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Say "I do" at the Cape Cod National Seashore

Everything you need to know to celebrate your wedding by the sea

Everyone who visits Cape Cod has a favorite place. It might be a beach, an historic site or a well known (maybe even secluded) landmark. For many, it is the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS). The Cape's own national park encompasses over 43,000 acres of woodland, dunes and shoreline. Within that vast park are trails, beaches, dunes and landmarks including lighthouses--all the backdrop for beautiful vacation and wedding memories.

In addition to sunbathing, swimming, biking, and hiking, the natural, unspoiled beauty of the park is available for couples in search of a sensational ceremony spot. 

If you are considering a location at the Cape Cod National Seashore, you need only apply through their special-use permit and concessions management department. The application fee is $50, and typically the only fee associated with hosting a wedding at the park. Each application is reviewed individually and requests are permitted on a case-by-case basis, according to Katie Trudeau, the Cape Cod National Seashore's Concessions Management Specialist. This process is designed to "ensure the protection of the park and the safety of the public," Trudeau says. 

Future brides and grooms are welcomed to submit an application for any public access location within park limits. Some locations are restricted based on event size and availability. 

Trudeau said the most popular requests are for beaches and lighthouses. Events are not permitted at the Old Harbor Lifesaving Station in Provincetown, but they are permitted at the Province Lands Visitor Center. When approving event locations, park management strives to strike a balance between the success of your event and unhindered access for visitors to the park. 

The top picks for wedding ceremonies sites are not surprising. Trudeau says Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, Race Point Beach and Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown and Coast Guard Beach in Eastham are among the top picks. Nauset Lighthouse in Eastham is also a popular spot to tie the knot. For those seeking ultimate privacy, the park has approved ceremonies in the ORV, or off-road vehicle corridor. "Here at CCNS, we have a unique opportunity for people to be able to acquire an ORV permit and drive their 4x4 vehicle on the beach in restricted areas when open," Trudeau says. "We on occasion have people request their wedding ceremonies on this ORV corridor, allowing them to escape the busy beaches for a more intimate and secluded location."

Certain areas and beaches are better suited for those with a larger wedding list. The largest wedding to have been authorized at the park was 175 people. 

The Cape Cod National Seashore is perfect for those planning a wedding outdoors. To protect the park's natural resources, there are special conditions in place. Tents and other structures are not allowed and the number of folding chairs and tables allowed is limited. Amplified or recorded music or voice may not be used, but solo acoustic accompaniment is permitted. Freestanding flowers are allowed, but to protect the park's wildlife, throwing confetti or rice or releasing balloons is not allowed. Drones or aerial devices used to film or photograph events are also not permitted per the park's existing regulations. 

The application process takes a minimum of two weeks. Although the $50 application fee is typically the only amount paid to the park, additional costs may arise should an event site not be returned to its original state or if a park ranger is required to direct traffic or to protect park resources or public safety.

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Massachusetts: Boston

Other States: Connecticut Maine Massachusetts New Hampshire Rhode Island

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