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25 Reasons We Love Rhode Island Weddings

25 Reasons We Love Rhode Island Weddings

📷: Olivia Gird Photography

Trust us, this list could have easily extended to 125 reasons, but — to bring us back to good, old 2012 for a second — ain’t nobody got time for that. Still, if you recently put a ring on it and are planning to wed in Little Rhody anytime soon, we think you’ll thoroughly appreciate this small glimpse of what you can look forward to.  


All themes welcome.

Rustic, vintage, bohemian, industrial, nautical… Even UP-themed? You name it, our couples have done — and absolutely nailed — it. 


Year-round beauty.

One of the best parts of being located in southern New England is that we can take advantage of all four seasons, with cooler celebrations in the winter, floral-filled festivities in the spring, seaside soirees in the summer and awe-inspiring affairs in autumn. 


Bountiful blooms.

Though there’s no shortage of captivating flowers along the east coast, locals have always been especially besotted by the timeless charm of hydrangeas. Different variations of the classic bunch often become the focal point of traditional brides’ bouquets while natural blue blooms make up the backdrop of formals taken at places like the Boat House in Tiverton.


Everything is within reach.

There are a plethora of nearby eateries, activities and accommodations for out-of-town guests to indulge in during your wedding weekend. Need proof? Check out these exemplary Rhode Island wedding destination itineraries.   

NEWPORT

Where to stay: The Firehouse Inn ($$$), the East Island Reserve Hotel ($$), the Hotel Viking ($$) or the Newport Inn ($$$).

The Seaview Suite at The Newport Inn. Photo courtesy of Dean Diogo Photography

Where to eat: The White Horse Tavern for breakfast, Brick Alley Pub for lunch and Midtown Oyster Bar or 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar and Grille for dinner. 

Where to drink: O’Brien’s Pub, One Pelham East, Fluke Newport or Norey’s.

Where to explore: Newport Vineyards, Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling Company, the CliffWalk, Fort Adams State Park, Thames Street, Bowen’s Wharf, the Naval War College Museum and/or one of Sail Newport‘s tours. 

PROVIDENCE

Where to stay: Renaissance Providence ($$), the Dean Hotel ($$), the Graduate Providence ($$) or Hotel Providence ($$).

Where to eat: Julian’s for breakfast, Tallulah’s Taqueria or Fellini Pizzeria for lunch and Los Andes or CAV for dinner. 

Where to drink: Bayberry Beer Hall, Hot Club, the Eddy, the Dorrance or Rooftop at the Providence G.

Where to explore: The RISD Museum, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Federal Hill, the Providence Athenaeum, Benefit Street, Long Live Beerworks and/or the Arcade

WESTERLY

Where to stay: The Ocean House ($$$$), the Weekapaug Inn ($$$) or the Pleasant View Inn ($$).

Where to eat: The Cooked Goose for breakfast, Two Little Fish or the Olympia Tea Room for lunch, Ella’s Fine Food and Drink or the Sea Goose Grill and Raw Bar for dinner. 

Where to drink: Perks and Corks, Paddy’s Beach Club, Flipside Pinball Bar, or the Malted Barley.

Where to explore: Wilcox Park, Watch Hill, the Knickerbocker, Napatree Beach, Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island, Atlantic Beach Park and/or the Babcock-Smith House


Size doesn’t matter.

Officially the tiniest state in the country, Little Rhody is no stranger to intimate gatherings and our low-key couples’ weddings have run the gamut. We’ve admired everything from family-oriented backyard celebrations to breathtakingly romantic elopements on the beach to remarkably creative affairs at budget-friendly bistros. 


Mansion madness.

With a number of Gilded Age “cottages” at its disposal, the state has hosted scores of extravagant wedding rendezvous that would make even the one and only Jay Gatsby green with envy. The Rosecliff’s heart-shaped staircase and dreamy patio are often a hook, line and sinker for engaged couples looking to marry in a manor (and for moviemakers: the 1976 adaption of the Great Gatsby was partially shot here, too), but other time-honored wedding locales include the Marble House and Rough Point in Newport, Aldrich Mansion in Warwick, Linden Place in Bristol and the Glen Manor House in Portsmouth.

