Planning the Perfect Wedding in Westerly, RI Starts Here!
To streamline your wedding planning duties, we have created a helpful checklist, including budget tips and other ideas that will save you time and energy in your planning process.
The following is our COMPLETE Wedding Planning Guide with Local Information about Westerly, RI, Links to helpful websites for everything from Announcements in the Local Newspaper to Obtaining your Marriage License and Planning your Honeymoon, Event Planning Worksheets, and MORE!
To Download and Print our Quick Reference Checklist:
Visit our Checklist Page
Click on the following link for a copy of our Wedding Planning Checklist
Click on the following link To Download Our Complete Wedding Planning Guide
Complete Wedding Planning Guide:
9 months to One Year before the wedding:
Click Here to Announce your Engagement on our Blog for Free!
Engagement announcements run in the Sunday print and online editions of The Westerly Sun. The deadline for submitting your announcement is Noon on the Wednesday prior to the following Sunday edition. The current listing rates as of this post are $6 per column inch, and a typical listing runs about 15 column inches or $90.
Call (860) 495-8233 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for current rates and information.
Use the following link to complete the online form or for more information on making announcements in The Westerly Sun:
Set the Date!
Westerly, RI is a beautiful place to be married. With such an array of spectacular settings and locations to choose from, it’s no wonder you are considering this picturesque town for your big day. Just keep in mind that Westerly is also a major tourist destination and a small town with annual traditions and special events.
With proper planning you can enhance your celebration by taking advantage of popular local events. The fireworks of Summer Pops or the Carnival Setting of the Annual Spring and Fall Festivals offer unique elements that you couldn’t find on a normal budget. However without taking the crowds, traffic or booked hotels into consideration, the advantages can quickly turn into obstacles. So Plan Ahead!
Your out-of-town guests will need ample time to make reservations for Holiday weekends and during the summer season near the beaches. Also be aware that your preferred Venue may be booked or have a waiting list. So the sooner you contact the places you’d like to consider for your event, the Better!
Annual Events to consider when setting your Date in Westerly, RI:
|Pawcatuck River Duck Race||Last Saturday in April||Downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck|
|Misquamicut Spring Festival||May 10-12 Weekend||Misquamicut Beach|
|Garden Market Fair||May 19th (Sunday)||Wilcox Park, Downtown Westerly|
|Virtu Art Festival||Memorial Day Weekend||Wilcox Park, Downtown Westerly|
|Memorial Day Parade||Memorial Day 9:30 am||Downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck|
|Summer Pops Concert||June 22nd (Saturday)||Wilcox Park, Downtown Westerly|
|Shakespeare In The Park||July 31-Aug 18 (Tues-Sun)||Wilcox Park, Downtown Westerly|
|River Glow||August 10th (Saturday)||Downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck|
|Misquamicut Fall Festival||Sept. 13-15 (Weekend)||Misquamicut Beach|
|Veteran’s Day Parade||Veteran’s Day 9:30 am||Downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck|
|Holiday Stroll & Luminaria||1st Wednesday of December||Downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck|
|First Night||December 31st||Downtown Westerly/Pawcatuck|
Set your Budget
Set a budget and discuss how the costs and responsibilities will be shared.
*Click on the following Link to Access our WesterlyWeddings.com Wedding Budget Worksheet!
Set up Appointments to meet with Vendors and Venues
Selecting and reserving your ceremony and reception sites as well as meeting the people who will perform all the services required for your event is essential. This website is designed to offer you the best information to aid you in your decision making process, however nothing beats meeting the people who will be working with and for you on your wedding day to ensure that they understand what you want and to answer any questions you may have about the costs involved or special arrangements that may be necessary.
Flexibility will be your best asset. A reception site may be available for the date you have in mind, but the officiant, photographer or band you prefer to use may not be. It is a juggling act for sure, but with time, patience and flexibility your day can and will come together. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t put a deposit down on anything until you’ve confirmed the dates with as many essential vendors as possible.
