Harbor Lights Wedding Photos
Jesslyn & John
Harbor Lights, Warwick, Rhode Island
September 18th, 2022
Sometimes as a wedding photographer, when you know, you KNOW. What do I mean by that? Well, it's simple. While I'm a photographer who loves working with all of his clients and love (almost) all of their weddings, every year there's one wedding day where the stars align, the lighting is perfect and I walk away from a photo going "That's the best photo I will take this year."
And, for me, there was no doubt I captured my best photos of the entire year during the limited time I had with Jesslyn and John during the formal photo portion of their September wedding day at Harbor Lights in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Not only were Jesslyn and John two of the sweetest people I got to work with in 2022, they also had one of the most beautiful days of the entire year and everything lined up just right as the sun started to come down for some of my favorite bride and groom portraits ever.
And the wild thing? That was just a small part of the reason I loved this wedding so much.
I knew I was in for a special day the moment I walked into John and Jesslyn's home for the end of bridal prep. Jesslyn is a very shy person in front of the camera and I knew that from our engagement session earlier in the year but, on this day, she couldn't hide her excitement and looked so happy to be marrying the man of her dreams.
Lucky for me, this made the atmosphere in Jesslyn's home very relaxed and, with the bride's hair and makeup finished by the time I arrived, all we had to do was wait a bit, grab a few candids and group shots of the bride and her bridesmaids and head on over to the venue.
John and Jesslyn chose to get married at Harbor Lights, which I loved for many reasons ... not the least of which was it's a few minutes away from my own home.
More importantly, I loved all the room we had on the grounds of the property for the bride and groom. Not only were we able to keep John and Jesslyn separate as they finished getting ready but we were able to tuck the bride away from everyone coming to the wedding, a huge thing considering her first look with her grandfather before the ceremony might have been the sweetest moment of the entire day.
As is almost always the case when I shoot a wedding in the Warwick Neck portion of Rhode Island, the sun was BEAMING off the water for John and Jesslyn's wedding ceremony. But, unlike some of my past weddings in this area, I really didn't mind that too much as it was a great day overall and the temperature was beautiful and in the low 80s with just a tick of humidity.
It's hard to ask for nicer weather on the water in the fall in New England and that was only a small reason why John and Jesslyn's ceremony was so beautiful. The other was, of course, the love radiating off the faces of the bride and groom.
John and Jesslyn chose to have a very casual ceremony with a couple of readings, a sand ceremony and custom vows. It was the latter that really got me in the feels for these two as both John and Jesslyn nailed their vows together and did a wonderful job proclaiming their love for one another. More importantly, they talked about all the ways in which they're best friends and, I'll be honest, it tugged at my heart strings.
Almost from the SECOND John and Jesslyn walked down the aisle as husband and wife, I wanted to get these two in front of my camera for bride and groom portraits.
With the schedule we had in place, I knew we'd have less than an hour for their couples' portraits, family photos and wedding party photos in total but I am super thankful things worked out the way they did as I took a couple of "insurance" photos of the newlyweds at the start of this formal photo period (Just in case we ran out of time) and after breezing through family and wedding party photos, we had just 20 minutes left in all.
Why am I glad? Because, during their family and wedding party photos, the sun came just so perfectly, it felt like a storybook. And by the time we got back to bride and groom formals, the lighting was better than I've ever had for any bride and groom's wedding day.
It was magnificent and I think these two made it look even better.
I could have spent an additional hour with John and Jesslyn if the schedule and sun had allowed but there was absolutely no way I was going to complain about anything on a day this beautiful. Besides, we still had my favorite part of the day to come: their reception.
But, first, I had to speed run and capture as many of their details as I could before we hit the dance floor for the first dance.
I don't know what I was expecting from John and Jesslyn's first dance as the bride is a pretty shy person but, when I found out it was set to "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias, I couldn't help but smile. It really was the perfect song for this dance and for this moment and this couple.
John and Jesslyn's first dance was a super romantic and intimate way to kick off their wedding reception and I could tell from the two toasts they had prior to dinner that there were a room full of people who loved them and were so glad to see them share this big day together.
After dinner, John and Jesslyn casually made their way through the back half of their reception program and I loved how they chose to do this. First came a casual cake cutting. Nothing too showy. Then, a pair of absolute sweet dances, first an emotional one with Jesslyn and her grandfather. Then, a laugh-filled dance with John and his mother.
No great wedding is complete without an awesome party, though, and I didn't know what to expect from John and Jesslyn's big night. Thankfully, when I saw the bride toss her bouquet and the giant smile on her face when one of her bridesmaids caught it, I knew we were about to have some fun.
And boy did we.
John and Jesslyn didn't strike me as the dancing types but, man, was I off on that one. These two TORE UP the dance floor all night long and kept the party going from the first until the last song.
I'm just glad I got to see it all and capture it because this was one really fun evening.
As my time with John and Jesslyn came to an end, I was so thankful they chose to get married at Harbor Lights in Warwick as I was home in less than 10 minutes from the time I got in my car. Why was I in such a rush? I simply could. not. wait. to see and relive some of the moments from this picture perfect wedding day and now, months after they said "I do" I still find myself going back to this wedding as a true highlight of my 2022 season.
So thank you John and Jesslyn for one of the most beautiful and complete weddings I was fortunate enough to shoot last year. It was an honor and a privilege and I wish you the best on this exciting and amazing next chapter in your lives together.