Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

A look at the sign for Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts prior to Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony.
Laura has her dress zipped up prior to her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

A sign welcomes guests prior to Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A look at the place cards prior to Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A look at some of the decorations on display A look at the place cards prior to Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A look at some of the decorations on display A look at the place cards prior to Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A look at the centerpieces on display A look at the place cards prior to Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

Laura leaves the bridal suite prior to her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke has her dress zipped up prior to her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke has her dress zipped up prior to her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke has her dress zipped up prior to her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura has her dress zipped up prior to her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura finds a pin in her dress prior to her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

A look at the ceremony site prior to Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke walks down the aisle during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke walks down the aisle during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura walks down the aisle during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura walks down the aisle during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke smiles at Laura during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura looks at Marijke during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

Laura and Marijke listen during their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A guest reads during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A guest reads during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A guest reads during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke looks at Laura during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura closes her eyes during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura smiles during her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and Marijke kiss during their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and Marijke walk down the aisle together following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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. 

Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo with their wedding party following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo with their wedding party following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke poses for a bridal portrait following her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura poses for a bridal portrait following her June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke pose for a formal photo following their June 2018 wedding ceremony at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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 eats macaroni and cheese during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marjike has her dress bustled during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Members of the weddng party enter during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Members of the weddng party enter during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and Marijke enter during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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. 

Laura & Marijke dance together during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke dance together during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke dance together during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke dance together during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke dance together during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

Marijke's maid of honor gives a toast during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and Marijke smile as Marijke's maid of honor gives a toast during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke and her maid of honor toast during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura's maid of honor gives a toast during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura laughs as her maid of honor gives a speech during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and Marijke raise their glasses for a toast during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke cut their wedding cake during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke cut their wedding cake during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke cut their wedding cake during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke cut their wedding cake during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura & Marijke cut their wedding cake during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and her father dance during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and her father dance during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and her father dance during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke and her father dance during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke and her father dance during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

A look at Laura and Marijke's reception dresses, taken in a photo during during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and Marijke pose for a photo during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A look at Laura and Marijke's bridal gowns, taken in a photo during during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

Guests dance during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura smiles during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Guests dance during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura hugs a guest during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Guests dance during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Guests dance during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Guests dance during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura holds a child during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke poses for a photo with a friend during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura dances with a guest during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Marijke dances with a guest during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura dances with a guest during her June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
A look at decorations on display during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.
Laura and Marijke pose for a photo during their June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

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.

-PJS

A look at the wedding rings, flowers and invitation during Laura & Marijke’s June 2018 wedding reception at Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts.

The Vendor List

Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Brides’ dresses: David’s BridalFlorist: Kathy Luther, In Bloom at Quality FruitlandSigns and Wine Glasses: Hand painted by Ann TraversCeremony and Reception Location: Independence Harbor, Assonet, Massachusetts; DJ: Rhythm Express Disc Jockey Service, Inc.Officiant: William Mitchell

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Paul J. Spetrini is a Rhode Island wedding photographer.

© 2019 Paul J. Spetrini Photography. All rights reserved.

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