Unforgettable moments: 8 Cape venues & businesses share wedding stories
It’s springtime on the Cape and Islands. The temperature is steadily rising, restaurants and resorts are reopening or reenergizing, and soon the summer will be here. Love, too, is in the air.
The Cape and Islands are wonderful spots for weddings because the scenery, first and foremost, is amazing. The region also boasts a variety of fantastic venues where couples can exchange their vows, from high-class resorts and restaurants to casual campgrounds and beachy bungalows.
Leading off this section, Elizabeth O’Brien Betti describes her 2015 wedding celebrated at the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown. Both Cape Cod natives, O’Brien Betti and her husband spent more than a year collecting antiques, shells and other decor items to display around the monument grounds during their nautical-themed nuptials.
Here, we profile eight great Cape Cod businesses that are well known for their wedding services and expertise. The businesses include three venues, two hair and beauty salons, one florist, one baker and a one-of-a-kind wedding table maker. —Matthew J. Gill
The Flying Bridge—an elegant venue overlooking Falmouth Harbor
A popular “destination wedding” venue, The Flying Bridge Restaurant in Falmouth delivers when it comes to service and scenery. Overlooking beautiful Falmouth Harbor, this attractive venue also offers gorgeous views of Martha’s Vineyard. For many weddings, the bride often arrives by boat from across the harbor, making for an unforgettable sight as the boat glides in and the bride’s dress flows in the breeze.
The Flying Bridge hosts wedding ceremonies, receptions and rehearsal dinners—or all three gatherings. Guests can enjoy private rooms for either formal or informal dining, or opt for a clambake, barbecue or buffet.
The restaurant’s onsite catering and functions manager helps couples plan their perfect day, and can make recommendations regarding décor, flowers, the wedding cake and entertainment. The goal of the staff is to work with couples to customize their wedding experience and help them realize their dreams. The Flying Bridge can accommodate parties of 200, and depending on the number of guests and the time of year, provides either a waterfront reception area or a covered and heated wraparound deck.
“One of the most popular things about the Flying Bridge is our raw bar,” adds Tyler Hayes, the restaurant’s general manager. Indeed, the raw bar features freshly shucked oysters, clams on the half shell and the mouth-watering New England Platter, which boasts succulent shrimp, clams, and lobster.
The Flying Bridge Restaurant • 220 Scranton Avenue • Falmouth • 508-548-2700 • flyingbridgerestaurant.com
Where can you enjoy a wedding, clambake and a harbor cruise? The Sesuit Harbor Café!
The bride and groom are barefoot, they say their “I do’s,” and kiss on a jetty overlooking Cape Cod Bay. This is the essence of a wedding at Sesuit Harbor Café in East Dennis, a great option for a rustic wedding experience. Couples can exchange their vows right in the marina—barefoot or in flip-flops—and then walk a few steps to a reception catered in classic Cape Cod style.
Known as a great spot to enjoy seafood in an open-air setting, Sesuit Harbor Cafe has a truly rustic vibe featuring sea glass décor, old-fashioned painted signs and a boatload of buoys hanging from the shingles. “People come here for that old Cape Cod experience,” says owner JC Cuchetti. “It’s an excellent venue because it’s small and keeps people together.”
For weddings, Cuchetti and his staff can arrange all the details—even the day’s itinerary. Dining choices often include surf-n-turf combos or a classic clambake with steamed lobster, steamers, linguica, corn on the cob and potatoes. At the raw bar, guests can also savor Wellfleet oysters, Chatham littlenecks and tuna sashimi.
Sometimes, the festivities even include a quick harbor tour. “Once, the entire wedding party went out in my friend’s boat, all dressed up, drinking champagne, just having a great time,” Cuchetti says. “It was amazing to see them cruising around the harbor like that. The boat dropped them off, and we introduced the entire wedding party right there as they walked down the dock.”
Every wedding is different, but for Cuchetti, who has owned the restaurant since 1999, they are all special. “Seeing everything come together, and being a part of it is really gratifying,” Cuchetti says. “It’s an unforgettable experience.”
Sesuit Harbor Café • 357 Sesuit Neck Road • Dennis • 508-385-6134 • sesuit-harbor-café.com
A tried and true tradition: The Dennis Inn has hosted many great weddings
Built in the early 1900s, The Dennis Inn is a distinguished venue on an attractive parcel of land alongside a cranberry bog. The inn’s stately façade features slightly weathered shingles and traditional blue shutters, and welcoming Adirondack chairs are arranged on the lawn. The interior boasts dazzling hardwood floors and a large, beautiful ballroom. These are just some of the many details that have attracted countless couples over the years to celebrate their weddings at The Dennis Inn.
