Gentle waves, soft sand beaches and historic oceanfront mansions are all part of the allure that draws couples to Newport to get married. Once the center of summer society for New York’s jet set, the romantic city on the water offers a perfect mix of modern and historic for destination weddings.
“The city has so much natural beauty and historic charm which makes for an extraordinary backdrop for weddings, rehearsal dinners, and wedding weekend events,” says Rebecca Miller, wedding specialist at Discover Newport. “The diversity of venues here in Newport is just outstanding; couples looking to set any tone can certainly find a unique venue here, whether they want to say ‘I do’ with the sand between their toes or in a one-of-a-kind historic mansion.”
Couples also enjoy taking advantage of Newport as a wedding location because it gives their guests a mini vacation. There are a plethora of places to stay and it all depends on what experience you want your guests to have. “While we have four convention-style hotels which offer every amenity, we have numerous inns and B&B’s that can accommodate entire bridal parties and many guests,” says Miller. “It’s not uncommon for a wedding party to book entire inns for convenience and so that people can feel like they have a home away from home.”
Many couples assemble a loose itinerary of sightseeing, eating and relaxation in addition to the wedding celebrations for their guests. Newport has long had a reputation as a place to enjoy the sea and its pacifying benefits and nowadays this extends to the town’s spa culture. If guests are looking for a break from sightseeing, send them to the Spa Terre at the Hotel Viking for a restful massage or to the spa at the Vanderbilt Grace for a seasonal, full body treatment. While in town, guests can tour wonderful examples of Newport’s Gilded Age architecture at The Breakers, Rosecliff and Marble House, and also visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Redwood Library and Touro Synagogue.
“Guests have access to a wide variety of activities while they are in town,” says Meagan Leste of RockStar Limo and the bridal event director of the Rhode Island Wedding Group. “Everything from mansion tours and wine tastings to schooner sails and fine dining. The island is easily accessible from Providence and Boston airports and only a short ferry ride from Providence or Jamestown.” In addition to being easy to get to from most neighboring cities and airports, Newport is also accessible on foot. “Newport is a very walkable city,” says Miller, “but we have public transportation trolleys to get around and even pedi-cabs, private motor coaches, scooters and bicycles.”
Come the day of the wedding, Newport offers stunning backdrops for beautiful photos. Bring your wedding party to the Cliff Walk, the 3.5-mile public access walkway overlooking the local mansions, or Ocean Drive on the historic Ten Mile Drive for splendid shots of the water. “There are many mansions in the area that can be rented for photo sessions both indoors and in their gardens, as well as public beaches, parks, and even a carousel at the Easton’s Beach Rotunda,” says Leste. Newport even offers some off-the-beaten path ideas for photos, such as the wharves and bustling Thames Street.
No matter a couple’s style or budget, Newport has a venue and a backdrop to host the wedding of each bride and groom’s dream, whether you have a modern aesthetic or are wistful for the past. Your guests will enjoy a weekend full of fun activities long before and after you say your “I do’s.”
Written by Jessica Laniewski
Article published in Southern New England Wedding Destination 2013 edition.
Planning a wedding in Newport? Some tips on where to stay and where to play…
Where to stay: From converted old mansions to large new hotels, there is no shortage of beautiful places to stay in Newport.
117 Memorial Blvd. 65 Ridge Rd.
THE REGATTA PLACE
Five Marina Plaza
The After party: The wedding may be over, but your guests are looking to continue the party. Newport has no shortage of fabulous spots for some late-night celebrating.
One Pelham East
Live music and dancing every night of the week.
270 Thames St.; 401-847-9460
The Clarke Cooke House
Dance in “The Boom Boom Room” at this restaurant until early morning.
285 Thames St.; 401-849-2900
The Fifth Element
Keep dancing all the way from the reception floor to the live music at this restaurant.
111 Broadway; 401-619-2552
Pour Judgement Bar & Grill
Open until one every night.
32 Broadway; 401-619-2115