Book your Officiant
See the Marriage License Page for a listing of Judges of the court that are eligible to perform marriages in Westerly, RI
See the Churches Page (all denominations included)
Reserve your Caterer
Many venues offer on-site catering, however if you’re planning your festivities at a local Hall, Outdoor Setting or Private Property, you will want to make sure to reserve a caterer that can work with your location and also offer the menu you desire.
Select your Event Planner or Designer and Florist
Your wedding day is a reflection of you; your style, your colors, your story as a couple. Working with an event planner or designer can be the best way to ensure that the setting is just as you dreamed while leaving the planning and worrying to the professionals.
Meeting with your florist will allow you to see their work and to make sure that the style and specific flowers you prefer to have in your arrangements will be available for your celebration.
See the Event Planner/Designers Page for a list of local event planners
See the Florists Page for a list of local florists
Book your Photographer and Videographer
Your Wedding Day is a day you will want to remember Forever and to share those memories with your friends, family and loved ones; you’ll want a great photographer!
A great way to get to know your photographer is to book an engagement photo session. This will give you an opportunity to get to know them better and see how they work, and you’ll have great photos to use for announcements, invitations, save the date cards, or your own wedding website.
Today’s trends also call for great videographers or cinematographers who will capture the moments of your day in a way that will allow you to share your videos online (youtube, facebook, etc) with your friends and loved ones, and to watch them again and again and re-live the magic of your day!
See our Photographers Page for a listing of the many great photographers serving Westerly, RI!
See our Videographers Page for a listing of local videographers
*Click on the Link Below for our list of must-have photos for your photographer!
Choose your Wedding Party (Attendants)
Choosing your wedding attendants is a vital part of your wedding planning process. The people you choose for these roles will help you through what can be some of the most stressful and the most exhilarating times of your lives, so choose wisely.
Remember that your wedding day is a day to express your love for one another as a couple and to be joined in the union of marriage. This day also offers an opportunity to express your love and gratitude for your friends and family for their support through the process.
Asking someone to stand by your side on your wedding day is an honor and a gift, as well as a favor. Make sure they understand what you will need from them as you go through the planning process, and that they are able and willing to take on the responsibilities and costs involved.
Your family members and friends will be honored to be considered for bridesmaids, maid of honor or groomsman; however they may prefer to just celebrate with you as a guest for personal or financial reasons. You will all be happier if you can express yourselves honestly and unafraid of hurting feelings.
A great way to still include someone in your wedding day celebration who may not want to be an attendant is to ask them to do a reading or make a small speech or help with some other task that they are willing or able to take care of.
Remember “Many hands make light work!” ~ John Heywood
Begin Shopping for Your Dress and Accessories
This is where the fun really begins! What girl doesn’t LOVE shopping! If you haven’t dreamed about your wedding day or your wedding dress before today, than it’s time to get started! Looking through the countless Bridal Magazines, attending Bridal Shows and going to Bridal Salons to try on beautiful dresses is a great way to indulge yourself. Allow the professionals to treat you like a Queen while assisting you in your decision making process and finding the Perfect Dress and Accessories!
See our Bridal Salons Page for a listing of Local Bridal Salons
See our Bridal Shows Page for a listing of Upcoming Bridal Shows
6 to 9 months before the wedding:
Begin working on your Guest List
From smaller, more intimate gatherings to larger grand affairs, as long as you have your budget in place and a venue that can accommodate your preferences, you are ready to compile the guest list and organize guest addresses and/or contact information.
If you would like to give your guests as much planning time as possible and also have another opportunity to make announcements of your upcoming nuptials, this is a good time to send out “Save the Date” cards. Even if all the details have not yet been decided upon, you can still inform them of the Wedding date and possibly the city, town (or if booked) location of the event.
*Click the following Link for a Printable Guest List Worksheet to keep track of Guests, RSVP, Gifts and Thank Yous!
Shop for your Wedding Rings
Plan a day together with your fiancé and shop for your Wedding Rings.
See our Jewelry Page for a listing of local Jewelers
Purchase your Wedding Dress and Select your Wedding Attendants Attire
A shopping day with your Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids is in order. Plan ahead and hopefully you can find a date that works for everyone to get together and try on some dresses. If you have already decided upon your wedding gown, now is the time to purchase it and schedule fittings, as well as to decide what style of dresses you would like for your Bridal Party.