The foyer at Aldrich Mansion. Photo courtesy of Mel Colvin Photography.

Creativity reigns supreme.

Home to the Rhode Island School of Design and a myriad of innovators and visionaries, Providence gladly bears its “Creative Capital” nickname. The city’s artistic influence has seeped into the very fabric of our state, ensuring that our couples are inspired not only when it comes to their themes and DIY-projects, but also with their styles. Keep scrolling to glimpse some of our favorite fashion-forward, homespun looks (read: masterfully rendered creations by Arianna Nicola Designs, Carissa Lynne Designs and Nancy Rodrigues Spirito of Bridal Finery) that are fit for any chic Rhode Island bride.

Photographed at the Candita Clayton Gallery, canditaclaytongallery.com.

Bridal fashions, from left to right: Knotted gold sandal, $316, Nordstrom, Providence, nordstrom.com; custom rose gold hairpiece,* Bridal Finery, East Greenwich, bridalfinery.com; lace romper,* Carissa Lynne Designs, carissalynnedesigns.com; blue suede d’Orsay pumps, $88.95, Nordstrom; sterling pendant necklace, $78, and rhinestone necklace, $48, both from Bridal Finery; sheath gown with plunging neckline,* Carissa Lynne Designs; shell cluster necklace, $48, Bridal Finery; satin, off-shoulder swing-top paired with floral skirt*, Arianna Nicola Designs, ariannanicoladesigns.com; custom freshwater pearl hairpiece*, Bridal Finery; beaded lace, off-shoulder swing-top paired with beaded lace skirt,* Arianna Nicola Designs; wire and enamel flower hairpiece, $138, Bridal Finery; lace top with beading paired with a-line skirt,* Carissa Lynne Designs; jewel-embellished sandals, $109.95, Nordstrom; blue-beaded feather purse, $68, and freshwater pearl and turquoise necklace, $48, both from the Bridal Finery; gold opalescent drop necklace, $58, Bridal Finery; and plunging neckline gown with tulle skirt,* Arianna Nicola Designs.

Details, from left to right: Modern wooden stools by Studio Dunn, studiodunn.com; floral arrangements by Michelle Jeanne Floral Design, michellejeannefloraldesign.com; and dress forms provided by Bridal Finery.

Artwork, from left to right: The Vantage Point* by Michael Rich; Aqua Linea 1216* by Alyn Carlson; Essence #2* by Kate Wilson; Surfs Up* by Estelle Chojnicki; EB #16* by Wendy Wahl; and Abstraction 2* by Michael DiQuinzio.*Prices available upon request.


We can borrow from our neighbors. 

We’re not just talking cups of sugar, here. Lucky for us, southeastern Massachusetts and Connecticut boast numerous gifted vendors — from photographers and florists to bakers and bands — that are willing to cross the state border and share their services. 


Island getaway.

Our newlyweds don’t even have to leave the state to get that destination wedding or remote honeymoon feel: they can just sail away to Block Island (an actual island just thirteen miles from the southern mainland) for pristine beaches, tropical drinks, fresh-from-the-sound seafood and activities like kayaking, mopeding and parasailing.


We do our Ocean State moniker justice.

Okay, we know we said we welcome all themes, and we do, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t emphasize just how much we totally crush nautical nuptials. With weddings accented by navy blue and white palettes (bonus points if stripes are involved); classy anchor and/or lighthouse motifs; sand dollar-turned-escort cards; nauti hashtags; monkey-fist knot boutonnieres; bouquets tied together with thick rope; lobster traps repurposed into card holders; personalized life preserver photo props; dried coral and sea glass decor; glass centerpieces filled with sand and seashells; and message-in-a-bottle guestbooks, we practically invented “tying the knot.”

