Crystal Lake Golf Club Wedding
Ryan & Melissa
October 5th, 2019
If there's one thing that's true in most of the weddings I've photographed, a majority of the grooms getting married rarely, if ever, properly express how they're feeling on their wedding day.
I think that's why the moments where they do stand out to me so much.
Take, for instance, the beautiful fall morning at Crystal Lake Golf Club when Ryan and Melissa said "I do."
Priding himself on not needing a typed up speech to deliver his vows, Ryan took one look at his soon-to-be wife and nearly lost his entire train of thought. It was clearly not intended and he recovered nicely but the only words the once confident groom could say to start his speech were shyly uttering "You look so beautiful."
On its own, that's a simple statement but the look in Ryan's eyes showed just how much each syllable meant and how, in that instant, it was all he could possibly say.
And it's hard to blame the groom. Melissa was absolutely stunning and would take anyone's breath away.
And so did their wedding.
Ryan and Melissa's wedding day started like most others: With an early morning bridal prep session.
But, unlike other couples, this bride and groom had an early morning wedding ceremony planned and, as such, began prep roughly when the sun rose the morning of their big day.
I arrived to Melissa's bridal prep at 8 a.m., which is practically unheard of for my night owl lifestyle, and if the bride was tired she sure didn't look it and she was full of energy, had a smile on her face and looked eager to get the day started.
I loved working with Melissa as her energy was contagious and whether she was helping her mother apply her makeup or posing for photos with her bridesmaids, it was clear this was a day she dreamed of for a long time and was incredibly excited to get to actually experience it, especially once we arrived to Crystal Lake Golf Club and the moments ticked away to her ceremony.
Ryan, meanwhile, was in great spirits as well and I was thrilled I actually got to see him before the start of the wedding ceremony as that's rather rare for me these days.
With Ryan and Melissa ready to go, all that was left was to have a wedding and of all the morning ceremonies I've photographed at Crystal Lake, I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful day than this October celebration by the water.
Right from the moment Melissa walked down the aisle, I could see a change in the groom and Ryan could not stop smiling from the very start of his wedding ceremony to their final kiss as they processed out as husband and wife.
I always get nervous with morning weddings at Crystal Lake as the site tends to have some incredibly harsh light before 4 p.m. but, thankfully, this fall day was the exception as the trees all looked beautiful with bright green foliage and the little barn area behind the wedding ceremony stand was absolutely breathtaking.
And I'm glad it was as Ryan and Melissa are an exceptionally beautiful couple and their love radiated from their face throughout their bride and groom portraits, many of which I just couldn't stop thinking about when their wedding was over.
I loved a lot of things about Ryan and Melissa's wedding but one of the things that stood out to me the most was the decorations at their wedding reception.
In particular, I couldn't stop looking at the handmade signs the couple chose to greet their guests. Whether it was a photo collage at the front of the banquet hall entrance or the custom painted seating chart, these decorations felt unique and special.
When Ryan later told me they made them all themselves and are in the process of creating their own business to do so for future couples, I was far from surprised.
Once inside of their Crystal Lake reception, Ryan and Melissa wasted no time in getting the party started.
The pair chose "I am yours” by Andy Grammer as their first dance song and, as I've said many times on this blog, Crystal Lake is a stunning location for a first dance as the overhead decorations are simply wonderful.
I loved photographing Ryan and Melissa's first dance, even if the groom's towering height difference made it a little tough to get shots of Melissa doing much but looking up. :)
I could tell from my interactions with Ryan and Melissa on their wedding day that they have a lot of close family and friends but it wasn't until they sat and listened to the FIVE speeches given during their reception in their honor that I saw how special those relationships truly are to them.
And it doesn't hurt that one bridesmaid even went to the trouble of writing a custom song for the bride in the style of Smash Mouth's All Star either.
In fact, all of the signature events of Ryan and Melissa's wedding reception were full of positive energy and laughter. I especially loved the determination the pair used to cut their four-layer deep maple-frosted donut that filled the role traditionally occupied by a cake.
Moments later, the pair would dance with their parents and I don't think the smiles ever left their faces.
Following parent dances, Ryan and Melissa spent a good chunk of their reception walking table to table to greet guests and snap group photos under a custom photo booth style awning in the back of the room.
Their guests, meanwhile, tore it up on the dance floor ... even if it was only 2 p.m. on a Saturday.
One of the things I loved about Ryan and Melissa the most was their willingness to pose for photos so, like any good photographer would do, when I saw a moment to pull the bride and groom away for some photos on the Crystal Lake dock, I just had to.
And they didn't mind either. After all, who wouldn't want to document as much as they could of this super fun wedding day?
Thankfully, Ryan and Melissa still found time to dance together as their reception neared its climax and, for that, I'm thrilled because I can think of no better way for these two to have capped their day together than standing in the middle of a packed dance floor swaying and laughing in each other's arms while all the other couples in the room did the same.
By the time Ryan and Melissa shared their final dance, I could tell the bride and groom were slightly overwhelmed by just how fast their wedding went. Thankfully, because they got married so early, they had the rest of the afternoon and night to celebrate and I have no doubt they did just that.
Ryan and Melissa's wedding was one of the most fun morning celebrations I've ever seen and they were an absolute blast to work with. More importantly, though, I've seen few couples more genuinely happy on their wedding day than these two and know that bodes extremely well as they begin their journey together as husband and wife.
So congratulations Ryan and Melissa on a beautiful wedding day and this just be the start of a wonderful life together as newlyweds.
-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: Chelsea Pizzi from Bombshell hair salon in Cranston, Rhode Island; Brides Dress: Alexandra’s Boutique in Fall River, Massachusetts; Grooms tux: The Black Tux; Bouquets & boutonnières: Beth Harris at Fairest Flowers; Decor, signage and center pieces: Down by the Willow Studio; DJ/Musician: Adam Rice; Cake: Julie Michaels at JDP Cake & Favors.