Ceremony Location – Saucy Gets Married
Well, we found a ceremony location! Next year, Ryan & I will be married at Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts. We were pretty sure this would be the outcome when we looked at beaches over Memorial Day weekend but we thought checking out the beach during the time of year we’re getting married AND at the time of day we’d like to hold the ceremony (about 7pm) was a good idea.
For those of you that don’t know, We spent the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend driving down Route 1A from Portsmouth, NH towards Boston. We knew it was the area we wanted to get married in but we needed to find the PERFECT beach. We wanted somewhere not super touristy because we don’t want people running through our little ceremony or risk getting hit in the head y a Frisbee or taken out by a runaway dog (yes, those are all fears I had!). We also wanted unobstructed views of the Atlantic. And sand, we plan on being barefoot so rocky shorelines weren’t really going to cut it. So we made a list of 20 beaches we wanted to check out and we hit the road.
The day was cold and dreary with a constant drizzle and a moderate wind. Not the best day to be scoping out beaches but we made the most of it. We stopped at Red Hook brewery for a sample of their beers and moves to Portsmouth Brewery for lunch. From there we headed for the beach.
The first beach we hit was in New Castle. It was private for sure but the views were obstructed, it was VERY rocky and there was this old abandoned fort on the property that I found spooky (but Ryan thought was pretty cool – go figure!). We continued our drive along 1A but none of the beaches felt quite right. We reached HamptonBeach and while it’s easily accessible and pretty, I just KNEW it would be super crowded from sun up to sundown. It’s one of the most popular beaches in New England and therefore, out of the running.
I was starting to get a bit disheartened as none of the beaches were really what we were looking for. We decided we no longer needed to stop at every beach on our list. If it was directly on Route 1A, it was out. So our next stop was Salisbury Beach State Reservation. We fell in love as we drove down the mile long road surrounded by salt marsh. Once we parked and I saw the wooden boardwalks built into the dunes, I was swooning. I could see us getting married here!
But we didn’t want to be hasty in our decision so we decided to keep going. Our next stop was Plum Island which Ryan’s stepmother had told us about. The beach was pretty for sure (even in the freezing rain!) and indeed had more wooden boardwalks so it went on our short list. The only thing that we didn’t like about Plum Island is that it’s a vacation community so with people’s accommodations so close to the beach, it probably wouldn’t clear out around dinner time like we suspected Salisbury Beach would.
Our next stop brought us to Crane Beach in Ipswich. We both had a great feeling about this beach as soon as we parked. Not only were there more wooden boardwalks but there were staircases and I had REALLY wanted to find a beach with a staircase (strange thing to want, I know. But it is me!). The beach itself was huge and we just completely fell in love.
Once we had three beaches we liked we decided to head to our hotel in Woburn. After all, why complicate the decision by potentially finding more beautiful beaches? We discussed visiting again in Mid July and that’s what we did this weekend. Although we only decided to go back to Crane. We figured Crane was the southernmost beach of the 3 so if we got there and it was super busy or simply not everything we remembered, we would continue north and hit the other two.
That wasn’t necessary. The day was a bit cooler (temps in the high 60s/low 70s) and the sun didn’t show itself very much so the parking lot was fairly deserted when we arrived at 6:30. Most of the cars parked were actually packing up and leaving. The beach itself was pretty desolate but we could tell that even if there were 4 times as many people there this time next year, we’d still be able to find a quiet little spot for our special ceremony. We stepped foot on the beach, I turned to Ryan and said, “this is where I want to marry you.” He agreed.
So our decision is made. And we’re both ecstatic about it. We’ve begun talking about plans for inclement weather (we’ll use the beach in the rain – but not during a hurricane advisory!), where to have dinner (we’re planning a Clambake!) and where to stay for the night. It’s so exciting to have this decision made and all the other details are falling nicely into place. xoxo
PS – We did stop for ice cream to celebrate our decision and if you’re EVER in the area, you MUST stop at Down River Ice Cream. So delicious!