Granite Rose Wedding Photos
Michael & Christina
November 22nd, 2020
If there's one thing that the 2020 wedding season has taught me, it's that life is what you make of it. While so many people are focused on all the things we've collectively LOST this year, I've been fortunate enough to work with a number of couples who focused, instead, on what they were gaining.
Take Michael and Christina for example.
Planning to get married in late November 2020, Michael and Christina had eight full months to watch as the coronavirus pandemic canceled or severely altered weddings across the world. While it would have been easy to pack it in and wait to get married, Michael and Christina were determined to become husband and wife this year, even if that meant saying "I do" by themselves with an officiant and a couple of witnesses.
That's because, in the end, it wasn't the party that mattered or all the bells and whistles that come with a wedding day. And though they didn't have to go the courthouse route, they did plan a smaller wedding that remained true to their vision and went out of their way to make their friends and family members feel as safe and secure as possible.
And if that's not a 2020 love story, I don't know what is.
My coverage of Michael and Christina's wedding day began with one of the most casual bridal prep sessions I've had in quite some time as Christina chose to have her hair and makeup done in a spacious AirBNB in Windham, New Hampshire.
Because Christina decided not to have a traditional bridal party and had just a maid of honor, there were only four girls getting ready on site and everyone flowed rather easily.
I always love a good, quiet and relaxing bridal prep session and I could tell the bride did as well as Christina was in great spirits as the minutes to our departure ticked away.
Christina wasn't alone in that regard, either. When I arrived at the ceremony/reception venue, one of the first things I wanted to do was check on the groom to be and not only was he all smiles with his best man in the groom suite area but he was ready to go almost immediately after I grabbed photos of him putting his tie on.
I've known Mike for years and count him as a close friend so none of this surprised me but, still, it was nice to see a groom so excited to commit to the love of his life.
While Mike was eagerly awaiting the start of his wedding ceremony, Christina still had the little business of getting in her wedding dress left. And what a dress it was. I loved all of the choices Christina made in her decor and details for the wedding day but her dress was by far my favorite.
It proved especially photogenic once the bride was all set and ready to go, lending itself to one of my favorite bridal portraits of the year as Christina stood in front of a beautiful mirror at Granite Rose and showed off the full length of her stunning gown.
I was initially a bit worried about Mike and Christina's wedding day as the forecast called for cloudy skies and potential rainfall but, thankfully, the weather held off and, instead, gave us a perfect overcast look that leant itself to great photos of the ceremony.
And what a ceremony it was.
I knew from the moment Michael saw Christina and had a tear in his eye that we were in for something special and it didn't disappoint.
One of my favorite moments of Michael and Christina's wedding day was a moment I didn't even capture as Christina's father tripped slightly at the start of the ceremony. Thankfully, he kept on his feet but the moment provided a much-needed spot of levity for the bride and groom that set a great tone and removed any nervousness either may have felt as they exchanged their rings and vows.
Michael and Christina's wedding ceremony was short and sweet but perfectly them. I think what I loved the most about it was how focused they were on each other. While they had 50 or so guests in attendance and a bunch more live-streaming in from a camera on the side of the aisle, the only people these newlyweds saw in the moment were each other.
By the time it was time for Mike to break the glass and kiss his bride, I knew I'd just witnessed a moment neither would ever forget.
Michael and Christina's relaxed vibe extended to their formal photos as well. Somehow, perhaps through luck, Granite Rose was still beautiful even in late November and had plenty of greenery available to use as a backdrop.
I loved working with Mike and Christina during this time period and we took a ton of shots at a lit arch area in the back of the venue, as well as back at their ceremony site.
Heck, we even managed to take some time off to go inside in the middle of the session to give them a couple of minutes to warm up. You really can't ask for much more from a late fall wedding, especially in New England, and that these two were so comfortable with one another and able to follow any directions I threw their way pose wise was a treat to see.
I had a LOT of photos of Michael and Christina during their bride and groom formals that I liked but my favorites, by far, were the ones in which they just acted like themselves.
As someone who has talked to them nearly every day for a year about this wedding, it was awesome to see the full weight of the event get lifted off their shoulders as they just enjoyed the moment for what it was.
And those smiles? I can't tell if they were because they just got married or because everything went off so well.
I could have spent all night with Michael and Christina taking bride and groom portraits but, honestly, that would have been a disservice as the part of their wedding I was looking most forward to was their wedding reception.
In keeping with the theme of the evening, Mike and Christina kept their decorations pretty simple but elegant at the same time, making the most out of the beautiful ballroom they would have for the rest of the evening.
I especially loved the way Michael and Christina maximized their space by keeping all of their guests far enough apart to comply with social distancing guidelines yet still had a reception that felt close, comfy and intimate at the same time.
I knew heading into Michael and Christina's reception that it would be pretty basic and stripped down, with most of the standard elements (like a huge dance floor and garter toss) stripped away in favor of a more casual hangout with friends and family vibe but the minute they were introduced, I also knew it wouldn't matter. This would be a fun night regardless.
And, thankfully, they still planned on having a first dance.
Michael and Christina chose "Everything" by Michael Bublé as their first dance song and it was a great song for a great moment as the ballroom came alive with the two of them holding one another and swaying from side to side.
One of the things I loved about Mike and Christina's wedding reception was how much time they spent going table to table to greet their guests. I especially loved Christina's grandmother's reaction as the emotions of the day hit her after she finally had a moment alone with the newlyweds.
Following a great buffet, Michael and Christina had two speeches planned, one from the maid of honor and the other from the groom himself. Both were hits with the crowd and did a wonderful job showing off how special the relationship between the two people at the center of the day really was.
I especially loved the way Christina and Mike cut their wedding cake as the two struggled mightily to get through a thick layer of frosting and couldn't help but crack up over how silly the whole thing was.
With my time coming to a close, the last major event of the evening was the traditional father-daughter dance and I can think of no better way to have capped Michael and Christina's wedding day coverage than this super sweet moment between Christina and her dad.
As I called it a night and headed home from Michael and Christina's wedding day, I couldn't help but smile at the thought of how perfectly THEM this wedding was.
In 2020, there are a lot of ways for couples to feel down about the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus; restrictions that also slow how much fun you can have on a wedding day. Mike and Christina found a way to stay true to their vision for the most important day of their lives, rolled with the punches and had a fantastic wedding that, honestly, I don't think could have gone any better.
It's a testament to their relationship that this bride and groom didn't let a global pandemic spoil their day together and I know no matter how rocky the world gets in the future, as long as these two have each other, they'll always be on steady ground.
So congratulations Mike and Christina on an amazing wedding day and best of luck as you begin your journey 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 Hair: Jessica Leclair; Bride's Makeup: Makeup by Samantha Solomons; Bride's Dress: David’s Bridal (); Groom's Suit: Men's Wearhouse; Ceremony/Reception Venue: Granite Rose by Wedgewood Weddings, Hampstead, New Hampshire; DJ: Main Event Entertainment, Londonderry, NH; Cake: Jacques' Fine European Pastries, Pembroke, NH; Florist: Susanne's Weddings, Hampstead, NH.