Marissa & Paul
September 23rd, 2016
Life has a funny way of connecting you with people you never thought you'd see again.
In the past few years, I've had the pleasure of watching many of my former friends and classmates of mine celebrate major life moments like births, weddings and anniversaries thanks to the wonderful world of social media but, I'll be honest, it's still a bit strange to connect with someone you haven't spoken with in years ... even if it's just via a "Happy birthday" post or a random Facebook like on a meme they've posted.
So you can imagine, then, how odd it might be to sit down for coffee with someone you haven't seen since middle school but I knew the moment Marissa and I began chatting about her 2016 wedding that she the right kind of bride for me.
Marissa and Paul have one of the most unique relationships I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing and their South County wedding was a great summation of who they are as people and what they care about the most.
Here's a hint: He's her captain. She's her mermaid. And they both love their dog unconditionally.
In other words: They're my kind of people.
My coverage of Marissa and Paul's big day began and ended at the Aqua Blue Hotel in Narragansett.
Narragansett is one of my favorite little towns in Rhode Island and with good reason. The beach scene is top-notch and no matter where you go in town, there are sights and sounds you can't find anywhere else.
On this beautiful early fall day, the only place I wanted to be was at the hotel itself, though, as Marissa and her bridesmaids were a super fun group of girls who laughed and shared stories throughout their entire bridal prep session.
By far my favorite part of the morning, however, was when the girls needed to move one of their cars to the back of the hotel and the bride to be, with rollers in her hair and a bright floral robe on, jumped behind the wheel.
It was a moment that perfectly summed up the morning and paved the way for a spectacular afternoon.
What I loved about Marissa and her girls the most was their low-key approach to the stress typically associated with the day.
At almost no point in the prep session did anyone appeared remotely worried about the clock or the rapidly-approaching ceremony time.
And that relaxed atmosphere would prove crucial in the final hour or so of the session as a slight button mishap with Marissa's dress proved tougher to fix than originally planned.
Luckily, Marissa's girls were ready for the challenge and stepped up in a big way to keep their friend relaxed.
Relaxed, that is, until we got ready to leave and I convinced her to have a special first look (without peaking) with her groom-to-be.
Marissa finally let the emotions get to her in that moment and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in person.
Talk about setting the stage for a wedding ceremony!
Marissa and Paul were married at Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, Rhode Island.
Prior to their wedding, I had only been to the site a few times but one thing that always stood out to me was the breathtaking views of the ocean and the bright, beating down sun.
Both were on display for Marissa and Paul's ceremony but, to be honest, with a bride as beautiful as this one, it's unlikely anyone in attendance even noticed the sun.
I know Paul didn't.
Marissa and Paul had a quick wedding ceremony but the main event was still to come as their reception was, without question, the highlight of their big day.
Before we went back to the Aqua Blue, however, I managed to convince the entire wedding party to head down to the rocks near the ocean for a couple of quick formal photos.
And though the bride may have stubbed her toe on the way back, the photos were well worth it.
Without question, the photo I led this blog off with of Marissa and Paul with their bridesmaids and groomsmen on the rocks is one of my favorite group shots of 2016 ... and not just because I almost fell capturing it.
And while the group shots were fun, the photos of Paul and Marissa by themselves were my favorite of the day.
I loved seeing the way the two interacted in each other's arms and though they weren't big into formal photos in the moment, I can tell they were having a good time and the results speak for themselves.
Heck, I was even able to convince them to take a couple of photos at Narragansett Town Beach when we got back to the hotel. Sure, I would have loved to have another half hour or so to really get creative with this bride and groom but sometimes the best advice you can heed is "Don't stop the party."
A wise man named Pitbull once said that.
Marissa and Paul's wedding reception was every bit as relaxed and fun as they are.
With an awesome photo booth that had a line that would not quit to a handful of fun guests tearing up the dance floor all night long, there was something for everyone in attendance at this September celebration.
As for the bride and groom themselves?
Well, like any good newlyweds, Marissa and Paul spent the bulk of their reception going around the room to spend as much time as possible with as many guests as possible.
But when the two did connect, they made the most of it, taking time a couple of times to dance by themselves and celebrate this milestone moment in their lives.
Somehow, their guests managed to have quite the time with or without them.
All in all, Marissa and Paul's wedding was a beautiful affair perfectly fitting two amazing people.
From a relaxed bridal prep session to a sweet ceremony with a stunning backdrop and a reception to remember, this day had everything this bride and groom could have asked for and much, much more.
Here's hoping Marissa and I don't go 18 more years in between speaking but, if we do, here's hoping it leads to another gorgeous photo shoot at an oceanfront location.
Next time, though, we'll make sure everyone is wearing more protective footwear.