Under new ownership in 2016, the inn retains its classic style, and continues to offer couples a one-of-a-kind wedding experience. Mark Flanagan purchased the inn in February; Flanagan and Fred Stoffel also purchased Treats Catering, the exclusive caterer for all the inn’s events. Stoffel is the executive chef, while Janene Hargreaves serves as general manger.
“We customize each wedding,” says Stoffel. “When you’re here, you’re the only one here. It’s your home for the weekend.” Stoffel and Hargreaves will work with couples to plan every detail of their dream wedding, including decorations and the menu, and how best to make use of the inn’s grounds and pool. They will also offer suggestions for music, flowers, the cake and more.
The Dennis Inn’s “Deluxe Saturday Wedding Package” includes lodging on Friday and Saturday night for up to eight guests, with wedding itineraries including a Friday night rehearsal dinner in the upstairs dining room, the wedding ceremony and reception on Saturday (indoors or out), and a lavish Sunday brunch. The inn can accommodate indoor ceremonies for parties up to 120 guests, and outdoor weddings on the spacious grounds for up to 250.
The Dennis Inn • 25 Scarsdale Road • Dennis • 508-385-6571 • thedennisinn.com
Hair Affinity—helping brides look their best on their big day
Imagine the following scenario: a lovely bride wears her hair up, interwoven with sparkles with curly locks dangling from the sides. A slim braid wraps around, tying the hair in the back and fastened with an orchid. This is her wedding day, and she shines. The professional stylists of Hair Affinity in Chatham know this scenario well, as they help to create it for all the brides they work with.
For weddings, Hair Affinity provides a variety of beauty services, from hair and makeup, to manicures and pedicures, and stylists are available to work with bridal parties from the initial inquiry right through the day of the wedding. “We do all sizes of weddings, from small and intimate to huge,” says owner Laurie Murphy. “One time we did a bridal party that had 18 people!” Also the company’s head stylist, Murphy says she and her talented staff will go the extra mile for the entire bridal party, with up to six stylists available at a single time.
Browsing the gallery of photos on the company’s website, one can see that the company can tackle a wide variety of hairstyles. “We do a lot of different kinds of them,” says Murphy, a proclaimed fan of the updo. “Some people like the beachy, half-up half-down look; some like a more formal look with lots of curls; some like a style off to the side with flowers. It varies with each party. I really enjoy creating intricate styles with lots of pieces.”
Murphy says she and her staff can accommodate any style and taste. “It’s always fun to do something out of the ordinary,” she says. “We did an Indian wedding once, with lots of henna tattoos. And once, we did a party in an Alice in Wonderland theme. The bride wore a little hat off to the side. We love the variety.”
Hair Affinity • 1291 Main Street • Chatham • 508-348-1341 • capecodsalon.com
No touch-ups necessary: Ahh Time Studio of Mashpee specializes in airbrush makeup
Maureen O’Connor, the owner of Ahh Time Skin Lash & Massage Studio in Mashpee, knows a thing or two about brides-to-be. “As I’m applying the airbrush makeup for a bride and she goes off into ‘the zone,’ I know that she’s imagining the rest of her life with her husband,” O’Connor says. “You can just see it. Those are the marriages that last.”
Not only does Ahh Time specialize in airbrush makeup, O’Connor says the company was the first on Cape Cod to do so, providing the service way back in 2000. “Airbrush makeup creates a superior finish,” O’Connor says, “and it only needs to be applied once, with no touching-up for the rest of the day.”
The makeup is also waterproof and hypoallergenic. “A bride went in the water at one resort,” O’Connor says, “and her makeup was still perfect when she came out.” Another memorable moment was when O’Connor had to cover up a black eye the brother of the groom had incurred the night before. “I airbrushed makeup over it,” she says, “and voila. That’s how well it works. It covers strap lines, sunburns; it’ll even out overall blemishes and leave skin looking fresh and natural.” Another bonus? O’Connor says airbrush makeup comes without the fuss of conventional options. “It doesn’t rub off,” she says, “and it won’t run down your face when you cry at the wedding.”
Ahh Time offers additional services for brides and bridal parties, including eyelash extensions or temporary lash enhancement, brow design, and pre-wedding facials. The company also sells all-natural and organic skin care products and hosts bachelorette spa parties.
Ahh Time Skin Lash & Massage Studio • 35 South Street • Mashpee • 508-477-1837 • ahhtimeskinspa.net
Need a bouquet of color and beauty? Call Vintage Flowers of Osterville
“I come from a family of photographers, so I’m always thinking of how our flowers are going to look in the photos,” says Michelle Toczko, owner of Vintage Flowers of Osterville. The company will dress up any space, from the inside of a church to a small outdoor arbor, with intricately designed floral arrangements to accommodate any taste. Whether simple or elaborate, the company is happy to work with couples to make their visions a reality. The Osterville company creates beautiful centerpieces, bouquets and boutonnieres as well as floral arrangements for everyone in the wedding party. “I’m not limited to any one style,” Toczko says, “I’ll do anything that people want for their special occasion.”
