Sweet South County, Rhode Island: A Gorgeous and Intimate Wedding Destination

There’s more than a little magic in the salt air that wafts through South County, Rhode Island. This coastal cluster of 11 towns – Charlestown, Coventry, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown, West Greenwich and Westerly – lays claim to enough natural beauty, historical gems and pristine beaches to stir the heart of the least romantic among us. Whether you envision exchanging vows on the beach, in a historic home or under a tent on the grounds of a stately hotel, South County can fulfill your wedding dreams.

Sweet South County, RI: A Gorgeous and Intimate Wedding Destination | Southern New England Weddings | Susan Sancomb Photography

“What makes this region special is the unspoiled beauty of the rolling countryside that spills down to more than 100 miles of coastline with over 20 public beaches,” says Myrna George, president of the South County Tourism Council. “The community is ecologically sensitive, retaining the history of its indigenous people and earliest settlers.

“You can get married overlooking Wickford Harbor or at Watch Hill. Smith’s Castle, one of the oldest homes in the state, the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum in Saunderstown, and the 18th-century Babcock-Smith House are all popular venues,” she continues. “We also have extraordinary beaches. Because of the Gulf Stream, the water gets warm earlier in the season and stays warm longer than most Cape beaches. I’ve seen people swimming in mid-October. We have some of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast.”

Sweet South County, RI: A Gorgeous and Intimate Wedding Destination | Southern New England Weddings

Sweet South County, RI: A Gorgeous and Intimate Wedding Destination | Southern New England Weddings

Brandi Lacoste, owner of Blissful Events Wedding and Event Planning in Wakefield, is well-versed in the draw South County has for wedding couples, many of which hail from out of state. “Brides and grooms come from all over to get married in South County; some are college alumni, some are from New York City looking to find a more budget-friendly locale,” says Brandi. “Many of my clients pick this area because of its beauty and welcoming community.

“It’s a great place to get married because it offers so much variety,” she adds. “The coastline is home to a wide range of different venues, from historic locations, such as the ruins at South County Museum, to garden settings at Farmer’s Daughter.”

Sweet South County, RI: A Gorgeous and Intimate Wedding Destination | Southern New England Weddings | Joseph Laurin Photography

The abundant and accessible options of recreational activities, restaurants, shopping and cultural offerings, like music on the beach or Shakespeare under the stars, yield a perfect destination wedding choice.

“I think South County is popular because it offers so much to wedding guests,” says Brandi. “A lot of people end up coming early or staying afterwards to make a vacation out of it. The beaches are clean and safe, there are a ton of cute boutique stores to shop in throughout the area and everyone is only a ferry ride away from a day on Block Island.”

Restaurants like the venerable Aunt Carrie’s (serving fresh seafood since 1920), Matunuck Oyster Bar (featured in National Geographic for its aquaculture), Two Ten Oyster Bar & Grill and the recently reopened Coast Guard House restaurant with 180-degree views of Narragansett Bay offer delicious local menus and spectacular settings for rehearsal dinners, post-wedding brunches or welcome parties.

Sweet South County, RI: A Gorgeous and Intimate Wedding Destination | Southern New England Weddings

Sweet South County, RI: A Gorgeous and Intimate Wedding Destination | Southern New England Weddings | Susan Sancomb Photography

South County’s community spirit and congenial tone make it more than just a pretty place. “Its vendors have been in the business for years and are so great to work with,” contends Brandi. “The planning process of a wedding should be fun, stress-free and affordable. We are all one big family and we all just want the very best for our clients.”

VENUES & ACCOMMODATIONS

Watch Hill Inn | 38-44 Bay St., Watch Hill; 401-584-7400

Ocean House | 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill; 401-584-7000

General Stanton Inn | 4115 Old Post Rd., Charlestown; 401-364-1818

The Break | 1208 Ocean Rd., Narragansett; 401-363-9800

Story by Lenore Cullen Barnes

Photo Captions & Credits (top to bottom): Susan Sancomb Photography; Smith’s Castle, courtesy of South County Tourism Council; Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum, courtesy of South County Tourism Council; Joseph Laurin Photography; Two Ten Oyster Bar and Grill, courtesy of South County Tourism Council; Coast Guard House restaurant, courtesy of South County Tourism Council

Note: This article originally appeared in the 2014/2015 Southern New England Weddings: Destination Edition

As a native of South Coast Mass., Jen knows southern New England well but is never surprised when she discovers a new favorite destination. An English major who has worked in publishing as an editor and freelance writer for over 15 years, she enjoys interviewing, writing and especially blogging for Southern New England Weddings (because weddings are endlessly pretty and inspiring!). She lives in Rochester, Mass., with her husband and two young daughters.

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