One of the first decisions the newly engaged must make is when to tie the knot. Whether you pick the sun-soaked days of summer or snow-covered serenity of winter, chances are the time of year finds its way into every aspect of your plans. Meet four local couples who found ways to seamlessly incorporate the season into their colors, flowers, menus, and more – and the Rhode Island vendors who helped it all come together.
“We believe the season symbolizes beginnings and positive changes, with warmer weather, blooming flowers, birds chirping, and a palpable buzz for the year to come,” begins Brenda Maher of her and husband Dan’s late-April wedding. “We viewed it as a great time of the year to celebrate the beginning of our marriage with friends and family.”
Brenda and Dan both hail from Connecticut, spent summers in Rhode Island, and attended UConn – but their paths never crossed until one fateful January night at a bar in Hartford in 2016. As Brenda puts it, “we literally danced the night away and our lives were changed forever.” Four years later on a much-needed family getaway, Dan popped the question as the sun set over Narragansett Town Beach. “We ate, we laughed, we drank. It was a very special night.”
After soaking in their engagement, Brenda and Dan began to plan their springtime nuptials with the season in mind, inspired by beautiful blooms and a palette of peachy pastels that enhanced the historic beauty of their venue, Shepherd’s Run in South Kingstown.
Brenda and Dan set their sights on the Ocean State, a place near and dear to both of them, and stumbled across Shepherd’s Run, a winery that was scheduled to open later that year. They were charmed by the sprawling field of grapevines, gleaming stone mansion, and, of course, the delicious wines. But what made it extra special were the estate’s gardens, which would serve as the perfect, flower-filled ceremony space.
“We chose neutral, airy, light colors featuring peach, blush, and off-white tones,” Brenda explains. These choices appeared in the floral-embroidered table linens, invitation suite, and flowers.
Late April offered plenty of options, including ranunculus, parrot tulips, hydrangeas, roses, baby’s breath, and white O’Haras, which were carefully curated by Wakefield-based floral studio Flowerthyme.
The Ocean State holds a special place in the hearts of Nicole and Kristen, who are originally from New York and Massachusetts respectively. It’s where they first met their freshman year at college, and where their friendship flourished into something more. So, after the couple got engaged in 2019, it was a no-brainer to pick Rhode Island as the setting for their wedding.
“Kristen and I love the summer,” shares Nicole, reminiscing on warm-weather days and trips to the beach. They originally picked a date in June of 2021, but like so many couples, made the difficult decision to postpone it by a year due to pandemic and vaccine rollout concerns.
“Choose a season you love so the incorporation happens naturally,” says Nicole. “If you love summer, you can incorporate things you love about it into your wedding like fruity cocktails, ice cream, color choices, and decor.”
“Kristen and I knew we wanted a venue on the water,” Nicole explains, and they immediately fell for Blithewold’s harbor views. The beautiful mansion, manicured gardens, and outdoor tent sealed the deal, granting the couple’s wish for an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour.
“Our colors were dusty sage, dusty blue, and gold,” says Nicole, who drew inspiration from Blithewold’s natural beauty. “We chose a dusty palette so the vibe felt light, airy, and summery.”
Designed by Cranston-based Golden Gate Studios, the centerpieces and bouquets starred blue and green hydrangeas punctuated by white roses. “What is more summer?” insists Nicole.
From an abundance of seafood, to fruity signature cocktails, to a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bar, Kristen and Nicole’s wedding didn’t just feel like summer – it tasted like it, too!
“Fall is by far my favorite season,” says Lisa MacGregor, who could never imagine getting married any other time of year. “To me, it is the season of romance.”
Lisa met her husband Billy on a blind date in 2016, and two years later – in the fall, of course – the couple got engaged. “It’s a pretty funny story,” Lisa shares of the proposal, which was carefully pulled off by Billy despite the fact Lisa woke up with a horrible cold that day. “I was so grumpy with him.” She now laughs about the ruse of being coerced to go to downtown Boston for a friend’s fake work presentation. But once Billy got down on one knee at the same spot they first kissed, it quickly turned into one of the happiest nights of her life.
When it came to planning their November wedding, Lisa let the time of year as well as the Gilded Age vibe of their venue lead the way. “Little touches and accents here and there are more than enough,” Lisa explains. “The season will also speak for itself.”
After living in Rhode Island after college, Lisa fell in love with Providence and often grabbed dinner and drinks at The Dorrance. The “old-world charm, ornate beauty of its marble floors, original stained-glass windows, and dramatic high ceilings” made it a rich, romantic venue for their big day.
Lisa and Billy’s color scheme featured burgundy and blush with lots of shimmering gold accents that Lisa felt meshed with the ornateness of their venue as well as the warmth of autumn. These appeared in the florals and decor elements, many of which Lisa savvily sourced from Facebook Marketplace and Etsy.
The couple worked with New England-based Leslie Lee Floral Design to make Lisa’s Pinterest board come to life with a gorgeous selection of palette-pleasing blooms, particularly red roses.
Instead of cake, the couple took dessert in a new direction with the help of Providence’s popular French bakery, Ellie’s. “We did a macaron tower along with mini tiered cakes, including a carrot cake with salted caramel buttercream and apple cider tartlets.”
For Tara Vieira, it was never a question that she wanted to get married in winter. For starters, it’s when she and husband Kevin got engaged on Valentine’s Day of 2020. It’s also when she gave birth to their son a year later. With visions of a sparkling blue and silver wedding, they decided to hold their special day in February of 2022.
“I’ll admit, I was a little nervous having a winter wedding because you never know what you will get with the weather, especially here in New England,” Tara admits. But when the day came, it was a surprisingly balmy 60 degrees and what Tara describes as “a magical night.”
Guided by her pre-determined palette, Tara worked with Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln to create the winter wedding of her dreams.
Tara shares that Kirkbrae Country Club was the only venue the couple visited, and it was perfect. With its recent renovations – including silvertone walls and a blue patterned carpet – it fit their theme to a tee.
“I wanted our wedding in the winter specifically for this color scheme,” Tara explains of their navy blue, white, and silver theme. This winter-perfect palette was infused into every last detail, including the flowers, table linens, centerpieces, and even the cake.
Everything was satin, glass, or silver, so every surface shimmered. Tara describes their centerpieces as nothing short of magical: tall white floral arrangements with white branches and hanging gems that glittered when they caught the light.
The couple’s cake was certainly a show-stopper, with four tiers of navy blue and white buttercream, accented by navy blue roses, shimmery silver sprinkles, and a matching silver topper with the newlyweds’ names. The custom creation was designed by the talented Silver Spoon Bakery in East Greenwich.
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