Ten Things You May Not Know About Getting Married on the Vineyard

1. You can’t drive to the Island.

The only way to get to the Vineyard is by boat or plane, so make travel arrangements early.

We suggest that people leave their cars behind because parking here is limited and traffic hectic – especially during the popular wedding months of June through October. There are a number of transportation options – to the Island and around the Island – so check our website ( for specifics.

2. The waiting period for a license.

Massachusetts requires that you file for a marriage license at least three business days, but no more than sixty days, before your wedding date. This can be done in any town.

3. You may need a beach permit.

Some new rules came into effect last summer for beaches that Dukes County oversees. For example, at Joseph Sylvia State Beach in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, if you want to host a catered function or one with more than fifty guests, you need a permit. The county also oversees Eastville Beach in Oak Bluffs and Tisbury, and Norton Point Beach in Edgartown. For other public beaches, check with the town.

4. Family and friends want to contribute their talents.

It’s a wonderful way to personalize your celebration. Plenty of wedding ceremonies and receptions feature musicians who are friends and family (just make sure beforehand that they’re as talented in front of a crowd). Many beautiful wedding cakes are created at the hands of the family gourmet-baker (our tip: a wooden dowel can give a multi-tiered cake the stabilization it needs). Invitations are another way the crafty can contribute: Bride Jill Ollar created her save the dates with her mom, Sandy, before her June wedding last year to Kevin Egan. “We liked them so much, we decided to do the wedding invitations too!” Jill says. Her dad, Jeff, contributed as well by making stained-glass sailboats as favors.

5. Some Island towns are dry.

When it comes to toasting your new mate, you may want the option of something stronger than sparkling cider. Depending on the venue and town, you may need to make special arrangements to get libations – sometimes even if you are in Edgartown or Oak Bluffs, the only Island towns with liquor stores.

6. You can find potential vendors for your wedding everywhere.

Before Morgan Taylor Lucero (the magazine’s art director) got engaged, she and her now-husband Bobby Lucero went to the Vineyard Artisans Festival in West Tisbury, where she “just happened to mention” how much she liked Kenneth Pillsworth’s jewelry. Not only did Bobby have her ring designed by the West Tisbury artist before popping the question, but they ordered Bobby’s wedding band from him before their summer nuptials last year.

7. Invitations and materials can be printed on-Island.

There are a number of Island businesses that delve into the printing world. Chuck Lehman of Good Impressions Printing Company in Oak Bluffs has the usual catalogues for invitations that can be printed off-Island, but he prefers in-house jobs. Aside from the standards – save the dates, invitations, programs, table cards – he’s gotten creative with personalized stickers, bookmarks, and more.

8. A friend can be your celebrant.

For your vows to be official, you don’t need a religious officiant or justice of the peace. A friend can legally do the honors. For an application, go to

9. You can register for gifts on the Island.

We were surprised how many Vineyard shops offer registries when we did a big
spread on them for last year’s wedding magazine. You can access the story on our website (

10. Martha’s Vineyard is a great place to honeymoon.

Marrying Vineyarders tend to say, “Why go anywhere else?” We’ve noted a number of newlyweds who’ve booked a night, after the night of, on the other side of the Island from their celebration – perhaps so no one would know. A rental is great for a longer stay. We recently discovered Mermaid Cottage in Oak Bluffs, with a porch overlooking Crystal Lake and Vineyard Haven harbor, offering a fantastic view of wildlife and sunsets. Inside, the mostly white décor is fresh and inviting. It’s a gem you won’t want to leave (