Figuring out the ‘where’ and ‘when’ took us about nine months.
By Grace Keating
While it was a no-brainer as to where Kevin and I would actually say our “I-dos” (my home parish in Woonsocket), the big question was where we would be partying after — and when! As Kevin is a teacher, we decided immediately that a summer wedding would make the most sense. We chose July because it would mark almost exactly two years to the day of our July 2014 engagement, and because it is right in between both of our summer birthdays. For months when people asked us when we were going to get married we answered, “summer of 2016,” or “July of 2016,” but we had no exact date to begin booking things.
Finally, we began our venue-hunting, and sort of on a whim. Very randomly one Thursday I called a few places we had discussed to see if we could tour them that Saturday. Kevin and I were interested in venues north of Providence or even in southeastern Massachusetts. With our ceremony taking place in Woonsocket, we did not want guests to have to travel too far for the reception, especially since many will already be traveling from other states (or countries) to get here in the first place. This does take away just about any possibility of an oceanfront celebration, but both of us were fine with that. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach — I did grow up in the Ocean State, after all — but I felt no overwhelming draw to get married on or near the water as some brides do. Something else Kevin and I shared was a wariness of outdoor receptions, even those “covered” by a tent. In mid-July, the evening could be extremely hot and muggy, which isn’t fun for anybody, or it could be cool and pouring rain. Who knows with New England? We had no desire to chance it and wanted to plan a strictly indoor reception, perhaps with the option to stroll around outside should guests choose.
We looked into several venues, but I will highlight one of our favorites (besides the one we ended up choosing): the Aldrich House in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence. Built in 1821, it was home to several generations of Rhode Island elite before U.S. Senator Nelson Aldrich and his family occupied it beginning in the 1880s. The home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and is now a small museum operated by the Rhode Island Historical Society. Kevin is a history teacher and I am a huge political nerd, so naturally we loved its story and charm. It also has something so distinctly Rhode Island, and specifically Providence, about it — old ship models on display and beautiful murals of the city on its walls. Unfortunately, the Aldrich House would not be big enough to fit the crowd we are planning on having, with both of our large families converging. We may have been able to fix this by putting some or all of our guests outside to eat, but refer above to our aversion to outdoor arrangements. If we were having a smaller crowd, I have little doubt we would have gone with the Aldrich House!
One of the places we toured that first Saturday was Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln. After spending probably near an hour with the wedding planner there, walking around and reviewing packages, Kevin and I finally had a minute to ourselves walking out. We looked at each other and I think just said, “Yeah. This is probably it!” We were blown away by the beauty, both outside and inside; the affordability of the packages for all they included; and the way we were treated by the lovely coordinator there, who we would be working with should we book Kirkbrae.
Two weeks and a few more venue searches later, we went with our gut and were penciled in for July 16, 2016 at Kirkbrae. A few days after that, we signed a contract and dropped off a deposit. This was it: We were officially getting married! This was the moment our wedding planning finally felt real to me. We could give our family and friends a specific date, place and time to show up and celebrate.
Next up on our list is getting engagement pictures taken, using them for save-the-dates, and to begin booking other vendors for the Big Day (I think it deserves proper noun status). At least now we know when, and where, that Day will be!