If any members of your wedding party are from out-of town, give them the information about the dress (or formal wear) you have decided upon as soon as possible so that they may find a Bridal Salon or Formal Wear Supplier near them to make the necessary arrangements to order what they need and schedule fittings in time for the Wedding.
See our Bridal Salons Page for a listing of Local Bridal Salons
Order Invitations and Stationary
Decide upon and Order your Wedding Invitations and Stationary, including Thank-you Notes. If you would prefer to hire a Calligrapher or Other Graphic Artist to create your invitations, now is the time to book them and place your order.
See our Invitations Page for Ideas and Inspiration
Order your Wedding Cake
This is something you should definitely do with your fiancé! Enjoy sampling delicious cakes, pastries or whatever desserts you have decided upon for your celebration together.
This will be a great opportunity to have some fun and makes for a great “date”.
Just be sure to discuss your event plans with your baker. It is important for them to know if the setting will be indoors or outdoors, and the time of year. Certain types of frosting do not stand up well to hot summer nights!
A good baker will help you to choose just the right style and ingredients that can handle the elements and still be Delicious!
See our Bakeries Page for a list of local Bakeries and Dessert Specialties
Book your Transportation
Limousines, Trolleys, Horse-Drawn Carriages, Shuttle Buses, whatever you are dreaming up for your Wedding day celebration, you’ll want to get there in style!
*You may want to consider asking a family member, friend, or wedding attendant that is detail oriented if they would be willing to coordinate guest transportation options such as shuttle buses or private bus rentals and also booking a “block” of rooms together at a local Hotel or Inn and create a “package offer” that would include accommodations and transportation together for your event, and create a “family reunion/party bus” style atmosphere while offering a fixed-cost for guests to work with while making their travel arrangements.*
See our Transportation Page for a list of local Wedding Day Transportation Professionals
Reserve accommodations for out-of town guests
If you are unable to find someone to coordinate the transportation and accommodation “package” idea mentioned above, it is still important to contact local Hotels, Inns, or Motels and arrange for a block of rooms to offer to your out of town guests.
* This is also a good time to book your room for your wedding night!
See our Accommodations Page for of Hotels, Motels, Inns and Rentals in Westerly, RI
Plan and Book your Honeymoon
Many Rhode Islanders choose tropical destinations such as Bermuda, Florida and the Caribbean for their honeymoons, while others prefer a romantic Inn or Bed & Breakfast closer to home, or a private rental near the beach.
Whatever you decide for your Honeymoon, consult your travel agent or shop online for the best rates and availability for your getaway.
Just remember if you are traveling out of the country you will need your Passports and other travel documents ready to go. Use the link below to apply for or Renew a Passport, and also for information about processing time.
*Also be sure to schedule vacation time from work! This can be done as soon as you have booked your ceremony and reception sites (and the sooner the better.)
Make sure to allow for the day or two before the wedding if possible and the duration of the honeymoon if you plan to leave after the wedding.*
4 to 6 months before the wedding:
Register for Gifts:
Here is another opportunity to have a fun day with your fiancé while getting another wedding planning task completed. How often do you get to go to your favorite stores and pick out items you may want or need and ask your friends and family to treat?
There are no rules when it comes to registering for your gifts, but it’s best to consider every budget when making your list. Also, if you already own a home or will be moving in together and will have more toasters then you need, why not ask for other gifts such as cooking classes, memberships to a favorite gym or yoga facility, or gift certificates for a local theater or favorite restaurant.
Items like these can be easier for your guests to give, more personalized, and also make for many great opportunities for “date-nights” after the honeymoon!
See our Gifts Page for links to wedding registries and other gift ideas!
Complete your Guest List
Finalize your Guest List and make sure you have updated contact information and addresses. This will make sending the Invitations and Thank you notes a lot easier when the time comes.
*Click the Following Link to Use Our WesterlyWeddings.com Guest List Planner
Purchase any Bridal Accessories, Shoes, Lingerie, Travel-Wear
This is a good time to take the Moms shopping. It will give you an opportunity to spend some time together and help them choose their dresses.
