First Unitarian Church of Providence Wedding Photos
Carolyn & Lucas
First Unitarian Church of Providence, Providence, Rhode Island
June 11th, 2022
Whenever I meet a prospective client for the first time, one of the first things I ask them to do is to tell me about their wedding. This gives me a baseline of what to expect but, more importantly, tells me everything I need to know about what part of their big day they're looking the most forward to.
For Carolyn and Lucas, who were married back in June at First Unitarian Church of Providence, there was no doubt in my mind what this part would be as the two spent a good chunk of time talking about the folk band they hired to play their reception and the contra dancing they hoped their guests would never forget.
I had no idea what contra dancing was prior to meeting Carolyn and Lucas but, on the day of, it was everything these two could have hoped for and more. And, honestly, that's the best way to sum up this wedding as it was an afternoon full of laughing, smiling and pure love.
Just like the couple themselves.
My time with Carolyn and Lucas started fast paced right off the bat. Because the two were getting ready at the Graduate Hotel in downtown Providence — on the weekend of PVD fest no less — my typical arrival time of a half hour prior to when I'm supposed to start was *just* enough time to fight traffic and walk into Carolyn's suite right on time.
Thankfully, I don't let much stress me out on a wedding day and even though I didn't have as much flexibility as I would have liked to set everything up and grab tons of photos of the bride getting her hair and makeup done, I was able to get to everything I needed in a short window before Carolyn needed to get dressed.
I'm thankful too because I was able to run from Carolyn finishing her hair to Lucas getting dressed a couple of floors below and then back to the bride for her finishing touches.
There were a lot of cute moments during Carolyn and Lucas' big day but I especially loved the genuine happiness on Carolyn's father's face as he saw his daughter for the first time in her wedding dress. He just HAD to take a photo!
With preparation done, we made our way from the Graduate to Carolyn and Lucas' wedding venue: First Unitarian Church of Providence. If you've never been to this venue, it truly is a unique spot to say 'I do.'
While it has all the things you'd expect from a historic church setting, it's also super warm and inviting and it was the perfect place to see Carolyn come down the aisle and Lucas try to hide a big smile when he saw her for the first time.
Lucas and Carolyn's wedding ceremony was the best of both worlds for me when it comes to a church ceremony. It had all the beauty, tradition and love of a traditional religious ceremony ... but clocked in at a third of the normal time.
Not that I would have minded a full hour photographing this special moment in their lives. This church was beautiful and looked great regardless of what side I chose to shoot from.
Carolyn and Lucas' ceremony was short and sweet and I could tell as they walked down the aisle how excited they were for the next part as the two planned a nice receiving line to make sure they had a moment to thank all their friends and family members for joining them on their special day.
That nice break was perfectly timed, as well, as it gave the newlyweds' closest people time to relax for a moment before we jumped into family and wedding party formals.
Speaking of formals, I don't think I could have asked for a better-timed giant church building as a backdrop than Carolyn and Lucas' wedding day. Because their ceremony ended a bit before noon, in June, we were faced with one of the warmest days of the summer up to that point and the big church did a wonderful job giving us just enough shade to work with that we didn't have to move far.
I'm especially thankful Carolyn and Lucas were such troopers as this batch of their formal photos — we inevitably did more at the end of their reception — were sunny and warm but you'd never know either of them were uncomfortable with how in the moment they were and how much in love they look in these photos.
I could have worked with Carolyn and Lucas for hours but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't most excited to see what awaited us when we finished their formal portraits. And, almost on cue, these two started their reception perfectly with a truly unique first dance set to "I've Been a Foreign Lander," an original track by the folk band Atwater-Donnelly, who just so happened to be the band that would play throughout Carolyn and Lucas' reception.
The song was sweet and so, so beautiful. And, selfishly, it was somewhere north of five minutes long so I had plenty of time to document this awesome and personal dance for the newlyweds.
One of the things I loved about Carolyn and Lucas' reception was how chill they were about the big moments of the event. The two did a combined parent dance, had one speech and, later, Carolyn's father led a room-wide singing of a song but by and large this was a very low key day where the bride and groom just went table to table and spent time with the ones they loved most.
It was totally them, completely fit the vibe of the afternoon and I loved to see it.
Without question, though, this was a reception that would be best remembered for one thing and one thing only: the amazing time Carolyn, Lucas and their guests had on the dance floor.
As I said above, Carolyn and Lucas were genuinely excited to have a contra dance at their wedding and it delivered so much more than advertised once their friends and family got the hang of it.
I loved this special touch for these two as it made sure even the most flat-footed guests had an opportunity to dance together and led to some seriously awesome candid moments between people thrown together at random or by the nature of a particular song.
After about an hour of dancing — which was so much more intense than it might seem time wise or in the photos above — Carolyn and Lucas started to wrap up their wedding reception.
I've got to be honest. It's not often you see a cake cutting at the END of a reception and I'm not often around to see the last 20 minutes or so of goodbyes but I'm so glad I was for this wedding as it not only gave me time to get creative with Carolyn and Lucas' wedding rings but it provided a nice little way to gradually cap their big day on their own terms without feeling rushed.
I only had one request for Carolyn and Lucas on their wedding day and it was that we took some more formals before I packed up my gear and headed home. As much as I loved the bride and groom shots we got earlier in the afternoon, I wanted these two to have some choices when the sun wasn't as harsh.
And I'm glad I did as Carolyn, Lucas and I wrapped their wedding up with a little more than 10 minutes of photos but they were photos I know these two will love and cherish forever.
All in all, I can't think of any ways in which Carolyn and Lucas' wedding day could have fit this bride and groom any better. From the beautiful and sweet church ceremony to the little moments that make a day so special and the contra dance I know they'll never forget, it really was a perfect afternoon for a couple so in love and so perfect for each other.
So, thank you Carolyn and Lucas for allowing me to document your special day and I wish you the best as you begin this new and exciting chapter of your life together as husband and wife.
-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: Aliber's Bridal, Greenfield, Massachusetts; Groom's Suit: Carl Anthony, Cranston, Rhode Island; Florist: Bloom Back Flowers, Providence, Rhode Island; Ceremony & Reception Venue: First Unitarian Church of Providence, Providence, Rhode Island; Live Band: Atwater-Donnelly, Warren, Rhode Island; Food: Amos House, Providence, Rhode Island.