Belle Mer, Newport Rhode Island wedding venue


Pop the champagne, you’re changing your last name!  Our event experts at Longwood Venues will give you the inside scoop on selecting your wedding venue. Although simple, these items are often overlooked in the height of the excitement. Did you know that wedding venue, food, and beverage will construct approximately 75% of your entire budget? That being said, this is probably the next most important decision you will make, aside from saying yes. 

Here is what we recommend considering before selecting your location:

Sentiment and Personality. Discover your personality as a couple and what tugs at your hearts’ strings.  This will lead you to your dream wedding venue.  

Begin by making a list of items that are important to both of you.  Is there a place you both grew up vacationing as children? Do you share love for city life? Are you both attracted to old world Hollywood glamour? Are you weekend warriors wanting to treat guests to a mini vacation? If it is a specific look you are going for, try to narrow down your non-negotiable items (unique decor, unforgettable location, date) and don’t compromise.

State Room, A Boston Wedding Venue

Flexibility. When selecting your date, it pays to be flexible.  There are only 53 Saturdays in 2017 and 52 in 2018.  The harsh reality is most of them are already taken, however, don’t despair. Consider Friday or Sunday, which are usually a little less expensive, a midweek option, off season, or an early afternoon affair. Daytime wedding will allow to highlight the beautiful outdoors if your reception is en plein air.  Furthermore, ask your sales person if there are dates they need to fill due to a shorter term openings or recent cancellations. These dates can save you upwards of $10,000.

Be open about your target budget.  Many clients have the misconception that you shouldn’t discuss money in the first appointment.  Talking about money will actually help you in this case. Purchasing a date at a wedding venue isn’t the same as purchasing a car. There are so many variables that could change your bottom line. A budget could change based on guest count, date, plated versus stationed dinner, flat rate bar versus consumption bar, ceremony on site versus off-site. 

If you are looking for flexibility, research the peak seasons – often forming around most desirable time of year for your geographical location – then ask about availability in the shoulder periods.  The shoulder seasons are often the last to fill.  Your flexibility may sometimes win you locations you thought were out of the question or allow room for beautiful enhancements.There isn’t any negotiation in peak sellout periods.

Assistance in Planning. In the height of your excitement you want an event venue or caterer who is equally excited to help you.  You will know this right off the bat – and listen to your gut. Things to note: How long does it take to get a response after your initial inquiry? Is she/he taking the time to really listen before quoting you a price? Are proposals and contracts clear and do they outline everything you discussed? Are you comfortable with the proposed planning and detailing phase? Are milestone meetings and expectations laid out? Do you need to consider a wedding planner?  This is one of the biggest days of your lives, be sure you trust the professionalism of the entire team of vendors you choose. Understanding and setting expectations will give you peace of mind.    

Recent Renovations + Plans for Improvement. A great way to understand how well the venue is cared for is to ask about recent renovations and their future plans for improvement.  This could be as small as painting and buffing floors or as large as multi-million dollar refurbishment.  Venues with solid capital plans are investing in their future and the experience of their guests.  

Newport Beach House, A Rhode Island Wedding Venue

Quality of Food.  Be sure to learn about the culinary team.  Ask questions about food quality. What items are made in house? Is food prepared on site or in a commissary? If the latter, be wary of hot boxes (aka food warmers, meaning food probably sits in these boxes for a period of time before being served to guests). Frozen products are usually lower in quality.  Ask about the newest culinary trends.  Is customization possible? Sticking to package A, B, or C can get boring.  

Farm house cheese display by Longwood Culinary Arts

Service Level. Understanding staffing standards will allow you to gain a comfort level.  The event team will build timelines, floorplans, check vendors in, and worry about all of the details you discussed but your “day of” team truly executes the plan.  What is the waitstaff ratio? Industry standard is 1 per 10 guests for a seated dinner. What is the bartender ratio? Industry standard is 1 per 100 guests. If you are adding interactive food stations, cocktail service or tableside menu ordering, more staff may be needed for flawless execution.

Best of luck in your planning. We  know you will make the right choice and your wedding will be exactly how you dream it! We hope to meet you throughout your search. If you are doing your research before the question is officially popped, kudos for being on top of your game!




