Crystal Lake Golf Club Wedding Photos
Kayla & Corey
Crystal Lake Golf Club, Mapleville, Rhode Island
July 16th, 2023
If there's one thing the 2023 wedding season has taught me so far, it's that you have to take what the universe is giving you. No matter how well you've planned a wedding, there are some things that are out of your control and that's why, this year in particular, I've completely given up on trying to predict the weather. All you can do sometimes when the forecast isn't cooperating is look for a small window of opportunity and hope for the best.
That's why I have a special fondness for Kayla and Corey and their wet and rainy wedding day at Crystal Lake Golf Club back in July. The three of us knew, LONG before they walked down the aisle, that this would be a day we'd be lucky to get outside for any photos, let alone some of the most important.
So, what did we do? We looked for a window of time where the weather would at least be tolerable. The result? A 25-minute period where we knocked out three first looks, bride and groom formals and all of the most important family shots.
They say marriage is about compromise and working through tough situations and, if that's any indication, well, Kayla and Corey certainly began their's with flying colors on a beautiful day I know neither they, nor I, will soon forget.
I knew from the moment I walked into Crystal Lake for Kayla and Corey's big day that we were going to have fun. I knew this because just last year, I photographed the wedding of two of their closest friends Hannah and Houston and that wedding was, easily, one of the best I've ever been to.
Hannah and Houston's wedding day was one full of fun and good vibes and that was the mantra from the start to end for Kayla and Corey.
I couldn't help but smile as I walked over to the groom and he and his guys were just as excited as I was to capture some pre-ceremony photos. I've always believed it's important to set a good tone on your wedding day and that's exactly what these guys did and when you're this positive? Nothing can rain on your parade.
As for the bride, if Kayla was feeling any nerves about her big day, she was doing a great job hiding it. While, admittedly, her arrival to Crystal Lake was a bit stressful in terms of timing — we had a tight timeline with a lot to do and some pretty gnarly rain clouds headed our way — Kayla never lost sight of why she was in this building for this special day and I loved that for her.
I especially adored watching her mother and grandmother help her with her dress and veil. I love little moments like that and found myself reminding both me AND the bride to take time to appreciate every one of them.
One of the things I loved the most about Kayla's mindset for her wedding day was the way she made it a point to have special moments with as many of her closest friends and family members as possible.
It started with a sweet brother-sister first look and then turned funny as she not only "iced" the groomsmen on her way to see Corey for the first time but took a drink with them before heading down to her official first look.
I loved a LOT of the moments that took place on Kayla and Corey's wedding day but I have to be honest: Their first look was, without question, my absolute favorite.
I always love a good first look that allows me the chance to build up the anticipation but what separates a good from a great first look is, obviously, the groom's reaction. I would have never predicted Corey's reaction to seeing Kayla for the first time and it melted my heart so much I had to actually stop and take a minute to think "Hey! Keep clicking the button and taking photos!"
Part of the reason I loved this little part of the day was that Kayla and Corey chose this private moment of peace and quiet to read each other their vows. I love that this is becoming a wedding tradition for a lot of couples. It's so intimate and special and really lets and bride and groom be themselves without worrying what their friends or family members might say or think about the words they choose to express.
I always try to shoot these moments from a distance away so the couple can have complete privacy alone but, man, was it tempting to listen in to these words. Just from the way Kayla held Corey's arm, I could tell what they were saving were words they would never, ever forget and came straight from the heart.
What a special moment.
As sweet and kind as Kayla and Corey's private vow ceremony was, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't starting to worry about the weather.
Even the most optimistic view of the forecast said I had MAYBE 20 minutes to fit an hour's worth of photos in. Luckily, despite us having never worked together before, Kayla and Corey were absolute pros and flew through bride and groom portraits.
I could have worked with these two for a full two hour session but, considering we had just ten minutes for bride and groom formals and managed to sneak in just five more for family formals, I can't complain with just how much we fit into that tight window.
While we may have been able to take care of formal photos outside before the rain came, we weren't so lucky for the planned outdoor ceremony. Thankfully, when you have a love as fun and pure as Kayla and Corey's, it doesn't matter WHERE you say "I do," it only matters that it's said.
