With the Block Island Wedding Show coming up this weekend, we thought we’d check in with a pro who knows the ins and outs of planning a destination wedding on Rhode Island’s off shore gem. Sarah Daly, of Sarah Daly Events, is a Newport-based wedding planner and designer with over 16 years of experience bringing couples’ dream weddings to life on the shores of Block Island. Read on for some valuable planning advice tidbits, plus some great island travel tips and a recipe for the perfect Block Island honeymoon.
Southern New England Weddings: Once a couple decides Block Island is absolutely the place for them to wed, where should they go next? What resources are available to them, both on and off the island?
Sarah Daly: In my opinion, they should immediately contact a professional wedding planner. Even if it’s just for a short consultation, couples who are doing a destination wedding- and Block Island is basically a destination wedding for every couple- should use the first-hand knowledge that a planner has. This will definitely save them time and money (and headaches!). Some other great resources are the Block Island Chamber of Commerce, the Block Island Tourism Council, and of course…The Block Island Wedding Show! If you can’t make it to the show, check out the website: www.blockislandweddingshow.com.
SNEW: As an event planner who regularly does weddings on Block Island, do you get any common questions related to marrying on the island?
SD: People want to know “how much does a wedding on Block Island cost?” The answer is, it costs the same as a wedding anywhere else in RI. Just like all weddings, your budget will determine what your choices are for venue, food, etc. Block Island’s wedding vendors accommodate every type of wedding, from a small, intimate affair on the beach to a large bash under a tent.
SNEW: Let’s just ask the obvious: since it’s an island, what are the best ways to get everyone to and from the wedding? Once everyone makes it there, what’s the best way to get around?
SD: Ferry service to the island is great- it runs quite often, it’s reliable, and it’s a beautiful way for your guests to arrive. There are services from New London, CT, Montauk, NY, Newport, RI and Point Judith, RI. Guests can also fly from both Westerly, RI and T.F. Greene Airport.
Once you get there, you can easily rent a bike or motor scooter. There are plenty of cabs as well. Private transportation for your wedding day can be arranged through a number of vendors, including one that has a school bus!
SNEW: What’s the weather like on the island? What are the best wedding months? Are there any underappreciated times of year that you think more couples should consider for their date?
SD: What’s more beautiful than a sunny day on Block Island? Not much- it’s the quintessential New England beach feel that’s reminiscent of lemonade and lobster rolls. The beach roses, fragrant privet hedge, and blooming hydrangeas are simply stunning in the summer time. The wedding season goes from late May through early October, with September usually bringing the brightest, driest days. Late September and early October make a beautiful, less crowded, time of year for a wedding- but not much is open on the island past Columbus Day!
SNEW: What are some local island touches that you’ve seen couples incorporate into their day?
SD: Bibbs All Natural Sparkling Juice Beverages are a Block Island product that are great for couples to use as favors or drinks at their reception. Block Island Cigar is another on-island business that can add to your wedding festivities. Most weddings tend to incorporate some natural island touches from the island, like driftwood or shells.
SNEW: Are there any sights or activities that couples should definitely direct their guests to while they are visiting the island?
SD: Some absolute can’t miss sights are: the Southeast Lighthouse, Mohegan Bluffs, North Lighthouse, Abram’s Animal Farm on Spring Street, and of course the beach! There are many beaches to choose from, some quiet, some lively, all with amazing scenery.
Additional activities include island tours by the local cab operators, private cruises by Sea Dog Cruising, kayak rentals, bike and scooter rentals, shopping, dining, and dancing at the pubs and bars! There’s something for everyone.
SNEW: What is your favorite thing about planning weddings on Block Island?
SD: Working with the people on the island- Block Island businesses are run by the most amazing people who really love what they do. They are always helpful, and happy to share the love of their island with others!
SNEW: Do you have any advice for a couple planning their Block Island wedding from afar?
SD: If possible, visit the island the summer before your wedding, and check out the resources you’ll need (such as venues, hotels and inns, restaurants, etc.). Keep in mind that most of the island is closed during the off season (October through April). You may have a difficult time getting a hold of certain vendors during this time. Your best bet is to plan in advance as much as possible, and work with a wedding planner who knows the ins-and-outs. It’s a different type of planning process than for mainland weddings.
SNEW: How about honeymooning on Block Island. What would your recipe for the perfect island getaway be?
First, it would start with a scenic ferry ride to the island. Don’t miss out on the Block Island Ferry’s famous bloody Mary! It’s delicious, and comes in a collector’s cup, which is a different color every summer.
After arriving at the island and checking into a cozy inn, I would head to the beach to catch some sun and enjoy a picnic lunch, or perhaps bike up to Southeast Lighthouse for an amazing view down the Mohegan Bluffs. After that, I would relax with my honey with a refreshing cocktail in an Adirondack chair overlooking the ocean.
Our evenings would include a romantic dinner at Eli’s followed by dancing at Captain Nick’s.
Block Island is full of quiet, breathtaking, romantic little spots to call your own. It has a special kind of magic that just grabs at your heart and stays there forever!
The 2014 Block Island Wedding Show is this Sunday, July 13th from 12-3 pm at the Sullivan House. Visit www.blockislandweddingshow.com for more information.
Photo Credit: All photos by Hillary B. Photography, courtesy of Sarah Daly Events