How I Used Local Rhode Island Vendors at my Newport Wedding

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Before I was a bride, when I thought of wedding season, I’d picture floral crowns, barefoot beach weddings, sleeveless dresses and strappy sandals in white, silver and gold and the long, warm days of summer. Despite what the Byrds might think, there is more than one season, and one way, for a wedding.

So that’s how we approached our wedding after my fiance proposed during a New Year’s trip. Having an “off-season” wedding, I’d quickly discover, has a number of benefits, so we set a date for the following December. Vendors may offer discounted rates, and there’s more availability as well as creativity to support local businesses.

Of the 146 guests at our wedding, only six call Rhode Island home, and at most, half had ever visited. So our main motivation was to showcase the state of Rhode Island, specifically the city of Newport, to illustrate our shared future. Sourcing locally was a key ingredient to that: it supports the regional economy, reduces the carbon footprint, and you have a more hands-on experience with the products. So it was important for us to plan a wedding that was both on trend, economically and environmentally conscious, and local.

Like many other couples staring down the aisle, food and booze were our top priorities. Luckily, Aquidneck Island and the surrounding area is absolutely bursting at the seams with agricultural land, giving us a laundry list of possibilities when it came to food choices. Because options are naturally more limited when the ground freezes, we turned to Blackstone Caterers, which focuses on seasonal ingredients sourced locally to create tasty dishes that aligned with our style. We looked for simple, comfort-food dishes like braised beef with mushroom risotto and greens, or chicken with roasted carrots. The veggies were so tasty, that I could imagine them being pulled out of Rhode Island soil days earlier.

Newport Vineyards in neighboring Middletown grows its own grapes and bottles its own wine, making it the perfect spot to share our “I Dos.” In addition to a natural, local venue, the wine is produced there too. Beer in Rhode Island isn’t a particular challenge either, and between Newport Storm Beer and Pawtucket-based Narragansett Beer, the suds were flowing at our celebration just fine.

In perhaps his most enthusiastic support of the wedding-planning, my fiance Charlie found two distilleries within 20 miles of Newport, with a few more within 50 miles. Unfortunately, none of them made vodka, my personal drink of choice. I nearly gave up on the local-sourcing endeavor here, until he convinced me that we ought to at least try some of the whiskey, bourbon and gin from Sons of Liberty Spirits in South Kingstown. It was delicious. Case closed, cocktails served: A Georgia Mule (ginger beer and bourbon) for “his,” and a Pomegranate Gin Fizz for “hers.”

We also saved a lot of time, money and headache by choosing a local florist; we told Polly at Robin Hollow Farm about our rustic chic wedding style, she knew our venue, and she quickly created a shortlist of flowers that would be available from their greenhouses in December. Inexpensive because they were in season, simple because the options weren’t endless, and Polly personally delivered my bouquet the morning of our wedding, with a smile and a hug.

My dress came from Andria Bird Bride, formerly in Newport, and was designed by a Brooklyn, NY-based designer. Andria even custom made my sash and garter, the latter a total surprise until my final fitting. When all was said and done, New York was the furthest any of our wedding products traveled.

In the journey to plan a locally-focused wedding, I learned that sourcing materials from nearby wasn’t really about the materials at all — it was about the people. By choosing small businesses, we were helping members of our community support their families. The vendors were familiar with each other and had positive working relationships, making the behind-the-scenes cohesion seamless, and in turn, our local wedding was a dreamy success.

Featured Vendors:

Bridal Gown/Accessories: Andria Bird Bride

Photographer: Jillian Rollins Photography

Caterer: Blackstone Caterers

Beer: Newport Storm Beer, Narragansett Beer

Liquor: Sons of Liberty Spirits

Flowers: Robin Hollow Farm

Cake: Isis Cakes

Rehearsal Dinner: Malt

Ceremony Venue: St. Paul’s Methodist Church

Ceremony Musician: David Manuel

Reception Venue: Newport Vineyards

Day-Of Coordinator: Em Devaud Events

DJ: Luke Renchan Entertainment

Hair & Makeup: Allison Barbera Beauty

Invitations: Papers of Newport

Transportation: Viking Trolley, Rockstar Limo, Newport Limo

Family Accommodations: Hotel Viking, and The Chanler

Linens, table rentals, table settings, and marquee lights: Rentals Unlimited

Wedding Bands: Grenon’s


Written by: Lisa Gabrielson McCurdy

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