Camp Hoffman Wedding Photos
Stephanie & Stephen
Camp Hoffman, South Kingstown, Rhode Island
June 3rd, 2023
One of the big things I worry about before any wedding is whether or not the day will live up to the expectations a bride and groom have placed on it. Like it or not, there's a LOT of anticipation that goes into a wedding, especially if you're a couple that's been together for years and this day is one that your friends and family members have looked forward to for a while. I think that's why I was a little worried heading into Stephanie and Stephen's wedding at Camp Hoffman in South Kingstown back in May.
For this longtime couple, who were together for over 16 years before they walked down the aisle — AND postponed their wedding three years because of the COVID pandemic — it would have been easy for their wedding to fail to live up to the lofty expectations they had created in their decade and a half's worth of time together.
Instead, the pair steadfastly refused to take their wedding day too seriously and, instead of some grand event yanked right from the pages of Pinterest, this couple stuck true to their vision and had an incredibly laid back, relaxed and FUN wedding day.
And I can think of no more fitting tribute to their love.
I knew what I was getting into with Stephanie and Stephen before I showed up to Camp Hoffman but the moment I arrived, I knew it was "go time." Camp Hoffman is a beauty and spacious venue but it can also be a bit hectic for shooting bride and groom prep as the two areas are spread pretty far from one another and the ceremony/reception site is a bit of a long walk away as well.
Still, any worry I had about this day disappeared the moment I walked into Stephanie's bridal prep cabin as I saw the bride was in great spirits and laughing and joking around with her bridesmaids. If Stephanie had any nerves whatsoever, they weren't visible and it wasn't taking away from her excitement that her big day had finally arrived.
Over on the groom's side, Stephen was much more reserved than his bride-to-be but, then again, most grooms are. Still, I could see how ready he was by the way he flew right through some pre-ceremony formal photos with his groomsmen and even shared a shot with them all before he walked down the aisle.
The fun thing about bouncing from location to location for prep photos is you never really have time to stop and overthink the schedule of the day so when I arrived back with Stephanie and it was time for her to get in the dress, it was amazing to me just how fast this day was already flying.
But the bride? Oh, she was VERY ready to get this show on the road and full of smiles as her mom zipped her up and we got ready for the day's big event.
Stephanie and Stephen's wedding ceremony was set to take place outdoors on a gloomy and dreary, overcast day. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit worried about the rain — after all, the 2023 wedding season has ALREADY been the rainiest I've ever had — but, luckily, the clouds held firm and I think the overcast skies actually gave this day a more distinct and woodsy feel.
And, judging by the look on Stephen's face, I knew he wouldn't have cared how rough the weather was on this afternoon. He was right where he wanted to be the minute his bride walked down that aisle.
Stephanie and Stephen's wedding ceremony was a beautiful blend of hilarious moments and emotional, sweet and touching ones.
The pair talked about their long relationship with one another, how they make each other better and the promises they intend to keep as husband and wife. I don't think I've seen a ceremony with such smooth transitions between laughs and tears and you could tell this moment meant a lot to both the bride and groom as they sealed their love with the longest of long-awaited kisses.
Immediately following Stephanie and Stephen's wedding ceremony, we made our way to family and wedding party photos. What I loved about Camp Hoffman on this overcast day was that literally EVERYWHERE was a picturesque place for a woodsy, forrest-like backdrop.
The spot we chose was just a simple walking path behind where Stephanie and Stephen had said "I do" moments earlier but it was perfect for the vibe and energy of this day.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't eagerly anticipating finishing family and wedding party formals, though. I wanted as much time as I could get with Stephanie and Stephen for their bride and groom portraits and, boy, was I in heaven once we got to that portion of the schedule.
Stephanie and Stephen were a delight to work with and the lush green backdrop of Camp Hoffman was the perfect spot for their couples' portraits.
What I loved about Stephanie and Stephen's bride and groom portraits was Camp Hoffman had a TON of other locations we could go to in order to get completely different photos. I especially loved taking this bride and groom out to the beach area and their choice of photos in front of a cool-looking cabin as we made our way to the reception hall yielded some of my favorite shots of the entire day.
Suffice to say, there was no shortage of cool spots on this property and I could have worked with Stephanie and Stephen for hours to capture it all.
With their formal photos finished, Stephanie and Stephen made their way into the reception room at Camp Hoffman. I have a love-hate relationship with this room as it is, for all intents and purposes, a lunch room for a girl scout camp but when decorated right, it really is a cool spot that gives any wedding a down-home, rustic vibe like nowhere else.
Stephanie and Stephen did a wonderful job with the decor of their wedding and really brought the room to life.
I'm a big believer that the introductions for a wedding receptions the tone for the night and, in Stephanie and Stephen's case, that was certainly true. The two walked into their venue with huge smiles on their face and to a massive amount of applause as they transitioned right into their first dance, set to “Indian Moon” by State Radio.
And what a first dance it was. Even though Stephanie and Stephen has their friends and family members join them on the dance floor midway through the song, there was no doubt where their attention went as they held each other and savored every second of this moment.
The same was true for the rest of their reception program. I especially loved seeing Stephanie and her father hold each other for their intimate father-daughter dance and loved seeing the ways Stephen's mom laughed as she and her son swayed around the dance floor for their dance together.
Following the signature dances, Stephanie and Stephen had two very touching toasts from the best man and co-maids of honor and then participated in one of the weirdest family traditions I've ever seen at a wedding as they were presented a 50-year-old stuffed fish that apparently makes its way from couple to couple in their family.
The moment was a huge hit so who am I to judge? But as someone who doesn't even like FRESH seafood, I couldn't stop thinking about how that is not a gift I would have wanted to receive. :)
Following dinner, Stephanie and Stephen kickstarted the second half of their reception with a casual cake cutting and then, immediately afterwards, it was time to party.
And what a party it was.
It didn't take long for Stephanie and Stephen's dance floor to start rocking out and I love how the bride and groom were always right in the middle of the action ... whether it was some rocking 80s music on the dance floor or a conga line that went all over the building.
As my time with Stephanie and Stephen came to an end, I had no doubt this was the night these two had always pictured when they thought of what their future wedding would be like.
Stephanie and Stephen's wedding was such an amazingly happy day full of lighthearted fun and plenty of laughter and I could tell it meant as much for the bride and groom who waited more than a decade and a half for it as it did for all their close friends and family members who were just as thrilled as they were to be there.
So, thank you Stephanie and Stephen for including me on your walk down the aisle and I wish you luck as you begin this beautiful (and long awaited) chapter together as husband and wife.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair and Make-up: Salon Reyna, Bedford, Massachusetts; Bride's Dress: Thistle Rose Bridal; Groom's Suit: Carl Anthony Tuxedo, Cranston, Rhode Island; Florist: Floral Designs by Donna; Ceremony & Reception Venue: Camp Hoffman, South Kingstown, Rhode Island; DJ: Arpeggio Wedding Entertainment, North Smithfield, Rhode Island; Cake: Le Favorite Bakery; Catering: Toms Market Catering.