Rob and I managed to pick the hottest day of summer for our first set of venue tours, the kind of day where just walking outside will result in immediate sweating. We walked through Regatta Place on Goat Island in Newport, then made our way to Ocean Cliff before breaking for a fried chicken lunch at Winner Winner and downing a few glasses of water. Rob and I hadn’t decided on much for the wedding at this point, but we at least now agreed that we should shoot for an early Spring, “off-season” wedding. Costs are a bit cheaper and temperatures cooler.
Our last stop that day was Hotel Viking. We’d been there a bunch of times before, as we enjoyed getting drinks at the bright and cozy bar in the lobby whenever we were in town. We sipped on cocktails before being taken through the Viking’s two ballrooms and Kay Chapel, located just behind the hotel. We loved the historic vibe, the on-site lodgings and chapel, the flexible package options… A one-stop shop, as they say.
We spent the rest of July, August, and a bit of September touring venues around Rhode Island, concentrating on the East Bay and Providence. I was encouraged by magazines, blogs, and other brides to tour lots of venues, get to know what you like and don’t like, and have fun with it (if nothing else, by your twelfth venue, you may find yourself at last becoming numb to what weddings actually cost). I wanted to be the sort of person who created detailed binders and scrapbooks and Excel sheets comparing and contrasting all the venues, à la Monica in Friends. But in the end, the folders and information sheets from the venues just sat in a haphazard pile on the kitchen counter, reminding me constantly of my organizational failures.
Nevertheless, the decision ended up being relatively simple. We decided first by our budget, and then by our gut. Rob and I whittled our choices down to two venues, both hotels. We liked having everything in one place: ceremony, reception, and a place to sleep. The Viking edged its way into our top spot after we snuck a peek into the newly-renovated ballroom, which is just the right size for our guest count. And, as Rob reminded me, we liked to hang out there anyway whenever we were in Newport — it already felt a little bit ours.