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7.1.17

Ask a Wedding Planner

Jacalyn Kane knows how to get you to the church in style

Q: We want a small, simple wedding without a lot of fuss. What are some of the best spots for tying the knot, followed by an intimate dinner?

I love intimate weddings that keep the focus on your love! There are endless beautiful outdoor options on the Island, but I tend to favor the Edgartown Lighthouse and surrounding beach. The diverse topography is perfect for photos before or after your event. And though it may seem like a busy public space, if you walk toward the beach, past the lighthouse, you can find privacy at any hour. Afterward, you can dine in the outdoor gardens at l’├ętoile, the Terrace at the Charlotte Inn, or Atria, all located in Edgartown. The Sweet Life in Oak Bluffs also has a great romantic patio.

Moshup Beach, beneath the Gay Head Cliffs, is also uniquely picturesque. If you, your officiant, and your photographer are brave enough to round the bend beyond the cliffs when the tide is just right, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular setting. Nearby Outermost Inn is a romantic favorite for a post-ceremony celebration.

For a more rustic backdrop, I like finding a place to nestle in the woods away from the summer crowds. There are some great public hiking trails throughout the Island. Check with the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, Sheriff’s Meadow, or the Trustees of Reservations to see if any of the properties can accommodate intimate weddings.

Q: Our ceremony and reception are in two different locations and we want to travel in style. What are some fun transportation options for the bridal party to use?

Island brides love arriving in classic, vintage cars. And who can blame them? Personally, I think you can’t top arriving in a convertible – just be sure your hairstyle will hold in the wind! Check out A-A Island Auto Rental, which has locations in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. They have a great selection of classic and modern-day options. Island photographer Bob Gothard maintains a beautiful 1940 Oldsmobile, made almost entirely of wood, that is used in many beautiful Vineyard weddings. For a truly classic option, there’s Sonny Side Rides, which provides horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides. MV Sightseeing Tours caters to larger parties with a fleet of carriages and painted buses.

Depending on the ceremony and venue locations, adventurous couples may be able to make an even bigger entrance – perhaps by boat or a kayak. I’ve even heard of some people arriving on horseback, and one groom who hopped on a jet ski!

Q: We can’t decide whether to have a buffet or sit-down dinner. Is there a benefit to having one over the other?

I find this to be a matter of personal preference, and a choice best made with your caterer. If your wedding has fewer than 100 guests, a sit-down dinner can be an intimate and classic option. Of course, the Island has many excellent caterers who can deliver an elegant sit-down dinner with ease and grace, no matter the number of people. Depending on how many guests you are having, your budget, and the formality of your reception, a buffet may make more sense, and will add a social factor as well. There are plusses for both, so depending on your style, guest count, and caterer, you will find the best way that works for your wedding.

Q: What are some of your favorite spots for formal wedding portraits?

Just like the seemingly limitless number of outdoor ceremony locations for intimate weddings, there is an abundance of beautiful locations for wedding photos. For larger weddings, your formal portrait opportunities will be somewhat dependent on your ceremony and venue location. You will want to choose locations that flow well with your timeline.

Among my personal favorites: the Gay Head Light is iconic, and unbeatable just before sunset. The Edgartown Lighthouse and surrounding Lighthouse/Fuller Street Beach offers many angles and space for family portraits. The East Chop Lighthouse is an easy favorite for quick photos following your ceremony in Oak Bluffs (just be sure to make a reservation). And the wide expanse of Ocean Park is perfect as well. All will make for classic, beautiful Vineyard photos.

Timing can be just as important as location, because, truly, any outdoor location will make for stunning photographs when it is magic hour (shortly before sunset, when the sun travels near the horizon). Keep in mind that on the west side of the Island you will have the sun setting directly into the shoreline. However, the color palette on the east side of the Island, north or south, is breathtaking as well.

Each issue we invite a wedding professional to share his or her expertise. Jacalyn Kane, the proprietor of My Vineyard Concierge, is a planner and officiant specializing in uniquely written ceremonies and intimate weddings. For more information, visit myvineyardconcierge.com. Submit your questions to weddings@mvmagazine.com.