As the last of our July 4th houseguests piled into their cars and pulled out of the driveway, I put the last of the 10 loads of towels and sheets in the dryer and began anticipating the next big event happening in just five short days.
For us “summer people” who call the Cape home for the summer months, so many of our lives’ most precious memories and milestones are made here in the place we love so much.
That being said, it was no surprise that on July 4th, 2015, as the sun rose over Vineyard Sound, my niece’s boyfriend proposed to her on the beach she spent every summer of her life on.
Joyously, back at the house we celebrated the engagement. They announced they really wanted to have the ceremony on July 9, 2016. She dreamed her whole life of someday getting married on the Cape at the house, so the next day, like a runaway train, wedding plans were in full swing.
A July wedding on the Cape takes careful planning as venues, and rentals, book up very quickly.
Beginning in June and every weekend throughout the summer you see weddings on the beaches or at Bourne Farm, or at the Historical Society garden. Tents are set up on the properties of private homes, even at Nobska Lighthouse, although that is for intimate weddings of 30 or less. The limos, vintage cars and even white trolleys are often seen in front of the town’s churches.
My brother and sister were both married at the Congregational Church on the Green and had their receptions at the Yacht Club. Knowing that weather on the Cape is always unpredictable, no one anticipated a hurricane the day before my brother’s wedding! Hurricane Gloria slammed into the coast as a Category 1 storm! Plans had to be changed as there was no electricity. We all watched the tables from the Clam Shack float down Clinton Ave. The next day the church bells rang, the band played acoustically and it was a great wedding—one that no one would soon forget!
I got married and we had our reception at our home almost 25 years ago to the day that my niece would be carrying on the traditions of being married on the Cape.
My niece knew exactly the kind of wedding she wanted. A “Shabby Chic seaside wedding.” My sister and I were more than happy to help out as the “Wedding Planners.”
The year leading up to the wedding, we worked to get the house in shape, from painting interior to exterior to landscaping. For the cocktail hour on the patio we decided we would use vintage furniture. While on the hunt for the perfect pieces I found some great flea market finds that I whitewashed with chalk paint. A couple of my favorite finds included a beautiful 1900s Victorian sofa I bought for $50 at an estate sale in Osterville that I covered in burlap, along with a 100-year-old loveseat, tattered with age. I kept its original cotton fabric and added rose petals on the top of it for a romantic look. It worked out beautifully for photos; keep in mind, in staging a wedding, always think of vignettes that will work for photos.
Another find was a vintage door I chalk-painted and decorated with shells and roses hanging on a handmade sign of barn wood that simply said “Joy,” which along with a large hydrangea wrapped in burlap and tulle welcomed guests as they entered the walkway over the front door. We hung our great-grandparents’ chandelier at the front door.
We used New England Country rentals for whitewashed antique pews, wooden chairs, and we used wine barrels instead of tables and chalk-painted mason jars white, tied burlap around them and filled them with pale pink roses. Shepherd’s hooks with baby’s breath balls tied with burlap lined the walkway that led to the arbor her fiancé built out of birch for them to be married under. Courtney from Courtney’s Floral Creations enhanced it with roping and roses.
Another cool thing that many of you planning weddings may not know: my nephew, the bride’s brother, was able to get a one-day permit to be able to officiate the wedding ceremony, which was amazing and made the ceremony extra special.
The rehearsal dinner was catered on board the Liberte leaving Falmouth Harbor for a three-hour sail. This was great and so typical of the Cape!
On July 9, after days of praying for good weather, the rain held off. After the beautiful heartfelt ceremony filled with so much love, the newlyweds and their wedding party were picked up at our dock and taken to the reception at the Flying Bridge.
My niece had the fairy-tale wedding she had dreamt of all her life at the family home, surrounded by an abundance of love with family and friends in the place she loves… the Cape
For photographs and all the local vendors used, please go to my Nancy August Interiors Facebook page.