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Rotunda Ballroom Information & Frequently Asked Questions

Site Rental Information:

Exclusive use of the Rotunda Building, including Ballroom, wrap around deck, private restrooms and lower Rotunda staging area for caterers. Event staff to meet vendors upon arrival, direct guests to parking and oversee use of the property. Bridal changing area (foyer outside the private restrooms) is available one hour before your event. Ample free parking. Catering, rental services, photographer, entertainment and other services are the responsibility of the Licensee. Access to event location for vendor set-up is no more than two (2) hours prior to the start of the event. Up to one (1) hour is allowed for clean-up and break-down. Access to the event location for rental drop off is the same day of the event date, and must be picked up the morning following the event date. Alcoholic beverages must be served by an establishment that possesses a valid Class P Liquor Catering License (if selling alcohol) or Daily Liquor License (for public events) through the City of Newport and the appropriate insurance coverage. A non-refundable deposit is required to secure a date.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How many people do you accommodate?

A. Up to 175 guests are allowed. Old literature suggests 225, but due to a nonexistent fire suppression system, the number had to be lowered to 175.

Q. What is the room size?                                                                                                                               A. The ballroom is a symmetrical 12 sided room of about 5,000 square feet (approximately 75’ wide in most areas).

Q. How much is required to hold a date?
A. A $500.00 non-refundable deposit is required to hold the date. The remaining balance would be due 90 days prior to the event date.

Q. What time of day are you allowed to have a Rotunda Rental and Beach Ceremony?
A. Between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, no events begin at Easton’s Beach until 5:30/6:00 PM (because of beach foot traffic and parking limitations). Prior to Memorial Day weekend and after Labor Day weekend, we allow ceremonies and receptions to begin as early as 4 PM.

Q. Is there an additional fee to hold the wedding on the beach?
A. There is not an additional fee for a beach wedding ceremony. We add an extra ½ hour to your Rotunda rental to accommodate the ceremony.

Q. How are wedding ceremonies handled on a public beach?
A. Since Easton’s Beach is a public beach, we do our best in controlling beach foot traffic when having a beach ceremony. When the ceremony begins, we hold back beach foot traffic to allow the wedding party to walk down the sidewalk aisle. 99% of people cooperate when asked to wait a few moments to allow the party to pass. Once the ceremony has begun, beach foot traffic will resume behind you until the ceremony ends, where we will once again stop beach foot traffic.

Q. Is parking included with a Rotunda rental?
A. Yes. We make sure that there is enough ample parking in our center parking lot (#2), the closest parking area to the Rotunda building.

Q. Are tables and chairs included in the rental of the ball room?
A. The rental rate is inclusive of our tables and chairs we have in inventory, which includes white garden chairs, 5’ round tables and 6’ and 8’ rectangular tables. Please refer to the Rotunda Ballroom Furniture Inventory for exact figures.

Q. Is there an area for the bridal party to refresh?
A. The restrooms are located on the first level, there is an area located outside of the restrooms that could be used for any last minute touch ups such as hair and make-up. However, we do encourage you do arrive dressed and ready. 

Q. Will there be someone to help facilitate and coordinate my function?
A. Yes, there is a rotunda coordinator that will be on site throughout your event who will support and direct the plans you have developed for your function.

Q. Are we allowed to have a cash bar or does it have to be an open bar?
A. If you plan on serving alcohol with a cash bar, and would like your selected caterer to serve it, they need to have a Class P license. If you are having an open bar, and your caterer is serving the alcohol, they do not need a Class P license. If your caterer is not serving the alcohol, the alternative is to hire and insured, certified bartending service.

Q. Are we allowed to decorate the ballroom? Can we use candles?
A. Yes, but please do not tape or pin anything on the walls. All candles (wicks) must be a minimum of 2 inches below the top of their hurricane or container.

Q. Can I take picture with the lifeguard towers up and the beach clean of seaweed and shells?
A. Yes, but it depends on the time of year. The beach typically begins preparations to be ready for the beach season at the beginning of May and begins to winterize the last Sunday of September. The beach is groomed daily between mid June and Labor Day weekend, and on weekends from Memorial Day to mid June, and weekends in
September. Life guard stands go up in Mid May and are taken down in late September, unless a storm is projected, then they are removed from the beach entirely.

Q. Am I able to pay down the Rotunda balance over a period of time or is it due in one lump sum payment at the due date?
A. You are able to pay down the balance leading up to when the remaining balance is due, typically 90 days before the event date. Events booked within 90 days must be paid in full at time of reservation.

Q. Is the $500 nonrefundable deposit applied toward the reservation balance?
A. The $500 nonrefundable deposit is applied toward your total reservation cost.

Q. Can we use confetti on the tables?
A. There will be no rice, birdseed or confetti used or thrown during any event.

Q. Can we Sparklers or Chinese Floating Wish Lanterns at our event?
A. The use of Sparklers and Chinese Floating Wish Lanterns are prohibited by Rhode Island State law.

Q. Is there a (total) time frame on the ceremony itself?
A. As of now, we include a 30 minute ceremony at no additional cost. 

Q. Does the wedding arch come decorated?
A. No.

Q. What information does my caterer/bar service need to supply you?
A. We need 3 pieces of information: (1) Food Business License, (2) Caterer Class P License (if selling alcohol) and (3) General and Liquor Liability Insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 listing the City of Newport as the Additional Insured.
Q. Are you able to clear the beach for the ceremony?
A. No. Easton’s Beach is a public beach and there will be general public around, especially during the busier summer months.

Q. How many chairs can you setup for a beach ceremony?
A. We can only set up to 100 chairs for a beach ceremony. We have to keep an area accessible for emergency vehicles behind the chairs that are set up on the boardwalk.

Q. What are the best driving directions to avoid traffic to get to the Rotunda location?
A. Please see the document at www.cityofnewport.com/weddings.

Q. If I plan to be serving alcohol, is it required to obtain supplemental liability insurance coverage?
A. Yes. You will be required to supply coverage through one of these options:
1. Contract with a catering company to provide your food and alcohol. Catering companies must have a current Class P License and a $1 million liquor liability policy.
2. Hire a professional bartending service that has a current Class P License and a $1 million liquor liability policy.
3. Purchase a Tenant User Liability Insurance Program (TULIP) from the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust. To obtain this policy, please visit www.ebs-ins.com where you will be asked to enter a code. Please enter 0501-A66.
4. Obtain a “day of” insurance rider with your homeowner’s insurance company. If you choose this option, the certificate of insurance must name the City of Newport as the Additional Insured. It must also state coverage for “alcohol” and “the service of alcohol.”