Crystal Lake Golf Club Wedding Photos
Emily & Jacob
Crystal Lake Golf Club, Mapleville, Rhode Island
October 28th, 2023
I've lost track of how many times I've said that fall is my favorite time of year to live and work in New England but it just doesn't quite feel like the fall is really here until I get to do one of my favorite traditions of the season: Shoot a wedding at Crystal Lake Golf Club in mid to late October.
And after the insanely non-fall like wedding season we've had in 2023, I couldn't wait to get to the Mapleville, Rhode Island venue for Emily and Jacob's wedding.
Of course, I also had a different reason for looking forward to Emily and Jacob's celebration more than most: I used to work with the groom and knew, without a shadow of a doubt that this would be a rowdy, wild and truly special day from start to finish. And, boy, was I right.
Emily and Jacob had an amazingly fun, sweet and beautiful wedding at Crystal Lake and I can think of no higher compliment to give this day than this: It was well worth the wait. Not just for me but for the bride and groom who waited a decade for the right time to walk down the aisle and couldn't have picked a better day to say “I do.”
I had a feeling heading into Emily and Jacob's wedding day that we were in for a casual vibe kind of afternoon but I don't think I really knew how casual things would really be until I began my coverage as the bride and groom both arrived to Crystal Lake super relaxed and without a bit of nerves or anticipation … on the outside at least.
I guess when you're with your person for as long as Emily and Jacob have been, getting married doesn't have to be that stressful and I appreciated that both the soon-to-be bride and groom seemed in great spirits and not at all worried about how the day would turn out as the minutes to their wedding ceremony ticked away.
In fact, of all the brides I've had this year, I think Emily might have been the most cool, calm and collected before her wedding as she was laughing and joking with her mom while getting her dress zipped up and looked she'd already lived through this day a dozen times in her mind before it was a reality. Suffice to say, if there were any nerves from anyone on this day, I sure didn't see them.
Emily and Jacob's relaxed vibe said everything I needed to know about their wedding day but their ceremony was still surprisingly laid back.
I guess I shouldn't have expected a big, elaborate affair but I was almost caught off guard with how easygoing this couple made their big moment. Apart from nodding along to their officiant and stealing glances at one another, Emily and Jacob kept their emotions in check for this ceremony and, honestly, I loved that for them as sometimes you don't need to say a lot to speak volumes.
Even Jacob's look seeing Emily walk down the aisle — a mix of a smile and a hint of joy — was more understated than I expected. Turns out, they were holding those emotions for a more personal ceremony later but we'll get to that soon enough.
Emily and Jacob's actual ceremony only took a tick over four minutes but it was full of sweet little moments between the two. I loved seeing how genuinely in the moment this bride and groom were and they couldn't have picked a better day to say “I do” if they tried as Crystal Lake was the perfect backdrop for this amazing day by the water.
By the time Emily and Jacob sealed it with a kiss, I could tell they — and their friends and family members — were ready to celebrate this night in a big way and I was just excited to get them to myself for some formal photos as the light was exceptionally gorgeous and kept getting better.
Emily and Jacob had one of the longer lists of family and wedding party photos I had this year, largely because of the sheer size of their wedding parties but I didn't really notice it until I was editing the photos as, in the moment, it seemingly flew by.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that the ceremony area at Crystal Lake is one of my favorite places to do large group photos, even if a ton of the foliage was lost due to the stupid rain we've had all season.
I've got to be honest, I was really excited to get Emily and Jacob alone and take all the bride and groom photos our timeline would allow …
But I knew that wouldn't be the case as they had other plans that were slightly more important.
And that's why, midway through their bride and groom portraits, we had an impromptu private vow ceremony.
Now, if you've read my blog posts regularly, you know I love private vow ceremonies. There's just something so special about seeing a bride and groom share their truest of true feelings for one another away from the large group of friends and family members and Emily and Jacob's private vow exchange was truly touching.
As sweet as it was to see Emily and Jacob make their promises to one another and truly express themselves on this amazing day, I'll be honest: The moment they wrapped up, I looked at my watch and breathed a sigh of relief that we still had some time to grab some more bride and groom portraits before the sun set.
