Choosing a venue was my absolute favorite part of the planning process and being in Rhode Island we had so many options it was hard to select just one! Since the venue sets the tone for the wedding theme and color scheme it is great that our state has a variety of settings. For instance, couples looking for a beach theme might choose Belle Mer or Harbor Lights, while couples looking for a rustic feel could try Mount Hope Farm. And those who want an elegant wedding in the city can choose from venues such as the Providence G and even the public library.
But it can also be overwhelming if you don’t quite know what you are going for — but that is where the fun comes in! The day after I got engaged I came down with a terrible cold and spent the next week in bed. This left me lots of time for researching venues and setting up appointments for Josh and me to visit the sites and ask questions. We had a really good time driving around RI and southeastern Massachusetts getting tours of venues and thinking about all the different possibilities for our wedding.
We were able to narrow down our choices a bit before we started booking appointments as we already had an idea about our colors and theme. I began by looking at country clubs since our theme is “classic preppy”. Also, as we don’t have a lot of out-of-town guests, we didn’t need the convenience of having our wedding at a hotel where everyone would be staying.
What I found most helpful was developing a chart of all the places we looked at with a few basic questions at the top I wanted answered right from the beginning:
- What is the rental fee and/or food and beverage minimum?
- What is included with the rental fee? (Note: At some locations this does not include tables, chairs, linens, silverware, etc.)
- Does the venue host multiple weddings at once or multiple weddings in a single day? If so, what are the hours we could book?
- Are there any special fees we need to know about up front such as a cake-cutting fee?
- Is there an onsite coordinator?
After these main questions, I had a list of about thirty-five other things I wanted to know… but that may just be my overzealous, detail-oriented personality! However, these five were the most important, as we are working within a budget, and after attending a few weddings and chatting with friends we learned what we wanted and what we definitely did not.
((Editor’s Note: If you’re not sure where to begin your search, our planning tools can help you narrow down your RI venue options, and even answer some of the questions Jacquie mentioned above!))
We eventually settled on Rhode Island Country Club (RICC), located in Barrington. It is within our budget, has beautiful views of the bay, and a unique set-up. Instead of one large ballroom, there is a dining room, a room for dancing, an atrium and lots of outdoor space. However, the biggest benefits are the onsite coordinator and the one-wedding-per-day guarantee.
That means we don’t have to contend with noisy weddings taking place at the same time and we don’t have any time constraints. This is especially important for couples who are not getting married onsite. We found locations that were hosting multiple weddings caused either a large gap between our ceremony and reception or there was an overlap in the timeline. RICC is ours for the entire day; my bridal party can even use the space to get ready in the morning and we can store all of our hair/make-up items in the bridal suite while we are at the church.
Plus, with all the different rooms there are a lot of opportunities for us to add our own touch and incorporate our theme. We are even collecting photographs of our family and friends at their own weddings to display. It will be a wonderful way to include those closest to us in the celebration and personalize the space.
Once we walked in, we really had a vision and after every tour we kept coming back to this one. So we knew it would be the perfect spot for our special day!