Kelly happily poses with her stripes-clad gals on the lawn of the waterfront Warwick Country Club. Photo courtesy of Sara Drew Photography.

… So, yeah, we clearly know how to incorporate “something blue.”

Chris Vaccaro Photography

Clockwise from top left: Blue flower cluster necklace, $48, Bridal Finery, East Greenwich, bridalfinery.com; enamel cufflinks converted from 9th/12th Lancers enamel buttons, $45, Royal Male, Newport, royalmale.com; tinted lens sunglasses, $24, Modern Love, Providence, modernloveshoes.com; men’s dress shoes, $110, Franklin Rogers, Providence, suitstoreri.com; tassel earrings, $38, Pink Pineapple, Newport and Wakefield, pinkpineappleshop.com; multistage statement necklace, $88, Bridal Finery; square cufflinks, $50, Franklin Rogers; Aurora garter, $35, Arianna Nicola Designs, ariannanicoladesigns.com; Raymond Weil wrist watch, $1,350, Baxter’s Fine Jewelry, Warwick, baxtersjewelry.com; navy blue velvet bow tie, $85, Royal Male; silk paisley bow tie, $125, Blueprint 5, East Greenwich, blueprint5.com; blue laser cutout sandal, $198.95, Nordstrom, Providence, nordstrom.com; hoop earrings, $28, Pink Pineapple; gold necklace with blue stones, $24.95, Modern Love; geometric statement earrings, $17.95, Modern Love; light blue bow tie, $30, Franklin Rogers; blue laser cutout sandal, $198.95, Nordstrom; blue and purple silk paisley tie, $175, Blueprint 5; blue polka dot tie, $30, Franklin Rogers; blue and white rope bracelets, $35 each, Pink Pineapple; silk bulldog pocket square, $75, Blue Print 5; spaceman pocket square, $79, Royal Male; John Hardy chain bracelet with blue sapphire, $950, John Hardy bracelet with aqua and kyanite, $695, John Hardy drop earrings with aqua and kyanite, $595, all from Baxter’s Fine Jewelry; and turquoise rhinestone stud earrings, $24, Bridal Finery.


The noms.

Around these parts, we have an eclectic mix of iconic dishes — including, but not limited to, clams casino, Rhode Island (a.k.a. clear) clam chowder, fried calamari (our state app!), sugar-laden doughboys, hot wieners (fully loaded), dynamites, cold pizza strips and stuffies — and fortunately for guests’ palates, one or two of these always seem to make their way onto most Rhode Island wedding menus. Eternal props to the clever local caterers who always keep them looking both tasty and classy.


Our alcohol game is strong. 

A huge shout out to all of the resident breweries, distilleries and vineyards that deliver (literally) when it comes to providing delicious libations for cocktail hour and beyond.

Pro Tip: Mixing locally made favorites like Del’s Lemonade + Keel Vodka = A total crowd pleaser.


Coffee, coffee, coffee.

It’s no secret that Rhode Islanders like their cup o’ joe in any form (see: cafes strategically placed on practically every street corner, residents’ unwavering devotion to putting Autocrat Coffee Syrup in their milk, and the continued ordering of creamy coffee cabinets and large iced lattes in the dead of winter). See below for an example of how couples can wholly share their passion for all things coffee with their loved ones on their big day.

Chris Vaccaro Photography

The Credit: All paper decor and signage provided by Allyson Dupont Designs, allysondupont.com; hot coffee setup, chocolate-dipped biscotti, kahlua donut bites, “butter me up butterscotch” drinks and espresso martinis provided by the Catered Affair, thecateredaffair.com; latte-inspired cake and coffee milk tartlets provided by Sin, Providence, eatwicked.com; coffee bark and chocolate-covered coffee beans provided by Sweenor’s Chocolates, Cranston and Wakefield, sweenorschocolates.com; cupcakes provided by Awsome Sweets, Pawtucket, awsomesweets.net; and vintage chest, corner tables, dishes and china provided by Uniquely Chic Vintage, uniquelychicvintage.com.