I simply did not want to rush through their photos, especially not with this amazing light, and was just hoping we'd have enough time to get to the famous Crystal Lake dock in time for some special fun shots we had planned with the custom Red Sox jerseys they had made for this day.
Thankfully we did and it all worked out better than I could have hoped it would.
The one drawback to how laid back Emily and Jacob's wedding prep session turned out to be was I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to grab detail shots prior to their ceremony.
Thankfully, this bride and groom had a ton of great things I could capture throughout the day and I made sure to do just that as we headed inside for the start of their ceremony.
I loved the little details Emily and Jacob chose for their day, especially the hint of sunflowers throughout the décor as they really gave a nice pop of color to a room in Crystal Lake that looks amazing with the right theme.
In the weeks leading up to Emily and Jacob's wedding reception, the pair told me on more than one occasion that this party would likely be the best part of their day and I knew they were telling the truth when I saw how excited everyone was from the moment they walked into the reception ballroom.
The pair held their first dance to “Lover” by Taylor Swift and not only did it set the perfect tone for the night but it was clear the best parts of this wedding were still to come for everyone in attendance.
Because Emily and Jacob were together for a decade before walking down the aisle, there was a feeling inside of Crystal Lake that these two newlyweds had in essence gotten married a LONG time before this actual wedding day and that was the theme, in many ways, of not only the toasts from their friends and family members but a lot of the formalities of this reception.
Each of the special little moments Emily and Jacob chose to have at their reception felt like a love letter to the years of happy memories they've made. Whether it was the cute “I love you and I like you” quote on their cake topper or their touching and sweet parent dances, each little formality for this wedding felt extra special and like the people involved were finally experiencing a moment years in the making.
I've already said this a few times on this blog but I love Crystal Lake Golf Club. It is without a doubt one of my favorite venues to photograph at, as evidenced by the fact that I'm there 3-4 times a year at least. But, for such an amazing venue, it sure is one of the darkest places on Earth to shoot a reception and that's why I always appreciate when my couples choose to leave the lights on for their dance floor fun because, well, I'm a photographer that appreciates a well-lit reception.
And 'lit' is the best word I can use to describe Emily and Jacob's wedding reception. Literally and figuratively.
Emily and Jacob had the kind of dance floor that really makes me love weddings. Whether it was a jam packed floor for organized numbers like Cotton Eyed Joe or the Cha Cha Slide, or just nonstop silliness for some sweet 80s and 90s tracks, Emily and Jacob's friends and family members knew how to rock out and I was THERE for every second of it.
So, too, were the newlyweds.
What I really loved about Emily and Jacob's reception was just how much the bride and groom were cutting loose and right in the thick of everything going on.
And, as the night drew to a close, I could tell Emily and Jacob were in their feelings a little bit and really savoring every second of an evening they won't soon forget.
By the time I broke down my lights and packed all my gear away, Emily and Jacob were long gone from Crystal Lake but the vibe inside the venue was still buzzing from just how fun the night was.
And I think that says a lot about this wedding.
I always love when couples who have been together seemingly forever finally make it official and celebrate their long relationship with a wedding that not only meets but exceeds the anticipation that has built up for it.
Emily and Jacob had an amazing wedding day that I know they will cherish for a lifetime and, more importantly, I know this is just the start of an incredible life together for a couple that really brightens up each other and every room they're in.
So congratulations Emily and Jacob for a beautiful wedding day that I count as one of my favorite of 2023 and thank you for allowing me to come along on this journey to document such a special day for you to remember forever. Best of luck on this new chapter of your lives together, though I know you won't need it because you already have each other and that's more than enough. :)
-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 Hair: Jessica Jones of Salon Beautopia; Bride's Make-up: Salon Beautopia; Bride's Dress: David's Bridal; Groom's Suit: Men's Wearhouse; Ceremony & Reception Venue: Crystal Lake Golf Club, Mapleville, Rhode Island; DJ: DJ Monti of Music Machine Entertainment; Cake: Wright's Dairy Farm & Bakery; Videographer: Michael of Daylight Films & Video; Photo Booth: Smashing Photo Booth.