For Toczko, the key is in the details. A fan of texture, Toczko uses lots of blue hydrangeas, the quintessential Cape Cod flower, as well as white roses. She adds other details including gardenias and textured greens, which really make the bouquets stand out.
Toczko and her professional team can accommodate wedding parties of any size, with up to 10 florists working in the shop during the summer. “We’ve all been working together for a long time,” she says, “and we’re very efficient.”
Together, the staff has created spaces overflowing with peonies, lilacs, and hanging votive candles. Not to mention sunflowers. Toczko recalls one bride who wanted a small, rustic wedding, and Vintage Flowers created a simple, yet stunning scene with bouquets of sunflowers, and wooden boxes with hydrangeas. “I even got a big, gorgeous Nantucket basket for the flower girl,” she says. “It was a beautiful setting, and I really connected with the bride and her family. For me, it’s all about connecting and working together and having fun.”
Vintage Flowers of Osterville • 877 Main Street • Osterville • 508-428-6089 • vintageflowerscapecod.com
The Cottage Street Bakery—an all-natural success story
The Cottage Street Bakery in Orleans follows a rather foolproof philosophy: keep it real, and keep it simple. “We use only real ingredients,” says Marc Launoy, the bakery’s owner. “We bake everything from scratch. We break the eggs . . . and so on.” Launoy and his team of professional cake bakers and decorators, Meghan Patrick and Annie Driscoll, regularly design, bake and decorate the wedding cakes of their customers’ dreams—and deliver to most Cape Cod locations.
“Everything we use in our baking is all natural,” Patrick emphasizes. “There’s no artificial anything.” Patrick says how great the cakes look and taste is a source of pride for the bakers. “When I’m going to deliver a cake,” Driscoll adds, “I love meeting with the bride and groom and just making that connection. It’s really rewarding.”
The bakery can accommodate any size cake, capable of serving parties of two to 20 to 200. “And we’ll custom make it to look how you want,” says Patrick. “One time a couple wanted a cake covered with rice paper and feathers to look like a swan; the cake was literally covered in feathers!” Driscoll says she particularly enjoys decorating cakes with intricate piping designs. At present, one of the shop’s most popular cakes is the white almond with fresh berries and butter cream.
For each of these professionals, quality is key; the staff even sets limits on the amount of cakes it will take on to ensure the end result is always beautiful, always delicious. To put the icing on this cake, the owner shared a final, sweet anecdote. “I delivered a cake once,” Launoy says, “and I gave it to a couple to bring into the restaurant where the wedding reception was. All of a sudden, they said, ‘Excuse me, can you come back here? We think this cake is damaged.’ They were laughing—because what really happened was they couldn’t wait; they had to sample it! So I fixed it for them.”
Cottage Street Bakery • 5 Cottage Street • Orleans • 508-255-2821 • cottagestreetbakery.com
The Perfect Table—a one-of-a-kind party planning and design company
Expert designers with a passion for event planning, Cindy Dooley and Dorene Hunt started their business by designing simple candy buffet tables. Today, The Perfect Table has flourished, and the business now includes full-scale wedding design and event planning.
The Cape Cod company will take any color scheme for a wedding and create custom designs to fit perfectly—whether fun, elegant, vintage or beachy. Because the Cape is a destination for many couples, The Perfect Table designs many events with ocean or nautical themes, utilizing starfish, seahorses and seashells. “We work with brides to come up with a theme,” Dooley says, “or to elaborate on an existing theme idea. For example, in the designing of a dessert table, we supply the tables, the linens and the decorations. We take the color scheme and go from there.”
Everything the company designs is custom, and the concepts vary considerably. “One bride loved all things French,” Dooley says, “so we did a French table, with French desserts and French words.” The Perfect Table will also take on projects from as small as a single table to an entire house, and to gatherings of 200-plus.
Hunt recalls a project where a customer was hosting a bridal shower for her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. The scope was grand. “We transformed her house,” Hunt says. “We decorated every table from living room to dining room with centerpieces and hors d’oeuvres, and each setting had a succulent plant under a glass dome. Hearts and garlands hung from every window, laced-covered balloons from the dining room chandelier.” The dessert buffet table was arranged in all blush pinks, the bride-to-be’s favorite colors. “You should have seen the look on her face when she saw what we’d done to her house,” Hunt says. “It was priceless.”
The Perfect Table • 508-737-5174 • theperfecttablecapecod.com