What’s Meant to be
Brooke and Patrick Fitzgerald tie the knot on a spectacular summer day at Dowses Beach, giving true meaning to the phrase, “What’s meant to be, will be.”
“We just wanted to be married!” enthuses Brooke Littleton—now, Fitzgerald—about her recent wedding. June 13th, 2020 was a date Brooke and her husband, Patrick, had been looking forward to for almost two years since their engagement in November of 2018. Of course, fate is fickle—something the whole world has come to understand in 2020, and Brooke and Patrick could have never anticipated how their well-thought-out plans for a 225-person wedding on Martha’s Vineyard would be impacted. “Making the decision to scale back was hard at first,” says Patrick about the changes the couple made to their big day to comply with state regulations on social gatherings. “But, once we made it, we got excited.” Brooke adds, “We were ready to start our lives together.”
Though they planned for a big event at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, June 13th ended up a more modest affair. “In hindsight, we can’t imagine doing a single thing differently,” says Brooke, who spent the morning of her wedding arranging flowers with her future mother-in-law and stepmother using vases originally intended for her bridal shower (also postponed to now be a post-wedding shower!). “Our day was so special. Yes, there were things, and most importantly people, missing on that day who we would have loved to have been able to be there, but June 13th was still all about us and our decision to become husband and wife. We felt the love from all our guests, near and far, to our very core.”
On a delightful, sunny afternoon, Patrick watched as Brooke made her way down Dowses beach with her father—his favorite part of the ceremony, he says. She wore a silk dress that she ordered online from Reformation—not the ensemble she originally planned, but the perfect mix of elegant and understated for the couple’s beach wedding. “Dowses was always my favorite beach growing up,” explains Brooke, whose family spent as many summers and weekends as possible making the trek to the sandy shores of Cape Cod. “My dad has a home in Centerville now, and whenever we go boating we always have to go past Dowses; those excursions have been extra fun now that we can point and say that’s where we got married.”
Everything seemed to align for Brooke and Patrick’s day. For weeks, the beaches weren’t even open to the public, and the waitlist for marriage licenses seemed insurmountable. However, the couple made it off that waitlist just in time for beaches to again welcome visitors. In fact, Patrick fondly remembers the hoots and hollers of beachgoers as he and Brooke said their vows. “The people on the shore got to be front row. It was really nice having everyone cheer us on,” he says. “And, we had almost 200 people watching via Zoom,” adds Brooke, noting the increasingly useful video conference service. “We made sure the laptop was fully charged, the Wi-Fi hotspot was running, and we even brought back up chargers,” laughs Patrick.
Brooke and Patrick, who initially planned to tie the knot in St. Andrews Episcopal Church on the Vineyard, were married by Brooke’s cousin’s husband, Cameron, and her cousin was her maid of honor. “We’re very close, and he was going to be at the wedding anyways,” laughs Brooke about their last-minute officiant. “We knew he would do a great job, and he helped us make sure the ceremony was perfect. In fact, the couple credit their family for helping create such a special day. “When we first decided to scale back, everyone pitched in with ideas,” explains Patrick. “It was cool to have everyone play their part—my mom brought the cake, Brooke’s mom brought the flowers and candles to set up the ‘alter’ at the beach, her stepmom brought the flowers for the dinner, her aunt brought the bouquet, and her mom and cousin helped her get ready. It made it really special that everyone banded together to contribute.”
After the ceremony, the party returned to Brooke’s father’s house along the Centerville River for a plated dinner, provided by Cape Cod Private Chef. “It was really nice that we were able to spend significant time with each of our guests,” says Brooke. “We wouldn’t have had that quality time with our original plan.” With kids crabbing on the dock with Brooke’s dad and a first dance on the deck of his home, Brooke and Patrick say there was no thought of what could have been. “The way we thought of it was that life is short. Nothing is guaranteed. I knew I would never regret marrying Patrick—only ever not marrying him,” says Brooke. “We just felt so happy and grateful for a gorgeous day with our loved ones and were so excited to finally be getting married. This is just our story.”
Brooke and Patrick planned a party for October, but as the couple, who first met somewhat serendipitously through friends on a getaway to the famed Wellfleet OysterFest, have come to learn, everything happens for a reason. They had to make the difficult decision to postpone that celebration as well, but not even 15 minutes later, they had an offer accepted on a home. “Things work out how they are supposed to. We were meant to get married how and when we did,” says Brooke. And, not to worry, the ever-popular Boston Common Band still has a deposit on file for Brooke and Patrick for a later date.
Photographer: Alex Paul Photography
Shoes: Loeffler Randall
Catering: Cape Cod Private Chef
Rentals: Party Cape Cod
Accommodations: Captain David Kelley House