New Beginnings: A Wedding Planning Guide
The Big Day! It may seem at first glance to just be one day, but really it is so much more.
A wedding day is a mix of lifetimes: parents, grandparents, and future generations as well. And it involves many, many days to plan, prepare for and predict everything that is involved in creating that one special day.
Of course it is always important to consult the professionals whenever possible. Starting with the engagement ring, Emily Hamilton from Chatham Jewelers says the days of leaving the decisions up to the groom for engagement rings are over. But how does a savvy bride make sure she gets the ring she wants and as well as one that her fiancé is comfortable with?
“These days, Pinterest is a young bride’s best friend,” Hamilton says. “Most grooms do not want to be responsible for reading their girlfriend’s mind, so a collection of inspiration photos give men a safe route to navigate.” Hamilton suggests young brides-to-be give consideration to the style of the setting (apparently Art Deco is very on trend these days), the shape of the stone, and any other distinctive features such as gemstones. She also recommends that a trip to a jewelry store as a couple is invaluable; not only to determine how the ring looks on the bride’s hand but also so the couple can understand the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) and how it relates to their budget. “Most images on Pinterest are of large stones and it may be unrealistic for most couples as well as possibly unflattering, so understanding the scale of your perfect ring can be accomplished in a store,” Hamilton explains. And for those who truly believe bigger is better, halo settings for example, can highlight a smaller center stone to its best advantage. In the end, like most things it is all about priorities.
Another sticky conversation that may come up at this important time is the consideration of whether a pre-nuptial agreement is appropriate. Orleans Family Law attorney Michael Flores, who recently opened a second office in Sandwich, says despite commonly held assumptions, the decision to create an agreement before marriage allows couples to completely focus on their romance and the new life they are about to build, because the questions about finances are already handled. “People are surprised when I tell them that most of the inquiries for an agreement originate from the father of the bride,” Flores reveals. “It isn’t uncommon for a father to come to me and state they have spent years building something for their family—and it isn’t that they don’t like their future son-in-law, or that they even have any reason to think the relationship won’t endure—they just want to be responsible about what they have provided for their own children.” Flores goes on to say that post-nuptial agreements, either in response to a pre-nuptial, or due to changing assets during the marriage—either positively or negatively—are also gaining momentum these days.
With lots of things to consider—in addition to the color of the napkins and the flavors of the cake—couples these days have more options than ever before. In the following pages we offer up just a few we think will prove helpful for any celebration.
Elegant & Brilliant: Chatham Jewelers
In many ways, Chatham in 1951 was not terribly different than it is today. It was a charming seaside town that attracted generations of families who wanted to spend time in a place that would be the backdrop of memories for years to come. That year, Walter and Pota Meier opened Chatham Jewelers with a commitment to the community they served, a pledge for integrity when dealing with their customers and always a dedication to the highest quality in every product they offered, and always backed by excellent customer service. Today, the third generation of Walter and Pota’s family is still holding strong to those ideals as they prepare to celebrate the store’s 70th anniversary.
Emily Hamilton, Walter and Pota’s granddaughter, is often found in the store assisting and informing customers as they choose the perfect souvenir, remembrance or special occasion piece for a variety of circumstances. “We are a full-service, well-rounded jewelry store. We have such a large and diverse selection of jewelry, weddings are not the only focus of our business,” Hamilton shares. “But we do have everything you need if you are in the market for an engagement ring or wedding band.” Chatham Jewelers’ in-house staff of goldsmiths is available to craft pieces that are entirely born from someone’s imagination or influenced by established trends and fashions. Hamilton, studying to be a gemologist herself, says, “We make and fabricate a lot of our own jewelry including our signature nautical line that is inspired by the Cape and more specifically Chatham.”
In addition to the popular Chatham Jewelers Nautical Collection, they offer a wide array of jewelry for the entire family including colored gemstones and diamonds, sterling silver, gold and platinum pieces. Their extensive line of gold and sterling silver charms make a great gift for someone special at any age, or serve as the perfect thank you gift for wedding parties. Cufflinks for men as well as chunky bracelets and necklaces are very popular these days, according to Hamilton, who truly seems to have found her calling as she provides customers with the guidance and expertise her family business has become known for. “Our goldsmiths are capable of most repairs as well as a wide range of re-designs and new designs,” Hamilton explains. “We have a couple of options a customer can choose. We can hand-fabricate in the shop if that is the route the customer wants to go. I have design software that is interactive so there are endless opportunities to customize an existing idea the client may have, and tweak it to be exactly what they want. With that software, I can pretty much create anything that we can dream of. We then create a 3D color rendering that the customer can review, and then the next step is to generate a cast wax or resin model which again, gives the client a good understanding of exactly how their piece will look and feel. And then the last step is when we set the stones here and personally finish the piece for the client.”
