Cape Magic

An hour later, the bride and her six attendants began to dress in an old-fashioned Cape house nearby, rented for the week by the bride’s family. The crowd of girls—who had traveled for this day from Florida, Georgia, and even Switzerland—had their hair swirled or braided into up-dos. The bridesmaids’ floaty slate blue linen dresses from Free People made a serene background for the bride’s hand-fashioned gown of silk organza and Alencon lace.

The bridal bouquets arrived, designed and hand-tied by the groom’s mother and her best friend. At the bride’s request, each bouquet included one vibrant dahlia from her mother’s beautiful perennial gardens in Orleans. The bridal party and the mother of the bride helped button up dozens of tiny silk buttons cascading down the back of the bride’s gown and got on their knees to help her with strappy silver shoes.

Every moment was captured by well-known Cape Cod photographer Dan Cutrona and his wife, Amy, whose cameras didn’t stop clicking for the next 10 hours. Down Route 6A, less than a mile away, the groom and his ushers donned gray suits, regiment ties in slate blue with muted orange stripes and waited for their boutonnieres to arrive. The groom, his father—and his best man—and the ushers shared a fortifying toast of bourbon.

Cape Magic

A crowd began to gather at the West Barnstable Parish Church, the oldest church on Cape Cod, first built in the early 1700s. The simple yet elegant structure has been through several reconstructions over the centuries, but its meetinghouse-style interior of encircling balconies around an altar shaped like a ship’s brow, still contains ancient wooden beams and a wooden floor worn pale with the passing of worshippers feet—and those of silver-footed brides.

As the 200 guests filled the wooden pews, the groom and his ushers waited before the soaring altar flanked by enormous windows. The crowd waited, watching the clouds roll by. The church organist played songs meaningful to the bride and groom and their families, including “Simple Gifts” and “Ave Maria.”

When the old wooden doors at the back of the church opened for the bride, she seemed to glimmer, standing bright and lovely beside her father. Was it the color of her dress, her blonde hair beneath a flowing veil? Or was that sunlight peeking through the cloud cover?

The yearning melody of the second movement from Dvorak’s “New World Symphony”—the groom’s parents’ bridal song 35 years earlier—filled the church. The groom smiled. And a few moments later, just as the bride and groom clasped hands and exchanged vows, the sun broke through the cloud cover, filling the church with light.

There were many more magical moments later that day during a glorious, summer-warm reception under a cloudless blue sky—with gentle winds from the southwest. The crowds arrived from the church to the delicious scent of fresh fish, lamb, and vegetables cooking over a wood fire. Westport caterers, Smoke & Pickles, worked with local vendors including Cape Cod Package Store and Cape Cod Beer, to make the day a uniquely Cape celebration. A close friend of the bride’s father, Arthur Tripp Grohe, was the event coordinator. “Tripp oversaw the seamless flow of events, which allowed Bob and I to enjoy the day without a single worry,” said the mother of the bride.

Such personal, heartfelt attention to detail contributed to the success of the entire wedding from start to finish. “It meant a lot to us to be able to celebrate this day with our close friends and family in a beautiful outdoor setting with fresh locally sourced food, great music, and personal touches from family and friends,” said the bride.

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Susan Dewey is the associate publisher and editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. She lives in Centerville on Cape Cod and enjoys gardening, sailing, walking on the beach, gallery hopping, cooking with fresh seafood, and exploring Cape Cod and the Islands from shore to shore.

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