Tuesday 2 March 2021
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Looking for a whimsical, no-frills wedding in Rhode Island?
Newport is known for its lavish and upscale weddings – people come from all over the world (like Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence) to get married in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
If your budget is slightly less, you can get married legally, with witnesses, music, a tie and a flower – and a shot and a beer for the bride and groom – for $ 7.99 at the Newport Irish American Athletic Club (IA ).
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“Get married like the Kennedys did… a little bit,” the AI says on their website. “We organize complete weddings on site, from the sweetest to the wildest.”
GoLocal met with owner Sharon McCarthy to retrieve the story.
“We’ve been doing this for a few years,” said McCarthy, who bought the building in 2016. “In all honesty – I saw something similar at a pirate bar in Tampa and the ship’s captain made the wedding, and I thought we could do it.
“Our bartender – it’s okay to marry people. We have the stickiest tie to put on and a few sad silk flowers, the patrons of the bar are witnesses to it. We’re using someone’s iPhone as a photographer and the whole place is involved, ”she said.
She said that to date it has been “mostly wedding vow renewals” but people “really appreciate it.”
Now, a year after the start of the pandemic, AI plans to reopen after undergoing major renovations – on St. Patrick’s Day.
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Towards better days
Located in Newport’s historic Fifth Ward, the AI is technically a “members-only” bar – but the public is welcome.
“Our liquor license is unique. The bylaws say we have to have a “member” organization – the Hibernians have the same stipulation, and there are a few more, “McCarthy said. “Can the general public come in?” However, they can, we try to respect the statutes. Listen, if you come in and you’re not a member, you’re a guest of our bartender. But if you want to become a member, it’s $ 20 for the year. “
On Monday, McCarthy was overseeing the installation of the bar’s new pewter ceiling – the original was a rendering of the Boston Bruins hockey rink.
“We make sure the Bruins logo is always visible, we keep the Celtics logo on the floor and we add Red Sox and Patriots merchandise,” she said.
One of the most unique pieces in Newport bar history? The ashes of the former city police chief.
“The ashes of former city police chief Frederick Newton are in an urn on one of the shelves inside the bar, according to his wishes,” McCarthy said.
You can technically have a drink with the deceased chef – and he’ll be there to “oversee” your wedding if you wish.