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On Cape Cod, storm shakes up wedding plans on one of year’s busiest weekends to say ‘I do’

Flower petals rained on Sarah Campbell and Brian Ward at their wedding ceremony in Mashpee Friday before the arrival of hurricane Lee.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

DENNIS — As Hurricane Lee barrelled toward Cape Cod on Friday, Sarah Campbell seemed the picture of calm, even though she was getting married in the afternoon.

“There’s nothing I can do about it,” said Campbell, surrounded by family and friends as she prepared to wed to Brian Ward at The Club at New Seabury. “You can’t control everything, and it makes for a great story. So, we’re taking everything in stride.”

The ceremony and cocktail hour were planned for outside, while the reception was to be indoors.

“I’m from Oklahoma, so I’m used to the wind,” Campbell said. “It feels homey in a way.”


Hurricane Lee’s outer bands arrived during one of the busiest weekends on the Cape for weddings. With forecasts calling for strong gusts, storm surge, and rain to hit the tourist mecca, couples faced the difficult decision of whether to reschedule their “I Do’s.”

Some, like Campbell and her soon-to-be husband, were pushing ahead. Others moved up their ceremonies from Saturday to Friday (believing Saturday would be worse), relocated events indoors, or opted for a later date.

Olive Chase, the owner of The Casual Gourmet in Centerville, which has catered weddings since the late 1980s, estimates there are probably over 50 weddings planned for this weekend alone.

The Casual Gourmet had two weddings planned. One, a waterfront ceremony in Chatham, was delayed until October. The other, with around 200 guests, arranged on the water in Osterville, was moved indoors to a private club.

“It is extremely painful for photographers, for florists, for tent companies, for caterers — it is one of your biggest revenue weekends of the year,” Chase said. “But it’s even more painful for clients who have these events that sometimes they’ve worked on for a couple of years that are so emotional and so important.”


PEAK Event Services is providing tent rentals to several weddings on the Cape this weekend. The company shifted times, locations, and worked out rain plans for their couples.

“We’ve been watching this on an hourly basis for the past week,” said Harry Pihl, who does regional sales and production for PEAK. “Gradually, we’ve been able to accommodate a lot of the changes.”

PEAK does services throughout New England, but the area of concern with the most impact was Cape Cod, Pihl said.

“As a whole — knock on wood — things have been absolutely great,” he said. “A few clients have had to cancel, which is unfortunate, but they’ll reschedule.”

Jill Meyer, an officiant of Write Weddings in Harwich, has three ceremonies this weekend. Her biggest concern is a beach affair planned for Saturday.

“People have beach weddings all the time, and they don’t have a backup plan,” Meyer said. “I’ve done them in the rain, if necessary.”

Some couples refuse to give up their dream weddings on the beach. However, Meyer hopes it won’t come to that this Saturday, with backup plans for an indoor venue.

Event planner Jyl Deering, of Deering Events, had two weekend weddings planned ― one Friday evening and the other Saturday. Both were still going as planned, but she was ready to shift immediately if necessary.

Deering told the bride getting married Saturday that it would make a great story, and no matter what, “We’re going to drink a lot and get married and have a good time.”


Alison McKillop and her soon-to-be husband, Mathew Giglio, decided to postpone their Saturday wedding at the Chequessett Yacht & Country Club in Wellfleet. The expected wind speeds would not have made for a safe gathering, with the wedding set outdoors and catering under a tent.

On Thursday, the couple alerted guests planning to fly in from Texas, Virginia, and Florida. The new date is May 4 next year.

“So yes, May the fourth — the force — be with us,” McKillop said.