Hamilton says that kind of personal service is very popular among couples that have inherited stones that they want to re-imagine in ways that represent their own story. For 70 years, Chatham Jewelers has anchored Main Street in the quaint and memorable village, as well as served as a resource to help residents and visitors enrich the memories they collect in this special town. The vision the young and energetic couple, Walter and Pota Meier, embraced at the beginning of building their own life is still alive.
5 Tips for Buying Fine Jewelry
- Ask lots of questions! There’s a lot to learn about diamonds and the jewelry you will be wearing every day.
- Don’t be afraid to show your own style when designing your ring or on your wedding day if you want to wear colored stones or pearls.
- When shopping for gifts for the bridal party, ask your jeweler if they offer a discount on multiple purchases of the same item.
- Think about what you want engraved inside your wedding bands before you get them and allow at least two weeks for a hand engraver to do the job.
- Have your rings checked and cleaned by a jeweler the day before the wedding and then every six months thereafter.
Intimate & Nostalgic: The Old Yarmouth Inn
Stepping into the Old Yarmouth Inn immediately gives you that Cape Cod feel. The smell of the wood burning fireplace radiates throughout the cozy building. Owner Sheila FitzGerald and her husband have owned the Inn for 25 years. The Inn certainly deserves to be on the National Register of Historic Places, as it was built in 1696. After falling in love with the Inn years ago, Fitzgerald & her husband decided to make it their own. For 25 years they have worked to maintain the nostalgic feel & inviting atmosphere.
The Old Yarmouth Inn is the perfect destination for any fun couple looking for an intimate and romantic location to celebrate a special occasion, an anniversary, a rehearsal dinner, or even their nuptials. The Inn is accomplished at hosting gatherings from 15-150 people, so whether small and intimate or joyous and celebratory, this venue runs the gamut with their three main rooms: the Dining Room, the Tavern, and the Red Room. The owners renovated the Dining Room 14 years ago by turning the old sun porch into an enclosed and bright hall, where they created a space, with accents in black and white, that is versatile enough to accommodate any bride’s dream wedding. The room seats 90 and extends into the Tavern where a beautiful cork floor can be used as a dance floor. New in 2021, the Inn also has a new outside seating area, perfect for a cocktail hour or an intimate outdoor fete.
The second largest room at the Inn is the Tavern. Wrapping around the back half of the Inn, Fitzgerald describes the Tavern as feeling like an “old English pub.” The wood walls are reminiscent of the inside of a Colonial ship. The lighting in the Tavern is a bit more dramatic, making it cozy and romantic. The Tavern is perfect for any celebration, making memories as an instant gift guests will take home. Maybe it is the sense of history, maybe it is the ambiance provided by the lighting and decor, or maybe it is the attentive, personal service–whatever it is, it is truly a one-of-a-kind and magical room.
The smallest and oldest room in the Inn is the Red Room. Accommodating 20 guests, the Red Room is ideal for a rehearsal dinner or a cozy second wedding for close family and friends. The Red Room’s natural lighting keeps things fresh, while a wood-burning fireplace provides comfort year round.
A Whole House Wedding includes utilization of all three rooms, providing options that are perfect for an occasion with both a younger and older crowd. The Red Room encourages intimate and quiet conversation, while the rustic Tavern is perfect for music and celebration. Combining these with the bright and open Dining Room, especially when paired with the cork dance floor, the Old Yarmouth Inn has the best of all worlds. Diners who look forward to special dinners in the restaurant can confirm the Inn’s reputation for the best quality seafood and traditional American cuisine. Function clients can choose from multiple options that include plated service and attentive passed service of scrumptious treats, as the Inn is able accommodate any menu request.
The Inn truly feels like you are stepping into an old Yarmouth home. FitzGerald and her staff are close, with her own family working by her side as well as employees who have been with the Inn for years. The Banquet Manager, Stacey Macguire, works closely with brides and personally oversees every detail from start to finish.
What really makes the Old Yarmouth Inn the perfect Cape Cod wedding destination is the non-denominational chapel. Just beyond the parking lot and over a small footbridge, the chapel crowns a lush, green field. It is an incredibly rare addition to a location that seemingly already had everything one would need. It seats 70 and as FitzGerald says, it is “really, really romantic.”
The Old Yarmouth Inn sits on Route 6A, where it has stood proudly for 325 years. For generations, this special spot has been the source of memories that last a lifetime. For those in love, it’s a beautiful place to start.
