Jeffrey & Clarissa
Twelve Acres in Smithfield, Rhode Island (Ceremony & Reception) &
Black Point Trailhead in Narragansett, Rhode Island (Trash the Dress)
June 24th, 2017
I am not a superstitious person but, I've got to be honest, sometimes it's hard not to believe there are outside forces at work in the world of wedding photography.
Such was the case with Jeffrey and Clarissa's late June wedding in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
Set to take place at Twelve Acres, home to the one wedding I've had so far in my career where unexpected rain moved the ceremony at the last minute, I couldn't help but have severe flashbacks on the morning of Clarissa and Jeff's big day as the skies got ominously more cloudy as the minutes to their ceremony ticked closer.
Try as we may, the weather gods laughed at our plans for a lovely outdoor ceremony and the skies down poured from moments before we left to go to the first look until the moment this bride and groom said "I do" but in a promising sign for their new marriage, Jeffrey and Clarissa didn't get upset. They shrugged their shoulders, said "What are you going to do?" and proceeded to have an incredible afternoon wedding in spite of the wishy washy forecast.
I may not be a superstitious person but I have to believe that positive attitude paid off as the rest of their wedding day was absolutely perfect and a good reminder that while things may not always go as you plan, as long as you're with the person you love the most, nothing can stop your wedding day from being one of the best of your life. It certainly was for this bride and groom.
My day with Clarissa and Jeffrey began earlier than most as the couple's morning ceremony meant an even earlier bridal prep session.
Now, anyone who knows me knows I despise getting up before noon -- let alone before 5 a.m. -- but for Clarissa? I didn't mind.
No, it's hard to be upset when you're one of four people in the hair salon and you're having as much fun as we did as Clarissa, her sister, her hairstylist and I had a blast laughing and telling stories as the bride got her hair done.
It was the perfect carefree session to start Clarissa's day off and set the tone early for what kind of day we could expect.
Following her salon appointment, Clarissa and I made a bee-line to her home so she could finish getting ready and head over to her first look.
As I said above, this was the one part of the day we couldn't plan as the rain poured moments after we walked into Clarissa's house but thanks to an ingenious back-up plan Clarissa came up with the night before her wedding, and thanks to some awesome vendors at the farmer's market going on at this location, we were able to pivot and move Clarissa and Jeff's first look under a giant gazebo in North Scituate.
All things considered, I thought these photos came out fantastic and barely show how intense the rain really was.
Talk about luck!
Once we were finished with the first look, it came time to head over to Twelve Acres for Clarissa and Jeff's ceremony. Although it was pretty obvious the pair would have preferred having their ceremony outdoors, I admired how much they didn't let the weather dampen their spirits and their ceremony was still beautiful as all their friends and family members sat around their dance floor and watched as the bride and groom exchanged vows.
If I had to pick out the funniest moment from Clarissa and Jeff's wedding, it would absolutely be their formal photo session.
Following their ceremony, we made our way outside to grab as many family, wedding party and couple photos as the weather would allow ... only to be greeted with largely sunny skies.
I found out later that it poured for the length of their first look and ceremony, stopped for their formal photos, poured again when we made our way inside for their reception and stopped for the rest of the day when the reception was over.
You couldn't script that if you tried but the on and off-again weather did allow for some nice portraits in the Twelve Acres ceremony area and that's all we could have asked for.
Following their formal photo session, it was time for Clarissa and Jeff's reception and while I love early morning ceremonies, I've often found early morning/afternoon receptions can be hit or miss as most people don't liven up and party before 3 p.m.
Thankfully, Clarissa and Jeff's reception had a ton of children who never left the dance floor and inspired their parents and other wedding guests to do the same.
I especially loved watching the bride and groom interact on the dance floor.
I never pegged Jeffrey for much of a dance and, sure, he didn't spend a ton of time on the dance floor this afternoon but the times where he and Clarissa did dance were beautiful and sweet and touching.
For an early afternoon reception, Clarissa and Jeff sure had a rocking dance floor. I don't think I saw it empty for more than a few moments and even then, their guests were finding multiple ways to entertain themselves.
Add to that a pair of nice toasts, a lovely cake cutting and a few other little touches and it really was a delightful wedding reception perfect for the bride and groom at the center of attention.
As much as I loved Jeffrey and Clarissa's ceremony and reception, I think my favorite part of the day was when it was all over as, thanks to the early schedule of the activities, the three of us had plenty of time to go back out and shoot formal photos once the reception was over.
Clarissa, Jeffrey and I made our way to Deerfield Park, which was the original location choice for their first look, and the beautiful weather made for jaw-dropping lighting and some of my favorite portraits of the year thus far.
And, if that wasn't enough, not even the end of their wedding day was the end of this shoot as, just two weeks later, the three of us went out for one last hurrah as Clarissa decided she wanted to be my first bride to ever "Trash the dress" and, boy, did we have a lot of fun on this afternoon in Narragansett as the always beautiful Black Point Trailhead was a stunning backdrop to a truly unique photography experience.
Clarissa may not have made it far in the water, what with her wedding dress getting heavier the further we went into the water, but I could tell she and Jeff enjoyed every moment of this shoot and the experience that was her wedding as a whole.
I know I certainly did.
Clarissa and Jeff had a wonderful day made brighter by their love for one another and while it might not have perfect 100 percent of the time, at least as far as weather is concerned, it was perfect for them and who can ask for more?
So thanks Clarissa and Jeffrey for including me on your journey to happiness.
It was a lot of fun and a shoot I'll remember for a very, very long time.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini (Paul J. Spetrini Photography); Hair: Diane Coyne of Salon Diane; Clarissa's Dress: Alfred Angelo; Jeffrey's Suit: JCPenney; Officiant: Pastor Robert Hollis: Ceremony & Reception Venue: Twelve Acres in Smithfield, Rhode Island; DJ: James Harvey; Cake: Queen B's Cakery in Johnston, Rhode Island; Florist: Tiffany Gray of The Flower Girls in Warwick, Rhode Island.
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