Jennifer & Mark
September 4th, 2016
I love the way weddings bring people together.
More so than any other life event, weddings are the one time in life when you're almost always guaranteed to see two distinct groups of people coming together for a full day's worth of activities all in the name of supporting a bride, a groom or both.
And that's why I got such a kick out of Jennifer and Mark's September wedding at the Roger Williams Park Temple of Music.
Jennifer and Mark met in college and their beautiful early fall wedding was a true blending of two families from two cultures. But seeing them interact? Man. That was almost better than the wedding itself as many of these individuals were meeting for the first time but looked like long-lost friends at one of the most fun receptions I've seen this year.
I say almost better than the wedding itself because as fun as this reception was, it pales in comparison to what was, without question, one of the most stunning ceremonies I've EVER seen. The Temple of Music, one of Rhode Island's coolest landmarks, was a downright amazing choice for this couple's nuptials. Don't believe me? Scroll down and see for yourself.
I began my coverage of Jennifer and Mark's big day with a lovely bridal prep session at Jennifer's parent's home, a treat for me as it was where we had our first meeting to talk about what she envisioned for her wedding photography.
What I learned about Jennifer that day was especially true on her wedding day: Jennifer is a meticulous planner and once she sets her mind to something, she makes sure it gets done. Jennifer was on point from the start of the day until the end and she made she we ran smoothly and calmly even though she should have been stressing out over what is typically a very difficult day for a bride.
No, there were no nerves here. Jennifer has known for a while that Mark was the man of her dreams and this wedding was just making that official. But having a bride that punctual and that together on a wedding day? Talk about a treat!
After a fun bridal prep session, Jennifer, I and her wedding party made our way to Roger Williams Park a little early to take some family photos and knock out Jennifer's portion of the formal photo list. (Like I said, she's efficient!)
I loved these photographs at the park's Japanese Gardens. It's such a beautiful spot, despite the muddy water, and the bridge makes for the perfect spot for timeless family photos that Jennifer's siblings and parents will appreciate for years to come.
And the best part? The Japanese Gardens were all of a five-minute drive to the Temple of Music, ensuring that we'd not only arrive to the ceremony on time ... but actually early.
Of course, when you have a ceremony site this beautiful, you want all the extra time you can have to take in the sights and sounds before you.
As I said, the Temple of Music is a STUNNING backdrop for a wedding ceremony.
I love everything about this location, from the beautiful detail in the walls and columns of the structure to the elevated platform that puts guests right up there with the bride and groom to the incredible (and on this day cloudless) sky behind the temple, this venue was a flat-out stunning place to get married.
In fact, I'd say the only thing more beautiful was the actual ceremony itself as Jennifer and Mark had a truly touching and intimate ceremony in front of their friends and family full of humor but, above all, little hints of the love they have for one another.
Mark and Jennifer's ceremony was absolutely perfect but, without a doubt, the part of the day I was looking most forward to was yet to come as a day this beautiful at Roger Williams Park just begs you to take the bride and groom around the park for photos.
We began on the back-half of the Temple itself and then moved over to the Iron Foot bridge and both locations were immaculate.
Jennifer and Mark were a bit more reserved than most of the couples I work with and, as such, we didn't spend a ton of time taking bride and groom formals but that was totally fine with me ... especially because I knew we had everything we needed moments after we started.
Talk about a photogenic couple!
Jennifer was absolutely stunning in her detail-rich dress and had one of the simplest and classiest bouquets I've seen in a long time. Mark, meanwhile, couldn't hide the look of excitement on his face as this formal photo portion of the day was the first real "alone time" he had with his bride. It was a special session for a truly special couple.
Once we were done, it was time to move over to the reception. And what a reception it was.
After beautiful speeches by the parents of the bride and groom, as well as a couple of sweet toasts by Jennifer's maid of honor and Mark's brother/best man, it was time to get this party started.
Jennifer and Mark chose the Rhode Island Shriners Imperial Room and, thanks to some amazing decor and incredible uplighting, the room looked incredible. The blue backdrop, in particular, made their first dance a sight to be seen and made for some of my favorite dancing photos of the year by far.
Where this night took on a life of its own, however, was when the music took a hard right turn and the DJ really opened up the dance floor.
I've seen a lot of awesome wedding receptions this year but I've never seen a more diverse group of people across all age ranges come together so effortlessly song after song after song.
Jennifer and Mark sure got their money's worth with their DJ as he kept this dance floor popping all night long and then some. There were people dancing on the dance floor, at their tables, at the bar and even in another room entirely. This party was EPIC.
All in all, Jennifer and Mark had the best night of their lives and it was perfect in every sense of the word.
By the time the music stopped and the lights came up for good, there were still a handful of guests on the dance floor who didn't want to leave and begged for one more song.
If that's not the telltale sign of a good night, I don't know what it.
But long after the music is forgotten and the memories of this party fade, Jennifer and Mark will look back on September 4, 2016 with a smile on their face for hundreds of other reasons.
Mainly, though, they'll remember how they felt in each other's arms and how the day they spent years planning because their best day ever.
And I'm just lucky I was fortunate enough to be in attendance to capture it all.