Personalized Resort Approach: Pavilion at Pinehills
Perched on the verdant hills of the Pinehills village community in Plymouth, Massachusetts is The Pavilion–a timeless and romantic venue that offers high quality destination resort service in a consummate and personalized approach. The grandiose clubhouse integrates classic New England and Cape Cod styles within the lofty pine trees and sprawling grounds, providing rustic charm within the naturally crafted scenery.
As guest capacity is 200, The Pavilion is perfectly suited for an intimate yet sumptuous night to remember. With a price range from $11,000–$50,000, “We are happy to make your event as simplistic or grand as you would like,” says Katy Valentine, one of two Events Coordinators at The Pavilion.
Their carefully crafted “I Do” Wedding Package (which can be found on their website) offers a variety of options, from Bridal Lounge and valet services to The Grand Reception Raw Bar Boat and hand crafted floral centerpieces, to a chilled champagne toast as well as a custom wedding cake. “We offer 2 bakeries in our packaging [from] which clients can meet with and design their own personal cake,” explains Katy. “They may also decide to opt out of the preferred bakery and choose their own.” Parties are given the choice of either a plated or station style dining experience; all catering is done in-house by the East Bay Grille, with a lengthy menu that can suit anyone and everyone. Additionally, The Pavilion provides an extensive selection of recommended vendors of varied styles and price points, ranging from alterations, attire and accessories, bands, disc jockeys, photo booths and/or photographers, transportation, and videographers.
The Pavilion website highlights the two central locations for celebratory gathering post-ceremony; moving to the Veranda first, “Guests will sip and sample appetizers on the private open aired veranda overlooking the rolling hills and manicured greens of our two 5 star golf courses. This space offers comfortable sofa sectionals, Adirondack chairs, and a cozy gas fire pit.” For dinner, dancing, and merriment is The Pavilion Room, the center stage for the Reception. The spacious dining room features exposed wooden beams across the vaulted ceiling, walls of windows overlooking the woodlands beyond, warm and golden lighting throughout, and mahogany Chiavari chairs. If weather permits, guests can also enjoy the covered patio and private fire pit.
Contingent on the number of guests and time of year, The Pavilion offers an on-premise location for the wedding ceremony. “Should your wedding ceremony be held on premises, we will assist you in the rehearsal.” The venue provides a location for the wedding ceremony as well, an ivory tent within a garden setting. The Pavilion website elaborates: “The Garden Terrace (available seasonally April–November) has had a recent renovation to make it top-of-the-line and a visual space like none other in the area. The bride makes an entrance down a stone walkway, where vows are exchanged. The proper lighting, fabric treatments and custom made furnishing will bring a classic sophisticated feel to your day. The Cape Cod classic portico walkway invites you into a secluded garden setting with its perimeter lined with low lining blooms, plants and tall pines for intimacy. The space is complete with custom furnishings such as 2 grand wrought iron vintage chandeliers, elegant white fabric draped ceilings, and a white wooden farm door as the central focal point for your ceremony backdrop. The best part is this option is available rain or shine so there is no last minute scrambling should Mother Nature decide on a change of plans.”
The Pavilion is available year-round on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (including Holiday Sundays). Winter weddings offer a beautiful alternative to the busy summer weekends, as the grounds and clubhouse are exquisite and serene settings at any time of the year. 2022 wedding packages are currently available to browse through on their website, as are winter and off-season (November–April) packages and specials.
Creating Delicious Memories: Sagamore Inn
Weddings, anniversaries, showers, milestone birthdays and other special celebrations are all a time to connect, toast and create memories to last a lifetime. But when those events are fortunate enough to take place on the Cape with the backdrop of history, scenery and classic moments all playing their own iconic role, the experiences can become suspended in time. That timeless element is found at The Sagamore Inn, along Old Kings Highway at the beginning of the Cape, just a stone’s throw from the Cape Cod Canal. From the outside, the restaurant that has been the site of decades of family dinners over the better part of the past century, and is that kind of shingle and clapboard building that is reminiscent of childhood trips to your grandparent’s home on the Cape. Current owners Sue and Mike Bilodeau purchased the Inn in 2009 and have invested time, sweat equity, resources and thought into the business to transform the historic location into the polished, hidden jewel it is today.
Sue, who thought she was wrapping up her career in hospitality and restaurant management when someone suggested she consider purchasing the property, convinced Mike, who although had spent his life as a builder on the Cape, found his expertise at making a great cocktail qualified him as a great bartender and a restaurant owner as well. Mike’s real contribution is evident in the clean and classic renovation the restaurant boasts throughout. “Mike is responsible for all of the renovation,” Sue explains. “Not only everything you see, but everything you don’t see. We completely updated the foundation of the business—the kitchen, the bathrooms, the access outside—not only to modernize it, but to be able to scale the operation as well.” Those efforts benefitted the restaurant, but more importantly laid the groundwork for the next phase of the business. In 2019, the Bilodeaus fortuitously installed a 46-foot-by-86-foot Sperry Tent with capacity to accommodate 175 guests in order to provide an outdoor dining option and hopefully a venue for future events. The grounds were meticulously manicured and the outdoor deck was expanded.
