bride and groom with bouquet flowers

So You’re Planning a Cape Cod Wedding

Thursday, May 23, 2019

There are lots of decisions to make when planning a wedding, and each decision will inform and influence other choices along the way. By deciding on a Cape Cod wedding, you’ve already taken a big step toward your big day.

Here are some important considerations when you’re planning a wedding on Cape Cod.

Best Time of Year to Get Married on Cape Cod

bride and groom on the beach

If you have your heart set on a specific date or time of year, some of the challenges below will have less of an impact your decisions. But they’re still important to keep in mind when planning your Cape Cod wedding.

Getting married on Cape Cod in the spring or fall tends to be less expensive than in the summer tourist season. Hotels are less likely to require a two-night minimum, giving you more options and flexibility.

You can also expect less traffic than you will experience during the peak vacation months of June, July, and August.

Most businesses will be open from mid to late April through October, but make sure to confirm availability, especially if you decide to get married during the winter months.

Finding a Location for Your Cape Cod Beach Wedding

wedding cake decorated with peach and white flowers

There are plenty of beaches on Cape Cod where you can get married. Some wedding venues have beachfront property where you can exchange vows.

It may be much less expensive to get married on a public beach, but you will need to check with the specific town regarding availability, restrictions, necessary permits, and any associated fees. Some locations may limit the number of guests, time of day when your wedding and reception can take place, and whether alcohol is permitted.

For example, at Parker’s River Gazebo in Yarmouth overlooking the beach, weddings must be held after 4 pm, while at Bass Hole/Gray’s Beach weddings must conclude by dusk. And the picturesque Judah Baker Windmill can only accommodate 20 people or less.

Available amenities also vary widely. Packet Landing Pavilion along the Bass River has a beautiful pavilion with open air deck and public restrooms. For weddings in any season, Lorusso Lodge at Flax Pond offers 2,000 sq.ft. of indoor event space, as well as outdoor pavilions and a gazebo.

Choosing Accommodations for Your Cape Cod Wedding

If you have a long guest list, you may well find yourself limited in your choice of venues and places to stay, especially during the height of tourist season.

Regardless of where you hold your ceremony, consider staying in Yarmouth, MA where you are more likely to be able to find accommodations for a larger number of people. Its central location makes it convenient for your guests to go just about anywhere on the Cape. In Yarmouth, you will find just about any type of accommodations to suit yourself and your guests, including resorts, hotels, bed & breakfasts, rental cottages, camping, and even pet-friendly options.

Unique Things to Consider for Your Cape Cod Wedding

partial view of a windmill blade

There are a few unique considerations to keep in mind when planning your Cape Cod wedding.

Make sure to ask about noise ordinances. Some towns have a noise curfew when your musicians will need to unplug. Or you may need to have acoustic music for the entire reception.

Off-Cape vendors may have a surcharge or additional fees for their travel time. Consider hiring local wedding vendors to keep things simple.

Getting a Marriage License for Your Cape Cod Wedding

As mentioned above, there may be permits and fees necessary if you’re getting married on a public beach. Plus, there may be restrictions on whether alcohol can be served.

When you’re making your plans for the big day, don’t overlook the most important piece – your marriage license.

sign on a car reading just married

In Massachusetts, you should be able to apply for your marriage license in any town, not just the one where you will be tying the knot. Marriage license requirements vary by town, however, so make sure you have the most up-to-date information about Massachusetts marriage license requirements.

While you do not have to be a state resident to get married in Massachusetts, both you and your future spouse will need to apply for your marriage license in person. You will both have to show a valid government-issued photo ID.

There is a three-day waiting period after you file your intent to wed before you receive your marriage license, so be sure to leave yourself enough time before the wedding. Your marriage license is good for 60 days.

After your wedding, your officiant must sign the license and return it to where it was issued.

Planning Your Perfect Day and Other Celebrations

Whatever your vision for your Cape Cod wedding, with a little preparation you’re sure to have a memorable day. And as you make your wedding plans, consider holding other festivities–like your wedding shower, bachelor or bachelorette parties, honeymoon, and even future anniversary getaways–on Cape Cod.