A peek at twenty-four of our favorite local reception venues for styles ranging from boho to black tie.
By Kristina Reardon and Jennifer Steffy Swanson
Once you have your budget and know the size of your guest list, it’s time to get booking. The type of reception you want (seated or standing cocktail), the day of the week, time of day and month of the year can all affect a venue’s price and the number of people it can accommodate. As if you didn’t have enough to think about, here are a few more things you need to factor in: Is food included or do you need a caterer? How about furniture and linen rentals or a tent? While this list isn’t a Bible, it’s definitely a starting point. For reference, these prices are based on an average Saturday evening wedding during peak season. For the most accurate pricing and guest capacity information, contact each venue directly.
1. Fort Adams
If it’s got to be on the Newport waterfront but mansions aren’t your style, this nineteenth century military relic may be just right. Overlooking sailboat-filled Newport Harbor, choose between an outdoor reception on one of the sprawling lawns or an indoor banquet in the historic Barracks Dining Room.
ADDRESS: 90 Fort Adams Dr., Newport
PHONE NUMBER: 401-619-5801
BUDGET RANGE: $3,500–$5,000 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 300
2. Narragansett Towers
The brick patio, complete with a water fountain, is great for sipping cocktails and taking in the ocean air. The newly-renovated Great Hall still exudes nineteenth-century charm, and many say the towers — which have withstood fires, hurricanes and nor’easters since 1845 — are a symbol of endurance.
ADDRESS: 35 Ocean Rd., Narragansett
PHONE NUMBER: 401-782-2597
BUDGET: $3,150 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 160 seated
3. Ocean House
This nineteenth-century style property in Watch Hill is an idyllic site. A private beach, oceanfront bar and seaside ballroom provide the space, and the posh neo-Victorian decor set the tone for an elegant celebration.
ADDRESS: 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill
PHONE NUMBER: 401-584-7000
BUDGET: Call for pricing
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 250 inside, 600 outside
4. Harbor Lights
It’s the best of both worlds: country club elegance (and amenities) with waterfront views. Harbor Lights is a unique venue with options for indoor and outdoor ceremonies and receptions.
ADDRESS: 150 Gray St., Warwick
PHONE NUMBER: 401-737-6353
BUDGET: $6,000 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 250 in the ballroom; virtually limitless tented outside
1. Kirkbrae Country Club
This club has an uber-luxe vibe (ballrooms, chandeliers, private bridal suites and bright gardens with petite, cascading waterfalls). Arrange for a rehearsal dinner and a post-wedding brunch onsite to give your guests the full experience.
ADDRESS: 197 Old River Rd., Lincoln
PHONE NUMBER: 401-333-1300
BUDGET RANGE: $400-$1,000 site rental, plus package option of $70 per person
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 400
2. Warwick Country Club
Scenic waterfront views of Narragansett Bay and culinary options that include seafood and a hibachi bar make for a memorable dining experience. Still, the selling point just might be the scenery: sunset views of the Jamestown and Newport bridges are sure to wow your guests.
ADDRESS: 394 Narragansett Bay Ave.,
PHONE NUMBER: 401-739-0550
BUDGET: $5,000 room rental
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 250
1. Blithewold Mansion,
Gardens and Arboretum
If it’s botanical variety and sprawling acres you’re after, Blithewold is your best bet. Not only does this forty-five-room English manor boast bay-front views, it’s home to half a dozen gardens, a bamboo grove and hundreds of different plants.
ADDRESS: 101 Ferry Rd., Bristol
PHONE NUMBER: 401-253-2707
BUDGET: $11,995 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 225
2. The Farmer’s Daughter
This garden center carved its wedding venue space out of a former Christmas tree lot, and evergreens cozily enclose the ceremony site. Turn the corner by the privet hedge, and you’ll find yourself in a lush garden that beautifully frames the stars and moon when you look up at night.
