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Massachusetts-Cape Cod

Seeking advice: The idea of wedding at a vacation home

Hello everyone,

I'm planning a summer 2012 wedding on the Cape, and would love some advice on a venue idea.

We're considering renting a home that can sleep many people (say 15+), and has grounds that are large enough to house a tent etc.  There are a few reasons for this: we'd love a wedding on the beach (or water), and we'll have family coming from out of the country, so planning a bit of a destination / gathering option is important to us. The ceremony/reception will be for about 100-120 guests.

We found one such rental, and I am in love with the venue. But I wonder what we'll be taking on in terms of all the organization. Other venues (Connamesset, Sea Crest, Falmouth Yacht Club, Dennis Inn, etc.) of course deal with so much for you -- catering, tents, linens/china, etc.  Does anyone have an opinion about the merits or drawbacks of the option we're considering? Financially it's not that much different than many full-service venues, but I know that we'd be taking on a lot more leg work. Since I've not done this before I wonder if this will be too much. (We live out of state in NC, but my parents are local. I'm from Falmouth so I'll be familiar with the areas but not the vendors.)

Any advice heartily welcomed. (Hope I can return the favor for some brides before I'm done with this planning!)

Re: Seeking advice: The idea of wedding at a vacation home

  • edited December 2011

    Renting a home was my original plan but it is a ton of work and ended up going with Coonamesett.

    Check out Captain Herman Smith House- sounds like something that you are looking for.


  • GBroc22GBroc22 member
    edited December 2011
    Hi Merv :)
    I had the same idea and similar specifications as to why I wanted to do it.  I have to say, it was incredibly hard to find.  I don't want to discourage you, because I know it can be done, but there are quite a few hoops you'd have to jump through (permits, bathrooms, etc.). 

    We found The Pelham House which proved to be the same idea/feel (right on the water, people could stay on the property), but it eliminated some of the problems.  You can bring in your own caterer, tent, band/dj, whatever...so it allows for a lot of customization.  They don't do a ton of weddings there, and they don't do them in July and August due to people who own timeshares there.  Just another little hint.  They did do a Sunday wedding for us; it was the first time they tried it, and it worked out really well.  Usually they just do one (Saturday) per weekend.  We were a bit late to the game (got engaged actually one year from yesterday), and were able to plan it all in less than 10 months :)

    Good luck with all your planning, and feel free to email me if you have any questions :) [email protected]
  • Lobsters25Lobsters25 member
    1000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    We thought about it, too, and couldn't find the perfect house.

    If you do go with it, make sure there are enough bathrooms that are easily accessible enough without every roaming all over the house.
  • shoreshotz1shoreshotz1 member
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    the bovey house in Chatham!!!  You can get married on the beach (the backyard) and I believe it sleeps 18 pp.  Has a huge kitchen and clambakes etc. does the catering for them. You can have a tent on the property, it is really perfect & beautiful!
  • BunsCheer03BunsCheer03 member
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    My piece of advice would be to hire to wedding planner, they can orchestrate all the vendors working together for you. Party Cape Cod is a rental company(Tent, Linens, that type) and they are tied to Sitting Pretty the wedding planning company. I would give them a call!

  • edited December 2011
    Wonderful. Thanks so much, everyone, for the advice. 

    Going to check out these options this weekend. 

  • edited December 2011
    That is basically what we are doing, at the Overbrook House. All in all, it will prob. be AT LEAST as expensive as a full service place, and about 20x more work, but we were so adimant on the "feel" of the venue, and not being in a place which would rush us in and then back out, we decided to go for it. We are booked for late next September.
  • edited December 2011
    Overbook House looks lovely. Did you consider using a wedding coordinator to help? I don't know much about them yet, but as we check out venues that's on my mind. 

    This weekend we're looking at both full service options and houses (including the Pelham House, GBroc22) so hopefully after this I'll have some sense of the balance between DIY/house options and a package of some kind. 
  • edited December 2011
    I have thought about a planner, but am trying to keep costs down as much as I can- mainly looking at a catorer that can help us with some of the planning.

    Let us know how your search went!

  • edited December 2011
    Hi. Back from touring venues, including a couple of private homes, a few reception facilities, and smaller hotels. We went from a list of 7 options to a new short list of 3 or so...slowly getting to a conclusion. 

    Pelham House was really sweet, GBroc22. The McCarthy family invited us to have breakfast there on Sunday as part of getting to know the place. I definitely had the impression that they'd take good care of us, and that venue is a great way to get all your wedding guests together in one place right by the ocean. 

    We also checked out Sea View in Dennisport. Gail, the manager, is a consummate professional, and I think their set-up is both easy and well designed.  Though I like the idea of guests being able to walk "home" after the event I was less excited about the surrounding hotels. (Soundings, directly across the street, seemed particularly gnatty and really unhelpful in our two conversations.) With some research you might find a better hotel option in walking distance, though. 

    Dennis Inn is really simple. The same people who run Treats catering run that. I felt very comfortable with Brad's experience, and their set-up makes things easy. However it's land locked, so we'd be shuttling folks from Corporation Beach (not impossible, but a drawback). 

    Captain Linnell House in Orleans is beautiful. A great suggestion! A 19th century home-turned-facility with manicured grounds (modeled after the Secret Garden, they say). Owner/manager Shelly is really sharp and on top of things. They're land locked, too, but a 2 minute drive from Skaket Beach, which is really impressive (those long sand bars are amazing, and it's a classic white sandy Cape Cod beach). Or, honestly, the grounds were so striking that we could see passing up the beach wedding bit for that. Their food sounds really top notch, and I was impressed with how straight-forward their pricing was (service charge and tax already baked into an affordable per person rate). 

    Then Falmouth Yacht club. Easy. On the beach. Not necessarily anything very special, but less expensive, too. This is also basically how they described themselves to us, which I thought was funny. 

    And three private homes. Two we could rule out immediately (one had the grounds but the building was a dump; the other a nice home but grounds were too small). The third is probably my favorite option of all because the house is fantastic, and I'm fixated on the idea of a large group getting to spend time together. I know this can be replicated by renting a house and having the event at one of these other places (or with Pelham House), but I like the flexibility of being able to start and stop the ceremony and reception when we like. However, their options on dates have changed, so we need to sort out a new date with key family members that we want to be able to attend. I have also started discussions with caterers to see what we're biting off (ouch! bad pun) by doing the whole thing independently. Read some useful advice about Chef Roland on another thread. (And, to your point, Lobsters25, we would need to rent port-a-potties for our size party.) 

    Beyond this I think Captain Linnell might be our next favorite for the combination of venue and food. But we need to get smart about Orleans. (I'm not from that part of the Cape so no ideas yet about house rentals or accommodations.)

    We'll see....hope to resolve soon. You guys won't be surprised, but we have missed some options because dates have booked at a couple of these venues.  We're ok with Sundays, so that helps. 

    Will let you know how it goes. Any other tips welcome. 

  • edited December 2011
    In case you're wondering: the dramatic conclusion is here. I booked a private home in Woods Hole, Falmouth. Private beach for ceremony, then a huge yard for the tent and reception. Lovely! Plus we will have a week's time there with the people we care most about. Can't wait. 

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