On the water
As long as you plan to marry on an island, you may as well take advantage of the water and plan an event on it, not just overlooking it. While some couples marry on one of the Black Dog Tall Ships, others are choosing smaller craft for more intimate gatherings or just as a form of entertainment for guests.
Capt. Ed Jerome has been taking charters out from Edgartown on his 32-foot Luhrs for three years. With a flying bridge and fully enclosed salon he takes eight passengers on two-hour cruises around the harbor and out to Cape Pogue. “I’ve done rehearsal dinners and after-wedding cruises just for the bride and groom,” he said.
Marti Wade and Dean Shaw held their rehearsal dinner on the Wayfarer. It was a second marriage for each and they both had grown children who had only met briefly. They brought champagne and a picnic from Soigné onboard and the captain entertained them with nautical stories and vignettes about life on the Vineyard. “The reality was the four young people who shared the evening with us really did not have much in common other than being required to attend, yet they all had a terrific time, and it set a very positive tone for the nuptials the next night,” Ms. Wade said.
“As we left the harbor we had a toast which was a beautiful statement to our blended, big kid families that we were truly becoming one,” she said. “All the boys were fascinated with the boat; the sunset views on the water were stunning; and it was very romantic to be sipping champagne as we cruised around the lighthouse and Chappaquiddick.”
Maybe they had too much fun, as Mr. Shaw tried to schedule a fishing trip the next day before the wedding. “I have to say I was relieved that my groom decided that maybe that was packing too much into one day, and the wedding day fishing trip did not happen, but now the memories of that night have inspired me to think we should plan a family fishing trip with Captain Ed for some time in the future,” said Ms. Wade.
Some celebrations save the boating until after the wedding. One couple hosted a Sunday brunch at the Harbor View Hotel and hired the motorboat R&R to tour their family and friends around the harbor. To accommodate the large number of wedding guests, people signed up to go out before or after the brunch. Co-owner and captain Mike Ryan says the custom-built, 50-foot Chesapeake boat holds 49 people and, with full catering and bar service onboard, can host the whole event.
Add them to your Plan B list too. Because the R&R is based in Falmouth, it’s available for private water taxi service when guests miss the last ferry from Woods Hole.
The 56-foot wooden yawl Magic Carpet sails out of Edgartown from June through October. Co-owner and captain Todd Bassett said, “It’s a classic, 50-year old yacht and the kind of boat you really want to sail in.” In the chillier months of June and October they take 14 people but can hold 18 from July through September. They’ve held four weddings onboard but also take out just family members. With eight berths, it’s also available for overnight charters.
Nothing like close quarters to get to know the in-laws. Or maybe a bachelorette party that’s dames at sea?
To take a really big group all at one time, there’s the Pied Piper or Sandpiper, both owned by the Falmouth Ferry. The 78-foot Pied Piper or the 68-foot Sandpiper can take groups of up to 125 people. They have catering and bar service available so you could have a Sunday brunch afloat and then deliver off-Island guests back to Falmouth.
Whether it’s a Welcome to the Vineyard cocktail moment or cruising on a Sunday afternoon, guests get a different view of the Island from the water.
[Originally published in the May 8, 2009 issue of the Vineyard Gazette's Wedding Planner; reviewed for updates in 2012.]