Samantha & Dale
October 7th, 2017
I never take for granted how big a deal it is when a bride and groom book me to photograph their wedding.
It takes a lot of trust to put some of your most important memories in the hands of someone you may not know and, as such, I feel the biggest compliment you can get as a wedding photographer is when a bride likes your work so much after her wedding that she recommends you to one of her closest friends or family members and says you should shoot that wedding too.
And that's why Samantha and Dale's October wedding meant so much to me.
Samantha and Dale, who were married at the Golden Lamb Buttery in Brooklyn, Connecticut, were one of the most easy-going couples I've ever worked with and were recommended to me by Sam's sister Lauryn, whose wedding I shot in the same state a year earlier.
There were a lot of similarities between Lauryn and Samantha's weddings as both days were a little crazy, both had issues with their limo drivers taking forever to get from place and place and both had beautiful sunsets but the biggest commonality between the two was how much fun I had with both brides and grooms.
Samantha and Dale were amazing to work with, whether it was on their actual wedding day, their winter engagement session (Which remains one of the best I've ever shot) or in the months in between, and it's no surprise that their beautiful fall wedding was the same.
And I know I'm not the only one that felt that way as their guests kept prodding their DJs to keep the party going all night long and actually succeeded in extending the end time of the reception not once but twice. Turns out I wasn't the only one who didn't want this party to end.
And looking back on the photos and the day that was, I can see why.
My coverage of Samantha and Dale's wedding day began with a bit of deja vu as Samantha was getting ready at the same home her sister Lauryn did a year earlier.
While I make it a point to try to make every client's wedding photos different than any of my previous clients, as Sam and Lauryn are sisters (and were each other's maids of honor), I couldn't help but try to replicate some of the photos as I knew they would make great keepsakes for their parents and other family members, including the shot of Samantha coming down her parent's stairs fully dressed, which was one of my favorite photos from Lauryn's wedding as well. Check them out side by side above. If that doesn't tell a great story, I don't know what does.
Samantha and Lauryn were similar brides in a lot of ways but the differences in their choices for details of their special days said a lot about their own individuality. I especially loved the way Sam incorporated the fall into her flowers and decorations and I really can't blame her as she picked one of the most beautiful weekends of the year to get married.
Another place where Sam and Lauryn's weddings differed - and thank Goodness they did - was in their wedding ceremonies.
Lauryn was married on an ungodly hot July afternoon in a church with no air conditioning and very little air circulation. Sam and Dale, however, picked a beautiful church in Johnston, Rhode Island and a fantastic day in early fall and it paid off with a super sweet ceremony where the radiated happiness from the moment Sam walked in until they were officially pronounced husband and wife.
I really adored Sam and Dale's choice of a ceremony location as Saint Robert's church had a truly unique set-up that made for a ton of angles I typically can't get at a wedding.
The room itself had a solid hue that rotated between red and blue thanks to the stained glass windows, and that proved challenging, but the upper balcony more than made up for it as it was the perfect spot to get photos of everyone in attendance. Plus, Sam and Dale's ceremony was just the right length to have all the bells and whistles of a traditional Catholic celebration without being so long that people were checking their watches wondering when dinner was going to start.
Even though we were a bit behind schedule heading out of Samantha and Dale's wedding ceremony, I had no worries about timing as the pair left plenty of room in their schedule for formal photos. And, in a move that I downright loved, we started Sam and Dale's formals by driving to their home in Foster and adding a true farm feel to the day.
Seriously though. It's not often you get wedding photos with a tractor, bays of hay AND goats in your wedding photos.
But it was so Sam and Dale that it would have seemed weird WITHOUT it.
After we finished a truly breathtaking photo session at Samantha and Dale's house, which I felt was one of my strongest of the whole year, the day got a bit out of our hands as the drive to the Golden Lamb Buttery was rather long thanks to a ton of traffic.
Thankfully, though, Samantha and Dale were amazing to work with and we made the most out of our time and once it became clear that we were losing daylight, the three of us made an abrupt pivot in our plans and ran down to a beautiful area overlooking the water at their venue and got what I truly believe are some of my best formals of the year.
I loved the sunset Samantha and Dale had on their wedding day. More importantly, I loved how willing they were to completely change directions at the drop of a hat and trust me to get everything I needed to get done done.
Sure, this part of their day was stressful but I think it was worth it and paved the way for photos they'll cherish forever.
I'd be lying if I said getting to their reception wasn't a welcome sight, though, as it was nice to finally breathe and know the scheduling/planning part of the day was over.
Oh and did I mention how beautiful their reception venue was? Seriously. The Golden Lamb Buttery was a spectacular place for a rustic wedding and perfectly complimented the folksy, homemade feeling Sam and Dale were going for with their wedding reception.
I knew the moment I walked into the barn that Sam and Dale's reception would be fun but when I saw all of their friends and family gathered down the long corridor to welcome them in during their introductions in the photo that started this blog off, I knew we were in for something special and we sure were.
Even Sam and Dale's first dance, set to Tracy Byrd's "Keeper of the Stars" was a touching reminder of how special this couple was. I'd be lying if I said it didn't get me right in the feels.
Sam and Dale had a ton of special moments during their reception and each were enhanced by the home-like feeling the Golden Lamb Buttery provided.
Whether it was a pair of beautiful toasts by Dale's father or Sam's sister, not to mention a sweet cake cutting and a pair of great parent dances, this reception had a ton of moments that hammered home just how lucky Sam and Dale are to have an awesome group of people around them.
I especially loved Samantha's dance with her father and Dale's dance with his mother as the barn setting made for some really cool photos with string lights above their heads and their guests gathered round them to watch.
My favorite part of the night, however, was when the dance floor opened up because, as I expected it to, this party was ROCKING.
Sam and Dale's wedding reception was a non-stop party with an incredibly mixed crowd of younger and older guests who blended in well together and kept the dance floor shaking all night long.
Considering how little space they actually had to make this happen, it was quite impressive as the dancing often spilled over and around the entire barn area.
As for the bride and groom, while Sam and Dale made time to dance with each other at points through the night, both spent a lot of time with their closest friends and family celebrating one of the most special moments of their lives.
By the end of the night, I felt completely and totally drained from shooting Samantha and Dale's wedding. It really was that much fun.
And though their guests never wanted the party to end, unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to a conclusion.
Thankfully, I can confidently say Sam and Dale left the Golden Lamb Buttery full of memories they will cherish for a lifetime.
For a low key, laid back couple that loves nature, their farm, their animals and the rural way of life, this wedding day couldn't have been any better. And as a photographer tasked with capturing it all, I, too, couldn't have asked for any more from this day.
Sam and Dale's wedding day was the perfect mix of fun and emotional and was loaded full of some of my favorite candid moments of the year. Looking back on it, I have no doubt I'll smile when I think about this day for a long time to come.
And, most importantly, I'm glad I was able to once again create some beautiful photos from this family to remember the day by.
So thank you Sam and Dale for trusting me to document this incredible day in your lives.
If it means as much to you as it did to me, I have no doubt you'll remember it forever.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Hair/Make-up: Jocelyn Cooper of Salon Bianco in Providence RI; Samantha's Dress: Alterations and recreation of Mothers Dress by Creations by Rose; Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka; Groom's Suit: Our Place Tuxedo and Uniform; Ceremony/Reception Location: The Golden Lamb Buttery; Officiant: Father John LaPointe; DJ: Zeel Entertainment; Cake: Rachel Ho.
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