A Classic, Nautical Wedding at Belle Mer in Newport, Rhode Island

With Vanessa Williams (28 and an assistant director of admissions and graduate student) having spent significant time on the beaches of Newport, RI as

With Vanessa Williams (28 and an assistant director of admissions and graduate student) having spent significant time on the beaches of Newport, RI as a child and Kyle Bush (29 and a municipal research associate) spending his summers along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, a waterfront affair seemed like an obvious choice for their spring nuptials. A nautical theme captured the couple’s mutual love of the water, while Belle Mer, a contemporary oceanfront venue overlooking Narragansett Bay, set the tone for a sophisticated seaside soiree with undeniable Newport elegance. Following tradition, the pair kicked off the celebrations with a ceremony at Church of Jesus Savior in Newport, RI, followed by an evening of dinner and dancing at Belle Mer. Nautical details brought the couple’s sea-inspired vision to life, from a crisp white and blue color palette to seashell escort cards and a message-in-a-bottle guest book. Even the cake reflected the theme, with Sin Desserts whipping up a three-tiered buttercream confection dotted with seashells and brilliant blue ribbon. Dinner was a feast of fresh seafood and local specialties and Siagel Productions kept the dance floor packed all night long with fun, upbeat hits. A tip for the taking from Vanessa: “Do a run through of your ‘day of’ timeline. If we hadn’t driven from our first look site to the church to the venue a couple weeks prior, we probably wouldn’t have had the time to take all the pictures we wanted in that limited amount of time. For couples that might be traveling to a couple different sites the day of the wedding, it is highly recommended that your practice the motions before the big day. It helped us get every shot in every place we wanted.”

With hydrangeas being one of Vanessa’s favorite flowers and a prominent bloom along the New England coast, it was a given that they would star in the reception’s centerpieces. Fresh, white bunches of the summery flower filled tall hurricane vases. As the sun began to set, blue light from the base of the vase reflected off the flowers and cast a cool, modern glow over the room.rn
Sin Desserts took Vanessa and Kyle’s nautical theme to heart and created a playful three-tiered confection decorated with starfish and bright red and blue ribbons. Buttercream pearl detailing even hinted at the nearby Jamestown Bridge.rn
Continuing the nautical theme, Vanessa handcrafted the escort cards herself using bright white sand dollars and starfish. She accented each shell with a navy bow and tied them to striped cards, on which she wrote the names and table assignments of each guest. rn
Vanessa and Kyle put a fun, theme-appropriate twist on their guest book by ditching the traditional book for a message-in-a-bottle. Guests wrote their well wishes and advice on anchor-accented paper and popped them in the bottle for the newlyweds to read after the wedding.rn
Wanting to send their guests home with favors they would have have a practical use for and would use again, Vanessa and Kyle ordered customized koozies that complemented their nautical theme. The pink, blue and white koozies featured the couple’s names and wedding dates, along with illustrations of a fishing lure, anchor and the phrase, “Hook, Line, Sinker, We’re Married!”
While the décor was largely blue and white to reflect the couple’s nautical theme, Vanessa and Kyle went bold and bright when it came to the wedding party’s attire. Vanessa’s bridesmaids donned matching strapless cocktail dresses from David’s Bridal in a summery shade of coral pink, which they paired with nude pumps and silver collar necklaces.rn
The day kicked off with a traditional Catholic ceremony at the Church of Jesus Savior. With beautiful stained glass windows, painted ceilings and gilded accents, the church required little in the way of décor. The pair added a few bunches of fresh, white hydrangeas to the ends of the aisles and two elegant arrangements of roses and hydrangeas decorated the altar. rn
While Vanessa and Kyle said their “I do’s” in a traditional Catholic ceremony, the pair were able to select the readings themselves, choosing ones they felt described them best as a couple and their future together in marriage.rn
While there was plenty of dancing to be had throughout the evening, when guests needed a break, they profited from the beautiful grounds of the Belle Mer, complete with stunning waterfront views, roaring bonfires and a star-filled sky.rn