Crystal Lake Golf Club Wedding Photos
Nicole & Sherry
Crystal Lake Golf Club, Mapleville, Rhode Island
October 16th, 2021
There's a certain beauty that you can only see during a very small window of time each fall in New England. It's, maybe, a one or two week window where the weather is perfect, the foliage is stunning and all you want to do is spend every waking minute enjoying the world around you. Alas, you can't take every day off to just look at the pretty colors of nature, especially not as a New England wedding photographer.
The good thing is, if you are the right kind of wedding photographer, you never have to look far for other beauty. Like, for instance, the relationship Nicole and Sherry have.
Nicole and Sherry were married on, quite possibly, the best day of the entire fall season on the October afternoon they said "I do" at Crystal Lake Golf Club in Mapleville, Rhode Island. Whether it was their stunning, lighthearted and beautiful afternoon ceremony on the water, their lovely bride and bride portraits all over the Crystal Lake property or their super fun early afternoon reception, this was a wedding day and a couple that took full advantage of the world around them.
I'm just glad I was lucky enough to have a camera by my side and time to document it because it was a day, and it was a couple, worth capturing for a lifetime.
My coverage of Nicole and Sherry's wedding day started a bit earlier than I'm used to as I arrived at Nicole's parent's home at 8 a.m. to photograph her bridal prep while my second photographer was roughly 3.5 miles down the road doing the same for Sherry.
Whenever I shoot a same-sex, two-bride wedding, I never know how traditional the brides will skew in terms of hair and makeup. I just know my job is to go with the flow and document what I see but I was grateful that I had the chance to capture some fun candids of Nicole in the makeup chair getting the finished touches done before we had to quickly run over to her venue before guests started to arrive for the 10 a.m. ceremony.
Once we did arrive at Crystal Lake, though, things settled into the more casual wedding day vibe I was expecting.
I had a lot of favorite moments during Nicole and Sherry's wedding day but some of my favorite photos of Nicole herself came in those last few minutes before she headed over to the Crystal Lake ceremony site. In particular, I loved how excited she looked as she got her dress zipper up and her veil put on.
There's a "transformation" brides undergo when they put their dress on for the final time before walking down the aisle and Nicole was no exception. I could tell from the look on her face, and the face of her mom and bridesmaids, that the final zip-up really hit home and it was so sweet to see how genuinely excited Nicole was as the moments counted down before she said "I do."
If I could only choose one singular moment of a wedding day to call my "favorite" part of the day, it would absolutely have to be that split second right before a couple sees each other at the start of a wedding ceremony.
For Nicole and Sherry, who were married back in October at Crystal Lake Golf Club, that one moment felt both like a silent movie AND the culmination of every classic romantic film all at once.
There wasn't a single word said. There wasn't a big musical interlude. If you weren't paying attention, you might have missed it but, the second Nicole emerged from behind a group of standing guests for that big grand reveal, Sherry simple reached back for the hands of her 'Best Person' because the power of that moment was almost too much to handle.
And that, my friends, is why I love wedding photography. Because you can say so much without saying a single word.
Nicole and Sherry's wedding ceremony lasted just over 10 minutes in length but it was far from short as the two made sure to pack in plenty of super sweet and touching tributes to one another. From the classics of custom vows, ring exchanges and a first kiss to the not-so-standard hand fastening ceremony and jumping over a broom, Nicole and Sherry kept their ceremony a mixture of old and new ways to celebrate love and I adored it.
Also, did I mention how beautiful this day was?
I may not be a morning person but if I have to shoot a morning wedding ceremony, there are few places I'd rather be than at Crystal Lake Golf Club on a fall afternoon with sunny skies.
One of the nice things about Nicole and Sherry's wedding day timeline was these two brides kept everything super loose and casual. Right from our first meeting, Nicole and Sherry stressed to me how important it was that they get to enjoy their day so I wanted to make sure I didn't wear these two brides out with too many formal photos.
Thankfully, their friends and family were some of the most cooperative I've worked with this year and we flew through their formal formals rather briskly.
As for bride and bride portraits, I wanted to make sure we captured some nice shots of Nicole and Sherry near the Crystal Lake Golf Club practice facility where they got married but I also knew my favorite locations on this property were on the other side of the water and would be easier to get too after their reception started.
