Once you have chosen your reception venue – especially if it’s outdoors – you will need to pair up with a rental company to help you transform that grassy hillside, seaside cove, or stark interior into a party-friendly setting. Unlike rental companies on the mainland, the Island’s three special-event outfitters don’t just pitch tents and place tables. They provide items and services ranging from catering kitchens to wedding planning advice. Here’s a guide to help you choose the company that’s right for you.
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Planning a beach wedding
It’s many a summer bride’s dream to celebrate matrimony barefoot in the sand as an orange sun dips into the glassy sea. On the Vineyard, ocean-side weddings and receptions can be dreamy, but it’s important to know how tricky they are to plan.
Without outlets for plug-in power or a roof to shield guests from the elements, beach receptions must be built from the bottom up. But rental companies are often squeamish about pitching tents in the sand. Plus you will need to have a plan B venue on hold or a rain date in the event of a washout.
Different beaches have their own issues too. Squibnocket and Menemsha beaches restrict the use of tents and chairs. Glass bottles and dishes are prohibited at Lambert’s Cove. Alcohol is a no-no on most public beaches.
If you’re having second thoughts already, you should know that saying “I do” on a rolling white-sand beach is simpler than celebrating on one. But if you are convinced that the only sound track fit to accompany your wedding reception is the sound of lapping waves, remember that thorough, early planning is key.
[Originally published in the 2010 issue of Martha's Vineyard Magazine's Island Weddings; reviewed for updates in 2012.]