ADDRESS: 716 Mooresfield Rd., South Kingstown
PHONE NUMBER: 401-792-1340
BUDGET: $4,200 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 350
3. Roger Williams Park Botanical Center
This conservatory allows you to soak up 12,000 square feet of exotic flora in the heart of Providence. And no need to worry about rain here: The glass walls of the Mediterranean Room let you feel like you’re outside without worrying about Mother Nature.
Elmwood Ave., Providence
PHONE NUMBER: 785-9450 ext. 250
BUDGET: $3,300–$4,500 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 140–200 seated
In French, fête means ‘elaborate party’; perfect, right? Get married on the main stage, use the lounge for cocktail hour and have your reception in the ballroom. Dim the lights for a nightclub atmosphere, bring in a DJ and dance the night away.
ADDRESS: 103 Dike St., Providence
PHONE NUMBER: 401-383-1112
BUDGET: $6,500 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 420 seated
2. The Met
This Pawtucket music room books a variety of gigs: rock, folk, punk, blues and also weddings. Dim lighting, brick walls and a full bar set the low-key, rocked-out vibe. The central stage and sound board make this a perfect locale for a live band.
ADDRESS: 1005 Main St., Pawtucket
PHONE NUMBER: 401-729-1005
BUDGET: $2,500 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 350
3. The Steel Yard
Located in Providence’s industrial Valley neighborhood, the Steel Yard hosts training and educational programs in welding, blacksmithing, jewelry and ceramics. It’s a simple, artsy space that’s drenched in urban flair. The best part: a portion of the rental fee supports programming and is tax-deductible.
ADDRESS: 27 Sims Ave., Providence
PHONE NUMBER: 401-273-7101
BUDGET: $2,500 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 500
Also consider: hosting your own backyard bash. Who needs someone else’s space?
1. Aldrich House
Built in 1821 and located in the capital city’s College Hill neighborhood, Aldrich House is filled with and surrounded by history. The mansion is a National Historic Landmark that operates as a small museum, and its lovely collections and exquisite wall murals are enough to enchant any history lover.
ADDRESS: 110 Benevolent St., Providence
PHONE NUMBER: 331-8575 ext. 149
BUDGET: $1,400–$3,000 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 200
2. Glen Manor
Step into the roaring ’20s at this French-style chateau, modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide views of Italian-style foundations and the churning ocean landscape. Elegance precedes you as you sweep through the porticos and arches of the estate. , , .
ADDRESS: 3 Frank Coelho Dr., Portsmouth
PHONE NUMBER: 401-683-4177
BUDGET: $9,500 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 200
3. Linden Place
Sun shines through the stained glass windows of this regal, 1810 mansion and follows you to the carriage house ballroom and rose garden. This Bristol estate lets you wander the grounds, and the package price is all-inclusive (think: linens, chairs, tables, etc).
ADDRESS: 500 Hope St., Bristol
PHONE NUMBER: 401-253-0390
BUDGET: $8,500 site rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 130–200
1. Hotel Providence
This boutique, turn-of-the-century style hotel in downtown Providence provides plenty of personal touches. A private wine room, rooftop patio and a ballroom are all catered by an executive chef. The Tilden Thurber ballroom is ideal for smaller affairs, and Aspire restaurant is suitable for larger groups.
ADDRESS: 139 Mathewson St., Providence
PHONE NUMBER: 401-490-8105
BUDGET: $12,000-$19,000 (food, beverage and site rental)
GUEST CAPACITY: 130-250
2. Hyatt Regency Newport
The Hyatt is more resort than hotel. Enjoy harbor-front views steps away from picturesque downtown Newport. You can arrange your ceremony at a nearby lighthouse and boat back to your reception on land, or choose a ballroom or pavilion at the resort for more traditional glamour.