If you are able to plan ahead and schedule this to coincide with a fitting, even better, what Mom doesn’t love to see her little girl in her Wedding Dress!
*Remember to bring your Shoes and any special bras or undergarments you intend to wear with your dress to ALL fittings!*
See our Shoes Page for the perfect Bridal Shoes
See our Lingerie Page for Bridal Lingerie and Under-Garments
Make your Rehearsal Dinner Plans
It’s time to figure out where and when you’re planning to have your rehearsal dinner.
From a casual cook-out, to a formal sit-down dinner whatever works for your budget and schedule is the key.
Typically the Rehearsal dinner takes place the night before the wedding after a brief run-through of the ceremony details with close family members and wedding attendants. However, if everyone attending is local and available, you can schedule the rehearsal anytime. Just be sure everyone can attend and there isn’t too much time between the rehearsal and the ceremony, so no one forgets their parts.
2 to 4 months before the wedding:
The countdown is On!
Time to step into high-gear and make sure any remaining details are finalized!
Purchase Decor, Accessories, Guest Books, Favors, etc.
Time to find those wedding accessories such as Guest Books, Table Cards or Seating Charts, as well as Favors and any other Decor items you’d like to use.
See our Decor/Design Page for Decor ideas, Party accessories and catalogs
See our Gifts Page for Wedding Favors and Specialty Gifts
See our DIY Ideas Page for great Do-It-Yourself Design Ideas
* This is also a great time to shop for gifts for your wedding attendants.
If you are able to, take some time to think of something personalized for your wedding attendants’ gifts. These are the people supporting you and standing by you through this journey and this is your chance to say “Thank you” & “We thought about you” when we chose your gift.
Sign up for Dance Lessons
If you plan to do any “formal” dancing at your reception, it’s a good idea to work on your technique a little bit before stepping on the dance floor in a floor length gown, high-heels, or for the Groom, Men’s (sometimes slippery) new dress shoes.
Whether you plan to wow your guests with the latest “Dancing with the Stars” routines or just want to look like you know what you’re doing, a few dance lessons will certainly make all the difference (and possibly save you from any unwanted “Youtube” reception dances gone wrong videos)!
See our Dance Lessons Page for information on local dance classes
Plan your Ceremony
What type of Ceremony will you have for your wedding? Will you have special music, readings, traditional vows, or a performance perhaps? This is the time to sit down and think over the details of your ceremony.
Your ceremony can be as Traditional or as Avant-garde as you’d like. This is your time to express yourselves to each other and to share yourselves with your friends and loved-ones.
Make it about “You” as a couple and make it your Own!
* If you plan to have Programs made for your Ceremony, now is the time to lay out your design and work out the details with a local print shop or graphic artist.*
A typical Program should include the event, the date and the location, the names of the Bride & Groom, and may also include information such as any readings or music selections in the order in which they will take place, the names and roles of the wedding attendants, the names of the parents of the Bride and Groom, any photos or other personalized artwork or messages, and a Thank you to the Guests for being a part of this important celebration.
Update or Revise Legal Documents
It’s not the most romantic aspect of a marriage, however legalities are an important measure to address and have in order before your wedding day.
Make sure to set up an appointment with your attorney or other advisers regarding contracts, trusts, wills, leases, or insurance policies and to ask any questions you may have that can be addressed before your wedding day.
Traditionally invitations are sent out about six weeks before a wedding, however, with a seasonal destination such as Westerly, or considering the planning and preparing your out-of-town guests may have to do, it is better to send invitations a little earlier.
This will also give you some extra time when finalizing the guest count with your caterer, event coordinator, rental supplier, or reception site and it will also give you a better indication of what your expenses and budget will be.
Check for Marriage and Civil Union license requirements
In Rhode Island, in order to obtain a marriage license, the bride and groom must personally appear at the town clerk’s office to sign the marriage license.
If the bride and groom, or only the bride, are Rhode Island residents, the license must be obtained from the town or city clerk’s office of the bride’s residence. If only the groom is a Rhode Island resident, the license must be obtained from the town or city hall of the groom’s residence.
In either case, the marriage can take place anywhere in Rhode Island.