And I knew just from looking at the excitement on Corey's face when Kayla walked down the aisle that he didn't care one bit that his ceremony was indoors instead of outdoors. All that mattered was that he had his best girl by his side and, in just a little while, they'd be husband and wife.
Kayla and Corey's wedding ceremony had all the personal touches I love to see between a bride and groom, starting with Corey's father as the officiant.
I don't think these two were able to take the smiles off their face for the entirety of their ceremony and, without question, my favorite moment was watching the laugh Kayla and Corey let out after the bad weather caused not one but TWO loud and disruptive weather alerts on almost every cell phone in the room literally as they were being pronounced husband and wife.
Hey, if you can't laugh in a situation like that, when can you laugh? Talk about a memorable moment I know they'll think about fondly every time an emergency alert goes off moving forward.
Following their ceremony, Kayla and Corey made their way to a final round of formal photos of everyone we couldn't squeeze in before the skies opened up and then spent the rest of their cocktail hour celebrating their new life milestone.
I, meanwhile, finally had a moment to breathe and appreciate all the little details that made this day special before the newlyweds were introduced and we kicked this reception off in grand fashion.
I'm always fascinated by the songs a bride and groom chose for their first dance and given the way this day had turned out thus far, I think Kayla and Corey's choice of “More Than Enough” by Kip Moore was the perfect selection.
As Kayla and Corey danced with their friends and family members looking on, it was clear for anyone with eyes that these two had everything they needed right in each other's arms.
Following their first dance, Kayla and Corey finally had a chance to sit down and relax. But, before they did, they were lucky enough to sit through three fantastic toasts by their siblings.
I loved watching the different emotions Kayla's brother and sister were able to get out of the bride and when Corey's brother busted out a giant print of the groom's first love — a beloved truck — there wasn't a table in the room without tons of laughter.
What a perfect tone to set before dinner and before the party really kicked off on the dance floor.
Before we could get to the dancing, however, Kayla and Corey still had a few formalities after dinner to take care of. The first was an adorable cake cutting. Afterward, it was a pair of formal dances, with Corey dancing with his mother and Kayla taking the arms of her brother in a super sweet and touching moment.
It's not often I can say I know exactly what type of party to expect from a wedding reception but I knew long before walking into Crystal Lake on this July evening how this night would go down for Kayla and Corey.
Having seen the way their friends rocked out on the dance floor last year, well, this reception had a high bar to clear for me in terms of fun.
Any doubt I had that they were up to the challenge disappeared the moment the shots started coming out and the music turned all the way up.
I always love when a bride and groom are right in the middle of their reception dance floor and I can honestly say I don't think Kayla or Corey ever left the dance floor until the night started wrapping up.
As the proverbial sports phrase goes, these two left it all out there and no one will ever be able to say they didn't have the time of their lives.
It's not often I get to see a bride and groom close the night out in their wedding reception but I'm so glad I was on hand for the final moments of Kayla and Corey's wedding day. This entire event, start to finish, was just so positive and full of love. It was exactly what I love from weddings and so much more.
Was it a perfect day? Nope. Mother Nature prevented that. But did it need to be perfect? Also nope.
Kayla and Corey are an amazing couple and they had the kind of wedding that a wedding photographer beam from ear to ear all the way home and all the way through the editing process. Even now, as I write this blog, I'm still smirking at how great a day this wedding truly was.
So thank you Kayla and Corey for what will no doubt go down as one of my favorite weddings of 2023. I'd wish you luck on this new and exciting chapter of your lives together but, honestly, we both know luck or no luck, you've both got everything you need and more as long as you have each other. :)
-Paul J. Spetrini
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Dress: Alexandra’s Boutique; Groom's Suit: Merian Brothers, Brockton, Massachusetts; Florist: Sola Wood Flowers; Ceremony & Reception Venue: Crystal Lake Golf Club, Mapleville, Rhode Island; DJ: Evan of DJ Haven, Boston, Massachusetts; Cake: Wrights Dairy Farm.