Images by:

Erin McGinn Photography  ||  Zev Fisher Photography  ||  Lovely Valentine Photography


Whether you are hosting your holiday party at one of our luxury event venues this season, or at your own glamorous space, keep in mind these emerging holiday party trends in Boston and Newport to set your gathering apart.

NATURALLY-HUED COCKTAILS. Leave the neon drinks behind. For this year’s holiday party, ask your event planner for naturally hued concoctions like the browns and tans of a fine bourbon and Scotch or a great microbrew beer. At Longwood Venues, we offer Made in the USA Bourbon Bar and New England Brew Bar. Please ask us about the details – the design, the speciality cocktails, the lines we carry, and of course, the experience.  HERBAL MARTINIS. Herbs have long been used in drinks and some of the best martinis rely on fresh herbs or herbal liqueurs. Generous use of herbs is a trend we see in influential kitchens all over the world, too.  EGG WHITES. Add protein to your cocktail. The egg white doesn’t contribute anything in terms of flavor. It simply rounds out and integrate flavors, giving your cocktail a cozy, winter feel. Note for those watching weight and working on their muscle: pure filling and pure proteins.  “HEALTHY” COCKTAILS. Hosting a brunch reception for holiday party? Offer tequila/mezcal, vodka or gin with any fresh squeezed juice. Our BFF mezcal is Gem & Bolt. Gem & Bolt Mescal is distilled with damiana, a traditional mexican herewith mythological properties.  This is not a new trend – we all drank vodka with OJ before – now, however, we have a much greater selection of natural, local, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.

Pretty Hanky Panky designed by Arabeschi di Latte founder Francesca Sarti
holiday party trends
White River cocktail designed by Max Lamb.
holiday party trends Boston Newport
The Gingerini designed by Martino Gamper.


And how to serve these luxurious cocktails? – you may ask.  This holiday party season, in CUT CRYSTAL, of course! Our trusted source, Rentals Unlimited, offers beautiful selection. The collection you see below is from Flora Etched Stemware. We also love the Alex Etched Stemware line.

holiday party cut crystal stemware
cut crystal stemware for your holiday party in Boston or Newport


The beautiful designer cocktail images were our inspiration from a design event in England, that we read about here. They perfectly define this year’s holiday party trends in Boston and Newport.


Spread The Love With Event Flower Donations

Learn how you can donate your event flowers...

Flowers bring joy. They uplift, comfort, and support us. Research from Harvard and Rutgers has even shown that the presence of flowers improves patient recovery and has an immediate impact on our happiness and emotional well-being.

Flowers also play a significant role in special events and celebrations. And in our line of work, we get to see some of the most amazing and beautiful floral arrangements one could imagine. Unfortunately, we have also seen many of these lovely centerpieces and bouquets go to waste at the end of the festivities.

LONGWOOD wondered if there was some way these flowers could be used instead of discarded. As it turns out, there is a way to recycle them and share their beauty with others — through Flower Angels USA, a local non-profit in Cape Cod.

Flower Angels’ motto is Delivering Random Acts of Love. Recycling Flowers… Warming Hearts. Their mission is to deliver flowers to residents in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and assisted living facilities throughout the Cape Cod community. Founded by Suzanne Carter in 2014, they now have more than 50 volunteers and have distributed more than 11,000 bouquets repurposed from donated arrangements.

Inspired by their mission, Wychmere Beach Club has donated flowers from 10 weddings to Flower Angels this year. Both our team, and our clients, have enjoyed being able to give back to the community after their events rather than throwing out so many gorgeous floral displays. Thanks to donations like these, Flower Angels is able to brighten someone’s day and lift the spirits of people who are facing illness, death, and other challenges.

Flower Angels accepts donations from a wide variety of events including weddings and corporate functions and will pick up your flowers from wherever your event is being held. Donations are tax deductible and they will also happily accept any vases or decorations you no longer want to keep. Anything they can’t use is recycled or composted, so nothing goes to waste.

Flower Angels volunteers can craft as many as 30-50 arrangements from a medium size event. Through the delivery of these bouquets, your flowers will continue bringing happiness to others and brighten their lives at an otherwise difficult time.

No matter how big or small the donation, it is a wonderful way to give back to the community and give new life to those beautiful blooms. We hope you will consider donating the arrangements from your next event to Flower Angels. If you have any questions or would like more information on how you can help LONGWOOD continue to support this worthy cause, please feel free to contact us.

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