Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

Clambake Wedding Receptions

Looking for a fun, unique and elegant reception idea? Formal clambakes are on the rise. Some may think the phrase formal clambakes' as an oxymoron since they remember clambakes as a fun, casual and somewhat messy afternoon on the beach. But brides-to-be who want their reception to have a New England feel or ocean-inspired theme are opting for traditional old fashioned clambakes.

The clambake cooking process dates back to the days of the early New England colonists and is a treat for guests, especially those traveling from out of town. Rhode Island Caterers, like 3rd generation bakemaster, T.R. McGrath of Newport, relay that guests enjoy gathering around the steaming pile of canvas to see its unveiling.

"We incorporate the opening of the bake' into the wedding program. The guests are invited around the canvas, we tell them how the food was prepared and what is on the menu. Then we peel away the layers of canvas, as billows of steam rise and guests get their first glimpse at red, red lobsters."

Guests find that the taste of a clambake is also unique. Seasoned from the bubbles found in the seaweed and a hint of smoke house flavoring, lobsters and seafood aren't like those one would find at a restaurant. What's more, since the clambake cooking process bakes the food, there isn't the mess like lobsters from a clamboil where the food is steamed and water may collect in the lobster's shell. So, even though guests are using their hands to enjoy their meal, table settings may be formal. McGrath finds a lot of couples incorporate some type of ocean theme in their centerpieces -- sailboats or gold fish bowls while others dress up their tables with ornate linens.

Article written by Colleen McGrath, McGrath Clambakes, Inc.

McGrath Clambakes offers all of the amenities found at the most upscale weddings ~ china, linen, silver service plus a tent, tables and chairs are included in pricing options. Sit down-serve or buffet service is available. Guests can enjoy the traditional hour with an array of native' hors d'oeuvres, like "stuffies", along with traditional scallops wrapped in bacon. Prices for a McGrath Clambake start at $56 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Find a RI wedding venue. | Find alternatives to the traditional reception.