Martha’s Vineyard may teem with celebrities-think Bill Clinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Diane Sawyer-but its bucolic roads, farmers’ markets, and white-sand beaches exude a distinctly chilled-out vibe. You won’t find any mega-resorts here; shingled homes are set back from the road, and strict zoning codes hold them to just one or two stories (translation: uninterrupted vistas of horse farms and grassy dunes). And thanks to a medley of wealthy summer folks, year-round residents, and Cape Cod day-trippers, the island seamlessly blends the highbrow and the unfussy-good news for the bride who wants to pair her $5,000 wedding gown with flip-flops. For a dose of urban sophistication, spoil your guests with a rehearsal dinner at Edgartown’s Atria. With a fusion menu based on what’s fresh, local, and organic, the eatery will satisfy the snootiest foodie. On the wedding day, shuttle guests from the Inn at Blueberry Hill, a 25-room hotel on 56 wooded acres in Chilmark, to a postcard-ready ceremony at the cliff-topping Aquinnah Lighthouse. Or take your vows (or just photos) on the beach below. When the knot’s been tied, walk over to a reception at the historic Vanderhoop Homestead. Its views of Moshup Beach are something everyone, celebrity or not, can enjoy. -Rachel Levitt
Venues: The Inn at Blueberry Hill, 508-645-3322, blueberryinn.com; Menemsha Inn and Cottages, 508-645-2521, menemshainn.com; Aquinnah Lighthouse, 508-627-4441, mvmuseum.org; Vanderhoop Homestead, 508-645-2304, vanderhoophomestead.org.
Rehearsal Dinner: Atria, 508-627-5850, atriamv.com.
Local Planner: Lynn Buckmaster-Irwin, Weddings on the Vineyard, 508-696-7658, vineyardweddings.com.
Photographers: Bob Gothard, 305-439-1383, photosonthevineyard.com; Joe Mikos Photography, 508-696-6262, mikosphotography.com.
THE COAST IS CLEAR: A prime lookout from Aquinnah Cliffs.
Newport owns the most ringing endorsement possible for a wedding location: Jacqueline Bouvier wed JFK here in front of 1,200 guests. Known as "America’s First Resort," the town was a Gilded Age playground for Rockefellers and Astors-a seaside retreat where the upper crust staged an annual Summer Olympics of conspicuous consumption. The Depression curtailed the excess, but vestiges remain (see the palatial "cottages" along the cliffs).
Modern Newport celebrations run the gamut from black-tie parties in those mansions-rented through the Preservation Society-to clambakes on the beach. But everyone should kick off the weekend with a harbor cruise, replete with sunset views and stories of Prohibition-era rumrunners. Hold a rehearsal dinner at the Clarke Cooke House on Bannister’s Wharf. Then say "I do" at the Chanler, an opulent mansion-turned-hotel that sits on Newport’s Cliff Walk, and where a party on the lawn is straight out of Gatsby. Large events call for an estate like Rosecliff, whose architecture was inspired by Versailles. Or head to Belle Mer for a glam barefoot event that would make Jackie proud. -Brigid Sweeney
Local Planner: Exquisite Events of Newport, 401-846-3254, exquisiteeventsofnewport.com.
The Chaler’s posh version of a backyard wedding.
Rosecliff at dusk.
The Rosecliff’s giant ballroom.
DINNER WITH A VIEW: Set for a fete on the Chanler’s covered terrace.
New Hampshire’s Lakes Region
If you spent summers sleeping in bunk beds and sipping "bug juice," you already qualify for a wedding in the Lakes Region (which encompasses Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake). For the rest of us, the appeal is less nostalgic, but readily apparent: a jaw-dropping backdrop of towering pines and ever-present water views.
For a truly homespun experience (think cabins and shared bathrooms), Sandy Island Family Camp hosts weddings in spring and fall. Greet guests with a canoe full of Smuttynose lager, then fancy up the dining hall with linen and candles. Kirkwood Gardens at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center offers a similarly DIY shindig: Imagine a ceremony under the trees on Church Island followed by a boat ride to the gardens for the party.
