Ask a Wedding Planner

Blue Lane Events knows how to throw a killer party – and after party.

We want our appetizer selection to showcase the flavors of the Vineyard, both from the land and the sea. What go-to bites would you recommend?

Cocktail hour is the perfect time to show your guests all that the Vineyard has to offer. The most important decision you can make is who you decide to use as your caterer. There are so many amazing professionals who can work with you to create a menu that reflects not only the Island flavor, but you as a couple.

We recommend always letting the season dictate the menu. Morning Glory, Mermaid, and Ghost Island Farms, among others, are great resources for the freshest seasonal vegetables. If it’s springtime and pea shoots are abundant, a seared scallop topped with a pea shoot purée is always a hit. In the fall when tomatoes are at their all-time best, cherry tomatoes stuffed with smoked local bluefish are a fun choice.

No matter the season, a raw bar is a must. It is quintessential Vineyard. Katama Bay oysters and Vineyard clams are like no other. And there are endless ways to creatively display a raw bar that also adds unique décor to your event. It's something your guests will remember and talk about for a long time.

It seems as if the popular wedding venues are all booked during the spring and fall, but not necessarily during the summer. Why is there such a decrease in the number of weddings during July and August?

Weddings in July and August take a little more planning, as it is peak tourist season on the Vineyard. Finding accommodations and arranging transportation can turn into logistical nightmares. Early planning is a must, and we always remind our clients to take their guests’ experience into consideration when making decisions. You want to make sure your families and friends enjoy their time on the Island instead of being stressed out trying to find an affordable place to stay or the best way to get around.

If your ceremony location and reception venue are in different towns, traffic will be
an issue at the peak of summer. Although there are more factors to consider when planning a summer wedding here, the weather during those months can’t be beat and your guests will enjoy a true summertime Martha’s Vineyard experience. 

My fiancé and I love to dance, but can’t decide whether to book a DJ or live band. Which do you recommend?

This can be one of the toughest decisions for couples. Sometimes it comes down to budget, as bands are almost always more expensive. Bands also need more room, so if you are tight on space a DJ is a better option.

There is no doubt that a band gives your reception an energy that is difficult to achieve with a DJ, and dancing to live music can feel a little more special. If you want music from different genres or time periods, DJs are the way to go. We strongly recommend meeting with the band or DJ in person and getting a sense of their personality; as your emcee, they will be setting the tone for the whole reception. As long as they are a good fit for you, either option is great for dancing.

Speaking of music, we want the reception to go as late as possible. Which venues and towns have the best noise ordinance policies? Is there a way to keep the party going without all of the noise?

The party is the best part of the day and what everyone looks forward to. We do too! All Island towns have noise ordinances that require your reception to be over by 9 or 10 p.m. Sometimes if you have rented a private home that is isolated from other homes, you can keep going past the cutoff.

We always suggest that part of your planning include your after party. Once the band or DJ has stopped and the bar has closed, we like to have transportation at the ready to take guests to one of the many spots on the Island that would love to help you continue your celebration. We make arrangements with the bar/restaurant ahead of time so they know you are coming. In peak season it’s difficult to reserve a space at some places, but we still like to give them a heads-up. In Edgartown, we like the Atlantic and the Port Hunter; in Oak Bluffs, the Lookout Tavern is always a favorite.

Each issue we invite a wedding professional to share his or her expertise. Kaitlin Baker-Hewes and Jennifer Connelly are certified wedding planners who offer full planning, partial planning, or day-of services through their company, Blue Lane Events. For more information, visit Submit your questions to