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Ocean Wedding

Cape Cod’s natural beauty and a historic mansion frame a perfect seaside wedding.

Cape Cod’s natural beauty and a historic mansion frame a perfect seaside wedding

Photo by Kelly Hike

Most people who live on Cape Cod year-round already have a certain reverence for the physical beauty just minutes from their door. When it comes to weddings, no fancy trimmings or extraneous bells and whistles are necessary to celebrate the spirit of this place. All you really need to do is show up and let the timeless, intoxicating fusion of ocean and sky work its magic (a little prayer to the weather gods never hurts either).

When local residents Kathleen and Dan Hodge began planning their wedding in the fall of 2010, like many couples, they were overwhelmed by the decisions to be made. In the beginning, there was one thing they knew for sure: they wanted to give their friends and extended family an authentic Cape Cod experience.

As one of our culture’s last bastions of tradition where families still gather together and celebrate, a wedding is the equivalent of a modern festival and feast. Since many out-of-town guests would be visiting the Cape for the first time, the bride and groom decided that they would create an intimate weekend that offered the essence of the Cape. There would be beach, golf, and plenty of time to socialize, catch up, and luxuriate in the beauty of the outdoors.

Cape Cod’s natural beauty and a historic mansion frame a perfect seaside wedding

Photo by Kelly Hike

Kathleen says, “Growing up on the Cape, I always pictured getting married near the water. We wanted it to feel like it was definitely Cape Cod, even if it wasn’t a Cape Cod-themed wedding.” Like Cape Cod at its best, it would be simple, elegant, classic, and traditional with a modern twist.

There is a certain luxury, comfort, and refinement in any event at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club in Brewster, with its regal lodgings and awe-inspiring vistas of Cape Cod Bay beyond the back terrace. When Dan and Kathleen visited early in their planning, they were instantly smitten.

Cape Cod’s natural beauty and a historic mansion frame a perfect seaside wedding

Photo by Kelly Hike

“You just can’t get better than that: a beautiful building set on the water, beautiful grounds, and the beach,” says Kathleen. “It had everything that we wanted.” The mansion and surrounding amenities were just what the couple envisioned for their classic Cape Cod weekend: a touchstone of Cape Cod history, a graceful, modern hotel and golf club, and a private beach where, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Provincetown.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Victorian-style mansion at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club has a rich and storied history. It was built in 1912 by the Nickersons, a prominent Cape Cod family—nearby Nickerson State Park was created from donated land that was formerly part of the estate—who lived in a grand style, complete with servants and footmen in black boots, tails, and top hats. (As an interesting side note, from 1945 until the early 1980s, the property was a seminary for the La Salette religious order.) The current resort still retains much of its original character, from period furnishings to meticulously detailed finishes and woodwork.

With the stately stone and stucco exterior of the Ocean Edge Mansion as their backdrop, Dan and Kathleen aimed to create a wedding where the people and the place were the highlight. “We wanted it to be about us and who we are: simple and classy,” says Dan. “No bling—nothing too fancy.”

Cape Cod’s natural beauty and a historic mansion frame a perfect seaside wedding

Photo by Kelly Hike

To bring their vision to life, the pair enlisted local wedding stylist, Desiree Spinner of Desiree Spinner Events in Osterville. Since 2009, Spinner has been delighting clients with her attention to detail and her thoughtful, creative approach to event design. She was inspired to start her business when she became frustrated planning her own wedding. “I couldn’t find anyone here on Cape Cod who could help me with my vision,” she says. “I wanted something different than the typical Cape Cod wedding and someone to bounce ideas off.”

The bride and groom heard about Spinner through family connections and hit it off immediately. Spinner jumped at the chance to work with a local couple. “It was great working with Dan and Kathleen because they were really involved,” she says. “We got to meet in person and go to all the vendor meetings together. It was also nice to have a relationship with their parents.”

For their part, Dan and Kathleen found that Desiree Spinner Events provided the perfect amount of guidance and direction. Bride and groom were equally impressed with the flow of the wedding day. “They were there early, before we woke up, making sure everything was the way we wanted,” says Kathleen. “They took care of everything and it was so nice not to worry about that.”

Cape Cod’s natural beauty and a historic mansion frame a perfect seaside wedding

Photo by Kelly Hike

The couple’s idyllic Cape weekend began on Friday with golf at Ocean Edge for the groom’s party. Other guests had plenty of time to explore the Lower Cape’s local attractions, whether wandering along Route 6A’s storied antique shops and art galleries or relaxing at one of the many beaches nearby.

Friday evening featured an informal potluck dinner for all the guests followed by a casual, cozy bonfire on the beach, complete with s’mores (an Ocean Edge signature) and drinks. Says Dan, “We decided we wanted to have everybody together. We didn’t want the bridal party to go off by themselves. This gave everyone time to sit, talk and be together.” Kathleen adds, “It was simple, casual, and fun.”

Cape Cod’s natural beauty and a historic mansion frame a perfect seaside wedding

Photo by Kelly Hike

On the day of the wedding ceremony and reception, Spinner, who relishes in the styling and décor design process, brought the couple’s vision to life. As Spinner describes, “Dan was very traditional, and I loved that Kathleen had a little bit of a modern edge. They wanted a Cape Cod feel, but they did not want a nautical look. The result was the perfect mix between guests feeling like they’re on Cape Cod and a classic, formal evening.”

The details of the day had a personal and romantic flair reminiscent of the polished English manor style of the setting. The groomsmen wore full-dress tuxedos. Elegant in monochrome hues of black, white, and grey, they contrasted with the soft pastel palette of the bride and her attendants. The pale pink, light blue, and delicate whites found in the bride’s bouquet of peonies, hydrangeas, and roses were echoed in the dresses, flowers, and table settings.

The bride wore a Liancarlo gown of exquisite white lace, handmade lace and pearl earrings, a pearl necklace inherited from her Nana, and her “something blue,” a sapphire and diamond bracelet that was a surprise wedding day gift from her husband-to-be. Recalls Kathleen, “Dan usually isn’t good at keeping secrets, but he somehow managed to keep this from me. It was the first of many times I cried that day.”

Amanda Wastrom is a frequent contributor to Cape Cod Life Publications.



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