Krystal and Ian
Colt State Park (Ceremony)/DeWolf Tavern (Reception),
Bristol, Rhode Island,
May 14th, 2016
Most times as a wedding photographer, when you meet a couple, you can just tell right away if you're going to click. Maybe it's the way they laugh together or the kind of music they like or the type of jokes they tell but, it usually doesn't take long for me to see two people I've never met before and know, instantly, that they're my type of people.
Krystal and Ian are definitely my type of people.
Long before we said one word to each other at a bridal expo back in 2015, I spotted Ian from across the room and said "Wow, look at that guy's hair!" and, within moments of speaking to them, I could tell their wedding was going to be an awesome time and I needed to shoot it.
Fast forward a year and a half later and my first impression of this couple was dead on. Not only were they an absolute blast to work with and one of the most gentle and caring couples I've ever met but their wedding was a great representation of WHY I love this profession.
And the photos on this bright and beautiful spring day? Talk about a 'wow' factor.
As they say, my friends, it just doesn't get much better than this.
I almost always believe that you can tell a lot about how a wedding is going to get in the first five minutes that you're there.
And if I had any doubts that Krystal and Ian were not going to be my typical couple, those doubts got tossed away moments into the start of my day as Krystal, not one for the role as center of attention, changed her mind and decided to forgo the typical photos of bridal prep.
Now, this would upset some wedding photographers as bridal prep is normally THE chance for you to get great detail shots but me? I know this day wasn't about me and I had no problem calling an audible with my coverage and going to the ceremony site a couple of hours earlier than we planned if it made my bride more comfortable.
It turned out to be a great plan. Of course, this is due exclusively to how awesome the guest list was for this wedding.
With all the extra time allotted to me, I decided to introduce myself to a ton of Krystal and Ian's friends and family members, and found them to be some of the nicest folks I've ever had the pleasure of working with.
And that made the day run so much smoother than it would have otherwise.
Krystal and Ian chose to get married at Colt State Park, a location that will always be special to me as it's where I tied the knot back in 2010.
And, boy, did they pick a wonderful day.
Not only were we blessed with one of the brightest, sunniest days of the year, but it was the perfect spring temperature throughout the park and, given that the ceremony was under a covered pavillion that provided everyone with shade, the backdrop for this ceremony felt unique and completely unlike any other I've witnessed. It felt personal and yet special all at the same time.
And make no mistake about it, while the 'wedding ceremony' is for many couples just a part of the day to labor through to get to the big party, for Krystal and Ian, the ceremony was the MAIN EVENT of the afternoon and what they'd waited their whole lives to experience.
And experience it they did.
In a ceremony full of religious and spiritually-important traditions, Krystal and Ian pledged their love in front of all their friends and families in an incredibly special and poignant way that showed just important both the bride and groom's beliefs are in their respective lives.
Not only did Krystal and Ian have a Cord of Three Strands component to their wedding, which I had never seen before, but they also washed each other's feet and a beautiful speech by their pastor that would make even the most cynical person fight back a tear or two.
Simply put, this ceremony was both meaningful and beautiful and a highlight on a day full of love.
What I also loved about Krystal and Ian's ceremony was how important it was for them to be awash in the support of their friends and family members. While it is pretty common for brides and grooms to have a receiving line following their wedding, Krystal and Ian decided to change it up a little bit and instead of a timed receiving line or a formal recession, ended their ceremony with a kiss and an extended period of informal congratulations where they made sure to thank each and every person who witnessed this important moment in their lives before heading to a very fun and very lively formal photo session throughout the park.
And speaking of the park, man, was it gorgeous on this afternoon.
Just taking a little drive around Colt State Park on a beautiful spring day is worth your time but to actually have an hour or so to do formal wedding photos there? Man, it doesn't get much better than that.
We started our formal photo session with family and wedding party photos but, I'll be honest, it was all a prelude to one of my favorite bride and groom formal photo shoots ever.
Krystal and Ian were up for anything I could come up with and I think the results were reflective of their individual personalities.
As much fun as Krystal, Ian and I had exploring Colt State Park, however, the photo that gave me the greatest joy to capture during their formal photo session was, without question, the closeup on Krystal's cowgirl boots at the entrance of the park.
I just love this photo for all it represents for these two people. Whether it was Ian's awesome mohawk or Krystal's boots, there's a little edge just beneath the surface for this bride and groom and it was a lot of fun to capture those little details that made this couple who they are.
That, to me, is the real story behind these photos.
Following the formal photo session, the three of us made our way back to DeWolf Tavern for the reception.
I never know what kind of crowd I'm going to get for a reception and, often times, when the couple is religious in the way Krystal and Ian are, their guests tend to be more reserved and not a particuarly rowdy bunch once the dance floor opens.
Thankfully, though, that was not the case here as Krystal and Ian threw one heck of a party ...
It started mello enough with your standard introductions, toasts, cake cutting and first dance but by the time they opened the dance floor up to their guests, it was clear Krystal and Ian were ready to cut loose. And, boy, did they ever.
But, before the big party began, there was the simple matter of the first dance and, I've got to say, Krystal and Ian's first dance was a standout moment for me from this wedding.
Awash in an orange glow provided by the barn-like decorations in DeWolf Tavern, Krystal and Ian took to the center of the dance floor and, with all eyes on them, spent moments they'll remember forever with their hands intertwined and their eyes focused solely on each other.
Just looking at the photo above brings me right back to that special moment. There's something so unique and so personal in the way a couple celebrates their first dance together as husband and wife and, boy, did Krystal and Ian nail it.
As I said before, however, the thing that surprised me the most was just how loose Krystal and Ian's guests were when it came time to party.
An older crowd, this reception could have easily been quiet and more traditional in scope but thanks to a live musician singing a number of handpicked songs and a great iPod playlist cultivated by the bride and groom at the last minute to fill in the blank spaces, once this party got started, it didn't let up until it was time to leave.
I've got to add, by the way, that the venue Krystal and Ian picked in DeWolf Tavern was ideal for this type of setup. Small enough to feel intimate and private but large enough to accomodate a crowd, DeWolf was the perfect backdrop for this group of family and friends and at no point during the night did it seem like anyone in attendance was bored or glued to their phone.
In this day and age, that's quite an accomplishment.
By the end of the evening, Krystal and Ian had danced the night away and were ready to embark on their journey together as man and wife.
I remember talking to the couple about their honeymoon plans and with Ian set to start a new job, the pair had a few weeks to really soak in each other's company before getting back to the grind of the real world.
I like that. I think every married couple should escape from the shackles of everything life in those first few weeks or months after tying the knot. It gives you a chance to really celebrate the monumentous life event you've just experienced.
But the thing about Krystal and Ian is, I don't even think they needed it. The pair are just so perfect together that I can't even imagine one without the other and I doubt they could either.
Is that cliche? Sure. But it's true.
Because whether it's your first impression on a potential client or their first impressions of each other ... sometimes, when you know you're going to click with someone ... you just click.