Which Newport wedding venues are the best? A question I get asked often. It makes sense since I’m a professional Rhode Island wedding photographer. After all, my job has sort of made me an expert on all things weddings. I’ve had the pleasure of working at most of the top Newport RI wedding venues, but that doesn’t make this question any easier to answer!
Ranking the best wedding venues ultimately depends on what means you use to rank them. Food? Views? Staff? I am uniquely qualified as a professional photographer to tell you which Newport Wedding venues are the best for photos. However, I will also tell you what I think of the food and ambiance.
1. The Bohlin
I hate to play favorites when it comes to Newport wedding venues because I love them all. But I can say that The Bohlin at The Newport Yachting Center would most likely be my pick of a wedding venue if I were ever to get married again. My husband and I are anything but fancy and we prioritized a casual vibe, along with food and water views, when planning our wedding. The Bohlin has all of these things in spades.
The Bohlin has a great location on Commercial Wharf right in Newport Harbor. It’s within walking distance of many amazing restaurants, shops, and hotels in downtown Newport. If the weather allows, wedding parties can stroll through downtown Newport taking wedding photos along the way.
The Bohlin’s wedding ceremony area is at the edge of the docks with water views, boats, and the Newport Bridge as the backdrop. The ambiance was especially fun at a Memorial Day weekend wedding I photographed there. All of the mega yachts were in town for the holiday weekend, and they all decided to honk their horns right after the couple had their first kiss!
Wedding receptions at The Bohlin are held under a beautiful permanent sailcloth tent, that resembles being on a schooner. It’s WAY nicer than your regular wedding tent. This gives weddings here a more laid-back nautical vibe relative to a lot of the other high-end and glamorous Newport wedding venues. It’s quite lovely and you can even see the sunset from inside the tent. I usually take the couple out for a few sunset photos on the docks as it’s one of the best spots in Newport to catch a sunset.
Did I mention they also have great food at The Bohlin? The most delicious wedding vendor meal I’ve ever had was at The Bohlin.
Click here to view more photos from a wedding at The Bohlin.
With that being said, I also have a deep love affair with weddings at Castle Hill Inn. The grounds at Castle Hill have unobstructed and unmatched ocean views in several directions. Wedding ceremonies at Castle Hill Inn can take place in a couple of different locations. For large weddings, the lawn with its stone pergola focal point and ocean background is stunning. For smaller weddings, out by the Castle Hill Lighthouse is a unique alternative.
If you are looking for a wedding venue that is removed from the craziness of downtown Newport, Castle Hill Inn is it. You have no reason to leave as there are a myriad of photo locations all within the grounds. There is a beautiful garden, a stone terrace along the ocean, and a private beach, and the staff (who are fantastic) will even drive you out to the Castle Hill Lighthouse in a golf cart for wedding photos!
Wedding receptions at Castle Hill Inn can also happen in a few different areas, but I particularly love their permanent tent. It has the nicest lighting of any venue I’ve worked at in Newport. They call it market lighting and I love how it looks in the background of reception photos.
Click here to view more photos from a Castle Hill Inn wedding.
Belle Mer is the ultimate wedding venue for a glamorous contemporary wedding. Being a Longwood Venue, you know you will get top-notch service and everything will be elegant and high-end.
Wedding ceremonies at Belle Mer typically are located on the lawn with unrivaled views of the Newport Bridge as the backdrop. The ceremony space faces west, so you could have a beautiful sunset as the backdrop to your wedding ceremony!
At Belle Mer weddings we typically are able to bang out the formal wedding photos pretty quickly. There are several beautiful photo spots, all within a hundred yards of each other. There is a beautiful ivy-covered wall for group photos, large wooden doors, the ivy-covered building, and of course the sea wall for sunset photos!
Belle Mer wedding receptions are usually in the Water Salon, a beautiful four-season room that is all white with crystal chandeliers. The entire wall facing the ocean is made of retractable glass doors, offering the finest view from within a reception space in Newport. I also enjoy the fire pit they have outside on the lawn for when the sun goes down.
The Newport Beach House is Belle Mer’s younger trendier sister. It’s just across the beach in the neighboring town of Middletown, which is close enough to make this list! Also run by Longwood, the same level of service and elegance applies here. Being a newer venue, the decor is a bit more trendy with chevron wood floors, a succulent wall behind the bar, and infinity glass railings on both the first and second-floor reception spaces.
