Planning a wedding on the North Fork or in the Hamptons requires special attention to the details. This popular wedding destination is a no-brainer for a summer or early autumn celebration. In the summer season, the East End is party central, and there is no better reason for a party than a wedding.
Everywhere you turn is another gorgeous scene. Beaches. Farms. Vineyards. Sunsets. Harbors. All of these scenic vistas are outdoors, and if you want them to be the backdrop of your celebration, plan for an outdoor, tented reception.
That means your party vendors must be prepared to work outside. Your outdoor wedding to-do list will include tasks such as: calling the tent company, arranging for portable bathrooms, making sure the caterer’s truck can reach the party location, hiring the valet parking and, of course, getting the necessary permits and liability insurance—wait, what? Permits, insurance?
Here is where things can get complicated. Everyone loves a party, except the neighbors who weren’t invited—it’s unavoidable. So most local municipalities require a permit for any outdoor gathering, even if it is on private property. This makes certain that any issues or problems in the neighborhood are addressed properly, and makes local authorities aware of the activity, in case of an emergency.
The permitting process is rather straightforward, but, depending on where your wedding is happening, it could take more than a month to get all the approvals in place. The East End comprises five individual townships, and within most are incorporated villages. While the rules and regulations are similar among the different governmental bodies, they are not precisely the same. ALL of them, however, are prepared to shut down an event if the organizers fail to obtain the necessary permits.
Chances are, if you’re having fewer than 50 guests, including the hosts, there will be little to do, except make sure the music meets local noise ordinances, and outdoor lighting doesn’t disrupt the neighbors. If your guest list exceeds 50 or is closer to the typical 100-plus count, you should expect to at least file a permit, though you may not be subject to a fee if your gathering is relatively small.
If you are installing a tent—plan for one, given the unpredictability of weather—you will definitely need a permit.
Don’t worry if this is starting to sound confusing and daunting. Any tent company, caterer or event planner worth hiring will be able to take care of these details for you, but it’s important to discuss this with them early in the process so there are no surprises. Early March is the perfect time to address these items, whether you are handling the planning details yourself, or have engaged the services of an event planner.
So do yourself a favor. As soon as you’ve set a date, and decided your celebration will be an outdoor, tented event, contact the clerk of the Town or Village where it will take place and find out what you will need for approvals. Get the process moving right away.
Then you can relax a bit and enjoy the fun part of planning your big day—selecting the menu, designing invitations, shopping for gowns and tuxedos, and deciding on all the other details that will make your day special.
For specific information about contacting your local East End municipalities, including names and numbers of clerks in each of the five towns, visit the websites for North Fork Weddings or South Fork Weddings (P.O. Box 432 Peconic, NY 11932, 631-606-0198).