Lizzie & Gabe
Crystal Lake Golf Club, Mapleville, RI (Ceremony & Reception)
September 2nd, 2018
Under normal circumstances, whenever a photographer has a triple wedding weekend, he or she is dreading getting to that last shoot of the stretch as you simply can't help but be exhausted and you can barely think straight.
But as I made my way to Lizzy and Gabe's Labor Day weekend wedding, the last of a particularly difficult three-day holiday stretch where I barely slept, I couldn't help but smile and think about how much fun we were about to have.
And it's entirely because of who the bride and groom were.
Lizzy and Gabe are an awesome couple that are a ton of fun to be around and they chose one of my favorite venues to get married at on a spectacular early fall day with perfect temperatures and lots of sunshine.
What's not to love, right?
What I didn't know at the time, though, was just how much love I'd see this day. Whether it was the way the bride and groom looked at each other, the way they embraced the big moments of their day or the way they just casually hung out with those closest to them, this was a day that meant the world to the two people saying "I do" and it showed from the moment I took the first photo of the day until the moment we said goodbye.
Lizzy and Gabe's wedding day began the way most of my wedding days do ... with bridal prep at a home I've never been at before.
But what I noticed right away about this shoot, more than any other I've had this year, was how eager the bride was the moment I walked through the doors.
Lizzy had her dress hung up and ready for photos, had all of her details (including the wedding rings) prepped and ready to go and had a wide open area where we would later photograph her getting into her dress.
And I can't blame her. This bride was eager to get the show on the road and had a lot planned for this day. There simply wasn't time to waste.
The fast pace of bridal prep -- if you can even call it that since Lizzy's hair and makeup was spot on the minute I walked in -- paid off huge as we had plenty of time for her side of the formal photos in her parent's beautiful backyard and even had time for bridal portraits in the upstairs loft area.
Her parents house, by the way, was stunning and made for a great location for photos.
Once we finished with portraits, we made our way over to Crystal Lake and, like clockwork, it was immediately go time. Thankfully, I had a few moments to grab some simple set-up shots but the moment we arrived, it felt like it was time to go to the ceremony site to see this bride and groom say "I do."
Speaking of "I do," if I had to pick a favorite photo from Lizzy and Gabe's wedding day, I do have to say the look on the groom's face as he saw his soon-to-be bride for the first time would rank at the very top. Not that I can blame him. Lizzy looked absolutely breathtaking.
Lizzy and Gabe's ceremony was short, sweet and deeply authentic to their relationship.
I'd love to tell you more about it but, honestly, I couldn't stop marveling at the way they both looked at each other. This was a super personal moment for both the bride and groom and you could see it in what they said and didn't say in front of their friends and family members. I was particularly struck by the way they held hands as their officiant described love. It's a moment that still makes me smile to this day.
And speaking of smiling, we sure did a lot of that during their formal photos.
Lizzy and Gabe didn't take themselves too seriously and I adored them for that as we had one of my favorite formal photo sessions of the year with a perfect sunny backdrop.
I love Crystal Lake Golf Club for a number of reasons but I think my favorite is the wide variety of shots you can get of a bride and groom ... even when you've photographed weddings at the venue more times than you can count.
Every wedding at Crystal Lake feels unique to me and, by the time we had to run inside to start Lizzy and Gabe's reception, I was practically out of ideas for what to shoot next as we had gotten everything I wanted and much more.
Thankfully, the rest of the night didn't require me to do much but watch and shoot as Lizzy and Gabe's reception was full of beautiful moments that spoke for themselves.
Lizzy and Gabe's first dance was especially nice to see. Set to "From the Ground Up" by Dan & Shay, the two took control of the dance floor and never broke their embrace as their friends and family members looked on.
I always love big dances at Crystal Lake. With the unique star-shaped decorations in the center of the room, these moments have an extra special feeling to them at this venue.
Following their first dance, Lizzy and Gabe rolled right through the standard events of a wedding reception. They had two great toasts, a lovely dinner, a sweet cake cutting and two beautiful parent dances with their father and mother, respectively.
My favorite part of their reception, though, was Lizzy's dance with her grandfather. You could just feel how much that moment meant to her and her family as they danced together and it made for some of my favorite photos of the entire day.
Following all the big moments of the night, Lizzy and Gabe finally had a chance to relax and party and, boy did they ever.
While I was only at their reception for a little under an hour, I got to watch plenty of hilarity on the dance floor as Lizzy and Gabe's friends and family wasted no time in celebrating this night in style.
As I got ready to leave Lizzy and Gabe's reception, I couldn't help but think about how beautiful the day was and everything went off without a hitch.
Lizzy and Gabe are a super fun couple to be around and, so, it's only fitting that the wedding would reflect that.
And, at the end of a particularly difficult weekend, they were exactly the couple I needed to work with to power through and get it done and I'm super thankful for that.
More importantly, though, I'm thankful I was there to see their love firsthand as it was incredibly inspiring and one of my most beautiful wedding days of the year.
So congratulations Lizzy and Gabe. Thank you for including me on this journey of yours. I can only hope you live your married life with the same energy and spirit you had on your wedding day because, if you do, you'll always have a reason to smile each and every day you're together. And, really, who could ask for more?
Tags: Crystal Lake Golf Club, Rhode Island Weddings, Outdoor Weddings, Paul J. Spetrini Photography
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair & Make-up: Studio B Salon, Warwick, Rhode Island; Bride's Dress: Alexandra's Boutique, Fall River, MA; Ceremony Location: Crystal Lake Golf Club; Officiant: Judge Susan McGuirl; DJ: Tony of Luke Renchan Entertainment; Cake: Isis Cakes, Jamestown, RI.
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
Patrick & Courtney
St. Paul Church, Cranston, Rhode Island & Valley Country Club, Warwick, Rhode Island
Date: September 1st, 2018
Mike & Selah
The Rotunda Ballroom at Easton's Beach., Newport, Rhode Island
Date: August 31st, 2018
Courtnie & Richie
Glad Tidings Church (Ceremony) &
Emerald Hall (Reception)
Date: August 24th, 2018
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