New Yorkers Nancy and Holly tied the knot in a charming Cape Cod town where they have shared summer memories for the past 33 years.
Every summer of Holly and Nancy’s 33-year romance has been spent on the windswept beaches of Dennis, Mass., a quintessential Cape Cod town where the couple now own a summer home. It was without a doubt that, when they decided to marry after seeing the excitement on their daughter’s face when same-sex marriage was legalized in their home state of New York, they would exchange vows in the locale where such fond memories grew. “We felt it was important to provide an opportunity for the next generation to witness and celebrate the long overdue granting of equal rights to our relationship, even though those rights are still denied by the federal government,” says Nancy.
Guests were welcomed with keepsake items of cozy white blankets and handkerchiefs at the ceremony site. Both brides donned designer garb—Nancy in Ralph Lauren while Holly wore Donna Karan. Their hand-tied bouquets consisted of a romantic blend of blush peonies, peach Juliet garden roses, white astilbe, white sweet pea, apple blossom blush stock and ivory spray roses. The pair walked hand-in-hand toward the homemade chuppah, down a grassy aisle naturally flanked with wildly beautiful brush, as their daughter, Haley, sang Fields of Gold. Six shepherd hooks lined the aisle beside the rows of white garden chairs while jars hung whimsically from the hooks by twine and were filled with blush peonies, white Andromeda and dusty miller.
The couple said “I do” in a Jewish ceremony on a bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay. “We had always imagined a beach wedding,” explains Holly. “We spent a lot of time looking for beach locations that would have room for our guests at high tide.” After the ring exchange, the brides broke two glasses instead of one, as guests exclaimed “Mazel tov!” in celebration. After the ceremony, the couple took time for themselves and for wedding photos, strolling along the secluded shoreline as a salty spring breeze blew in the crisp Cape Cod air. “After 33 years in a relationship as partners and parents, being able to say that we are married makes a difference,” exclaims Nancy. “It actually feels different … that surprised us both!”
With the help of their event planner Jamie Bohlin of Cape Cod Celebrations, they melded the coastal charm with vintage glamour. “Jazz Age Cape Cod,” says Holly of the theme. “We wanted something with a vintage feel to reflect the ‘vintage’ nature of our 33-year relationship.” Bohlin directed the brides to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis for their cocktail reception. With its elegant art galleries, soaring cathedral ceilings and enchanting sculpture garden, it was the perfect backdrop to execute their unique vision. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, such as crispy Jonah crab cakes with diablo sauce, chilled English pea-and-lavender soup in an espresso cup, and slow-roasted chicken with balsamic caramel sauce on potato gaufrettes in the museum’s sculpture garden. Their signature libation was a beloved classic: the Sidecar. Works of Cape Cod artists effortlessly mingled with guests in the reception room that was reminiscent of a 1920s nightclub. Attendants picked their poison at a sleek galvanized bar, accessorized with hurricane lanterns, silver and glass. Food stations were sprinkled throughout, featuring navy-and-white awning stripe linens to continue the maritime whimsy. Tables were topped with lamp-like candle votives and small arrangements of peach roses, apple blossom stock, pink sweet pea, ivory spray roses, white lisianthus, clematis vine, Andromeda and dusty miller in dainty mercury glass vases.
Dinner consisted of four food stations—raw bar, duck tacos, veggie/meat/lobster sliders and pasta. Each station was creatively displayed and featured signage that Holly made. The dessert station displayed trays and tiers of confections, plus large apothecary jars filled with candies from Chatham Candy Manor. Signage scripted with “The Happy Ending” was not only a nod to the couple’s happily ever after but also to the song by the same name, which Holly wrote for the Off-Broadway play Cinderella, The Real, True Story with Cheryl Moch (who was also a guest). S’mores on a stick provided guests a non-messy way to eat the delectable dessert. Instead of one large cake, the brides opted for three smaller white confections: one featuring a dotted design, one decorated with pleats and the third with frothy swirls. Each was decorated with white gum paste flowers made by Holly and their daughter, Haley.
Hot sounds from the Boilermaker Jazz Band kept guests on their feet throughout the night. The brides shared their first dance as a married couple to the very fitting tune, Still the One. Each of their 64 guests received a welcome beach bag filled with Cape Cod swag upon arrival to the wedding weekend: lobster candies, Cape Cod sweatshirts, Cape Cod potato chips, maps and brochures and a guide to the couple’s favorite local spots. At the end of the celebration, each guest took home cookies featuring personalized postcard frosting details designed by Holly.
Photography: Ralph Alswang Photograpy