Newport Beach House is the only Newport wedding venue on the water that is directly on the sand. Wedding ceremonies at Newport Beach House can take place on the beach, on the lawn next to the beach, or just inside with views over the beach. The view (and the sound) is amazing regardless – the crashing waves on Atlantic Beach.
If you are looking for beach wedding photos, this is the spot. Walk a few feet and you are on a sandy beach! A bonus for those planning an early spring wedding, the park next door has an Instagram-worthy field of Daffodils to take photos in!
Couples can choose between two reception spaces at Newport Beach House – upstairs or downstairs. The upstairs space has a beautiful terrace running the length of the building. It’s handy to have if it happens to rain on your wedding day and a double rainbow decides to appear during your first dance (speaking from experience). The small downstairs space has direct access to the lawn and beach through a wall of glass accordion doors.
Click here to view more photos from a Newport Beach House wedding.
This is an elegant nineteenth-century estate just down the coast from Castle Hill Inn. It’s quite impressive driving up the long driveway to the large mansion especially when it’s all decorated for Christmas!
The grounds are expansive, even by Newport wedding venue standards. There is a lovely Carriage House at the base of the driveway for the groom to get ready in while the bride can get ready in a large suite inside the main building. There is a large terrace, rolling lawns, and a large grand ballroom all with sweeping ocean views.
A unique aspect that can be used for photos is the arched stone portico. It’s great to have architectural backgrounds, especially for winter weddings in Newport when there is no foliage.
Click here to view more photos from an OceanCliff wedding.
6. The Chanler
Hands down, The Chanler Hotel leads the pack for getting ready locations of all the Newport wedding venues. The rooms remind me of something you would see in the Palace at Versailles (but modernized). You will feel like a King or Queen for sure! It’s also a fantastic wedding venue for elopements or smaller weddings. The Gilded Age mansion is situated at the very beginning of Cliff Walk and has beautiful views from its lawn and woodland areas.
I’m photographing my first wedding at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in June 2020. After which point, I’m confident this Newport wedding venue will have earned its spot on this list. I love that it’s a unique lesser-known wedding venue. The building, the ornate wooden porches, the historic grass tennis courts – it’s all visually stunning!
Regatta Place is another Newport wedding venue just down the way from Belle Mer but is set amongst the boats of Goat Island Marina. You could literally have your dock wedding ceremony steps away from a million-dollar mega yacht! A major plus is that the ceremony site is covered by a tent to protect your guests from the sun or rain.
There is a separate permanent tent in the marina for wedding receptions at Regatta Place. There are views of boats in pretty much every direction, so if you are into boats it’s the perfect choice!
Click here to view more photos from a Regatta Place wedding.
9. Newport Harbor Island Resort
Also located on Goat Island, Newport Harbor Island Resort (formerly Gurney’s Newport) is a wedding venue in its own right. It’s also a popular hotel for wedding guests to stay in. It’s the closest hotel to Belle Mer and is also within walking distance of Regatta Place. There are many guest rooms and amenities of a full-service hotel (like a pool, spa, and dining). It’s also a great location to get ready for your wedding. My favorite aspect of this hotel is its proximity to the picturesque Goat Island Lighthouse for photos.
10. Hotel Viking
Hotel Viking checks a bunch of boxes for a Newport wedding venue. It has guest rooms, ballrooms, and even a wedding chapel on site! It is in a great location, just up the hill from downtown Newport. The exterior of the hotel is quite photogenic with its brick facade. I particularly like the roof deck bar where I photographed an epic first look a few years back!
11. Newport Marriott
The Newport Marriott is a popular hotel to have your guests stay at or to get ready at. It’s a big hotel with several large suites (some with balconies) to choose from. It’s right downtown on America’s Cup Avenue sandwiched between Storer and Perotti parks which are great locations for a Newport first look.
In addition to its hotel amenities, you can also throw a pretty unique wedding reception there! The Newport Marriott has a beautiful multi-story high atrium in the middle. I had a client hold their wedding ceremony in the atrium last year, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it! The ballroom is just upstairs and is a large open space that can be made into anything you want with décor and flowers. An added bonus is the several small balconies just outside the ballroom that overlook Newport Harbor. Great for sunset photos!
Click here to view more photos from a Newport Marriott wedding.
12. Ochre Court
Ochre Court is a grand marble mansion on Cliff Walk. I love it, but you have to have connections to Salve Regina University to get married here. The exterior is a great spot for photos though!
A bonus entry as it’s a good 15 miles away in the town of Bristol, RI. However, if dining amongst America’s Cup sailboats is your kind of thing, you will love this rehearsal dinner or small wedding venue.
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