Fort Adams State Park Wedding
Kelsey & Andrew
You don't have to say much to get me interested in shooting a wedding. Normally, just saying the words "We're getting married and looking for a photographer" is enough to pique my interest but, for Kelsey and Andrew, the moment the groom told me he was going to be wearing a kilt on his wedding day, I perked right up.
I'm a big fan of anything outside of the ordinary traditional American wedding and Kelsey and Andrew were planning a special day that would honor their individual cultural heritages and life together.
And the more I talked to this bride and groom, the more I knew their wedding was going to be something special.
Man, was it ever.
Kelsey and Andrew were married at St. Lucy's Catholic Parish in Middletown and had their wedding reception at Fort Adams State Park in Newport and it truly a worldwide affair with friends and family traveling from all over to be in attendance.
All it took was three minutes into their first dance to understand why this wedding was well worth the travel and why it would be a night few in attendance would soon forget. Myself included.
My time with Kelsey and Andrew started a little later than I'm used to as the bride and groom chose not to have their individual prep sessions photographed in lieu of having more time with me during the reception and I'm glad they did (You'll see why toward the bottom of this post.)
As I arrived at the church about a half an hour before the ceremony, though, I could already sense the magnitude of what was about to happen as the groom was in great spirits and smiling every time he saw another friend or family member walk through the door.
And when Kelsey arrived? He was absolutely beaming.
Kelsey and Andrew had a fairly short Catholic traditional mass but what struck me the most about their ceremony was the way the two kept sneaking glances at one another, almost as if they were doing a double take to make sure this was actually happening and not some semblance of a dream they'd replayed in their minds dozens of times before walking down that aisle in real life.
But, in was happening. And it was beautiful.
I loved Kelsey and Andrew's wedding ceremony but, honestly, it felt like it was over in five seconds.
Not that I mind, of course. Especially since we were on our way to Fort Adams next ... and that just happens to be one of the coolest, most distinctive spots I've ever shot a wedding at.
I adored working with Kelsey and Andrew as their positive energy was undeniable and they were clearly having an incredible time lost in the moment of this special day.
We began their formal photos in some of the old buildings on the property before heading for a more "traditional" look for their family and wedding party photos with a stunning backdrop of the Pell Bridge to cap it all off.
Of course, when you're working with a couple as sweet and charming as Kelsey and Andrew were, and you're at a spot as funky and odd as Fort Adams State Park, you can't finish bride and groom formals without at least a small tour of the rest of the property.
The three of us spent a good bit of time on the ground taking photos but my favorite were toward the end when we doubled back to where we started in some of the dilapidated historic rooms that made for such a cool and different backdrop for photos than anywhere I've shot before.
With their bride and groom photos out of the way, Kelsey and Andrew were chomping at the bit to start their party off right and I can't blame them. Just by watching the way they interacted with guests during cocktail hour, and how happy everyone was, I knew this would be a night to remember.
If there was any doubt what kind of party Kelsey and Andrew had in mind, all it took was a look at their first dance -- set to "A sky full of stars" of Coldplay -- to know this would be a night full of dancing, laughter and love.
Seriously. These two KILLED IT on the dance floor and their guests responded in kind with tons of cheering and clapping that perfectly punctuated the moment.
Kelsey and Andrew's wedding reception was full of so much positive energy that it's almost impossible to pick a favorite moment.
In addition to three great speeches, including one by the groom himself thanking everyone for coming, Kelsey shared a truly touching dance with her father where neither could stop smiling.
It set a perfect tone for a stunning summer night by the water.
As much fun as everything leading up to Kelsey's dance with her father was, I knew this would be a night best remembered for what happened on the dance floor and the moment the DJ hit the party lights, the tone of the entire tent area changed instantly.
And I mean that in the best way imaginable.
This was one party that NEVER slowed down, not even when the electricity briefly went out and guests decided to sing their own songs while everything was being worked out in the back.
This crowd would not stop. They could not stop. And it was amazing to photograph.
As Kelsey and Andrew's wedding night began to slowly creep toward its conclusion, I knew they would end on a high note and, boy did they ever.
As is tradition for many Scottish weddings, the pair closed their night out with the song Loch Lomond. I had never heard this track before and it started a bit slow but once it picked up, the crowd LOST IT.
More importantly, Kelsey and Andrew closed their picture perfect wedding with a movie montage-worthy finish.
I didn't want this night to end but I'm so glad it did in this way. What a finish!
As I walked back to my car following Kelsey and Andrew's wedding reception, I couldn't help but think about all the little moments that made this day special.
Whether it was Kelsey asking to recreate a photo of her grandmother on her wedding day that meant a lot to her (below) or the multitude of amazing dance floor moments, this wedding was just so uplifting and an incredible representation of how special ALL weddings should be.
Kelsey and Andrew couldn't have asked for a more amazing way to start their lives together as husband and wife and I would say the pair should feel lucky to have lived through such an amazing day but watching the way the interacted together and with those closest to them, I know they're well aware how fortunate they are and they cherish every single one of the moments and memories they make with these awesome folks.
So congratulations Kelsey and Andrew and may you spend the rest of your lives smiling and laughing the way you did the day you said "I do."
-Paul J. Spetrini
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Florist: Pranzi; Ceremony location: St. Lucy's Catholic Parish, Middletown, Rhode Island; Reception Location: Fort Adams State Park, Newport, Rhode Island; DJ: Shane Mercier.