Okay, so the weather this year is showing itself to be a little bipolar (with emphasis on the “polar,” it was 33 degrees F when I got up this morning!), but that doesn’t mean that the outer Cape isn’t beautiful—and a gorgeous backdrop for a wedding!
The whales are here, as they are every spring, and you can see their blows from the beach at Herring Cove. Amazing multicolored birds are stopping off on their way to wherever their migratory journey takes them. Crocuses and forsythia and other determined flowers are throwing even more color our way.
I haven’t seen anyone comfortably wearing shorts, mind you, but shops are opening, restaurants—some of them new to us this year—are getting ready, and once again it’s becoming difficult to drive on Commercial Street because of the people walking there on the weekends. All very good signs.
So… if you’re thinking of a spring wedding, don’t give up! Any of the dozen or so local wedding officiants will be happy to help you put together a ceremony that you’ll cherish, and with a little luck, the weather will be on your side.
And when you get married … get married in PTown!
Spring seems to have finally arrived, though I write that with some trepidation, as we had a decent snowstorm precisely a week ago today. But the sun is out and there are plants pushing up through the ground with determination and even the famous outer Cape wind seems to have softened a bit. The whales have returned and we can see them right off Herring Cove Beach.
And in spring, of course, one’s mind turns to weddings. In fact, today I’ll be having my first pre-wedding meeting with a couple getting married this summer.
I like doing that. Is it absolutely necessary to meet every couple I marry before the day of the ceremony? Of course not. Chances are that we already have had plenty of contact via email as we’ve worked out the specifics of the ceremony—or of the whole wedding, if Get Married in PTown is doing the planning and organization—and so we all know what’s going to happen.
But there’s a spark between people when they’re together, isn’t there? Something that isn’t easy to define but is definitely there, a connection that doesn’t necessarily make its way through emails or Skype or phone calls. And I like that connection. When we’re finally standing together and I’m asking people to commit to each other, it’s good be able to have a sense of these two people taking this tremendous daring step together. Does it change the ceremony? Not particularly; but it adds to it.
For many, this is the most important step of their lives, the most important day they’ll ever share. It does seem that having a connection of the person instrumental in making it happen would be a good thing for the couple, as well.
That’s why I include an optional pre-wedding meeting in my pricing for the ceremony. It just makes sense.
So … it’s spring, time to schedule yours! And when you get married … get married in PTown!
At a guess, 90% of the weddings I perform are at the beach. That makes sense: wedding destinations become destinations specifically for the unique features each place has to offer.
And 90% of the beach weddings I perform are at Herring Cove.
Why? Let me count the reasons … Herring Cove is one of the few places on the east coast where you can watch the sun dip into the ocean at sunset and color the water with brilliant hues. There is lovely sand, there are some of Cape Cod’s famous dunes, and there’s a fantastic view of Race Point Light in the background… it doesn’t get much better than this! It’s a wedding photographer’s dream destination, with the only problem being the occasional wind—not necessarily good for brides, grooms with long hair, or female wedding officiants!
It wasn’t always that ideal for weddings, of course. In the 19th century, much of the current beach was underwater and known as Lancy’s Harbor. At that time, a group of fishermen’s huts called Herring Cove was nearby (in the days before gasoline-powered fishing boats, it paid to be closer to the water when setting out!), named for the piles of herrings that could be regularly harvested on the beach.
Natural changes in topography, combined with the fishing fleet’s new motors and the completion of a new highway, made the beach accessible to the public in the 1930s, and it was named “New Beach” as it grew for the first time into an increasingly popular resort destination. (That highway, by the way, is U.S. Route 6, which runs from Herring Cove all the way to Long Beach, California.)
In the 1950s it was still somewhat associated with fishing and the sea, as New Beach served as a measured-mile course, with three pairs of “targets”—tall towers used by offshore sailors and fishermen to determine a precise half-mile or mile. Even that last connection to fishing is gone now, and it’s all about the sun and the waves, unless you count the tourists who today stand on the beach with their fishing lines, hoping for something for supper … or the boats you can watch going out and returning, chugging past the beach on their way to and from Provincetown Harbor.
In 1963, New Beach officially became “Herring Cove,” though there are no longer piles of herring to be had here. Instead, couples—like Eugene and Rodrigo—come to watch the sun slide into the water and commit themselves to each other, surely a brave and daring endeavor … and the best reason of all to come to Herring Cove!
So you’re all set to get married, and you want to do it in the very picturesque Provincetown … but then there’s that pesky marriage license. Massachusetts requires three days of waiting before the wedding? I’d rather spend the three days on my honeymoon!
If you’re already here on vacation, three days isn’t a problem. But if it is, don’t worry: you have options.
- Doing it the traditional way. This means arriving at the town clerk’s office and applying for your license three full days before your wedding. The good news is that the weekend counts into the three days. The bad news is that it’s still … three days.
- Getting a waiver (known as “marriage without delay”) in Orleans. Orleans is the closest town to Provincetown that has a court, and a waiver of the three-day waiting period can only be granted by a judge. You will need to go to the Orleans District Courthouse, 237 Rock Harbor Road, Orleans, MA, 02653, where the waiver will be granted … at a cost of $195.00. Call the clerk’s office for more information at (508) 255-4700 or (508) 255-4701.
- Getting the waiver in Hyannis. The Barnstable County Probate and Family Court, located at 195 Main Street, Barnstable (Hyannis’ legal name), MA, 02630, will also grant you a waiver for $65.00. Call the domestic relations department at (508) 375-6722 for more information.
So there you have it. Remember that regardless of the waiver, you must apply in person and together. You do not need witnesses, a blood test, or citizenship papers. So plan ahead, and you’ll be able to see everything go smoothly when you arrive for your wedding.
And remember: when you get married, get married in PTown!
Yes: I know that it’s March, and 2013 officially began back in January; but when you blog about weddings in a seaside town, the year really doesn’t get going until the air gets softer and the whales start their annual spring migration. So: happy spring, and happy new year!
Already the wedding calendar is filling up, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s not the only thing I do with my life, performing weddings; but it has to be one of the best things. Being with a couple on the happiest day of their lives? Nothing can beat that!
If you’re planning a Provincetown wedding this spring, remember that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has marriage-license requirements; you can read how to follow them here with an exploration of the three ways you can apply for your marriage license. Town Hall closes at noon on Fridays, just to add that extra twist, so do plan around that.
And we can’t wait to see you! So start planning now … the whales and the birds, the sun and the sand, the streets and the people will all be here to welcome you! So when you get married … get married in PTown!