Our backdrops are picture-perfect.

There are countless stunning (and we do mean stunning) spots for engagement pics and/or wedding formals. Just think: modern murals and historic mills in Providence; miles of greenery and gardens in Bristol and Warwick; romantic woodlands in West Greenwich and Scituate; notable lighthouses and uninterrupted ocean views in Newport, Narragansett and Westerly; and isolated rocky terrain in Jamestown and out on Block Island.


…And our sunsets are 🔥

Blake and Chelsea at Harbor Lights. Photo courtesy of What Cheer Photo.

Furrever pet-friendly.

Four-legged friends are not only present at our celebrations, but they often take up the mantle of ring bearer, bridal party member and/or resident scene-stealer.  

Macho sits with his human, Dani, and sports a nautical collar from the Cheeky Hound on Hope Street in Providence. (Looking for even more locally made pet accessories? Stop by Benny and Jack in Wakefield or visit trishhampton.com.) Photo courtesy of Sharum Photography.

Nostalgia to the max.

If you’ve ever met a native over the age of twenty (or perhaps even younger), you’ll know that our directions often rely on the “used-to-be’s” of the state. For example: “Oh, just take old exit 12 and then hook a right after where Bonnet Market used to be.” We love to honor the past, so it only makes sense that many of our weddings would follow suit. We’ve witnessed lovebirds say “I do” on the grounds of their alma maters, in the very restaurant where they had their very first date, in the same church where beloved family members exchanged rings years before and, of course, within the walls of historically significant Rhody sites, such as Fort Adams, Slater Mill, the Towers of Narragansett and the Squantum Association


Small business appreciation.

Between buying favors from local shops, registering for local registries, commissioning signage from local artists and/or donating to local charities in lieu of favors, nothing warms our hearts quite like seeing couples supporting the community that supports them. 


Our bridal parties know how to work a space.

Alex (center) and his dapper groomsmen at the Temple of Music in Roger Williams Park. Photo courtesy of Lauren Halvorson Photography.

And they have a sense of humor, too.

Jeremy’s groomsman, Esteban, crashes the first look. Photo courtesy of Dual Edge Photography.

Birthplace of religious freedom.

Grace Episcopal Church in Providence is not only gorgeous inside and out, but it welcomes couples of all ideologies to marry at its altar. Photo courtesy of

One thing that Rhode Island’s founder, Roger Williams, got right was to ensure that persons of every faith are welcome to “freely and fully” practice their religion in the Ocean State. And so, the state has since become home to some pretty spectacular sacred spaces. A few particularly noteworthy institutions include Touro Synagogue, America’s oldest synagogue; First Baptist Meetinghouse, America’s oldest Baptist church; and St. Mary’s Church Newport, where John F. Kennedy and Jackie Bouvier married in 1953. On the aesthetics side, we’ve always stood in awe of chapels like Grace Episcopal Church in Providence, South Ferry Church in Narragansett, St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center in Providence and Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Newport. 


Love is love.

Matt and Tyler snapped their newlywed pics on Thames Street in Newport. Photo courtesy of Lefebvre Photography.

Likewise, the state of Rhode Island proudly supports and happily celebrates the union between any two loving individuals, no matter their sexuality and/or gender identity.

Want to keep up with the eng(ay)ged LGBTQ+ community? Give @nptout a follow on Instagram!


Everybody knows everybody.

Are you in the market for an affordable yet reliable DJ? Well, turns out cousin Betty’s college roommate has quite the track (pun totally intended) record. Or, are you worried that one of your guests won’t know anyone? Don’t. The best man’s date is the guest’s long-lost friend from summer camp, and their table mate is actually their mom’s hairdresser. The point is, it’s a small world, and an even smaller state, so there’s always someone around to lend a helping hand and/or some familiar faces in the (wedding) crowd. 


The people. 

Whether it’s the couple, the guests or even the vendors, you’re always in good company at a Rhode Island wedding.

Plus, we all sure know how to party. ❤️

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