Sand Dunes and Salty Air: Wedding Destination Cape Cod

With miles of coastlines and quaint villages, Cape Cod offers a romantic and beautiful backdrop for a destination wedding. It has sand dunes, beaches and an extensive art scene. Venues encompass every style from elegant ballrooms to cozy cottage colonies, formal gardens to wild rosa rugosa. The Cape also has a wide variety of accommodations in every price range and is easily accessible by car, bus or train.

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A walk as husband and wife amongst the grounds of Chatham Bars Inn.

“The options for actually celebrating your day here are really endless,” says Kristen Mitchell Hughes, vice president of marketing at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. “We have traditional reception sites. You could have a beach ceremony or a clambake and then there are unique venues like the dinner train or one of our museums. You could even get married on a boat.”

For those seeking an outdoor wedding, the scenery is uniformly gorgeous and yet diverse because each town is unique. Those planning smaller weddings might want to consider a ceremony at Nobska Lighthouse overlooking Vineyard Sound in Falmouth. Also in Falmouth, Spohr Gardens is a beautiful, natural location that allows ceremonies on a small dock on Oyster Pond.

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The Windmill Garden in spring at the Heritage Museums & Gardens.

In Sandwich, the boardwalk is a dramatic site that offers gorgeous photo opportunities, while the historic Hoxie House books weddings on their side lawn overlooking a freshwater pond. Other venues for those who love historic sites are windmills, such as the Jonathon Young Windmill on the shores of Town Cove in Orleans or the Judah Baker Windmill with views of Bass River in South Yarmouth.

Cape Cod Opener_Wychmere Harbor in spring

Wychmere Harbor in spring.

Art lovers might consider the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, also in South Yarmouth. The former bank has period details and has been fully restored with a main lobby and smaller adjoining rooms, including the old vault. The Cape Cod Museum of Art integrates local art and culture with elegant art galleries, boasting high ceilings and a stunning sculpture garden perfect for photographs.

“It can be challenging to plan a wedding in a place you don’t live, but we’ve got top-of-the-line local vendors who can really provide an excellent experience for couples who don’t know where to start with their planning,” says Hughes. “We have fantastic wedding planners. We have caterers who incorporate the local food into their menus and photographers who really know the best locales to capture the special day.”

Those who want a more traditional wedding will have no problem finding the right venue. There are a multitude of country clubs and restaurants that provide luscious settings, either beachside or in award- winning gardens surrounded by hydrangeas, roses and other perennial beauties.

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A couple relaxes outdoors at the Dan’l Webster Inn, one of the Cape’s many scenic wedding venues that also include on-site lodging accommodations.

Highfield Hall in Falmouth is a fully restored historic, Queen Anne style mansion built in the 1870s with architectural details that include a sweeping grand staircase. The first floor of the mansion and the landscaped grounds are available for weddings. Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee has a beautiful ballroom with wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking gorgeous grounds with willow trees, ponds, waterfalls and an iconic red barn, perfect for photographs. The ballroom can accommodate up to 275 guests.

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Sunset at Linnell Landing in Brewster.

Chatham Bars Inn is one of the most exquisite wedding venues on Cape Cod, and it has a setting for every taste. Their Beach House is an ideal location for an ocean-side reception. The South Lawn is the perfect site for a tented reception at the water’s edge. Smaller weddings are held at the Boat House, which is just steps from the beach with panoramic views of the water. Those who are looking for a more formal reception will prefer the Monomoy Ballroom, with its soaring ceilings and chandeliers.

“Chatham Bars Inn has timeless character and magnificent ocean views and is a year round destination,” says Clarissa Davis, director of catering. “You can have an elegant, toes-in-the-sand beach wedding in the summer and a magical wedding with roaring fireplaces in the winter.”

 Written by Laurie Higgins

Article published in Southern New England Wedding Destination 2013 edition.

Read about similar wedding venues in Newport, Rhode Island.


Treat yourself, and your guests, to a top-of-the-line stay:

CHATHAM BARS INN                                             DAN’L WEBSTER INN & SPA 
297 Shore Rd., Chatham                                           149 Main St., Sandwich
508-945-0096                                                             508-888-3622

1 S Shore Dr., South Yarmouth                               82 Bradford St., Provincetown
508-398-6941                                                            508-487-6767

27 S Summer St., Edgartown


These activities will keep guests busy for days leading up to the main wedding event. Or perhaps, as a fun rehearsal dinner alternative?

Sunsets and Sunrises
Cape Cod has the unique distinction of offering a waterfront view of both the sunrise and sunset. Early risers will want to head to the ocean or Nantucket Sound to take it all in.

Adventure Chatham
For those who love outdoor fun, Adventure Chatham has stand up paddleboard lessons, rentals and tours, including their new nighttime glow tours with LED-lit paddleboards. They also rent kayaks and beach cruiser bicycles.
1150 Queen Anne Rd., East Harwich; 800-809-1750.

Art’s Dune Tours
Guests can book an individual tour of the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District or take a journey to explore Race Point Light. Group tours are also available as well as sunset tours with a clambake or barbecue.
4 Standish St., Provincetown; 508-487-1950.

Willowbend has 12 high-end guest villas with Jacuzzis, Bose stereo systems and fireplaces for bridal parties and their families to rent. Golfers will enjoy the country club’s 27 holes of championship golf. Tennis enthusiasts will love the six HarTru tennis courts and center court stadium and the 13,000 square foot state of the art fitness center offers personal trainers and classes like Zumba, Pilates and spinning. There is also an Olympic-sized outdoor pool, and an adjoining “social pool” as well as a fabulous restaurant.
130 Willowbend Dr., Mashpee; 508-539-5000.

Heritage Museums & Gardens
Includes three different museums: the Automobile Gallery, the Art & Carousel Gallery and the Special Exhibition Gallery, which features a new exhibition every season. Children will love Hidden Hollow, a two-acre outdoor discovery area and families will also enjoy the labyrinth and Hart Family Garden Maze.
67 Grove St., Sandwich; 508-888-3300.

The Beachcomber
Located just steps from the sandy dunes of Cahoon Hollow Beach, The Beachcomber is a must-visit summer destination for music lovers. It’s a go-to spot for nightlife on the Outer Cape with live bands and a dance floor, but they also serve festive cocktails like their famous Goombay Smash and fabulous food including an awesome raw bar.
1120 Cahoon Hollow Rd., Wellfleet; 508-349-6055.

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