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Eli Dagostino

1.1.16

Ask a Wedding Planner

Kelsey Berry knows what to do when rain, rain won't go away.

Q: I'm planning an outdoor wedding. What do I do if it rains?

If you’re anything like every bride who’s ever planned an outdoor wedding, you’ve been refreshing the local ten-day forecast on the hour for weeks! It’s 100 percent normal to envision a bluebird sky as you walk down the aisle. But let’s face it, Mother Nature can and will have her way. So make sure you have an ironclad inclement-weather plan in place – think: an optional indoor venue that could accommodate both the ceremony and reception. If going with the tent route, have the rental company place the tent(s) in a location that’s least likely to pool water and add secure drop-down siding. Also ask about a "connector" or "bump-out," which links one tent to another, so your guests and staff can flow freely between each event space (cocktail tent to reception, etc.). Aside from that, my best advice is this:
• Breathe deeply and be decisive. Tormenting yourself over how you'll grapple with the elements will just stress you out. Discuss the new plan with your fianc√© (and wedding planner, if you have one) and go with it! Everything will fall into place.

  • Buy matching rain accessories right now. Amazon Prime has come to the rescue on more than one occasion. If it doesn’t rain you can always return what you purchased after the wedding.
  • Have faith in the vendors you’ve hired. They are familiar with your venue and their trade. Chances are they’ve been in this position before and will execute without a single guest realizing the order of operations has been switched up a little.
  • Most important: Embrace it! Do not let a couple of rain clouds ruin your special day.

Q: I want to get married on the beach, but don’t know where to start my search. What do you suggest?
    
Martha’s Vineyard is synonymous with the salty-sandy wedding ceremony. Why wouldn’t it be? The Island boasts more than one hundred miles of shoreline, which makes for a picture-perfect backdrop. The Edgartown Lighthouse, Lambert’s Cove, and honestly, any of the south shore beaches have to be my personal favorites.

That said, exchanging vows waterside can be complex. The key to flawless execution is thoughtful organization and having a "Plan B." A rain plan or reception site that’s nearby will take the anxiety out of shuffling guests long distances should the weather not cooperate.

Also keep in mind the season. Public beaches tend to be crowded in July and August, and some venues don’t allow private events during those busy months due to sheer volume. So do your homework! Reach out to the town hall where the beach is located and gather the appropriate information on permits and regulations. Also, check your rental company's ability and willingness to drop off items such as chairs, an arbor or chuppah, and tables to the remote site, so you aren’t stuck carrying these pieces yourself or hit with high delivery and set-up fees.

And don't forget your guests. Are they elderly? Do any of them have heath issues that might make walking on sand a challenge? If you do move forward, make sure you clearly communicate the event will be at the beach so that folks can wear appropriate attire. Stilettos and sand do not mix! Armed with a well-rounded scope of what it takes to pull it off, your beachside ceremony will be something your guests will never forget.

Q: We want to give our guests a special Vineyard gift. Any recommendations?
    
There are so many talented artisans on the Island that it really boils down to personal style. Let’s start with a fan favorite/no-brainer: Murdick’s Fudge (murdicks.com, 888-553-8343). Murdick’s has been hand-making fudge and other delicious treats since 1887, and your wedding logo can be customized and placed on the favor box. If chocolate isn’t your thing, I would suggest a five-ounce tin of  "sun-dried, hand-harvested" Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt (mvseasalt.com, 508-560-3315), or perhaps small bags of Chilmark Coffee (chilmarkcoffeeco.com).

As for non-edibles, Althea Freeman Miller of Althea Designs (altheadesigns.com) will custom-create a wedding print and put it on just about anything you can cook up (shirts, bags, postcards, etc.). Because the choices are endless, I recommend working with Pink & Joan (pinkandjoan.com, 774-310-1025) to set the tone for your wedding guests. This dynamic sister duo will completely orchestrate your welcome and/or favor bags. They source local, assemble, and deliver!

Each issue we invite an Island wedding professional to share his or her expertise. Our inaugural expert, Kelsey Berry, is owner of and principal consultant for Kelsey Berry Event Company, which offers full wedding planning, day-of coordination, and à la carte planning services. For more information, visit kelseyberryeventco.com. Submit your questions to weddings@mvmagazine.com.