the space. This way they can get an idea as to where they would want to prepare the food, where their staff will park and the best flow of the event for you. You want to be sure that they feel confident with the location and all of the moving pieces that come with having an at home event.
Proposal Season on Cape Cod!
Did you know that 40% of marriage proposals happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day?!?! Crazy right? There are so many beautiful places to propose on Cape Cod - why not bring her home for the holidays and pop the question somewhere special on the Cape?
Or what about the ring? Do you need something outside of the typical solitaire ring - like the ring below from Ross Coppleman jewelers? Or how about finding the perfect ring made on Cape Cod? There are so many great Cape Cod jewelers on the Cape that can create for you the most perfect ring that will match her style.
Need some ideas on locations to pop the question? You have come to the right place! Cape Cod Celebrations now offers proposal planning services on the Cape because we know that not every girl wants the typical proposal on the beach, at Chatham Bars Inn or under the Christmas tree. Contact us for original ideas based on your relationship, locations that no one has ever found and ideas on fun vendors to make your day even more special. We will also get to know you as well as your history on Cape Cod to be sure she knows you planned everything to reflect your relationship.
What are you waiting for! Our packages start at $99 and we can always have a complimentary consultation to be sure that our services work for you!
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
I had the pleasure of working with a very fun and unique couple - Elizabeth and Will - this June at the Wellfleet Preservation Hall. They had a beautiful Cape Cod day with lots of touches of each of their heritage melded into their wedding. From Spanish and Indian decorations to a real sitar player straight from India and a custom wedding menu from the Casual Gourmet, this wedding was extremely special. Johanna from Chattman Photography shared some of their images with me below - stunning photography for a unique wedding.
Location - Wellfleet Preservation Hall
Caterer - Casual Gourmet
Photographer - Chattman Photography
Florist - Meredith Fancy
New - Unplugged Weddings
I had the pleasure of working a wedding yesterday at the Popponesset Inn in Mashpee for Mallory and Matt - high school sweethearts! They introduced a new trend to me at their wedding ceremony which took place at St. Elizabeth Seton church in North Falmouth. It is called the "Unplugged Wedding or Ceremony". Basically couples formally ask their guests - on the program or with a sign or brief announcement - to put away their cell phones and cameras during the ceremony and that everyone be in the moment with the couple and their families as they share their vows and exchange their rings. Not to mention that the couple has probably spent a pretty penny on their professional photographer, who will be getting fabulous shots throughout the ceremony that could potentially be ruined by others cameras in the way or flashes at inopportune times.
Mallory and Matt's photographer - Leah Haydock - was their inspiration as Leah shared a bit about having an unplugged wedding on her blog recently. If you take a look at it, you will see some of the photos she shares and how insane it can be! Even if you do a quick search for it on Google, you will see how popular this idea has become!
Now an unplugged ceremony is not for everyone - but I have to say I was definitely into it. I mean, let's face it, the ceremony is the real reason why you are having the party, so why not just chill for those 20-40 minutes, be in the moment and save the photos for the crazy fun night you are about to have!
What do you think? Plugged or Unplugged?
Children or no children? Many couples debate this for a while before making a decision on if they want to have children at their wedding reception, and it sometimes can be a stressful debate. If the answer is yes, and there are going to be many there under the age of 15, it is great to have a plan in place for the kids, whether it be babysitters, activities, or other fun ideas. Below I have gathered a list of things to keep in mind and plan for children, and the parents of these cuties, on your wedding day.
It is great to have something for the kids to do to keep them busy, especially during cocktail hour and after they are done with dinner. Consider a corner of the room with games, puzzles, coloring books, etc. Maybe buy some Cape Cod themed activities - shells to paint, sand art, etc. to include them on your destination theme.
Hire someone for activities while the adults eat
If you can, it is so nice for the parents to be able to sit and enjoy their dinner, so hiring a couple of activities “counselors” to take the kids on a scavenger hunt, build sand castles, or play beach games can be such a nice touch. Most larger resorts on the Cape, like Chatham Bars Inn, have activities departments during the in-season and would be more than willing to put together a package for you.
If you would prefer that the kids leave the reception right after dinner, then it is great to offer the parents a list of certified babysitters in the area. This way the kids can still be involved, but can leave to go to bed after having dinner. Cape Cod weddings can check out www.summersitters.comor www.careforkidsinc.com.
All reception locations and caterers offer kids meals at a lower cost to you. Options are usually chicken fingers and fries, mac and cheese or pizza. Be sure to let your venue know ahead of time how many kids and what you need for them, as most likely the youngsters will not want the filet and fish, and I am sure you don’t really want to pay $100+ a head for it!
If there is a space at your venue you can dedicate for children, it would be awesome to bring in some babysitters and rent a screen and projector to watch movies! What fun for the kids and what a relaxing time for their parents!
Buckets O’ Fun
If the kids are going to stay at the reception most of the evening it is best to provide some fun things for kids to do throughout the evening. Some ideas are coloring books, crayons, disposable cameras, candy, mad libs, books, beach toys (if you are on the beach), etc. This will make the kids feel special and the parents relieved that their kids have something to keep them entertained, even if just for 30 minutes!
If you are really having a hard time making the decision about having kids, talk to the parents of those children and get their feedback. Some parents would love an evening out without their children, while others - depending on how far they have to travel - may not want to hire a stranger to babysit. There are lots of factors to consider, but whatever way you choose to go, be sure to provide the parents with information on either sitters or the plans to entertain them during the reception.
Cape Cod is a beautiful place to get married with all sorts of ranges of locations to suit your vision and your budget. When starting to research venues, be sure you have a set budget in mind, as the reception location, food and drink will be the most costly portion of your planning. Here are some tips on keeping the budget down without having to do a lot of negotiating.
May venues on the Cape offer discounted rates in the off-season - November-March. If you do not have your heart set on a beach ceremony or beach photos, having a wedding in the off-season on the Cape can be absolutely beautiful. And if you love the winter and are hoping for a “White Wedding”, the winter months can be stunning, especially because a lot of the venues will be decorated for the holidays. Also, many vendors may also offer seasonal discounts, as it is so quiet we are always looking for off-season business!
Saturday weddings are the most expensive day of the week to get married, especially in July and August. If you are open to a Friday or Sunday wedding, you have more flexibility with venues and what they will charge for food, rental fees and more. Friday weddings are definitely becoming more popular. You may not be able to get pricing down on a photographer, DJ or planner for a Friday or Sunday wedding, but saving at the reception location will allow for more wiggle room with your other vendors.
Call me crazy, but weekday weddings are also a great option. Seeing that venues and vendors hardly ever book weekday weddings, you almost have the upper hand when booking. If you are having a destination wedding and most guests are coming from out of town or from out of the country, why not have a Monday wedding? Worth looking into!
Renting a House with a Tent
Many brides come to me with a small budget and think that renting a house and putting up a tent will be the cheaper option. Depending on the size of your guest list this could be possible, but more than likely it can be the same price or more expensive when comparing to a venue. Caterers, bathrooms, rentals of linens, chairs, tables, china, glassware and more can add up quickly! If you do go this route, I highly recommend talking to a planner to help to keep everything organized and managed the day of the event.
With the explosion of Pinterest, many brides are finding great ideas and going the DIY (Do It Yourself) route for centerpieces, favors, escort cards, etc. This can help you to save hundreds of dollars (although it will cost you some time) if you are creative and have friends or relatives that would be willing to help you put it all together. Again, you do not want to be doing all of the DIY elements the day of the event, so look into hiring someone to execute all of your vision.
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!
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.