Arielle & Gary
September 22nd, 2017
Wedding planning is stressful and despite your best intentions, even after a year or more of planning, the vision you had for your day can change in an instant simply because the forecast turned from bright and sunny to dark and gloomy.
While most brides and grooms don't want it to rain on their wedding day, despite what fans of Alanis Morissette might think, the mere presence of rain and wet weather doesn't mean your day is ruined.
At least not if you're as awesome a couple as Arielle and Gary were.
Arielle and Gary, who were married at the North Beach Club House in Narragansett on a wet and unseasonably cold September afternoon, made the most of their fortune on their wedding day and turned what could have been a disappointing day into one they'll remember for a lifetime.
I admired the beautiful way Arielle and Gary handled the wet weather on their wedding day and, if I had to be honest, that ability to smile and enjoy the moment really made their day all the more special as Arielle and Gary's wedding was an uproarious and downright fun experience to photograph.
And, really, who would trade all the memories they made on this day for a little bit of sunshine and a few extra degrees of warmth?
I know I wouldn't and I'm pretty sure neither would this bride nor groom.
Because, despite the weather, Arielle and Gary's wedding day was everything they could have hoped for and much, much more.
My coverage of Arielle and Gary's big day began with one of the shortest bridal prep sessions I've ever experienced as Arielle was a low-maintenance bride with simple tastes and an easier-than-usual pre-wedding routine.
Or, at least that was the plan as I could tell she was in slight panic mode when I arrived to photograph her dress and her final preparations.
Looking back on it, I think it was the simple yet chaotic nature of the day that was briefly getting to her because once we got her aboard the trolley and kickstarted the day's festivities, she settled into a groove and was totally go-with-the-flow.
In all of my pre-wedding talks with Arielle and Gary, I knew the one moment they would treasure the most was their first look at The Towers in Narragansett. I knew the moment I arrived that it would be a special one as Gary and his groomsmen were rearing to go.
As for the groom? If he was nervous, he didn't show it and after a slight complication with Arielle's veil, which was no match to the crazy wind we got being so close to the beach, we were set and ready to go.
When I tell you this is one of my favorite first looks ever, believe me. All you have to do is look at Gary's reaction to seeing his bride to see why.
After Arielle and Gary's first look, we began formal photos. Or, perhaps saying we 'attempted' to begin them would be better as Arielle and Gary had one of the rowdiest and most out-of-control wedding parties I've ever worked with ... and I mean that in one of the most sincere ways imaginable as these 14 people were a blast to be around and full of crazy personalities.
Sure, they were tough to wrangle together but, once we did? Totally worth it.
I really loved the time Arielle and Gary built into their schedule to allow for photos before their ceremony.
Because we were in no rush, we were able to shoot photos at The Towers, at the beach near The Towers, on the deck of the North Beach Clubhouse and even on the beach near the Clubhouse itself.
I think we did great work despite the grey skies and, to me, the photos were a great representation of this slightly quirky bride and groom.
As much fun as everything up to this point had been, I knew moments before Arielle and Gary's ceremony began that this would likely be the one part of the day everyone took seriously as, no matter how non-traditional you are, there's still an awe about an actual wedding ceremony.
And that was surely the case here but even while the bride and groom were about as traditional as it gets in their rainy and windy outdoor ceremony, they still managed to crack a few smiles and laugh as the weather started blowing their hair everywhere and making things generally uncomfortable to sit in.
Not that you'd know that from their friends and family though. There wasn't a single person who looked like they wanted to be anywhere else during this moment as it was clear just how much this relationship meant to those in attendance.
That, in and of itself, was beautiful to see.
Following their ceremony, Arielle and Gary danced all the way up the aisle to the song "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" by the Darkness (as shown in the main image of this blog) and it was the perfect cap to a beautiful memory they'll cherish forever.
Afterward, the now newlyweds came back outside to the deck of the Clubhouse for more family formal photos and some couple portraits. I've got to say, some of these may have been my favorite on the day, perhaps buoyed by the excitement they had on their faces.
After we finished shooting photos, I got Arielle and Gary back to their cocktail hour and focused on photographing some of their wedding day details. I'll be honest ... I LOVE what they did to decorate their reception hall and thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the little touches they put on their day, from custom drink coozies to a beautiful dessert table and everything in between. It was clear a lot of time and thought went into this day and that both Arielle and Gary are creative people. They absolutely nailed this part of their day.
Following cocktail hour, it was time for Arielle and Gary's reception to begin. And this is where the night would be defined for me.
As I've stated numerous times on this blog, Arielle and Gary's wedding day was cold, wet and rainy.
So when the bride told me at the beginning of the afternoon she wanted to do her first dance outside, as a photographer my main job was to convince her to change her mind and do it inside instead the photos would likely come out nicer.
Arielle isn't like most brides, though, and I should have known her primary motivation wouldn't be the photos when it came time for her first dance. Instead, she decided to have her guests and wedding party go outside and dance in the rain with her new husband.
It was a decision I wouldn't have made personally but I'm a photographer that goes with whatever decision his couples make and, about halfway through their song, I knew they made the right decision as it was honestly one of the best and most memorable first dances I've ever seen. Sure, it was cold. Sure, it was wet. But it was something special to witness and those are the moments memories are made from.
Needless to say, I LOVED the results from this dance.
After their first dance, Arielle and Gary (thankfully) made their way inside and their reception had all of the beats of a traditional reception ... just with a lot more personality.
In addition to two touching toasts, the bride and groom had a sweet cake cutting moment where Arielle lightly mashed frosting on Gary's nose and a pair of lovely parent dances ... the latter of which was one of the strangest I've ever witnessed as Gary and his mother tore across the dance floor in a hilarious way that had the crowd in stitches.
Though my time with Arielle and Gary would come to an end shortly after their parent dances, I didn't need to be there very long to get an idea of how rowdy their reception would be as the dance floor packed instantly and never let up.
Arielle and Gary's musical selection was as fun as they are and I had to pause what I was doing not once, but twice, to figure out what songs they were playing that were causing the crowd to go so rowdy. Turns out it was "Devil's Dance Floor" by Flogging Molly and "S.O.B." by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.
Needless to say, I had never heard these tracks at a wedding before but, man, did they go right on my Spotify playlist when I got home.
By the end of Arielle and Gary's wedding reception, I was absolutely exhausted and had the largest smile on my face as it really was a night to remember and one of the most fun weddings I've ever shot.
I imagine the bride and groom felt the same way I did.
And though it may not have all gone according to plan, that's the beauty of being able to change your plan and your vision on the fly.
Arielle and Gary made the most of their wedding day and refused to let pesky weather bog down their vision for what they wanted.
And, as the bride said afterward, "It always rains on the important days of my life so why not today?"
That attitude is why I loved working with this bride and groom so much and why I have no doubt they'll never forget the beautiful night in September where they became man and wife.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Hair/Makeup: Ali Lomazzo Beauty; Arielle's Dress: BHLDN Wedding Dresses; Arielle's Shoes: Designer Shoe Warehouse; Garys suit: Men's Wearhouse; Ceremony and Reception Location: North Beach Club House in Narragansett, Rhode Island; Officiant: Debbie from Brightpath Ceremonies in Narragansett, Rhode Island; DJ: Alan from Moondance Productions in Narragansett, Rhode Island; Cake: Awesome Sweets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
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