Belle Mer Wedding Photos
Michael & Ashley*
St. Elizabeth Church, Bristol, Rhode Island (Ceremony) &
Belle Mer, Newport, Rhode Island (Reception)
September 3rd, 2021
If you asked me to describe the perfect Newport wedding, I'd take a minute but the result would be pretty specific. In my experience, there's no better time to get married in the City by the Sea than in that tiny gap between summer and fall. And there's no better place to hold your reception than Belle Mer.
I think that's why I knew as I drove over the Mt. Hope Bridge on the way from Michael and Ashley's ceremony at St. Elizabeth Church in Bristol that we were in for something special.
It was the perfect day weather wise. It was the perfect place to throw a party with your closest friends and family members. And it was the perfect couple.
Michael and Ashley kicked off my Labor Day weekend with an absolutely gorgeous wedding on the island and I simply couldn't ask for a more picturesque day to return to one of my all-time venues.
Talk about a day to remember.
* These photos were taken as part of my work as a second photographer for George Street Photography
and are presented here strictly for portfolio/display purposes.
My coverage of Michael and Ashley's wedding day started on familiar stomping grounds for me as the groom was getting ready at the Wayfinder Hotel. This hotel is within walking distance to the only job I've ever held in Newport and was on the same street as the first apartment I ever lived in as an adult.
But even with how familiar I was with this area, I have to say: The Wayfinder Hotel was so much nicer than I remembered from the last time I visited.
And I'm so glad it was as Michael's groom prep was one of my favorites of the year. From the way his adorable mother helped all the guys get ready to the slightly nervous energy the groom had as we waited for the limo, we weren't at a loss for things to do during the hour I was with Mike and his guys and it led to some really fun, but relaxed, prep photos.
What I really loved about Michael and Ashley's wedding day is how much time they gave themselves to hit all the milestone markers of the day. Michael and his guys arrived to their 3 p.m. ceremony a full 45 minutes early and that gave us plenty of time for the groom's mom to pin his boutonnière on and for us to grab photos in front of the church door of Michael and his guys.
What I really appreciated, though, was the thought put into the little things Michael and Ashley had to do. While Michael stayed in Newport, likely because that's where the reception was, Ashley got ready a few minutes away from their church in Bristol. With the way Friday traffic can be on the island, that was probably a brilliant move as not only was the bride on time but we got rolling almost the moment she showed up.
And boy did she show up.
Ashley's dress was stunning and, from the minute she walked through the double doors into St. Elizabeth Church, there wasn't an eye in the crowd looking at anything but her walk down the aisle.
Michael and Ashley chose to have a traditional Catholic ceremony for their wedding and I'm so glad they did as St. Elizabeth Church was one of the most beautiful churches I've photographed a wedding in. I especially loved how much space we had as photographers as it allowed us to get angles and positions we normally can't.
I especially loved the side view of the bride and groom I was able to capture during a quiet moment before they exchanged their vows.
In a word, this ceremony was perfect and, honestly, how could it not be when this couple planned everything else so well?
The one challenge we had on Michael and Ashley's wedding day was driving back from Bristol to Newport but, in a way, I'm glad it took us almost an hour as the bride and groom were able to privately celebrate their big moment with their wedding party in their limo before the night's big celebration began.
Right from the moment I walked into Belle Mer, I knew what kind of night this was going to be as Michael and Ashley did a wonderful job with the little details that made their wedding so special.
As nice as details are, though, the one and only most important thing to do when shooting a wedding at a venue as pretty as Belle Mer is to capture great bride and groom formal portraits.
As a second photographer, a lot of times this can be a challenge for me as my job is to help the lead photographer get the best shots but, with Michael and Ashley, I was so happy I had a bit of freedom to execute my own ideas and vision for what I wanted.
And that included having them dance in the middle of the Belle Mer lawn and pose in front of the building to really take full advantage of the place they chose to celebrate their big day.
Although my time with Michael and Ashley ended during their formal photo session, I left knowing that I had been fortunate enough to capture a TON of great shots of the bride and groom. More importantly, I knew the always-amazing Becky MacDonald, their lead photographer, would have an amazing time that night with their reception and she sure did.
I can't say I'm not jealous I didn't get to stick around to see how their party shaped up but, at the end of the day, Michael and Ashley's wedding was absolutely perfect and the best way I could have imagined kicking off the busiest month of my 2021 calendar.
So thank you Michael and Ashley for including me on your journey down the aisle and best of luck as you celebrate this next chapter of your life's journey together as husband and wife.