Reception & Rehearsal Venues
As weekend-long weddings increasingly become the norm, the rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch are playing more prominent roles. These pre- and post-wedding events enable the bride and groom to spend some relaxed moments with friends and family outside of the hectic Big Day, and allow guests more time to mingle, increasing the fun factor for all.As the kick-off to the nuptial weekend, the rehearsal dinner sets the tone for the subsequent events, so choosing the right setting, service and ambiance is essential. Options throughout Southern New England range from intimate to grand, depending on the size of your crowd and tone of your party. Here are a few that promise to make your wedding weekend all that you imagined.
The Roadhouse Café in downtown Hyannis is a 30-year favorite for both an evening out and as a venue for private parties. Boasting the rank of “Highest Rated Restaurant” on Cape Cod by the Phantom Gourmet, The Roadhouse Café sports a welcoming clubby atmosphere, with Oriental rugs, two fireplaces and a piano bar. Two rooms are used for private parties: one that features a fireplace and can accommodate up to 30 guests and the other up to 65.Owner Dave Colombo describes the special appeal of The Roadhouse Café for a private party: “It doesn’t have a typical commercial feeling,” says Colombo. “It has a very intimate, warm feeling – casual yet classy.” Beyond the atmosphere, however, the food and service are the keystones of the café’s long-term success. Clients choose from local native seafood dishes, choice beef and Italian specialties.“We also provide exceptional service,” Colombo says. “I have staff who have been here for over 25 years. They are professionals. We get so many compliments time after time. We recognize that this is a very memorable event for the client and we make sure they get memorable service.”
The Black Cat, also owned by Colombo, is a casual nautical-themed restaurant and bar overlooking Hyannis Harbor. It is also available for rehearsal dinners for small groups up to 20.
Just down the street in Hyannis, the bistro-style Naked Oyster Raw Bar is another charming choice for a rehearsal dinner. Owners Florence and David Lowell are dedicated to using locally grown organic produce, including namesake oysters from their own two-acre oyster farm in Barnstable Harbor. Even the beverages are locally made, featuring handcrafted vodka, gin, rum and beers from Nantucket Brewery.
The Cape Codder Resort and Spa in Hyannis, The Daniel Webster Inn & Spa in Sandwich and the John Carver Inn & Spain Plymouth each offers an all-inclusive wedding weekend experience. If you are planning to celebrate the ceremony and reception elsewhere, be sure to make one of these resorts home base for your guests and the site for the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch.“It is really one-stop shopping with us,” says Debra Catania, vice president of Catania Hospitality Group, which owns the three properties. “Because we have spas at all three properties, the bridesmaids can get their nails done and have a little spa party before the rehearsal dinner. We have award-winning make-up specialists and hairdressers to get them all ready for the wedding. There is a wedding coordinator dedicated to each property, who works with the clients to block rooms for guests, choose the banquet space and coordinate all the details. “These are truly destination locations. We also offer a lot of amenities for the guests, with indoor and outdoor pools, great restaurants and central locations.”
The Boat House in Tiverton offers a setting perfect for a relaxed gathering to rehash the wedding and toast the happy couple once more before dispersing. “The Boat House is a beautiful location for post-wedding brunches,” says Nancy Andrade, manager of private event sales for the Newport Restaurant Group. “Located just off of Route 24, friends and family can gather on their way out of town on our South Patio, which provides a wonderful view of the Sakonnet River. Our Executive Chef Jonathan Cambra will customize a brunch buffet for everyone to enjoy and then the group can relax in our Adirondack chairs, sharing memories of this very special weekend.”
Back in Newport, The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar has been serving fine seafood from its prime location on the historic waterfront for more than 25 years. The outdoor deck and scenic locale make it another ideal spot for rehearsal dinners. “Our Harborview Room, aptly named for its abundant views of Newport Harbor, provides a picturesque backdrop for your friends to gather and celebrate,” Andrade says.Also in Newport is the European-styled boutique hotel, The Chanler at Cliff Walk. The hotel boasts three lawns, a three-season covered terrace and award-winning fine dining at their prized Spiced Pear restaurant. Perfect for smaller gatherings, the Terrace can accommodate between 70 and 90 guests, and offers amazing views of the Atlantic – ideal for a post-wedding breakfast or daytime activity.“The Spiced Pear features an open kitchen showcasing our Bonet Maestro cooking suite that was custom crafted in France specifically for our restaurant,” says Stephen Merriman, director of sales and marketing. “This makes for a lot of Chef Table and tasting-style menus that are nice for intimate rehearsal dinners.”
For a more urban experience, The Regatta Room at Hemenway’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Barin downtown Providence affords dramatic views of the city’s skyline and overlooks the Providence River. Guests will enjoy dishes featuring fresh daily catch from local ports as well as unique offerings flown in from around the world.The Marriott Providence Hotel can host your entire wedding weekend, with rooms suited to intimate rehearsal dinners, full-scale ballrooms for the reception and pretty spots for a post-wedding brunch.“We have many lovely rooms available for private events,” says Donna DiOrio, director of catering. “We also have AQUA, our outside venue that has been described as an ‘oasis’ in the city. It’s poolside and has the South Beach look and is wonderful for any event.
“Our award-winning chef Frank Paterno has been with us for 25 years. I truly believe that our reputation, our involvement with our community and all the relationships we have developed through the years ensure our guests that they will receive the very best in service and product for every event—be it a small group of 25 or a black-tie event of 400.”
The Johnson and Wales Inn in Seekonk showcases the culinary expertise of Johnson and Wales University graduate chefs. The Diplomat and Marquis rooms, both accommodating a minimum of 25 and maximum of 90 guests, reflect the inn’s comfortable but elegant décor and are available for rehearsal dinners.
“A perfect event is all in the details,” says Nancy Marocco, sales manager of social events. “With more than 20 years of event planning, we’ll ensure that every detail enhances your shower, rehearsal dinner or wedding just as you’ve envisioned it.”