Did you or someone you know get engaged over the holidays? It’s a popular time of year to pop the question and Martha’s Vineyard is a popular place to tie the knot. After all, can you imagine a more charming, romantic and unique place to say “I do?” From our beautiful beaches to rolling hills, rustic locations and chic abodes, there’s no better place to celebrate your forever. If you’re dreaming of an Island wedding and ready to start tackling what’s next, we’ve rounded up our tips on initial steps for planning the perfect affair on Martha’s Vineyard, big or small.
Pick a Date or Time of Year
Martha’s Vineyard is a dynamic place that can change significantly from season to season. Generally speaking “wedding season” takes place in the fall and in the spring, when the weather is a bit cooler, vendors are more accessible, and great deals can be had on venues and lodging. If a summer wedding is what you've always dreamed of, you’ll want to plan far in advance as many vendors will book up early and possibly charge a premium for peak season rentals and accommodations. Winter can make for a beautiful event but keep in mind that many businesses and vendors operate seasonally, so be patient when reaching out if you are not receiving automatic responses.
Additionally, weather is a consideration in any location and a Martha’s Vineyard destination wedding can be even more weather sensitive, as windy days can bring ferry cancellations and other obstacles. No matter the time of year you choose for your Martha’s Vineyard wedding, the natural landscape of the Island will provide a fabulous backdrop for your nuptials, rain or shine.
Select a Location
Location, location, location. If you’ve selected Martha’s Vineyard as your wedding location you’ve already selected one of the most beautiful places in the world, congratulations! Now you need to think about the type of environment you envision yourself getting married. Are you looking for a casual, beachy vibe or a more elegant affair?
If the former is what you envision, consider the oceanside Allen Farm in Chilmark, the Sailing Camp in Oak Bluffs, or the Grange Hall or Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. For more formal events the Dr. Daniel Fisher House, Old Whaling Church, Harbor View Hotel and Winnetu Oceanside Resort offer beautiful properties with pristine landscaping and graceful and stylish digs. Other popular locations include the Vineyard’s historic lighthouses, many of which, including the Edgartown Lighthouse, East Chop Lighthouse, and Aquinnah Lighthouse, are available for private events.
Talk to a Wedding Planner
If we can offer one piece of advice, especially to those brides and grooms who do not call Martha’s Vineyard home, it’s to consider a wedding planner. Whether your budget allows you a full-service wedding planner or a more affordable day-of coordinator, the value of wedding planners on Martha’s Vineyard cannot be overstated. These trained professionals are well connected to vendors, know how to navigate the challenges of unpredictable circumstances that may arise, and work incredibly well under pressure. Whether you’re planning a large wedding of 200+ guests or a Martha’s Vineyard elopement there’s a pro ready to help set you up for success. Browse our directory of local wedding pros here.
Consider How You’ll Get Here...
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Martha’s Vineyard is a true Island, and is accessible by boat or plane only! This means your guests will need to accommodate these factors in their planning and it’s on you to guide them appropriately. When it comes to water travel, the Steamship Authority is the Island’s year-round ferry service and the only fleet that accommodates cars.. Reservations are needed if you or your guests would like to bring a car to the Island. Available space can book-up months in advance, especially in the summer, so plan accordingly. Direct flights to Martha’s Vineyard are available year-round from Boston, New York, NY and Nantucket, and the summer months welcomes direct flights from Washington D.C. and, new in 2020, from Charlotte, NC and Philadelphia, PA.
...and Where You’ll Stay
While getting here is half the fun, once you’re on-Island you’ll need a place to stay. For large groups and wedding blocks consider one of our local hotels including the Summercamp hotel on Oak Bluffs harbor, or the Hob Knob, Harbor View Hotel, Edgar Hotel and Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown. Some of our historic inns function as wedding venues as well, allowing you to stay and celebrate on property, such as the Beach Plum Inn, Outermost Inn and Captain Flanders House. Many large groups prefer to rent private homes to accommodate guests and our local rental agencies can help recommend the perfect location for your guests. Many homeowners also rent their homes through WeNeedaVacation.com, VRBO, HomeAway and AirBnb as well, allowing you all of the comforts of home at various places across the Island.
Communicate to Your Guests
Once you’ve determined your date, location and lodging we recommend creating a wedding website with all pertinent information as soon as possible for you to share with your guests. Given the additional logistics involved in getting here and the advanced reservations that are often required, you’ll want to make sure your guests can start planning their stays right away. Feel free to share any and all of the helpful content from our website to help inform both yourself and your guests. Good luck and remember to keep calm and plan on!
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