Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

Cynthia & Ao

I look forward to every wedding I'm lucky enough to shoot but, I'll be honest, sometimes I encounter a bride and groom or a wedding day that gives just a little extra boost to my creative side as a photographer. 

Most times this happens when I know I'm going to be experiencing something new and that was the case back in August as Cynthia and Ao's beautiful summer wedding at Lake Pearl in Wrentham served as my introduction into Chinese-American wedding culture.

Now, anyone who has followed along with my wedding photography knows I LOVE being exposed to the many different traditions and customs shown at the weddings of couples of different ethnicities than my own but Cynthia and Ao's was something even more special.

Not only was it one of the most beautiful days of the summer, it was at one of my all-time favorite venues as Lake Pearl is a breathtaking place to photograph a wedding. 

But that's not all I enjoyed about this wedding day. No, this one was special for a whole host of reasons, including one of my silliest moments as a wedding photographer, one of the best sunsets I've ever seen and a truly stunning first dance I'll remember for a long time.

Yes, folks. I knew Cynthia and Ao's big day would be one for the portfolio but not even the most optimistic side of me knew how amazing it would go. It truly was one of the most beautiful shoots I've had and produced photos I know I'll love just as much as the bride and groom.

Cynthia has her hair done prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia has her hair done prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
A look at Cynthia's wedding dress and shoes prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia poses for a photo near the flowers she put together prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

I knew from the moment my coverage of Cynthia and Ao's day began that it was going to be a busy one. 

With bride AND groom prep going on in the same house, a floor apart, the atmosphere when I arrived to photograph Cynthia was one of controlled chaos as everyone ran around trying to put the finishing touches on decorations and/or make sure nothing was forgotten.

Thankfully, though, the bride herself was the picture of calm. Cynthia sat quietly in the upstairs bathroom getting her hair and makeup applied without a bit of nerves while the action around her was non-stop. I appreciated her demeanor and how laid back she really was as it allowed me time to photograph all of her little details as we prepared to head to Lake Pearl. 

Cynthia smiles for a photo with her bridesmaids prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia has her dress buttoned up prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia opens a bottle of champagne prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia poses for a photo in the mirror prior to her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

Once we arrived to Lake Pearl, I could tell Cynthia was getting a little more nervous but she never seemed in a rush to get things going. 

I liked that. It seemed to me that Cynthia was soaking in every moment of one of the biggest days of her life and her friends and family members were right there with her to keep her spirits up, pop some champagne or pose for funny photos.

Ao, meanwhile, was running around the venue like a madman trying to get every final detail right. 

It was a stark contrast from most of my wedding days as it's typically the groom and groomsmen who have it easy and the bride who is rushing along but by the time the ceremony started, it was clear just how much work truly went into this day as it was beautiful.

A look at the flowers on display prior to Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Ao waits for Cynthia to walk down the aisle during his August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Ao walks down the aisle during his August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia walks down the aisle with her father during her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao look at their guests during their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

Cythnia and Ao's ceremony was a sweet one to watch. Not only did the couple share the story of how they met but they had a lot of little moments woven in that you could tell were special to them, such as the beautiful sand ceremony they chose to participate in. 

And even though it was hot and humid, it was obvious their friends and family wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else on this beautiful August afternoon.

Cynthia wipes away a tear during her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia listens to the officiant speaking during her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Ao looks at Cynthia during his August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao perform a sand ceremony during their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia reads her vows during her August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao kiss following their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

By the time Cynthia and Ao's ceremony was over, my brain was working at 1,000 miles per hour as I wanted to get through their formal photos as quick as possible as we were rapidly losing the light.

Thankfully, the timing worked perfectly as we began bride and groom portraits a little before one of the best sunsets I've ever had at a wedding.

Cynthia and Ao pose for a formal photo following their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao pose for a formal photo following their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao pose for a formal photo following their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao pose for a formal photo following their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

I knew the minute Cynthia, Ao and I traveled down to the dock at Lake Pearl that we were going to need to take advantage of this beautiful sunset but what I didn't know is that that meant I was going to have to take off my socks and shoes, hike up my pants and walk into waist-high water to get the angle I was looking for for the photo below.

