Maria & Sebastian
Church of St. John the Baptist (Ceremony); Falores Restaurant (Reception),
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
March 19th, 2016
No matter how many weddings I shoot, there will always be a bit of nervous anticipation as I get ready to head out on an assignment and that feeling is amplified by about a hundred when it's my first wedding of the year.
There's just so much that can go wrong and so many things to keep in mind that when you're out of practice, it can be incredibly stressful.
Luckily for me, my first wedding of 2016 was that of Maria and Sebastian, one of the most laid-back couples I've ever met.
Maria and Sebastian had a fun and relaxed early Spring day that took us through three cities but at no point did we ever feel rushed and, in the end, we had tons of time to do exactly what we wanted.
Because of this, their mid-March wedding was a great start to what promises to be an incredible year for me and my wedding photography business.
And as much as I loved watching Netflix and relaxing at home, man, did I miss shooting weddings ...
Maria and Sebastian's day began, as usual for most soon-to-be-married couples, with bride and groom preparations. My assignment was to photograph Maria and, boy, it was a treat as she chose to get ready at one of the coolest hotels I've ever seen: The NYLO Hotel in Warwick.
Despite the fact that I literally live seven minutes from this hotel, I had never been to the NYLO but, let me tell you what, I fully intend on going back. Not only were the rooms beautifully lit with natural sunlight but the entire hotel had a chic vibe that gave it a unique look and character that I've never seen in a room before.
Each place we went to take photos had something different to offer and that it was hidden in a small property behind the Warwick Mall, for a more than reasonable price, still amazes me.
Maria was a very low maintenance bride and, as such, her prep session was less than an hour in all.
Once her bridesmaids arrived, it was time to put the dress on and get going. But, before we did that, I just had to walk her through the downstairs area of the NYLO.
As I said before, there were a TON of spots to photograph a beautiful bride in this little boutique hotel and I just HAD to see them all.
By far the only part of Maria and Sebastian's day that didn't go picture perfect was the drive between the NYLO and the ceremony site, the Church of St. John the Baptist in Pawtucket.
Try as we may, we could not control traffic and with the NCAA tournament in Providence this weekend, getting to the venue was a lot trickier than we would have hoped. But you would never have known that by looking at the bride and groom.
Once we got on scene and started the ceremony, the only thing they cared about was each other. As should always be the case.
Maria and Sebastian had a traditional Catholic ceremony and one look inside this church showed why.
By far the biggest church I've ever seen, the Church of St. John the Baptist was a massive venue that I imagine would accomodate thousands of people for a grand Easter ceremony. In this case, though, a small Spanish wedding with a tiny guest list seemed just as fitting.
In fact, by the time the wedding party came down the aisle, the venue seemed small, intimate and personal. It was, in a word, perfect.
Though Maria and Sebastian's wedding ceremony was in Spanish, and I didn't understand a word of it, it was fairly easy to follow along and a really beautiful affair. And because the church in question restricted photos DURING the ceremony, it was a pleasant change in pace to actually take a moment to watch the proceedings without worrying every second about snap, snap, snapping away.
Still, once it WAS time to resume photographing, I just couldn't help myself. The location was too beautiful not to document everything.
One of my favorite parts of Maria and Sebastian's day was the formal photo session right outside of the church as the giant building completely blocked the sun and made for beautiful photographs on the steps (one of which started this blog.)
Once we finished that portion of the day, we suddenly had a LARGe gap in our schedule (three hours in fact) until the reception so, naturally, we went to Roger Williams Park in Providence and took our time with wedding party/bride and groom formals.
Of course, we just HAD to start at the carousel ...
By the time all was said and done, we had visited five separate locations in the park and, honestly, we could have driven around and found more. That park is just that gorgeous and we couldn't have picked a better day. Needless to say, I'm very excited about the two other weddings I have there this year.
After a brief break in the action, we all made our way back to Pawtucket for the wedding reception. To say this was the part of the day I was looking most forward to would be an understatement. I LOVE Spanish wedding receptions and this one was no exception.
Maria and Sebastian's wedding reception was at Falores Restaurant, a new venue hidden away near the Pawtucket/Central Falls line and though it didn't initially look like much driving by, once we got inside and saw the set-up, it was breath-taking.
The bride and groom's first dance took place around 6 p.m. and the natural light gave those photos a classic look while. As the night progressed, though, the pink uplighting on the walls and the string lights in the air transformed the room into something else entirely.
It was a nice understated way to show the difference between the nice, traditional classic vibe of the early part of the reception and the party atmosphere that took over once everyone was done with their meals and ready to let loose.
Much like their friends Keirys and Jhair a year earlier, Maria and Sebastian tore up the dance floor.
It was so much fun seeing this couple who had, up to this point, been so loving and reserved, completely relax and have a blast.
It's why I LOVE receptions.
Maria and Sebastian's playlist was a mix of up-tempo Spanish music and club favorites and by the end of the night, there wasn't a person in attendance who hadn't left with a smile on their face.
All in all, Maria and Sebastian's wedding was an absolute blast and I don't think I could have asked for a better way to start off my 2016 wedding season.
From perfect locations to an absolutely perfect early Spring day and an awesome guest list, there's not much, if anything, I would change about this wedding.
In fact, if this is what I can expect this year from my brides and grooms, I can safely say 2016 is going to be a year to remember when it's all said and done.