Newport Wedding Venue Q&A: Castle Hill
Today’s very special post features some insider info from one of our favorite wedding venues, Castle Hill Inn. They hooked us up with a fabulous interview full of super helpful wedding venue tips! So without further ado, here it is:
NWG: What is so special about Castle Hill Inn in Newport, RI and why is it one of the top few places to get married in all of Newport, RI?
CHI: Our guests come to celebrate, to escape, to relax and to rejuvenate. Castle Hill Inn offers a very special respite from the haste of everyday life. Situated on a forty-acre peninsula overlooking the immaculate waters of Narragansett Bay, Castle Hill Inn offers quality service matched with world-renown cuisine. With a backdrop of the Newport Bridge and a blue sea speckled with gorgeous sailboats passing by, Castle Hill Inn truly has something for everyone so be it an 8-course meal in our Sunset Dining Room for 2 or a grand wedding for 250 in our brand new Savannah tent.
A wedding is one of the most special occasions of your life and Castle Hill is perfect for such a monumental celebration. We have a seamless format for our weddings which is tried and true through years of experience. This, combined with our award-wining culinary team, spectacular location and detail-oriented events team, translates into an elegant, smooth day for both the bride and her guests.
NWG: When is the season for weddings at Castle Hill Inn and how long in advance should brides & grooms book the venue?
CHI: Our season starts at the end of April and ends in mid-November. We find that most of our brides typically book at least a year in advance. We sometimes have off-peak dates available so last-minute brides should certainly inquire!
NWG: What is this we hear about a new, fabulous tent for weddings at Castle Hill Inn?
CHI: Oh yes! We’re so excited about this. This season, we are pleased to present our gorgeous new Savannah tent that has been custom made for us by Sperry Tents. Engineered by accomplished sail makers and skilled woodworkers, the Savannah tent is truly a unique and notable enhancement to the Castle Hill Inn wedding experience. Comprised of an ivory sailcloth top, a natural wood frame, and sleek black support brackets, this frame tent provides a clear (pole-free) interior span. Unlike any other tent in New England, its most unique trait is a halo-like cupola that rises up above the overall silhouette. Complete with three peaks and radiating wood support frames, the cupola provides spectacular detail overhead. The Savannah tent will maintain the same footprint as our previous tent however instead of the stark corners of a rectangle; it will have softer, round edges. The flooring will be upgraded to an artisan stone similar to the former design however it will complement the ceiling beams overhead. Together with the seamless architecture and engineering of Sperry Tents combined with the food and beverage expertise of Castle Hill Inn, we’ve together designed a distinctive experience that our brides will remember forever.
NWG: Do you do the catering in house or do you clients hire outside catering? What is the benefit to this?
CHI: Being that we specialize in food and wine, we handle all catering in-house. We have a dedicated catering culinary team for our events which operates out of their own kitchen. With the main kitchen in the Inn just a few feet away, we are able to obtain ingredients to cover “pop-up” special requests that happen at just about every event. The catering culinary team is also able to utilize the bounty of the Castle Hill herb and vegetable gardens which are on property. This ensures fresh, local ingredients which add color and flavor to every dish.
NWG: Tell us a little bit more about the typical menus and culinary experience when it comes to Castle Hill Inn weddings and the chefs take on weddings?
CHI: Our Executive Chef Karsten Hart took the helm in 2010 and is a former Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef among Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Jean Gorge Vongerichten. Chef Hart was one of only twenty chefs in the nation with the “Grand Chef” designation. Our chefs are leaders in the growing movement focusing on using local and sustainable resources whenever possible (we have three vegetable gardens of our own at Castle Hill!!). Originally from New Orleans, Chef Hart has brought some Southern Flare to the wedding menus, adding items like “Dirty Rice Croquettes” and “Shrimp & Grits” while keeping classic favorites such as “Hereford Beef Tenderloin” and “Georges Bank Scallops” in the mix. The wedding menus at Castle Hill offer a grand scope of options and can be customized based on the bride’s preference.
Ultimately, the collective goal from the culinary team to the servers, from the sales team to the event manager, is to go above and beyond the guest’s expectations and truly WOW them with our delicious food and meticulous service.
NWG: Where can couples take photos at Castle Hill Inn if they are getting married there?
CHI: We have 40 acres! Our couples are free to take photos across the sprawling front lawn, at our rustic (functional) lighthouse, on our private beach, on a wooden path, and more. We also typically offer transportation to these locations so our couples don’t have to hike to each place.
NWG: What happens (and we know, we don’t want to even mention the word “rain”), but what does happen if the weather happens to call for rain on the wedding day?
CHI: The rain plan is always fully discussed during the planning process. For intimate weddings, we are able to utilize the Chalet for the ceremony with the cocktail hour and reception taking place in the main tent. For larger weddings, we simply rent an additional tent to provide coverage for the outdoor ceremony. Our staff is extremely well-versed in all types of weather and we all strive for a seamless, stress-free day for our brides.
NWG: What do you suggest for those couples that have their heart set on Castle Hill Inn, but are on a budget?
CHI: Do NOT rule us out! We may often have off-peak dates available that we have more flexibility with. Don’t forget about Fridays and Sundays. If you are flexible with your date, chances are, we are flexible with pricing.