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!)
Looking for something fun to do on a Tuesday night in August?
Join Cape Cod Celebrations with Susan Santangelo, author of Marriage Can Be Murder, Marie Sherman, author of Say I Do! Tales of a Cape Cod Justice of the Peace; and Paulette DiAngi, host of Channel 17’s Love on a Plate, at a champagne and dessert party.
Ice cream from Cape Cod Creamery and champagne will be served.
Tuesday August 14, 2012
Cultural Center of Cape Cod
$30 pp. includes Autographed Copy of Marriage Can Be Murder 20% of the sales will be donated to Cape Cod Hospital Cuda Women’s Health Center – Wilkens Medical Complex for Breast Cancer
RSVP by August 7th to Sandy at 508-775-8144
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!
The week is finally here, you have arrived to the Cape and you have 7 days left to be sure everything you planned will be perfect come the weekend. Here are some items that you should do the week of your wedding to be sure the day will be smooth sailing.
1. Call all of your vendors to confirm. Get them a copy of your time line and review arrival and departure times. Be sure that you have taken care of all final payments as well.
2. Have a final detail meeting at your venue. Meet with your catering manager to finalize the food counts, time line, drop off all set-up items (escort cards, menu cards, favors, guest book, etc.), floor plan, back up plans, etc. If you have a wedding planner, be sure he/she attends this meeting as well.
3. Arrive to the Cape at least 3 days before your wedding. Allow time to get settled, deliver any welcome bags, check in with your venue, etc.
4. Touch base with all of your bridal party to confirm their arrival time to the Cape as well as send them a time line of events for them (where they need to be and when)
5. Have the guys pick up their suits/tuxes if renting
6. Deliver your welcome bags/baskets to your guests
7. Pack for honeymoon if you are travelling immediately after the wedding.
8. Bride & Bridesmaids to get mani/pedis.
9. Have rehearsal ceremony and rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding (or 2 nights before depending on options provided by the ceremony venue and when your bridal party can arrive)
When the morning of your wedding arrives, take the day one moment at a time. Be sure to stop a couple of times during the day and take a deep breath and a mental picture. You want to be able to remember as much as you can and every moment of your day is special. Have fun with your family and friends and relax!!
When planning your wedding, the destination is the first thing to consider. Do you want to stay local or travel to your favorite childhood vacation spot - like Cape Cod? If you are looking to travel, the real question is, is a destination wedding right for you?
How far away are you from your destination location? If you can easily drive 3 hours or less to your destination location, then it is definitely doable. When you have to travel by plane, or drive longer than three hours, it can be difficult to manage all of the details. Hiring a local wedding planner will assist in managing the vendors and details while you plan from afar.
Is your destination location easily accessible for guests? When selecting your destination location be sure that there are many viable options to get your guests to your wedding. Whether it be public transportation, rental cars, private shuttles or boats, be sure that your guests have all of their options ahead of time and that they all know the best and easiest way to get to your wedding. Using your wedding website to show all options is an easy way to get the word out. There are many options on Cape Cod, just be sure your guests are aware of them!
Are there a selection of different accommodation options for all budgets, family sizes, length of stay, etc? When choosing your venue, be sure that there are many different options for your guests accommodations. Your college friends may want the cheap hotel or a rental house and your parent’s friends may prefer a bed and breakfast or a fancier option. Be sure to call around to the hotels in the area to check their availability and to see if they can do a wedding room block for your guests. Also be sure to check on the minimum night stay requirements on weekends, as sometimes there could be a 2-3 night minimum depending on the weekend.
Are you comfortable on the phone? It sounds like a silly question, but since the invention of email lots of people have been putting down the phone in favor of email. If you are going to be planning a destination wedding, you need to feel comfortable picking up the phone and talking to your vendors. It will give the vendors a sense of who you are and instead of waiting around for an email to be answered you can make decisions more rapidly.
Are you taking into consideration busy travel weekends? When planning a wedding at a destination over a holiday weekend, especially on the Cape, you may want to take into consideration the travel details of getting your guests to your wedding. Some locations start their peak seasons over certain holiday weekends or school vacation periods. You do not want to make your guests deal with a ton of traffic getting to or from your destination or have them pay high prices for airfare or hotels rooms if you can help it.
How organized are you? Planning any wedding requires a bit of organization, but having a destination wedding means that you really need to be on top of everything. When living far from your wedding location, you only get so many chances to visit your venue and vendors. This means that you will have to be sure you get all of your questions answered and all of your vendor meetings in while you are there. It could include cake and food tastings, rental decisions, officiant/ceremony meetings, accommodation research, etc. Just be sure that you have a really good wedding binder to organize everything! Or once again, this is another great reason to hire a local wedding planner to manage everything for you!
Although there are many very important vendors taking part in your wedding day, I would say that the photographer is right up there for one of the most important. The photographer will spend most of his or her day with you while you are getting ready all the way to the very end, and let’s face it, the photos taken the night of your wedding will be one of the only ways you can look back and see what a fun time you had.
When choosing your photographer there are many different aspects to consider, but here is a list of the top things you may want to keep in mind while researching.