Worth it? I think so. 

Cynthia and Ao pose for a formal photo following their August 2017 wedding ceremony at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

After we finished bride and groom portraits, I had a few minutes to let my pants dry before we headed back to the venue and Cynthia and Ao began their wedding reception.

I'll be honest ... I was REALLY looking forward to this part of the day. Not only do I love shooting receptions at Lake Pearl but Cynthia and Ao were planning on switching into red outfits for this part of the day and had a number of little touches, like a special introduction group dance number and a pair of tea ceremonies to honor their parents, that I was looking forward to seeing. 

Those elements, combined with some of the best uplighting I've ever seen, made this reception an awesome event to shoot.

Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao perform a tea ceremony during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao's parents take part in a tea ceremony during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao's parents take part in a tea ceremony during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
A look at the wedding cake on display during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
A look at the wedding rings on display during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao cut their wedding cake during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao kiss during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia laughs during her August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

Without a doubt, though, the part of the night I was looking forward to the most was Cynthia and Ao's first dance.

Set to "All of me" by John Legend, which is one of my favorite wedding songs, Cynthia and Ao had an incredibly elaborate choreographed dance that I know they spent a lot of time planning.

I loved shooting this dance. With the beautiful lights and the great moves the bride and groom put on, it was really special to see.

Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

After stealing the show with their beautiful first dance, Cynthia and Ao had their dances with their parents, a bouquet toss and went table to table to thank ALL of their guests for coming to their special day. 

It was a nice reminder that a wedding day isn't JUST about a bride and groom and showed how much this couple cared about everyone who traveled from far off places to share in their love story.

Ao and his mother dance during his August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia prepares to toss her bouquet during her August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia dances with her father during her August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Guests vie for the bouquet during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

After finishing the formalities of the evening and thanking everyone who attended, it was time for Cynthia and Ao to party and, boy, did they ever. I wasn't sure what kind of crowd to expect during this reception but thankfully the one that showed up clearly came to dance and the dance floor was hopping for most of the night, which allowed for some really fun photos as the uplighting switched to "party mode." 

A look at the decorations on display during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia dances during her August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance with their guests during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Ao dances during his August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Ao hugs his best man during his August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Wedding guests dance during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia dances during her August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and her bridesmaids dance during her August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia dances during her August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Wedding guests perform karaoke during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Wedding guests perform karaoke during Cynthia and Ao's August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia and Ao dance during their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

By the time Cynthia and Ao called it a night, I don't think either one of them could have asked for much more from their wedding day.

While it started hectic with last-minute preparations, all of that effort and work showed off in the final results as this bride and groom had a beautiful affair worth remembering for a lifetime.

As for me? With this being my first Chinese-American wedding, I learned a lot about a culture I didn't know much about before hand and LOVED seeing some of the little things that made this ceremony and reception different than others I've shot.

I can't wait to do it again, especially if I'm lucky enough to get a day half as perfect as this one was.

So congratulations Cynthia and Ao! May you both have a blessed and beautiful marriage together.

It certainly got off to a great start.  

-PJS

Cynthia and Ao perform for a sunset photo prior to their August 2017 wedding reception at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

The Vendor List

Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini Paul J. Spetrini PhotographyHair/Make-up: Jane C Makeup; Cynthia's Dress: La Sposa; Cynthia's Shoes: Michael Kors; Ao's Suit: Jos A Bank; Ceremony/Reception Location: Lake Pearl; Officiant: Justice James D’Attilio; DJ and uplighting: Justin Mai of Boston Chinese MC & DJ; Cake: Montilio’s.

Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:

A teaser image for Toni & Scott's wedding blog.
A teaser image for Neil & Gianna's wedding blog.
A teaser image for Jeffrey & Clarissa's wedding blog.

Got a thought? Leave a Reply

Paul J. Spetrini is a Rhode Island wedding photographer.

© 2019 Paul J. Spetrini Photography. All rights reserved.

  • Instagram Metallic
  • Pinterest Metallic
  • Facebook Metallic
  • Twitter Metallic