If neither the bride nor the groom is a Rhode Island resident, the license must be obtained from the clerk’s office in the town or city where the marriage will take place in order for the marriage record to be valid.
For more information on how to obtain your marriage or civil union license in RI go to the website for the State of RI Department of Health:
Or The Town of Westerly Government Website:
Download the Following PDF Files
To obtain a marriage license:
To obtain a marriage/civil union worksheet:
1 month before the wedding:
How time flies when you’re trying to plan all the details of one of the Biggest Days of your Lives!
Hopefully you have used your checklist and stayed on course through the process, and all that’s left to do is make sure the final details are in order and watch everything fall into place.
Schedule your Final Fitting and Pick Up your Dress
Take your time at your final fitting. Be sure to bring your Shoes, Bra and any special undergarments you plan to wear with your dress, as this will most likely be the last opportunity for you to have the seamstress make any necessary alterations.
You may also want to have any headpieces or accessories with you so that you will have a true “dress rehearsal” and be able to make any last minute styling changes at this time.
If possible, ask your bridal party attendants to join you for your fitting so that you may be able to get a “trial run” with them to see what kind of assistance you will need getting dressed, getting through doorways, or up or down stairs.
Take your dress home or schedule to have it delivered. Just be sure to have a place to store it that is clean, dry and away from any pets, smoke or other elements that could affect it.
It is preferable to keep the dress on a hanger and off the floor so it will be less likely to get wrinkled.
* In case wrinkling does occur, be sure to ask the attendants at the Bridal Salon what will be the best way to handle the material and if you must iron or steam it, what you should or should NOT use to do so.*
Schedule a day at the spa or beauty salon and have a practice run with your stylist
This is not an absolute must, but it makes for an opportunity to get in a day of pampering while giving your wedding day hairstyle and make-up a trial run. It will also make getting ready on your wedding day go a little smoother if your stylist is familiar with your intended look.
* Remember to bring along any headpieces, accessories or flowers you want to use in your styling.
While you are at the salon, take a moment to confirm your appointment for your wedding day as well.
See our Spa Massage Page for a list of local Spas and Massage Therapists
Plan out your Seating Chart
This may be a task best done with some assistance from family. Don’t be shy to ask Mom or your Mother-in-Law to be for some guidance when deciding where to seat relatives or family friends. Write place cards and organize table numbers or other table top decor and favors now so they are out of the way, but easy to find and use when needed.
* While mapping out your seating chart, just consider those little details like not putting your grandparents in front of a loud band or performers, unless they like that, of course.
Schedule a final meeting with your caterer or reception coordinator
Review your “current” final head count with your caterer or reception site coordinator. Make sure to discuss the details regarding the possibility of adding on a few extra guests that you may have overlooked or that respond at the last minute. If you have your seating chart worksheet completed, give a copy to the caterer at this meeting.
* Find out the deadline for a final head count and if there will be any extra charges for last minute changes.
Contact vendors to review and finalize all bookings, reservations and details
It is time to check in with your wedding day vendors and confirm all bookings, and review any details or last minute changes in plans.
Contact your Photographer, Florist, Band, Musicians or DJ, Officiant or Church, Event Coordinator or Reception site manager, and any suppliers such as rental companies or liquor providers.
* If you are able to work out a general wedding day schedule that maps out the approximate time-frame for your event that you can provide to your event vendors and wedding attendants, this will help with the overall flow of the day and limit any confusion or potential setbacks and delays.*
* Click on the link below for a copy of our Wedding Day Schedule Worksheet
Make a copy of your schedule for your Officiant, Caterer, Event Coordinator, Photographer, Band or DJ, and The Maid of Honor, The Groom and The Best Man.
* This is also the perfect time to decide upon and make a list of all music or entertainment elements you will have taking place during your event.
Use the following Wedding Day Music Planner worksheet to coordinate with your entertainment providers (Musicians, Bandleader, DJ or Master of Ceremonies) and Specify what music you want to hear (and NOT hear) on your Wedding Day!
Confirm Honeymoon Travel Arrangements
Make sure all of your travel documents are in order and in a safe place. If you’re really ambitious, why not pack for the honeymoon now and save yourself one last minute to-do item.
