Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

The Perfect Location

Is an intimate outdoor wedding for you?

By Christina Friedrichsen, Author of Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style, www.intimate-weddings.com

When Darin and I starting tossing around ideas for our wedding, we had quite a list of "maybes." Although we knew for certain that we wanted an intimate wedding, the location was a question mark.

Photo by Demetri Productions

Our first idea was Scotland. I fantasized about finding a castle in the Highlands and saying "I do" with only a minister and our parents in attendance. That possibility didn't fly: The more we thought about it, the more we wanted the rest of our family and friends to be present

We finally decided to have our wedding ceremony at a small church and our reception at our home on the shore of Lake Erie. After all, our home was the place where we felt most comfortable and that we most enjoyed. Why not make it the backdrop for our special day? Preparing for the event ended up being more work than we could have possibly imagined, but with the help of friends and relatives we pulled it off.

When it comes to choosing a location for your intimate wedding, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and, of course, your pocketbook. Perhaps you consider a home yours or a friend's or a relative's the perfect spot for your big day. Maybe you have picked out a unique location - a vineyard, a museum, or the side of a mountain. Maybe the idea of a castle wedding is truly what makes your heart sing.

Some locations are not suitable for a small wedding. Having your ceremony in a massive church, for instance, will take away from the intimate experience and dwarf you and your guests. Likewise, having your reception in a large banquet hall, ballroom, or country club might leave you with too much empty space. Other venues, such as a favorite restaurant or inn, can offer a more intimate feel. If you get stuck for location ideas, call a few nondenominational ministers in your area. They've probably conducted weddings at all sorts of places you haven't thought of.

Six Questions to Help You Choose a Location

1. Is it important for you to have your friends and relatives witness the event, or are you perfectly content to just have the two of you and maybe a couple of relatives and friends there? If the latter is true, a destination wedding can be ideal.
2. Is an outdoor wedding what you want, and are you prepared to deal with the added stress of worrying about the weather and handle the extra planning and work involved?
3. How much can you afford to spend, and is it enough to cover your ideal location?
4. Does the location you're considering have special meaning to you?
5. Is the location you're considering a practical one? Getting married on the side of a mountain might sound romantic, but Grandma might have trouble getting up there.
6. Does the site you're looking at have noise and/or alcohol restrictions?

A few options:

Home-yours or that of a friend or relative
Favorite vacation spot
Hotel or inn
Historic mansion
Art gallery
Lodge or resort
Country club
Amusement park or water park
Famous landmark
Ranch or farm
Hot-air balloon

Find a Rhode Island wedding reception.