Personality - As I mentioned above, your photographer will really be spending a lot of time with you the day of your wedding. Be sure that you feel comfortable with him or her and that your personalities mesh well. You want to meet your photographer in person before you book, or at the least talk to him or her on the phone to get a sense of who they are and start to build a relationship right off the bat.
Style - There are many different styles of photography that can be used to capture your wedding day. Photojournalistic, Traditional/Formal, Artistic and more. Be sure to research different types of styles to see what fits your vision, it will definitely make it easier to narrow down your options.
Package - Does their package include one or two photographers? It is great to have 2 on hand to capture every angle of the wedding, especially when you and your fiance are getting ready at 2 different locations. Do you get to have rights to the images and print them on your own? It used to be hard to come by, but now most photographers will give you all of your images on DVD a couple of months after the event so that you can print them on your own.
Cape Cod Knowledge - How well does your photographer know the Cape, your venue, and the great intimate locations for photos? Be sure that when you hire a photographer they are familiar with your venue, or that they make themselves familiar with it before shooting your wedding. They should know ahead of time where your formals will be taken, where they will get that quick sunset shot, etc. The last thing you want is for him or her to be trying to find locations for photos the day of the event while you and your bridal party are itching to get to cocktail hour.
I had the absolute pleasure of working with Karen and Sean over the past 9 months planning their wedding atOcean Edge and on May 5th their vision came together quite perfectly, with the exception of a little mist!
Their day began with hair and make-up for the ladies with Lisa George and her team (have I mentioned I love them?!) and Samantha, of Samantha Melanson Photography, arrived to take some photos of the girls getting ready.
With a last minute ceremony location change, to keep the guests out of the mist that would not go away, everything went off without a hitch! Thanks to Faith Lavender for officiating such a beautiful ceremony!
Behind the scenes my assistant Mandee and I were setting up all of Karen & Sean's fun details, from beautiful birch wood escort card holders and family photos, to golf ball lollipop favors and Cinco de Mayo props for late night dancing! Meredith Fancy provided all of the gorgeous flowers - bright pink peonies - I can't wait to show you photos of all of the details!
The night came to a close with a sparkler exit to Bayzo's Pub where guests were greeted with late night cookies and coffee! Too much fun and what a great group of people!
"You are unbelievable! I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!! We are so appreciative of your tireless efforts to manage all the details, logistics and your graceful versatility to ensure our day was PERFECT and SPECIAL. You are truly a master at your craft and exceeded all of our expectations. My friends, family, SEAN and I are sooo appreciative of you and your team. Thank you for all of your referrals and time. I will miss working with you and had the time of life!- THANK YOU"
- Karen & Sean, Ocean Edge, May 2012
I had the pleasure of working with Jessica and Alex for a year planning their wedding on Cape Cod. They choseWequassett for their setting and booked a great team of vendors (all from my preferred vendor list!) to complete their day.
It was a sunny, chilly day in Harwich, just perfect for an April Cape wedding. The couple worked with Sarah Fantom Photography for their pictures, Scott from Murray Hill Talent as their DJ, Patrice Milley as their florist,Dulce Press for their paper products, Trolleys by Tes for their transportation and Lisa George and her fabulous team for hair and make-up.
I don't have any sneak peeks of the professional photos yet, but here are some detail shots I took (on my phone!).
More to come on this event once we see the awesome pics from Sarah and her assistant Andrew!
I have some exciting news! I was recently offered the opportunity to blog for the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce new wedding website! With their large wedding initiative on tap for 2012 and beyond, I had to jump on board and help them grow the wedding industry on Cape Cod. I am also assisting with their Cape Cod Beach Brides Facebook page, so if there is anything you are looking to learn about on Cape for your wedding please let me know! You will see my articles on their site and they will continue to be on my blog here as well, so stay tuned!
Oh the dreaded question....Band or DJ?
They are both so different, yet both so similar. Do you want a show or a dance party or a show and a dance party? Or a brass band from Fenway Park or a dance club with disco balls and lighting? Decisions, decisions.
Although I do have a personal opinion, I never make the decision for my couples, but instead I ask them the following questions and give the following insights when faced with this dilemma.
What type of music do you listen to?
How much room does your venue have for dance floor and music?
Are you very particular about the songs you want to hear?
Do you have a list of music that is very atypical for a wedding?
Do you want to be able to hear any song you want at anytime, or possibly be limited?
Do you want to put on a show for your guests?
Pluses of a DJ
- They can play any song you want, at any time, and can download new songs quickly
- They can quickly read the crowd and play any requests (if you allow requests!)
- They can meet with you prior to the event, learn your playlist and customize it to your party
Minus of a DJ
- They can easily sway from your playlist (never to the do not play list of course!) if the crowd takes control and you could miss out on some favorite songs you wanted to hear
Pluses of a Band
- Puts on a show for your guests
- Play mostly dance songs with tons of energy and will interact with your guests
- Can be specific to your genre - jazz, brass band, African, top 40, 80s & 90s dance party, etc.
Minus of a Band
- Can be 2-3 times more expensive than a DJ
There are many differences between a band and a DJ and based off of your answers to the questions above and your take on the pluses and minuses of both, you need to make the best decision for you and your guests. And seeing that you have invited all of your guests to travel to Cape Cod for your beautiful wedding, you want to make sure that your guests have a night to remember!
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.