A world-class wedding destination, Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard conjure images of moonlit walks and burning sunsets along serene shores that stretch for miles. “I think it’s a romantic destination,” says Allison Wildes Liset, an event planner and the owner of Elegant Engagements, about why so many brides and grooms get married here. She adds, “A lot of people have a connection to the area, whether it’s because their family has a summer home or they went on vacation here or got engaged here. People are nostalgic.”
It’s no wonder that people are drawn to these shores. Filled with as much character as there is sand, the Cape is comprised of 15 unique towns sprawled across four distinct areas: upper, mid, lower and outer. For such a small area, a little more than 400 square miles, the Cape offers a whole lot of variety within a short distance, from wedding venues and accommodations to historic sites and wholesome entertainment.
“Cape Cod provides a mini vacation for their guests and an extended honeymoon spot without traveling to a second destination after the wedding,” says Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. According to Liset, frequently a destination wedding on the Cape or Islands becomes a three- or four-day event, which can include fun group outings such as whale watches, sunset cruises, or even holding the rehearsal dinner aboard a chartered boat. But there is also plenty for land lovers to do too, from bike riding and golfing to walking along the shop-filled main streets and visiting local museums. Cape Cod has “small village charm with tremendous recreational opportunities that will create memories for a lifetime,” shares Northcross.
Sharing a lot of similarities to the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard also make ideal wedding destinations, with their beautiful beaches, sense of history and romantic atmosphere. Martha’s Vineyard, a scant 25 miles east to west and 9 miles north to south, has several towns, which, much like the Cape, have their own personalities. Edgartown, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs are the largest with the most amenities, with the more private and rural “up-Island” towns of West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah located to the west. Nantucket has a bustling downtown scene with award-winning restaurants and quaint little shops along historic cobblestoned streets. The outskirts of town, of course, are less populated and more private. This year National Geographic named Nantucket the best island in the world. Since this corner of the world is such a popular locale to plan a wedding, there is a wide array of wedding vendors, venues and planning professionals to choose from at a variety of price points. Liset insists, “Everyone can afford to get married on the Cape.” It is just a matter of planning, she says. Available wedding venues include historic inns, private homes, large resorts, elegant hotels and even some less traditional sites (see sidebar) in every town—all at a range of rates.
Big or small, formal or informal, traditional or non-traditional, the Cape and Islands make a memorable destination for all weddings, with its unparalleled mix of history, romance and natural beauty.
Venues & Accommodations
Since more and more people who plan or attend a wedding on Cape Cod or the Islands are looking to make a mini vacation out of the celebration, here are a few wedding venues in the area that also offer on-site lodging accommodations:
Chatham Bars Inn: 297 Shore Rd., Chatham; 508-945-0096
The Coonamessett Inn: 311 Gifford St., Falmouth; 508-548-2300
Red Jacket Beach Resort: 1 South Shore Dr., South Yarmouth; 508-398-6941
Harbor View Hotel & Resort: 131 North Water St., Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard; 508-627-7000
The Nantucket Hotel + Resort: 77 Easton St., Nantucket; 508-228-4747.
Unique Ceremony Sites
For those brides and grooms who are looking for a ceremony site that is a little more off the beaten path, there are plenty of options. Here are just a few:
Spohr Gardens: A parade of flowers and greenery for a storybook romance. (45 Fells Rd., Falmouth: 508-548-0623)
East Chop, Edgartown and Gay Head Lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard: Quintessential New England icons to spotlight your monumental occasion:
Bourne Farms: Rustic and laid back. Proceeds from the site rental are donated to the non-profit Salt Pond Areas Bird Sanctuaries. (6 North Falmouth Highway, Falmouth; 508-548-8484)
Land’s End Inn: Funky and unique at the furthest end of the Cape.( 22 Commercial St., Provincetown; 508-487-0706)
West Parish of Barnstable: Exchange vows in the historic, colonial church built in 1717, where Abigail Adams would come hear pre-Revolutionary War rhetoric delivered from the pulpit. (2049 Meetinghouse Way, West Barnstable; 508-362-4445)