Cara & Brandon
November 11th, 2018
Taken at its very core, the idea of marriage is to bring together two people together to form one bond as a couple where each person becomes a little better and a little stronger than they were before.
It's an idea that can get lost in all the pageantry and chaos of a wedding day and that's why nothing brings me greater joy than seeing this idea in action the way it was as Cara and Brandon walked down the aisle and exchanged their vows at First Baptist Church in Hope Valley, Rhode Island back in November.
For as much as this day was about this bride and groom celebrating the next chapter in their lives, it was also about the two of them officially becoming a family with Brandon's daughter Tayden and the look in HER eyes as they said "I do" said everything you needed to know about how much this day meant to not just the people at its center but all those around them.
And what a day it was.
My time with Cara and Brandon began midway through the bride's prep session. As I arrived, one of the first things I noticed was how relaxed Cara already was. She had her dress hung up and ready to be photographed, her hair and makeup were mostly done and she was excited and ready to go to her ceremony.
Not much changed as she put her dress on and we got ready to go. This was one bride who wouldn't let the stress of her wedding day slow her down.
I love bridal prep sessions that are uneventful. Typically, that means we're right on schedule and everything is running like clockwork and thanks to her perfect planning, Cara had plenty of time for her ceremony as we left the Aqua Blue Hotel in Narragansett and made our way to First Baptist Church.
And while there was a slight hiccup actually getting to the site, in the end it didn't really matter that we were a bit off on our timing for the start of the ceremony as Cara walked out of the limo and went straight to a first look with her father before he walked her down the aisle and gave her away.
Following their first look, which Cara's dad proudly said he wouldn't cry during and lived up to that promise, we headed inside for the start of their ceremony.
Cara and Brandon chose to get married at First Baptist Church in Hope Valley and, despite the slightly awkward side aisle structure found in older churches like this, it might be my favorite church setting this year as it was lit beautifully and made for some really nice portraits of Brandon as he saw his bride for the first time and the multiple sweet moments between the soon-to-be newlyweds.
I loved a lot of things about Cara and Brandon's ceremony, especially the two beautiful readings their respective mothers made to start things off.
My favorite part, however, were Cara and Brandon's vows to each other as they were both incredibly touching and written from the heart. Cara's vows, in particular, tugged at my heart strings as she made she to include a promise to her new stepdaughter that she would always be there for her as well as her dad.
I'm not sure if Cara and Brandon stopped smiling after their ceremony and that happiness was absolutely needed as, no matter how positive we all were, we couldn't change the fact that these two chose to get married in November and that meant it was very, very, very cold during their outdoor formal photos.
Still, despite the chill in the air, we captured some great shots of these two with their friends and family members at the Towers in Narragansett and on the rocks nearby.
And, if that wasn't enough, afterward the timing worked out perfectly as the sun was coming down as we finished up the rest of their family photos at the site of their reception, the North Beach Clubhouse.
I couldn't let this chance fade away, of course, and took the bride and groom out on the beach for some more formals of just the two of them as the light started to fade. These were easily my favorite shots from Cara and Brandon's big day and a great reward for tolerating the frosty temperatures of a late fall day in New England.
As much fun as Cara, Brandon and I had during their wedding ceremony and formal photos, I knew the start of their reception would where the night really kicked into high gear and I was right.
I loved this reception for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was the beach-inspired decor that went great with the indoor room Cara and Brandon's guests would have dinner.
I say have dinner because Cara and Brandon made clear right from the get-go that all the dancing of this reception would take place in the clubhouse's tent outside, cold weather or not cold weather.
Talk about commitment.
Thankfully, the inside of the tent wasn't that cold despite the ocean location and I'm glad Cara and Brandon went this route as their first dance -- set to “Wasn't Expecting That” by Jamie Lawson -- felt a little more special under the tent as the last bits of sunlight faded away over the ocean behind them.
Cara and Brandon's first dance was just the start of the night's big moments. Immediately following it, Cara launched into a sweet dance with her father and Brandon followed that up with the traditional mother-son dance.
As sweet and touching as both parent dances were, it's hard to argue any moment of Cara and Brandon's wedding reception was as adorable as Brandon's special dance with his own daughter as he and Tayden stole the show and rocked the dance floor out as Cara looked on from the side with a huge smile on her face.
This was not only my favorite moment from Cara and Brandon's big day but one of my favorite moments from any wedding all year. I loved the dance Tayden and Brandon had a silly but also meaningful dance together and it made for some really sweet, emotional photos.
With the marquee dances out of the way, Cara and Brandon made their way inside for dinner. The pair received three lovely toasts from the father of the bride, best man and maid of honor before concluding the formalities of the night with a great dinner, a traditional cake cutting and the bouquet/garter toss.
The biggest question mark revolving around Cara and Brandon's reception was whether or not people would stay on the dance floor as the night wore on. With an outdoor tent and a stiff breeze coming in, it was far from a certainty.
Thankfully, Cara and Brandon's guests didn't seem to mind that much as there was plenty of dancing all night long and folks spent a large chunk of the night outside when they weren't moving to the music.
As for the bride and groom themselves, Cara and Brandon found the perfect way to cap their time with me as they donned Patriots jerseys and celebrated the night the best way they knew how: popping bottles.
As I packed my gear and headed to my car from the North Beach Clubhouse, I couldn't help but marvel at how cold it really was outside and how much it couldn't put a damper on the wedding I had just photographed.
Cara and Brandon had a beautiful night together to cap what was a great day full of lighthearted laughter and sweet memories and moments together.
It was everything they could have hoped their wedding day would be and more and I have no doubt this is just the start of their beautiful journey together.
So congratulations Cara and Brandon and best of luck as you begin your married lives together.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair & Make-up: B Lovely Beauty Studio, Wakefield, RI; Bride's Dress: Couture Bridal, Warwick, RI; Groom's Suit: Men's Warehouse; Florist: Melisa Simpkins; Bridal Prep Hotel: Aqua Blue Hotel, Narragansett, RI; Ceremony Location: First Baptist Church, Hope Valley, RI; Reception Venue: North Beach Clubhouse, Narragansett, RI; Transportation: A Star Limo; Officiant: Arthur Fenner; DJ: Anthony Crocenzi Entertainment; Cake: Lauren Barsilli; Videographer: Zach Levinson; Catering: Emery's Catering.
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
Rich & Makayla
Zukas Hilltop Barn,
Date: October 28th, 2018
Sarah & Anthony
St. Augustine Church (Ceremony),
The Omni Hotel (Reception), Providence, RI.
Date: October 20th, 2018
Amanda & Josh (Reception)
Loon Pond Lodge,
Date: October 14th, 2018
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