Connecticut Wedding Photos
Alena & Gabriel
Private Residence, Franklin, Connecticut
September 19th, 2020
Have you ever been to a party or out with friends and thought to yourself "Man, I don't want this night to end?"
Every once in a while, I photograph a wedding that is so fun, I can't help but think this way and, back in 2018 as I photographed Karolyn & Ethan's amazing summer wedding reception, this was my exact train of thought as I stood in a tent documenting an amazing party as their friends and family members tore up the dance floor.
You can imagine my joy, then, when two of those friends emailed me a few months later to tell me they loved the photos and wanted to talk to me about their own wedding photography needs.
Those friends were Alena and Gabriel and I knew, right away, that their September 2020 wedding would feel a LOT like Karolyn and Ethan's. Just from our first chat, I could tell this was my kind of couple. Alena and Gabe are laidback, down to Earth folks with a wicked sense of humor and some sweet dance moves.
In other words, I couldn't wait to shoot their day and, somehow, despite all the expectations of a year plus of planning, this wedding blew my expectations right out of the water and was one of the most fun days I've had all year.
I was smiling right from the start of my coverage of Alena and Gabe's wedding day as I arrived to see that every bit of this wedding was within walking distance of each other. Alena and Gabe said "I do" at a private residence in Franklin, Connecticut and the moment I walked out of my car, I could see the ceremony site, reception tent, bridal prep area and formal photo locations without turning my head.
I always love when this is how a couple plans out their wedding day as it immediately removes any concern about getting from Point A to Point B on time and leads to much more relaxing events. And, speaking of relaxed, I don't think I've seen a bride as cool, calm and collected as Alena was when I walked into bridal prep.
She was so relaxed that she was even help stir meatballs as she waited her turn to have her hair and makeup finished up. But I didn't expect anything less. If nothing else, it set the tone for this afternoon right away.
If I had any doubts about the tone this wedding would take, Gabe himself helped put my nerves at ease and I arrived to capture some details of his groom prep and he was in great spirits. Gabe and his groomsmen all seemed to be genuinely excited about this wedding and I love when the guys feel that way. It keeps such a positive vibe and makes the last hour or so before a ceremony fly by.
In fact, Alena and Gabe were remarkably similar in how they handled the last moments before their ceremony. Both were eager to get the show on the road and neither looked the least bit stressed out.
One of the mental notes I made sure to log in my head before Alena and Gabe's wedding ceremony was to be prepared for anything. Back in 2018 when I photographed their friend's wedding ceremony, I had no idea it would literally be over in less than five minutes and had barely gotten comfortable when it was time for the rings to be exchanged.
Alena and Gabe's ceremony was also a short one but not THAT short and I'm thankful because it was truly a beautiful celebration of their love at a picture perfect location.
I absolutely adored Alena and Gabe's wedding ceremony, despite the fact that it felt at times like we were on the center of the sun. It was BRIGHT.
At the same time, though, the sun added a nice little touch to the day as it was still early fall but felt like summer.
Plus, it gave Gabe an excuse as to why he was maybe tearing up a little bit as Alena walked down the aisle. Yeah. It was the sun. For sure.
For real, though, Alena and Gabe's wedding ceremony was beautiful to watch. You could see the genuine excitement on each of their faces, capped perfectly with an unplanned celebration by the pair right after their first kiss.
With the wedding ceremony out of the way, Alena and Gabe turned their attention to formal photos and I'm so glad they were up for all of my ideas as I just couldn't help but pose them facing into the sun to make the most out of the beautiful, endless open space and clear skies behind them.
When it came time for their bride and groom formals, though, I just had to take advantage of the bride's mom's beautiful garden and the shade that came with it. And I'm glad we did as they led to some of my favorite photos of the entire day.
Alena and Gabe's bride and groom formals did lead to one of my favorite moments of the day, however, as the groom got super emotional driving his grandfather's truck. I was so moved by seeing Gabe break down and cry a little thinking about what this day means to him and what his grandfather's truck means to him that I just had to take advantage and incorporate it into some of the photos.
With formal photos out of the way, we headed to the part of Alena and Gabe's wedding day I simply couldn't wait for: the party. First up, I just had to capture some of the details the bride and groom set up as the backyard tent vibe they were going for was a phenomenal move and the decor all did wonders to illustrate exactly what kind of laidback night we could expect.
Alena and Gabe's wedding reception started simple enough as the pair were introduced and immediately sat down for two really, really great speeches by the best man and maid of honor. Right after, they invited guests to sit down for dinner, giving the pair a much needed break before the big events of the evening took center stage.
It turns out that was an excellent move as Alena and Gabe needed to conserve as much energy as possible for their reception once the sun went down and the party started.
The pair shared their first dance to “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton but the rest of the night was far from slow and the dance floor far from empty.
But first, the newlyweds held a pair of sweet dances with their father and mother, respectively, cut their wedding cake and got the dance floor packed with a fun garter and bouquet toss.
With their formal events in the books, Alena and Gabe could finally let their hair down (figuratively in the groom's case) and get the party started and thanks to my good buddies over at Pro Sound DJ Entertainment, Alena and Gabe's dance floor NEVER let up.
By the time Alena and Gabe's wedding reception was over, I was pretty exhausted from running around their dance floor capturing some of my favorite candid photos of the year thus far.
I didn't have much time to relax, however, as even AFTER the reception, this pair had something special planned in the form of a beautiful firework show that really capped the night off in the perfect way.
I don't think I could have asked for a better end to Alena and Gabe's wedding day and a better wedding to day in the crazy year that 2020 has proven to be so thank you Alena and Gabe for letting me document your wedding day and best luck as you take your next steps 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 Dress: The Wedding Embassy, Oakville, Connecticut; Groom's Suit: Men's Wearhouse; Florist: McKenna's Flowers & Plants, Norwich, Connecticut; Ceremony & Reception Location: Private Residence, Norwich, Connecticut; DJ: ProSound DJ Entertainment Services; Donuts: Dixie Donuts, Norwich, Connecticut.