Laura & MariJke
One of the biggest challenges for a wedding photographer is finding a way to stay creative shooting what essentially amounts to the same event 30-40 times per year. It's because of this that few things give me greater joy in this profession than finding a couple that doesn't fit into the same mold as everyone else.
In the case of Laura and Marijke, a pair of brides who were married back in June at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts, being anything but conventional is not only a character trait but a point of pride.
Laura and Marijke were unlike any brides I've worked with before in a number of ways. First, they were the first same sex wedding I've photographed for my own company. Second, they were both tattooed brides, with Marijke even sporting a Captain America tattoo on her right shoulder blade that I adored. Lastly, the way they approached their wedding day was so different than my standard couples that I just couldn't wait to see how they pulled it all off.
And pulled it off they did. This was a wedding built for, and by, two brides who were determined to do what they wanted and it couldn't have gone any better if they tried.
It didn't take long for my coverage of Laura and Marijke's wedding day to get action-packed. Upon arrival, I was greeted to the sight of two separate brides who had both arrived to their venue earlier than expected and nearly ready-to-go.
Thankfully, the kind folks at Independence Harbor managed to keep Laura and Marijke separate so they wouldn't ruin their first looks at each other when the ceremony started.
This meant dividing the first portion of my day between capturing Laura putting her dress on and photographing all of the amazing decor that Laura, Marijke and their friends created specifically for the day.
Seriously, these decorations were incredible.
My favorite part of the pre-ceremony portion of Laura and Marijke's wedding day was getting the chance to create certain parallels in their photos that I knew would later look great together.
That's why I loved seeing Laura and Marijke switching off use of the Independence Harbor bridal suite. Creating nearly identical shots of each bride getting their dress zipped up, in the same room no less, was a nice little touch that I thought gave their bridal prep something extra that most weddings will never have.
I've got to be honest, though. My biggest fear during Laura and Marijke's bridal prep session was that their ceremony was going to get rained out as the weather did not look great for the start of their nuptials.
Thankfully, in what has amazingly become a welcome trend for me this year, we somehow managed to avoid the worst of the weather as the rain stopped a few minutes before either bride walked down the aisle.
And that was key as this was a ceremony I wanted to go off without a hitch and it did. It really did.
Laura and Marijke had a beautiful ceremony full of personal little touches, like a close family friend who was their officiant and three touching readings by those closest to them.
What I loved the most, though, was watching the two brides trying so hard to keep their emotions in check.
Whether it was Marijke trying hard to contain her smile or Laura avoiding eye contact with her bride at times, it was clear these two women were living completely in the moment and thinking of every second that led them to that gazebo on that grey skied June afternoon.
As Laura and Marijke exited their wedding ceremony, I knew I had limited time with these two brides.
From everything I know about this couple in the interactions we've had, they're not ones for the traditional photos you'd expect to see at a wedding.
As such, after a somewhat lengthy family and wedding party formal photo shoot, I assumed I would have a very small window of time to capture as many bride and bride formals as possible before they tapped out on me.
To my surprise, Laura and Marijke were incredibly accommodating to my many requests. And I'm glad they were as I truly believe these two brides had one of the best couples' formal photo sessions I've shot all year.
I love so many of those portraits of Laura and Marijke, both for what they show and the story they don't.
It's tough to showcase a couple's personalities when you don't know them all that well personally but I'm grateful for the window into their relationship that these two brides provided me in the time we spent together.
Having finished bridal portraits, the three of us headed to the reception where I was finally able to capture one of the most important photos of the entire day: Laura enjoying the dish of mac and cheese she was looking forward to since the moment we first met and began discussing her wedding day.
It's the little things that can make or break your wedding and I knew from Laura's expression this was one treat she wasn't going to do without.
Laura and Marijke's sense of humor and personalities were on full display as their wedding reception began but it was their first dance which really pulled at my heartstrings as the two danced to Sara Bareilles' "I Choose You," one of my favorite wedding songs.
They didn't stay on the dance floor by themselves for long as they invited their guests to join them but the time they did spend was beautiful and made for great photos.
Following their first dance, Laura and Marijke had two beautiful toasts from their respective maids of honor, an incredibly picturesque cake cutting thanks to the awesome way they decorated it themselves and a pair of sweet father-daughter dances that you could tell meant a lot to both of them.
It was after the formalities of the night were over, though, that I could sense a change in the demeanor of both brides. Weddings can be super stressful events, even if you don't show it outwardly, and after taking a couple of final bride formals as the sun set outside Independence Harbor, Laura and Marijke decided it was time for them to be much more comfortable in their own skin.
Yep. Gone were the bridal gowns of the more traditional-portion of their wedding day and in were the cocktail style dresses that let the two brides really blend in with their guests and enjoy the party.
I LOVED the night dresses these two ladies chose as they were a perfect representation of their individual styles and made the rest of the evening super informal and just plain fun.
And their guests agreed.
By the time Laura and Marijke called it a night, I could tell they had achieved everything they had hoped to for their wedding day and truly planned the ceremony and reception they felt best represented who they were and their unique personalities.
There was a lot to love from this wedding but I think my favorite part was how much this fit the two people getting married so much more than your standard, traditional wedding day.
Laura and Marijke had a sign hanging in their wedding reception that said "Two Brides Are Better Than One." After seeing how their wedding played out and the way they each made the day special, I think I may just agree with them.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Brides’ dresses: David’s Bridal; Florist: Kathy Luther, In Bloom at Quality Fruitland; Signs and Wine Glasses: Hand painted by Ann Travers; Ceremony and Reception Location: Independence Harbor, Assonet, Massachusetts; DJ: Rhythm Express Disc Jockey Service, Inc.; Officiant: William Mitchell.
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
Amber & Justin
Location: North Beach Clubhouse,
Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Date: June 24th, 2018
Jacob & Stephanie
Location: Foster Country Club,
Foster, Rhode Island.
Date: June 16th, 2018
Zach & Kelly
Location: Blissful Meadows Golf Club, Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
Date: June 2nd, 2018
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