ADDRESS: 1 Goat Island, Newport
PHONE NUMBER: 401-851-3378
BUDGET: $18,000-$40,000 with food, service charges and taxes
GUEST CAPACITY: 30-450
3. Providence Biltmore:
Garden Room and Grand Ballroom
Step inside and straight into the Jazz Age. Opt for the Garden Room for a moderately sized reception or host your grand gala on the rooftop Grand Ballroom, where your guests can marvel at the cityscape outside. The external glass elevator is just one of the hotel’s many glamorous perks.
ADDRESS: 11 Dorrance St., Providence
PHONE NUMBER: 401-455-3021
BUDGET RANGE: $12,000–$19,000 (includes facility fee/minimum food revenue requirement, depending on the room)
GUEST CAPACITY: 150-275, depending on the room
1. New Bedford Whaling Museum
Host your cocktail hour in the shadow of the Lagoda, the world’s largest model ship, before moving up to dine in the new Harbor View Gallery, where your guests can amble on the open air patio and enjoy the water views. Ceremonies can be in the theater or outside on the plaza. The venue features several unique spaces, and each is quintessentially New England.
ADDRESS: 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, Mass.
PHONE NUMBER: 508-717-6833
BUDGET: $90-140 per guest on food and beverage, plus $5,000-$10,000 site/rentals
GUEST CAPACITY: 180
2. Newport Art Museum
A reception in the Newport Art Museum’s historic Griswold House is an event your guests will not likely forget. Main events take place in the Ilgenfritz Gallery, but your party has license to roam the house and peruse all of the museum’s lovely spaces and collections.
Bellevue Ave., Newport
PHONE NUMBER: 401-848-8200
BUDGET: $6,000 facility rental
GUEST CAPACITY: 125 seated dinner, fewer with space for dancing
3. Slater Mill Museum
Imagine a rustic-meets-industrial, Pinterest-perfect wedding in a convenient location…with parking. Slater Mill Museum’s second-floor reception space features exposed beam ceilings, incredible hardwood floors and you have the option of opening the museum to your guests during your event. Outdoor ceremonies are possible, and the venue never double-books.
ADDRESS: 67 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket
PHONE NUMBER: 401-725-8638
BUDGET RANGE: $1,800 site rental for eight hours
GUEST CAPACITY: 120 seated
Also consider: Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum in Providence, Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame in Bristol and South County Museum in Narragansett.
1. Mount Hope Farm:
The Barn and Cove Cabin
This Bristol farm is a true country estate. It’s also on the National Register of Historic Places, and its rustic 1860s barn with fieldstone fireplace illustrates why. The Governor Bradford House (ca. 1745) takes you back in time, and your guests will love the way nature meets history.
ADDRESS: 250 Metacom Ave., Bristol
PHONE NUMBER: 401-254-1745
BUDGET RANGE: $4,750–$17,000 (minimum is for the barn site rental only; maximum is for Cove Cabin site plus furniture rental estimates)
GUEST CAPACITY: 60–500
2. Newport Vineyards
If ‘rustic elegance’ is how you find yourself summing up your theme, Newport Vineyards is the ideal backdrop. Choose from several event spaces including the industrial chic Tank Room and the rustic Meadow Room, which spills out to a covered porch overlooking the vineyard. And the best part: There will be plenty of local wine to go around.
ADDRESS: 909 East Main Rd. (Rte. 138), Middletown
PHONE NUMBER: 401-848-5161
BUDGET RANGE: $2,500–$7,500 site rental fees
GUEST CAPACITY: 150 seated
3. Whispering Pines
The locale is off the beaten path, which means guests tend to arrive early and spend the night. But it’s all camp-style fun: While you get ready, they can take canoes out on the lake. While you take photos, they can play lawn games. And after the reception, you’ll all head over to Adirondack chairs for late-night s’mores around a fire.
ADDRESS: 401 Victory Hwy., West Greenwich
PHONE NUMBER: 401-874-8100
BUDGET: Call for pricing
GUEST CAPACITY: Up to 130 seated.