If you’re looking for a gorgeous New England wedding, a coastal wedding or a nautical themed wedding, look no further! From subtle nods to Rhode Island (the cocktail napkins are a can’t miss) to the casual reception tent from Newport Tent Company with string lights, this wedding blends all the pretty into one. With the help of Lisa Frechette Photography, this romantic affair has details here you must see!
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From The Bride…After eight years of being friends, four and a half years of long-distance dating (and countless trips between New York and Boston), ten months of wedding planning, and one amazing weekend of celebrating, Thom and I got married.
We fell in love with Rhode Island when I moved to Newport a few years ago. We decided to get married in the “Ocean State” (a.k.a. the biggest little state in the union) because we proudly call it home and because we knew our guests would enjoy its beautiful coastline, historic architecture and its charm. From early on in our planning, we agreed that the most important part of the day was the ceremony because of its significance. Our ceremony was held at Trinity Church in Newport, which is special to us because it is the church that we attend and getting married there meant that Trinity’s rector, whom we trust and deeply respect, would perform the ceremony.
After visiting nearly every potential venue in Rhode Island, we finally found the perfect place to host our reception in Jamestown, just across the bay from Newport. Unconventional and a bit off-the-beaten path, the private home where we held our reception offered unbelievable views of many of the sites that make Newport and Jamestown special: Narragansett Bay, Fort Adams, Hammersmith Farm, the Pell Bridge, Rose Island, Castle Hill lighthouse, Ida Lewis Yacht Club and, of course, the Atlantic ocean. We were confident that it would provide the elegant, natural setting we wanted.
September in Southern Rhode Island is spectacular, assuming the weather cooperates. Our reception site was an all-or-nothing venue: the property juts out into the bay, which means that it is the perfect stage for watching sailboats cruise by with a cocktail in hand. But in bad weather, it can mean harsh winds off the water and completely socked-in conditions with no visibility. Plus the house on the property didn’t provide enough room to host 150 guests for dinner. We knew the weather had to be perfect or our big day would turn into a big disaster. We got unbelievably lucky: the weather was clear and sunny throughout the entire weekend of our wedding, which meant that our friends and family got to experience the Rhode Island that we love.
The reception site doubled as our rehearsal dinner venue. Organized by Thom’s mother and father, both of whom are native New Englanders, the rehearsal dinner was a traditional clambake of lobster, chowder, mussels, clams, corn and salad. It was set on the second floor of the house so that we could take advantage of the panoramic views of Newport and Jamestown and the sunset. McGrath’s of Middletown, Rhode Island, made the dinner fun and memorable by explaining the process of farming and fishing the clambake ingredients before unveiling a huge, steaming mound of seafood.
Our wedding ceremony was held at two o’clock in the afternoon at Trinity Church. One of the most memorable parts of the whirlwind day was driving to the church with my parents and walking down the aisle with both of them. Having a few minutes together, amid all the hustle and bustle and excitement of the wedding festivities was so special to me and it is something I will cherish for years to come. Though the ceremony was very traditional, we were able to personalize it by having my brother and Thom’s sister provide the readings. After the ceremony guests explored Newport a bit and were then shuttled to Jamestown for the reception.
Cocktail hour was held on the grass overlooking the water. It featured traditional, seasonal New England fare, including watermelon and feta skewers, bacon wrapped scallops, and mini “fish and chips” cones. Dinner was served under a tent decorated with bistro lights and white linen. Our goal was to ensure that the reception complemented the natural greenery and waterfront setting. With that in mind, the table decor included white and green hydrangeas with green dianthus, surrounded by candles, heirloom pieces of silver (generously lent by friends) and warm canopy lighting. The surf and turf – filet mignon served with lobster mac n’ cheese – stole the show for most of our guests, but the sole with julienned vegetables and risotto was also a hit. We opted for a simple three tiered wedding cake with funfetti and carrot cake layers, and servers offered guests passed “cookies and milk:” warm cookies atop small glasses of vanilla ice cream.
One of our biggest challenges was finding a band with high-quality musicians who could play Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald as well as they could play Journey and Michael Jackson. Eight To The Bar, the band we hired, was one of the most memorable highlights of the reception: they played for cocktail hour as well as dinner and the hours of dancing that followed. In addition to featuring the saxophone player who helped record Van Morrison’s “Moondance” album (one of my all-time favorites), Eight To The Bar kicked off the dancing with a song they’d learned just for us.
The formal reception ended with a sparkler send-off, which coincided with the kick-off of the after party: the arrival of Paco’s taco truck. Thom organized the tacos along with a DJ as the final touch of the evening. After more dancing and celebrating, our big day finally finished up in the wee hours of the morning.
The following morning, our friends and family returned to the reception site for brunch overlooking the bay at its best: filled with boats sailing by on the shimmering water. It was the perfect way to say our goodbyes and thank you’s. We still feel that we cannot thank everyone, especially our parents, enough.
Photography: Lisa Frechette Photography | Floral Design : Dahlia | Invitations: Paper By Paperless Post | Ceremony Venue: Trinity Episcopal Church | Reception Venue: Dragonline | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew | Catering: Russell Morin Fine Catering | Calligraphy: Kaity Ryan | Lighting: Ryan Designs | DJ: Skylight Entertainment | Band: Eight To The Bar | Groom's Attire: Alton Lane | Groomsmen's Attire: Giblee's | After Party Catering: Paco's Tacos | Bridal Gown And Accessories: Andria Bird Bride | Bridal Gown Design: Jennifer Gay for Cicada Bridal | Bridal Makeup and Hair: Studio B | Bridesmaids' Accessories: Pink Pineapple | Floral Decor: Jim Donahue & Brittany Hullinger | Paper Goods (cocktail napkins, guest towels, menu cards) : Kaity Ryan | Photography - Assistance: Janet Moscarello Photography | Rehearsal Dinner Catering: McGrath Clambakes | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Dragonline | Send-off Brunch: Dragonline | Tent: Newport Tent Company | Welcome Drinks: Simpatico