Justine & Jon
Twelve Acres, Smithfield, Rhode Island
October 6th, 2018
Every wedding photographer has one venue that they can't seem to catch a break at. For me, it's always been Twelve Acres in Smithfield, Rhode Island. In the eight years I've been shooting weddings, I'd never had a wedding ceremony that wasn't rained out at this location and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't driving me crazy.
It's gotten so bad that I jokingly warn brides about my bad luck at Twelve Acres before they even book me.
Thankfully, this didn't scare off Justine and her future husband Jon when we first met back in February 2017 to talk about their upcoming wedding. In fact, not only were they not worried but Justine took my tough luck as a challenge and promised she'd be the one to break the streak.
I should have believed her, too, because when this bride sets her sights on something, she knocks it out of the park. And, really, I can think of no other way to describe Justine and Jon's wedding day as it was one that was meticulously planned and beautifully executed from start to finish.
And all you have to do is look at the photos, and the never-ending smiles on both the bride and groom's faces, to see that everything went according to plan and then some.
My coverage of Jon and Justine's wedding day began with a casual bridal prep session at the Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Though Justine's hair and makeup was largely done by the time I arrived, there was plenty for me to photograph from the minute I walked in as Justine had a special surprise for her cousin: a custom-made bouquet with a pennant honoring the bride's aunt who had passed away.
The reveal made for a super touching moment between Justine and her cousin and had a lot of her bridesmaids wiping away tears in what was otherwise a really laidback and fun prep session devoid of any stress.
I loved working with Justine and her super cool bridesmaids as they all knew how to have a good time and were down for any fun photos I had in mind or, more often, the bride had scouted from Pinterest.
My favorite moment of bridal prep, however, was the look on Justine's mom's face as we unveiled the fully-dressed bride for the first time.
There's just no planning a reaction like that and I can't blame her: Justine looked stunning.
Justine's bridal prep session went off exactly as planned and almost right down to the minute, a sign of things to come. And thankfully it did as we had a bit of a drive ahead of us and the big, bright sun that had greeted us all day was slowly but surely starting to disappear as the time to her 5:30 p.m. ceremony inched closer.
Luckily, Justine and Jon spent a lot of time planning their wedding day and were prepared for everything, as evidenced by the picture-perfect fall decorations that awaited guests inside the venue as they arrived.
This wasn't a wedding day that came together by happenstance. There were a lot of little details put together that made this day so beautiful and the decor was just the start of it.
But what did I love the most? The moments no one expects, like the way Justine broke down in tears inside her limo moments before the ceremony started after keeping her composure all day.
But that was nothing compared to the huge smile Jon had on his face as he saw his bride for the first time.
Justine and Jon's ceremony was brief but impactful. The two didn't spend a lot of time going through the rituals of an elaborate wedding ceremony, choosing instead to focus on what mattered the most to them: holding hands, exchanging vows and become Mr. and Mrs.
I loved Justine and Jon's wedding ceremony for a couple of reasons.
Not only was it beautiful to see two people who clearly care for one another as much as these two do commit to a life together but the fact that they did it so quickly (the ceremony started and finished in 14 minutes) meant we had a good chance of hitting our goal of getting all their formal photos done before the sun disappeared.
And boy am I glad we did because despite not moving this couple very far, we were able to accomplish a ton in the short time we had together.
Justine and Jon's respective family members and wedding party were great to work with despite the slight chill in the air on this unseasonably cool day and that set a great tone for when I finally got the bride and groom alone.
Despite the fact that Justine, Jon and I began their bride and groom portraits LITERALLY five minutes before the scheduled sunset, we were able to work rapidly through a ton of different poses and feels for their photos without moving very far.
Not all of them worked - like the dip photo that proved too tough to pull off - but I loved what we accomplished in this time period. And considering the bride told me Jon isn't one who loves having his photo taken, I thought the pair did marvelously well in the time we had to capture their relationship perfectly in photos I know they'll cherish for a long time to come.
After finishing their bride and groom portraits and watching the little last bit of sunshine disappear, Jon, Justine and I made our way inside for what would be a really fun and spontaneous reception full of cool little moments.
I knew we were in for a good night the moment these two took to the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. Justine and Jon selected "You Make It Easy" by Jason Aldean for their first dance song and spent the majority of this big moment of their wedding day staring lovingly at one another and moving side to side.
It was a simple dance and they didn't go very far but they didn't need to. In that moment, they had each other and that was everything they could have wanted.
Justine and Jon's first dance was just the start of a wedding reception with understated but beautiful moments.
Following a blessing by Jon's father and a toast by his best man, the pair had a sweet cake cutting with all the traditional "wipe cake on each other's face" moments you'd come to expect from a fun couple and Jon even had a beautiful dance with his mother that you can tell meant a lot to both of them.
And, because they apparently hadn't gotten tired of me yet, Justine and Jon agreed to let me take them outside for a few night portraits. I'm thankful they did because those shots ended up as some of my favorites from the whole wedding.
No good wedding reception is complete without some crazy moments on the dance floor and I knew long before Justine and Jon's DJ opened the party up that we were in for something special.
But as the drinks flowed and guests loosed up, the party got wilder and wilder.
And I loved every minute of it.
By the time Justine and Jon came together for their final song, I could tell it was the exact type of night they had both been planning for years and everything went beyond perfectly.
I'm glad it did because over the year and a half that I've gotten to know these two, they've been two of the most genuine people I've ever worked with and they deserved to have the wedding of their dreams.
Walking out of Twelve Acres, I couldn't help but think how much fun it was and how Justine was right when she said she'd be the first bride I worked with at that venue to have no rain on her big day.
Hopefully it's a sign of things to come because I would gladly take couples as cool, fun and sweet as Justine and Jon for the rest of my time photographing weddings.
Tags: Twelve Acres, Outdoor Weddings, Rhode Island Weddings, Smithfield, Paul J. Spetrini Photography
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair: Marisa from Salon KG in Cranston, Rhode Island; Bride's Make-up: Kristin from Salon KG; Bride's Dress: David’s Bridal in North Attleboro, Massachusetts; Groom's Suit: Celebrations Tuxedos, Woonsocket, RI; Florist: Dyer Avenue Florist, Cranston, RI; Ceremony & Reception Location: Twelve Acres, Smithfield, Rhode Island; Officiant: Reverend Robin with Heart and Soul Ceremonies; DJ: DJ Sid Nice of Dee Jays, Etc., Warwick, RI; Cake/Cupcakes: Wright’s Dairy Farm, North Smithfield, RI; Photobooth: Dee Jays, Etc., Warwick, RI; Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites, Warwick, RI; Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie.
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