* Make a plan and decide who will handle your travel documents and luggage if you are leaving from the reception or early the next day.
Prepare Change of Name Documentation
You will need the Original (or a Certified Copy) of your Marriage Document to legally change your name, so this step is listed for preparing to change your name and the forms and documents you will need to do so, after you are married.
Name change must be done with Social Security First.
Visit their website for forms and information at:
Next you can update your Driver’s License or ID at your local DMV Branch
Visit the DMV website for forms and information at:
Prepare your marriage announcements.
Wedding announcements run in the Sunday print and online editions of The Westerly Sun. The deadline for submitting your announcement is Noon on the Wednesday prior to the following Sunday edition. The current listing rates as of this post are $6 per column inch, and a typical listing runs about 15 column inches or $90.
Call (860) 495-8233 or Email: email@example.com for current rates and information.
Use the following link to complete the online wedding announcement form or for more information:
One to two weeks before the wedding:
Hopefully you have found ways to de-compress and relax throughout your planning process. Maybe you’ve discovered a new passion for Yoga or the perfect massage therapist, or even had some retail therapy to get you through.
Now it’s time to focus in on the little details. Take a few moments, breathe deeply, exhale fully, and then get started on this last push before the big day. You are almost there!
Prepare toasts or speeches for the Rehearsal Dinner and Reception
While you are still in a calm and centered place, this is a great time to sit down and think about what you’d like to say to your friends and family at your rehearsal dinner and reception. And if you haven’t done so already, to write your Vows!
Take your time, speak from the heart, and whatever you say will be Perfect!
* Keep what you’ve written in a safe place where you will be able to access it easily when needed.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Lists are a great way to organize your thoughts while organizing your wedding. Take some time and make a list of all the items you’ll need to take with you to the location where you’ll be getting dressed (if not at home), items for your stylist (flowers, hair accessories, make-up), including jewelry, undergarments and even the more obvious items like your shoes and your dress. Better safe than sorry!
Make another list, or organize and pack items you’ll need at the wedding and/or reception site such as toiletries for guest restrooms, an emergency kit for you and your bridal party including extra hose, nail polish, pins, aspirin, stain remover and static guard, and any other decor items or accessories such as the guest book or items for the gift table and favors.
Break in your shoes
This is for the Bride and Groom. Take a few moments to break in your shoes before the big day. Scuff up the soles, and practice walking, dancing, climbing stairs, etc. Consider bringing a back up pair of comfortable shoes for later on into the reception when your feet are tired, but you want to continue dancing!
*If you haven’t done so already:
Give a Final Head count to your Caterer
Pack for your Honeymoon
One Day Before the Wedding:
Confirm transportation reservations for the ceremony and reception
Prepare Tips and Payment envelopes for Vendors
Time to Rehearse
A simple run-through of the ceremony will do wonders for your attendants and family members. This is the time to go over any details or last minute changes as well as review the line-up with the wedding party, ring-bearers, flower-girls or pets.
Practice the entrance, ceremony line-up, any readings, music or other scheduled events (if possible), and the exit. Also review if you plan to line up after the ceremony to greet guests, or if you are going somewhere else for photos, as well as a back-up plan if necessary for foul weather.
Enjoy a fun, relaxing and intimate celebration with your wedding attendants and family.
This is the time to shower your wedding party with gifts and gratitude, to make toasts to family members, friends and future spouses, and to Live, Laugh and Love!
*Have a wonderful time celebrating, just remember to pace yourselves with the Champagne toasts; you will need your energy for your Wedding Day!*
Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Pleasant Dreams!!!
Wedding Day Checklist:
Get a Good Breakfast
You may not have much of an appetite, but try to get in a good breakfast. This will be a Long Day, and by the time you sit down for dinner, you will be starving!
* If you just aren’t hungry, grab some non-messy snacks and plenty of bottled water before you head out the door and start getting ready.
Give yourself at least 3 hours to get ready
Allow yourself ample time for hair, nails, make-up and any other appointments before dressing.
Have a Wonderful, Beautiful Wedding Day!