In Rhode Island, a bride’s big day can mean big bucks, thanks in part to the state’s offering of nontraditional wedding sites that matches a trend of couples moving away from hotels and restaurants and into museums, mansions and vineyards.
But in Providence, there are few such spaces and, thus, the sense in the industry that the city could be reaping more reception rewards.
“We work in a lot of different areas and the one thing that Providence is lacking is locations that a caterer can work in,” said Russ Morin Jr., president and CEO of Russell Morin Fine Catering in Attleboro. “When this came about, we said, ‘Oh my goodness, the city needs this.’ ”
Morin is talking about partnering with the Providence Public Library, on Washington Street, as the nonprofit prepares to open its doors to brides, grooms and other celebrators for social- and corporate-event rentals early next year.
PPL announced its decision to venture into events last February, shortly after it reached an agreement with Providence to sell seven community-library branch buildings it had threatened to close two-and-a-half years earlier.
Renovations and refurbishments will cost approximately $4 million, with a large part of that going to upgrading the 113-year-old building’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation system.
PPL is fundraising to finance the project. Work is just getting started and should be completed by this December. Morin’s Fine Catering advertises on its website that bookings at PPL are available for January 2013. The library could accommodate up to 350 guests for a seated function.
“It’s not just all about making the library ready for weddings. It’s really about making the space more usable and accessible,” said Tonia Mason, marketing and communications director.