You are the expert when it comes to your wedding, for sure. But when it comes to your Belle Mer wedding, we like to think of ourselves as experts who can offer you some insider info that will help make it truly spectacular!
What makes us Belle Mer wedding experts? It’s basically our work home away from home! When M.studios was just a baby photography studio, we were preferred vendors at the Hyatt (now Gurney’s). The Hyatt and Belle Mer are both on Goat Island Picture us working at the Hyatt, having the best time doing what we love, but then we’d longing look across to Belle Mer and dream about being on their preferred wedding photographer list. And now that dream is a reality! #Goals
Every time we work a Belle Mer wedding with their incredible staff, it feels like a family reunion. That’s one of our favorite parts of working at this venue. It really is a special place for us.
Belle Mer has two wedding venues on the property: the salon and the island house. Each give different vibes. The salon is a bit more formal. It has a huge staircase, a beautiful chandelier, and the building itself is set back on the lawn. The island house is a smaller, more intimate venue. Its glass walls let wedding guests look right out at some spectacular ocean views. Both venues photograph beautifully.
Above the island house is a loft where brides and their bridal party can get ready. This is the one thing you won’t get in the Salon. There’s an additional cost to use it, but it is so worth it. It’s huge and light-flooded with lots of fun seating and windows.
That pony and makeup by Ali Lomazzo Beauty
We love using those windows to take wedding dress photos. Have you ever noticed this dress photo online? Well it was taken it in the loft at Belle Mer! Some of our brides have a hanger made with their new last name on it for this shot, but we don’t think that’s necessary. A plain wooden hanger looks nice, but we can even work with a plastic one! It’s all about the silhouette.
And although it never–ever!–rains on a Belle Mer wedding day (the staff takes care of that!), access to the loft can help couples create a backup plan just in case. It’s a perfect twirling spot, rain or shine.
The island house and the salon both have great places to take detail shots. All we need to take a perfect accessory shot is a little sunshine. These detail shots can be so much fun! Consider including your perfume, some ribbon from the bouquets or leftover flowers the florist doesn’t need. Below is one of our most memorable detail shots because it included a custom lipstick shade made for the bride. She named it Belle Mer!
The wedding ceremony spot at Belle Mer has sweeping views of the ocean and the Newport bridge. There are so many ways for couples to incorporate their own style into the ceremony location. Flowers, aisle decor and ceremony arches can entirely change the look of the spot–from dreamy and romantic to minimalist and beachy.
Even though the ocean makes a breathtaking ceremony backdrop, we always recommend that couples add some flower details to the ceremony site. From a photographer’s perspective, flowers add visual interest and act as a frame for photos.
This gorgeous huppah by greenlion
And think beyond the flowers at the end of the aisle. Place some bouquets at the top of the aisle or use flower petals as an aisle runner. Brightly colored flowers add a gorgeous contrasting pop of color against the blue of the ocean and sky.
Florals by Grace Kim
We love a flower arch because it serves as an anchor for ceremony photography and acts as a sun block on those crazy bright summer days.
Sunflower for days by Stoneblossom
Savvy couples ask their officiant to make an announcement before the ceremony asking people to put away their cell phones because if they don’t, an overzealous guest will put a cell phone in our shot. Every. Single. Time! The walk down the aisle lasts 20 seconds. That all-important first kiss lasts 10 (for most of you!). That’s not a lot of time for those precious moments, and our cameras don’t want to miss a thing!
Circle Arch by Flower Thyme
And don’t forget to do something unique after you’re officially pronounced married. These wedding photographers can never can resist a shot shot!
We always have fun taking bridal party photos! Whether a couple has a huge posse of ride-or-dies or they have a large extended family or they have a mother who insists her college roommate’s daughter’s cousin be part of the wedding, the result is the same: a big wedding party! Belle Mer can handle it and so can we! The venue has tons of room so we can do fun poses with small or big parties.
Sometimes, big wedding parties are our favorite because we love a dramatic group picture. It takes time to pose, but the result is super fun and definitely gives ’90s soap opera drama.
Good News! Your Belle Mer wedding can be fur baby friendly! The lawn makes for some fun pet poses and the unpredictability of a happy pet can release some wedding day tension for sure.
Belle Mer shifts with the seasons and we love watching the landscape change throughout the year. Fresh spring shoots, summer drama, fall colors–Belle Mer Newport has it all. And the various landscapes at the venue make for lots of unique shots. The ivy wall is killer!
If you can’t decide between the island house or the salon for your wedding, we’re about to make that decision a little bit harder. Like wedding planning isn’t hard enough!
You can’t pick a venue based on your favorite type of landscape because it’s similar on both sides. That killer ivy wall? The ivy grows on both sides of the wall, so you can use it for bridal party or first look pictures no matter which venue you select.
And oh, the veil magic that comes to life in the ocean breezes at Belle Mer! We love the ethereal beauty of a bride with her veil caught in the wind. A long veil is key here, though we can work with anything that is at least thigh length. Just remember to lock it down with plenty of hairpins! We’ve never had a groom chase a veil into the ocean. The photos would be amazing, but wet shoes would put a damper on the day.
The venues at Belle Mer face west, which means epic sunset photography! If you listen to our podcast, you’ve heard us talk about how much couples love the Newport Bridge. And when it’s silhouetted against a fiery sunset, we couldn’t agree more.
Couples often ask us how to time their celebration to work with the sun. In the summer, the sun sets so late that we never have a problem. But in the spring and fall, we advise couples have their ceremony 60 to 90 minutes before sunset so that we can get all the posed pictures we want and also capture that gorgeous sunset.
The wedding reception room at Belle Mer is a neutral space waiting for a couple’s signature style. Because it’s all white, it can handle anything, and we’ve seen some really creative touches. Some couples have round tables. Others have farm tables. Some go with pastels while others go big and bold. Undone romance or formal drama–it all works!
We love a mix of high and low centerpieces, not only because it looks great, but because it makes for very interesting photos. If your budget allows for only low centerpieces, we can make the decor look luxe in photos. But keep in mind that all high centerpieces tend to make photos look crowded.
If you plan your decor with your wedding photographers in mind–and thank you very much if you do!–think about lighting. Because the room is so neutral, placing a few spotlights that point toward the ceiling adds drama to the reception and gives photos a little pizzazz.
Weddings at Belle Mer in Newport, RI, are limited only by imagination. And our couples’ imaginations are wild! We are always thrilled to photograph something new, different and fun, and we love watching and photographing the faces of happy couples lighting up the night as their dreams come to life.