New favorite wedding venue alert – the Shelter Harbor Inn. How am I just finding out about this adorable venue in Westerly, RI? It all started last year when Heather and Michael hired me to photograph their spring wedding in Newport. We hit it off immediately because (among other things) they met at Providence College, my alma mater! We had a blast during their engagement session in downtown Providence and were eagerly awaiting the big day.
Then, COVID came and messed up everyone’s plans. They quickly canceled their June wedding with the health and safety of their guests in mind. We weren’t sure where or when they would be able to have the wedding, so we commemorated the original date (also their dating anniversary) with a photo shoot. We took photos along Cliff walk and then at their original venue the Tennis Hall of Fame.
Fast forward a couple of months, and they were ready to start planning again. They checked out a ton of venues before Heather randomly found Shelter Harbor Inn in a wedding directory. She took a friend there for dinner, loved it, and quickly planned a smaller wedding for the fall.
Getting Ready at the Shelter Harbor Inn
Which brings us to the wedding day (finally)! I started in the Barn with the girls getting ready. It’s a really cool space with cool artwork and great light. The bride’s sister and best friend helped her get into her dress and then she shared the cutest first look with her father.
Meanwhile, the guys were over in the library putting the finishing touches on. Michael met up with his family and his would-have-been groomsmen for a drink.
Wedding Ceremony at St. Mary’s Newport
They decided to stick with their original plan for a catholic wedding mass at St. Mary’s church in Newport. So we hopped on a trolley and drove over the bridge to Newport. The church is absolutely stunning, and is where JFK got married. After the ceremony, they got to walk through the Kennedy doors that are only opened for weddings and funerals!
Guinness Wedding Photos
We made a quick stop downtown at Celtica pub before heading back to Shelter Harbor Inn for the wedding reception. Guinness is kind of a thing for this couple. They got engaged in the bar on top of the Guinness factory in Dublin! So of course we had to take photos in front of the Guinness mural!
Shelter Harbor Inn Wedding Photos
Once we got back to Shelter Harbor, the couple wanted to go take some photos at the beach. We didn’t exactly make it to the beach, but we found a picturesque boat launch on Quonochontaug Pond. The sun was starting to go down, so it was the perfect golden light for photos! Then we headed back and took some photos in the front lawn.
Shelter Harbor Inn Wedding Reception
Next was cocktail hour under the tent, complete with individual charcuterie plates (a COVID invention). When we moved into the private dining room, the couple shared their first dance to a Dave Matthews fans. There were emotional parent dances, a delicious dinner, and then some great speeches!
It has been a crazy year, but I think it’s made us all appreciate the gatherings that have been able to happen that much more! I’m so happy that Heather and Michael were able to make this happen and that I was able to be a part of it.