In the spring of 2020, as restaurants were forced to close, and private events like weddings and other parties were cancelled across the Cape, the Sagamore Inn found themselves in a unique and enviable place. The tent became a natural solution for the restaurant patrons who were now in search of outdoor dining, but also had the added benefit of becoming an available special event venue. “Suddenly we had a solution for brides who had to scramble to find an outdoor venue for their wedding,” Sue recalls. The business has been so popular, even as restrictions have loosened, that the Bilodeaus now have two full time wedding planners on staff, Beth Ridge and Alisa Anderson. “We aren’t just planners,” Beth explains. “We also execute. Sue has us coordinate the event. We are here, on-site for the bride and her wedding to provide all of the assistance the clients need for their events.”
The executive chef, Peter Bilodeau, has a new kitchen that is dedicated to functions, so as not to compromise either the events or the regular dinner service, and is focused on a high-quality experience for the event clients. Options for service and menus range from plated, passed and station menus including raw bars, a pizza station, a buffet, or as Beth says, “Anything anyone can dream of, since that’s the business we are in, the business of dreams.” Sue confirms the importance of providing exceptional food and service when she says, “We have to provide good food; we don’t have a water view. When you have a water view, people will put up with less than perfect food because of the view. So our food has to strive to be the best, and that’s what most of our guests say we deliver.”
Discover this hidden gem, an all-occasion venue offering the perfect spot for your wedding journey.
World Class Style: Watson’s Men’s Store
With good reason, the bride is always the center of attention at most weddings. However, that absolutely does not mean that the choices a groom makes are an afterthought. In fact, quite the contrary, according to Lynn Eberly, co-owner of Watson’s Men’s Store in Orleans. Eberly and her husband Dan purchased the store in 2015 and offer the largest selection of formalwear on the Cape. The store offers both sales as well as rentals for tuxedos and all of the accessories a groom and his groomsmen need for the special day.
“It all starts with the bride and her dress,” Lynn explains, “but it doesn’t end there.” Lynn says that many wedding gowns do not lend themselves to a simple suit, and that the bride’s dress sets the tone and vibe for the wedding; from that important element, the rest of the celebration should follow. The attire for the groomsmen should complement the bride’s attendants and support the groom’s overall choices. Lynn also says the venue is another clue as to how to dress the men. “And one of the first questions I always ask is, ‘Is the bride wearing white or off-white?’ Because you don’t want the shirts to be the wrong choice simply because you didn’t know.” As a result, the Eberlys encourage the bride to attend at least the initial consultation for the groom, and preferably anytime any major decisions are on the table.
Lynn and Dan both say that a Cape Cod wedding has its own distinctive personality that is different from other celebrations across the country. Navy blue blazers, Nantucket red or traditional stone-colored khakis and colorful ties liven up the photos that capture this special time. “Particularly when it comes to the rehearsal dinner, or engagement parties, that’s when the men get a chance to be a bit more adventurous,” Lynn remarks as she cites many clients’ interest in a linen shirt or a bit of playful color in their attire.
Lynn’s expertise in dealing with the clients that come into the store is rooted in a variety of experiences. Early in her adult life she was instrumental in organizing wedding ceremonies as she created fanciful and elaborate wedding cakes. Later as she rose through the ranks in the competitive high-powered world of Public Accounting in the Knowledge Management segment of KPMG, she garnered a wealth of understanding of how the suit made the man, which she now shares with customers in her subtle and supportive ways. “We get customers from all over the world, and from all walks of life,” Lynn explains. Dan finishes her thought as he says, “Lynn can determine the best cut, style and size for anyone in a matter of minutes.” Lynn continues, “We offer over 80 brands in this store for every kind of activity anyone might encounter here on the Cape. Whether it is a young man’s first suit for his first job interview, or a casual ensemble to meet the parents of his new girlfriend, or a tuxedo for the most important day of his life, we can dress them.”
In fact, Lynn is often overheard repeating a comment she shares with many of the customers who rely on Watson’s to help them look their best, “We want you to look better than you want to look yourself.” Full-service tailoring, attention to detail, personalized service and a vast selection of high-quality merchandise at fair prices are some of the high points that have kept men frequenting this Orleans landmark for decades. But, the special attention and expertise the Eberlys bring to their business make it a destination for any occasion.