Still, I have to say, this first of two batches of bride and bride portraits really captured Nicole and Sherry's spirit and relationship well. I'm so glad these two brides were having so much fun together as it really came across in their portraits and kept the day lively and relaxed.
Speaking of Nicole and Sherry's reception, I absolutely loved the little touches these two brides had to make their wedding stand out. I especially loved the little jars of Vermont maple syrup Nicole and Sherry gave to their guests as favors as it was a tasty touch that really came across as super thoughtful and way more creative than the standard items you typically see most couples use as favors.
Details aside, though, Nicole and Sherry's reception itself was beautiful for a number of reasons and I knew we were going to have a great day when the two brides took the dance floor for their first dance, set to "In Case You Didn't Know" by Brett Young.
I love shooting first dances at Crystal Lake, especially during daytime weddings as the ballroom has this unique look with white draping that really pops above a bride or groom's head. Nicole and Sherry's first dance was the perfect blend of sweet and sentimental and you could tell by looking at them that they were locked in on this moment and didn't see a single person apart from one another.
I also loved how casual Nicole and Sherry kept the formalities of their wedding day as they only had two simple toasts before their lunchtime meal. Both were super sweet and emotional and showed how much these two brides really fit together perfectly and made one another better in the eyes of those closest to them.
I'll be honest though. As much as I enjoyed the lunch meal at Nicole and Sherry's wedding, my main priority was making sure I got these two brides back outside to explore the Crystal Lake property before things got too sloppy and the party raged too hard inside.
And I could tell these two loved the little break from the action. In the span of just over 15 minutes, Nicole, Sherry and I managed to capture a bunch of portraits in front of the iconic Crystal Lake water fountain, in a tucked away but beautiful area of leaves AND on the dock on the water and at no point did it seem like these two were sick of looking at one another or taking photos.
I could have worked with them all afternoon. They were that much fun.
Once we headed back inside, however, it was time for the "formal part" of Nicole and Sherry's wedding reception to resume but even then, it never felt forced or unnatural. Nicole and Sherry quickly cut their cake and then hit the dance floor for the traditional parent dances.
I loved Nicole and Sherry's parent dances as Nicole danced with her father and Sherry danced with her uncle. What I loved about them most is both brides went on the dance floor expecting to just have a casual moment with someone special in their lives but were clearly hit by the significance of the dances once they began.
Thankfully, once these two dances were over, it was time to party.
And what a party it was.
For an early afternoon wedding reception, Nicole and Sherry's guests never let up on the dance floor and, if I couldn't see just how bright the sun was shining outside, you might have been able to convince me I was photographing a Saturday night wedding.
I can think of no higher praise to pay this wedding reception. It really was a blast.
By far my favorite moment from Nicole and Sherry's open dance floor was the way it ended. Nicole and Sherry told me they had a special last dance planned, and with the two brides rocking out for the last half hour of their reception, I really couldn't wait to see what it was.
And then the song "Bang" by AJR started. If you're not familiar with this track — and I sure wasn't — the lyrics go like this: "So put your best face on, everybody // Pretend you know this song, everybody // Come hang // Let’s go out with a bang // (Bang! Bang! Bang!)"
Not only did the song fit the moment perfectly but it was super catchy and a great track for the two brides to run around shaking everyone's hands before ending the afternoon in each other's arms.
As the music ended and Nicole and Sherry made their way off the dance floor, I couldn't help but nod my head at just how perfect this day was for these two brides.
From the first time I met Nicole and Sherry and discussed their ideal wedding, I knew it would be a day where they just soaked up every moment and never got too hung up on the formalities of a wedding and I don't think these two could have said more true to their vision of the perfect day if they tried.
So thank you Nicole and Sherry for including me on your journey down the aisle. It was an honor to watch you become newlyweds and I wish you the best as you start your lives together and Mrs. and Mrs.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Nicole's Hair: Courtney from Traveler Beauty Company; Nicole's Make-up: Traveler Beauty Company; Nicole's Dress: New York Lace Couture, Taunton, Massachusetts; Sherry's Suit: Simply Dainty, Cranston, Rhode Island; Florist: Katydid Flowers, Mendon, Massachusetts; Ceremony & Reception: Crystal Lake Golf Club, Mapleville, Rhode Island; DJ: George with G3 Entertainment; Cake: Cape Cod Cakes, Wrentham, Massachusetts.