Of course, rustic isn’t the only way to go. Moultonborough’s Castle in the Clouds is an early-1900s estate overlooking Winnipesaukee, where outdoor ceremonies are held at cliff’s edge; the carriage house offers a prime reception venue. More down-to-earth, literally, is Church Landing at Mill Falls in Meredith, a luxe Adirondack-style inn that provides all the amenities of a big-city wedding (spa treatments, plush bedding) with small-town charm. -Julie Suratt
Venues: Sandy Island Family Camp, 603-569-2725, si.bostonycamps.org; Kirkwood Gardens, 603-968-7194, nhnature.org; Castle in the Clouds, 603-476-5900, castleintheclouds.org; Church Landing at Mill Falls,
Rehearsal Dinner: Town Docks, 603-279-3445, thecman.com/restaurants/town-docks.
Local Planner: Leslie Barbini, 603-828-2526, theweddingbelle.net.
FOG, LIGHTS: Walking on water at Church landing.
Post wedding hijinks at Kirkwood Gardens.
Kirkwood in bloom.
Cruising Winnipesaukee on the M/S Mount Washington.
Few things are more appealing than an island wedding. Conversely, few things induce more headaches than planning an island wedding. Still, if any place in New England is worth said headache, it’s Nantucket. Once home to Native Americans and whalers, the upscale island has more than 80 miles of beach-and the ritziest inhabitants this side of Wellesley. But money can’t buy a more romantic setting than the wind-swept dunes, cobblestone streets, and gorgeous sunsets. (Wedding photos by the water are a must.)
For the best rooms with the best views, reserve early at the Wauwinet resort or its sister property, the White Elephant, which has a new on-site spa for bridesmaid pampering. (Another idea for prewedding bonding? Pick-your-own peaches at Bartlett’s Farm.)Those clamoring for a more authentic experience should check out the new Veranda House, a "retro-chic" inn where many rooms have balconies.
Nantucket has myriad spots for ceremonies, from stately in-town churches to the haunting Great Point Lighthouse. (The latter requires nerves of steel, however, as it’s subject to beach closures.) And many local halls and museums can be rented for receptions, including the newly overhauled Nantucket Whaling Museum. With the right amount of foresight (and just a hint of bridezilla tenacity), you can get hitched here without a hitch. -Sascha de Gersdorff
Venues: The Wauwinet, 800-426-8718, wauwinet.com; White Elephant, 800-445-6574, whiteelephanthotel.com; Veranda House, 877-228-0695, theverandahouse.com; Great Point Lighthouse, 508-228-5646, thetrustees.org; Nantucket Whaling Museum, 508-228-1894, nha.org.
Rehearsal Dinner: The Jetties, 508-228-2279, thejettiesnantucket.com.
Local Planner: Caroline Reilly, ACK-tivities, 508-228-6648, acktivities.com.
BEACHED: A sandy walk near Brant Point Lighthouse.
Unconventional decor at the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
A reception tent at the Wauwinet resort.
Island style at the White Elephant.
Weddings on the Outer Cape aren’t about five-star resorts, gourmet food, or designer gowns. But the towns that make up the last 24 miles of Cape Cod possess a type of quiet, understated beauty that make for nature-filled nuptial experiences. In the days leading up to the big event, treat your guests to a snack of Wellfleet oysters, an excursion to Coast Guard Beach in Eastham (part of the National Seashore), and-for a true slice of Americana-a movie at the Wellfleet Drive-In after your rehearsal dinner.
Just 11 miles north of the theater, down a dirt road in Truro, lies the Pamet Harbor Yacht and Tennis Club, which has a seascape so inspiring that artists camp out here with easels at the ready. Take your vows overlooking the marshy landscape at low tide, then venture into the gray-shingled clubhouse for the party. (Brides-to-be with larger guest lists can raise a tent on the grounds.) If you prefer the buzz of Provincetown, the historic Crowne Pointe Inn-formerly a sea captain’s mansion located in the heart of town-hosts events in its bistro. And you can always say your "I do"s at the town’s historic Pilgrim Monument. A 252-foot-high granite edifice set on a hilltop, its manicured grounds are framed by 360-degree panoramas of the town and sea. The Ritz it’s not, but that’s a good thing: The views from here (and anywhere on the Outer Cape,
for that matter) cost far less-and are worth a million more. -Brittany Jasnoff
Venues: Pamet Harbor Yacht and Tennis Club, 508-349-3772, phytc.com; Crowne Pointe Inn & Spa, 508-487-2365, crownepointe.com; Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, 508-487-1310, pilgrim-monument.org.
AT WATER’S EDGE: Barefoot in the grass at Pamet Harbor.
Reception revelry at Pamet Harbor Yacht and Tennis Club.
The club’s casual-cool decor.
Colonial charm at Winslow’s Tavern.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2008/11/sweet-spots/