Dallas & Nicky
September 30th, 2017
Whenever I'm photographing a wedding, I can usually tell what kind of day it was by the way I feel after the final song is played and, if that's the case, Dallas and Nicky's September wedding at the Crowne Plaza Hotel can best be summed up with one image: Me, sitting on the floor at the back edge of the sweetheart table, equipment on the ground, completely and totally spent.
That's the type of wedding day Dallas and Nicky had, a day where you're going wild for 13 hours and collapse in a ball the moment the party stops. And I loved EVERY moment of it.
Dallas and Nicky had the kind of wedding you dream of as a photographer: A day so perfect, almost everything seems to go right (including the weather.) It was, by far, the toughest wedding day I had to document this year but also one of the most fun as this bride and groom, and their entire friends and family for that matter, knew how to throw a party and never let up.
Whether it was trying to wrangle together one of the largest and rowdiest wedding parties I've ever seen, watching them come into the reception with wild WWE theme music or photographing a room full of guests dueling with full-length glow sticks, there was never a dull moment on this bride and groom's big day.
In fact, when all was said and done, I shot almost twice as many photos at Dallas and Nicky's wedding as I do most others and, when you look at the results, it's easy to see why.
Like I said before, it really was a perfect day. And I can't think of a couple who deserved it more.
My coverage of Dallas and Nicky's wedding actually began two days before they said "I do" as I was fortunate enough to photograph their rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Though I could have written an entire blog just about that experience, their wedding day was full of so many moments I've chosen just to focus on it here instead.
More importantly, though, being on hand for their rehearsal was invaluable as it let me see, first hand, the relationships this bride and groom had with their closest friends and family and prepared me mentally for what I knew would be a crazy day full of fun and laughter.
And the laughter started early and occurred often. Dallas and Nicky's wedding day began with one of the rowdiest and funniest bridal prep sessions I've ever been a part of as Nicky's girls pulled no punches and kept each other in high spirits with a treasure trove of off-color jokes and genuinely sweet moments at the same time.
And, if that wasn't enough, early on Dallas came to pick up he and Nicky's son to bring him to groom prep, giving Nicky's father a chance to share a special handmade ring box he carved himself. It was a great moment between a father and his son-in-law and a wonderful way to start a special day.
Speaking of special moments, I could tell fairly early on that Nicky's father was an emotional individual but nowhere was that clearer than during their first look together as Nicky's dad got caught up in the moment of the big reveal and wore his emotions on his sleeve.
You'd have to have a heart of stone to not get choked up seeing Nicky's dad fight back tears and repeatedly hug his daughter.
Speaking of the bride-to-be, I LOVED working with Nicky. Not only was she super creative with all the details she had in and around her suite for bridal prep but she had a number of ideas for photos that helped keep my creative juices flowing, including two shots with her dogs that I was convinced were destined for failure but came out awesome. If only all dogs were this cooperative during a photo shoot!
What I also loved about Nicky was how much she just GOT what wedding photography is and what it's is supposed to be. Even though we were running a half-hour behind schedule before her bride and bridesmaids photos, I assured her if she and her girls buckled down and cooperated with me, we'd be able to get her back on target. And she did just that.
Nicky was FIERCE and got right down to business when it was time for formal photos and, because she took things so serious (while also still having enjoying the process), we sped right through those photos and were able to get her to her ceremony right on time.
And it's a good thing we did because her ceremony was one of the highlights of the entire day.
Nicky and Dallas had a short but super personal ceremony and I don't know if I've seen a bride and groom as "in the moment" as they were.
As they listened to their officiant speak, I could see that both Dallas and Nicky were lost in each other's eyes and savoring every bit of the life moment they were experiencing.
My favorite moment of their ceremony, without question, happened when Dallas lost his footing on his vows, causing Nicky to burst out laughing. It was a genuinely sweet and touching instant that summed this couple up perfectly.
While we're talking about "perfect," I mentioned earlier how the weather for Dallas and Nicky's big day was just that. But it almost wasn't.
Throughout bridal prep and, really, for most of the day during Dallas and Nicky's wedding, the weather was dark, cold and gloomy.
As if on cue, though, the rain clouds went away right before the start of the bride and groom's ceremony and we were lucky enough to head outside to take family and formal photos.
I'm so glad we were, too, as the Crowne Plaza has a beautifully landscaped grass area for formal photos which is just picture perfect.
There I go using that word again.
I could have shot Dallas and Nicky's bride and groom portraits for a full hour but, alas, the time did not allow for that and as were headed inside for the start of their reception, I found myself thinking "Man, I wish I had more time with them."
Thankfully, we'd rectify that situation later on but, for the time being, I was thoroughly looking forward to their reception as I knew we were likely in for a wild night. I had no idea how wild, in fact.
Dallas and Nicky's wedding party entered their reception to WWE theme music and anyone who knows me knows that automatically earns them a spot on my "best weddings of the year" list.
What I didn't know was that was just the start of a reception that hit on all of my favorite things ever, including the bride and groom's first song ... which was set to Journey's "Faithfully."
I loved Dallas and Nicky's first dance and not just because of the song choice.
While the Crowne Plaza can be a tough place to shoot in (depending on the room selected and the lighting), it was the perfect choice for this bride and groom.
I'll be honest, once I saw the cool ceiling above Nicky and Dallas, I got obsessed with incorporating it into their photos as much as possible.
So, take that fact and add in the sweet way the bride and groom looked each other during this beautiful moment and you can see why I loved every second of their first dance.
And it was just the start of an amazing reception.
Dallas and Nicky hit all the right notes in the signature moments of their reception. Not only did they have a pair of really touching parent dances, they also danced with their son (who was seemingly beaming the entire time), honored all of their parents by hosting a special anniversary dance for each of them and even had one of the best cake toppers I've ever seen to give that moment a little something extra.
Following the last of the signature events, though, it was my turn to get creative as the bride and groom didn't mind going back outside for some additional portraits together.
I really loved the way these came out, especially the shot Nicky requested of a silhouette of the bride and groom. For this photo, we used Nicky's venue coordinator's office and though she was a bit confused why we asked her to turn off all the lights inside the office SHE WAS USING, I think the photos were more than worth it.
Following their last formal photos, Nicky and Dallas were eager to get inside and start the party and I can't blame them.
Nicky and Dallas' reception was one of the wildest I've seen in a very long time and I don't know if there was a moment all night long when someone wasn't going crazy on the dance floor.
By the time Dallas and Nicky got ready to call it a night, I don't know if there was a person on their dance floor who wasn't ready to crawl into bed and go to sleep. This reception was insane from start to finish and very few, if any, of Nicky and Dallas' guests left feeling like they didn't leave it all on the dance floor.
Whether it was a rousing rendition of "Build me up buttercup," or the impressive dance-off Nicky and one of her uncles had during Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (Not to mention the amazing group effort on "Separate Ways" by Journey), there was hardly a moment when the entire room at the Crowne Plaza wasn't rocking out in one way or another.
And I think that's what I'll remember about Dallas and Nicky's big day the most. This was a wedding that was a lot of awesome things but, more than anything else, it was downright fun. And if you're going through all the trouble of getting married and planning a wedding, do you really want your big day to be anything else?
So congratulations Dallas and Nicky.
I know this day was exactly what you hoped it would be and, more than anything, I know I can say the exact same.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Nicky's Dress: Spark Bridal Outlet; Dallas' suit: Men's Wearhouse; Ceremony and Reception Location: The Crowne Plaza in Warwick, Rhode Island; Officiant: Rev. Richard Meglio; DJ: One dude and a speaker.
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