Kirkbrae Country Club Wedding
Nicholas & Hillary
Everyone has that one friend who can only be described as a "character" and, when I was in college, that friend was Nick Lima. A man unlike any I'd ever met before or since, Nick has a unique sense of humor, style and affectionate charm that ensures hanging out with him is always a great time.
As happens when you become an adult, though, you don't get to see the people you went to school with nearly as much as you used to so when I heard Nick was engaged to get married, I couldn't wait to meet the woman who would prove to be his better half. After all, who could match that energy and personality?
Enter Hillary. Though I didn't know her at the time, it didn't take me long to see why Nick and Hillary are so good together and right from our first consultation, I knew this would be a wedding unlike any I have ever seen before.
And boy was it ever.
Nick and Hillary were married at Saints John and James Parish in West Warwick, Rhode Island and had a beautiful reception at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln but long before either of those events occurred, my documentation of their wedding day kicked off with a super fun bridal prep session at Hillary's mom's house.
Now, I may not know Hillary all that well but I could see she was eager to get the day started and her bridesmaids did a wonderful job of easing her nerves as the minutes passed by.
I, too, was eager to get to Nick and Hillary's ceremony because I couldn't wait to see the beautiful church they chose for one of the biggest moments of their lives. That church was Saints John and James in West Warwick, a stunning building that had everything I love in a historic religious building.
As for the ceremony itself? Well, much like the couple itself, it was timeless, traditional and full of emotion.
I loved watching Nick's face when he saw Hillary for the first time and, even though this was an uber serious event for the bride and groom, they still managed to be themselves and have fun when they could as they said "I do."
Following Nick and Hillary's ceremony -- which we capped off with a JFK-inspired exit photo -- the newlyweds, their family members and wedding party made the trek to Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln for formal photos.
I've shot my fair share of events at this location but, up until Nick and Hillary's big day, I had never been lucky enough to photograph wedding photos on the property.
I didn't know what I was missing.
Kirkbrae Country Club is one of the most beautiful country clubs in the region and whoever designed the grounds knew what they were doing because the location we were told was reserved for wedding formal photos was perfectly covered in shade, meticulously landscaped and downright gorgeous.
I won't lie. Shooting in this garden spot was awesome. More importantly, because it was already perfectly lit and landscaped, I didn't need to worry about much of the external factors that go into creating nice formal photos.
And that allowed me to focus exclusively on the needs of the bride and groom and there were many as Nick is a thorough man and wanted as many combinations of photos as possible.
Not that I minded. If I were him and living a day this perfect, I'd want as many photos as I could get as well.
As much fun as Nick and Hillary's wedding party and formal photos were, what I was looking most forward to was their bride and groom formals and, surprisingly, we managed to have a TON of time to take those.
Thanks goodness, too, because this bride and groom were my type of couple and we got a lot of great combinations.
By the time I was finished with Nick and Hillary's formal photos, we were all a little exhausted. Thankfully, their cocktail hour was the perfect time to regroup, take a breath, and grab detail photos. And when you're getting married at a place as beautiful as Kirkbrae Country Club, you want to capture it all.
I'm glad we had a little bit of a break between Nick and Hillary's ceremony, formal photos and reception as I knew from past experience their crowd was going to be a rowdy one.
It didn't take long for me to get confirmation, either, as the party vibe kicked in the moment Nick and Hillary walked in the door.
The two had a touching first dance to "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison. It was the first of many times this bride and groom stole the show on the dance floor.
Nick and Hillary had a lot going on during their reception.
Whether it was FIVE toasts by their closest friends and family members or the nonstop hilarious conversations they had as they went table by table greeting guests, this bride and groom barely had time to breathe, let alone soak in the moments of their night. At least until the parent dances began, that is.
Once Hillary and her father took the dance floor, the tone of the night shifted and you could see the newlyweds relax a bit and start savoring each moment as it came.
While there were a lot of moments I loved about Nick and Hillary's wedding day, I think my favorite had to be once Hillary tossed her bouquet. That moment signified the end of any planned events for their reception and allowed the bride and groom to spend the rest of the night partying.
And what a party it was.
I'd admit: I didn't think Nick and Hillary would be such a fixture on the dance floor but I'm glad they were as it was a treat I don't often get to see and it really kept the party moving.
As for the best moment of the night? Well, you can ask just about anyone in attendance and the answer should be the same as the newlyweds' somewhat organized dance to Boney M.'s "Rasputin."
Not only was that song a hit that lit the dance floor on fire but it paved the way for a fun-filled close to the night that led to some of my favorite candids of the entire event.
Still, it was important for me not to lose sight of the bride and groom as this night was theirs and theirs alone.
Thankfully, keeping track of this pair was fairly easy considering they were almost always right in the center of the party.
By the time Nick and Hillary closed their wedding reception out with a giant group photo of everyone who remained, I was exhausted, slightly out of breath and my feet hurt.
There's no greater compliment I can pay to a party than that.
Nick and Hillary are very objective-based people and they had an incredibly detailed and clear vision for their wedding day ... and they knocked it out of the park in every way possible.
To say this was one of the most fun weddings I've shot in a while is an understatement and it couldn't have happened to a better, more deserving couple.
So congratulations Nick and Hillary and thank you for including me on a day neither you, nor I, will soon forget.
-Paul J. Spetrini
The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair and Make-up: Kayla D'Ercole; Bride's Dress: Kerrie by Studio Levana, purchased at Alexandra's Bridal Boutique; Groom's Suit: Men's Wearhouse; Groom's Fedoras: Stefeno Hats, New Bedford, MA; Mozzarella Sticks: Arigna Irish Pub & Coal Fire Pizza, Pawtucket, RI; Church Organist: Brian Mattias, Potter-Rathbun Organ Company, Cranston, RI; Rehearsal Dinner: Spain Restaurant, Cranston, RI; Transportation: Viking Tours, Newport, RI; Florist: Cherryhill Flowers; Invitations: A. Edward Designs; Ceremony Location: Saints John and James Parish, West Warwick, Rhode Island; Reception Location: Kirkbrae Country Club, Lincoln, Rhode Island; DJ: Music Machine Entertainment; Photo Booth: Smashing Photos; Cake/Desserts: Wright's Dairy Farm and Bakery; Videographer: Steve Rys.