Massachusetts Wedding Photos
Josh & Shyann
Private Residence, Bellingham, Massachusetts
October 21st, 2023
From almost the very minute they get engaged, every bride and groom has a vision for their wedding day. Normally, it's a day full of beauty, fun, friends, family and all the special moments that truly make getting married one of the most significant life events you can experience.
Very few, if any, see their day turning out anything other than perfect. But the reality is, especially in 2023, you simply can't plan for every contingency on the day you're set to say “I do.”
And that's why Josh and Shyann stood in a dark tent in their backyard on a cold and rainy October afternoon experiencing just about every bride and groom's nightmares: Not only was there another power outage but everywhere they looked on this afternoon was a muddy, washed out downpour.
The thing is, though, none of that mattered. Because when you're getting married to the person who makes your life complete, there's nothing Mother Nature can do to sour the experience and take away from a day you'll never forget. And that's why Josh and Shyann's wedding was so truly special.
If nothing else, it's a day neither they nor I will ever forget.
My coverage of Josh and Shyann's wedding day started, oh, five days beforehand as I obsessively checked the weather forecast just about every chance I could hoping for even the slightest change to give me confidence this backyard wedding would go off without a hitch.
Pulling up to their property in a steady rain and with the forecast only getting worse as the day went on, I resigned myself to this day being a wash. I was initially worried about how the bride and groom would be in terms of spirits and attitudes but the minute I saw both, I could tell they were just as thrilled to be getting married as any other couple and that really lifted my spirits.
It may not be the sunny day we were hoping for but that didn't mean it wouldn't be special nonetheless.
One of the perks of Josh and Shyann choosing to have their wedding at their home and in their backyard was that bride and groom prep were literally a door apart from one another and I was able to go from one to the other pretty seamlessly.
I loved being able to grab some quick shots of the bride finishing her hair and makeup, bouncing to the groom to get his final set up and getting back to the bride in time for her to get her dress zipped up with no stress on me to get the show rolling.
Well, almost no stress. See, we did have something special planned for Josh to kick the day off as one of his closest friends was going to jump in a dress and fake him out during the first look and, I've got to be honest, it was as ridiculous as it looks and it set the tone so nicely for the start of this day.
Don't worry, though. Josh's reaction to his ACTUAL first look with Shyann was just as sweet as the one with his groomsmen. Though if I had to pick which one I preferred, it might be the first one simply for how fun it was to watch Josh process what he was actually seeing in real time.
With their first looks over, Josh and Shyann got ready to knock out their formal wedding party and family photos prior to their ceremony and I'm glad they did as it opened up the rest of the afternoon and let the bride and groom enjoy their party once their guests arrived.
Perhaps more selfishly, though, I knew that if the weather Gods deemed fit to allow us a break in the rain at any point on this wedding day, I'd need to pull Josh and Shyann outside immediately for some outdoor bride and groom portraits and having all of their formal photos otherwise taken care of just about doubled the likelihood of that being successful.
Still, whether or not we'd actually get that break …? Well, that remained to be seen.
To me, one of the most impressive parts of Josh and Shyann's wedding day was how much everyone around them seemed ready to jump in action to do whatever needed to be done to make this a successful wedding.
Case in point: When the weather got REALLY bad and everything turned to wet mud right where the bride was supposed to walk down the aisle, rather than throw their hands in the air and quit, Josh and Shyann's friends and family members rallied, drove over to Walmart and got mats to put down, erected mini tents and even grabbed bushels of hay to give people something to plant their feet in and avoid slipping.
This wedding was truly a community effort and that's what made Josh and Shyann's day, and their ceremony in particular so special once it began.
Josh and Shyann's wedding ceremony took place with a steady rain playing the role of scene setter but there was nothing but love inside that tent as the two of these amazing people held hands and spoke from the heart.
I loved this short but sweet ceremony so much as both Josh and Shyann were open about their feelings for one another and what this moment meant for them, so much so that there were a couple people wiping tears away from their eyes as the soon-to-be newlyweds exchanged their vows.
What I really adored about this ceremony was how it wasn't too serious, though, as the pair still brought their witty humor to every part of it and both seemed startled and looked above their heads when the rain got extra heavy as they exchanged rings.
Josh and Shyann sealed their love with a kiss and, not to be outdone, their daughter stole the show by insisting to be right in the middle of them as they did so. Still, for a day defined by the importance of family, that moment only made everything a little extra special.
Following Josh and Shyann's wedding ceremony, the bride and groom headed inside their house for a bit of a break while I headed back to the tent to finish up any remaining detail photos and, for a backyard tent wedding, there sure was a lot to see here.
Josh and Shyann's wedding reception may have been the simplest I photographed in 2023 and I mean that in the best way possible.
The pair opened the party portion of their evening with a really fun first dance set to “Made” by Spencer Crandall, but, other than that, the night was super low key and relaxed.
In fact, other than two toasts, there were no real formalities following their first dance and I think both the bride and the groom loved that aspect of their big day.
Me? I was thrilled because the lack of events taking place during Josh and Shyann's reception meant I could spend the dinner portion of their event watching the skies and waiting for a break — any break — in the weather to pull them outside for some bride and groom formal photos in front of a pretty red bush I'd been eyeing all day long.
That break came in at 4:42 p.m. and by 4:45 p.m., the rain was once again unbearable. But, still, three minutes is sometimes all you need for some nice bride and groom portraits and a small victory over Mother Nature.
With our outdoor bride and groom portraits in the bag and the sun setting on Josh and Shyann's reception, it was time to party. And I knew this because the bride tossed her “Wifey” hoodie on, the newlyweds cut their cake and it was time to open the dance floor properly.
I knew I was in for something special with this crew toward the end of my coverage as I started to take down my light stands from the back of their rain-soaked tent and slowly worked my way through my mental check list of things to do before heading out and heard Shyann call my name from across the tent and make a direct beeline to the dance floor with a quarter handle of booze in her hand.
Within seconds, that drink was in the air and getting chugged and I knew, without a doubt, the party was ON. Boy, was I right and, man, I can't blame Shyann one bit.
After one of the wettest, wildest wedding days I've ever seen, it was an absolute treat to see how much fun Josh and Shyann had during their reception and, honestly, it was easily my favorite part of their day and some of my favorite photos of their entire wedding.
As my time with Josh and Shyann came to an end, I headed to my car and was once again treated with some nice rain as a parting gift. But, honestly, by that point I was over it entirely and over the rainy wedding season as a whole.
This year has, easily, been the wettest and wildest wedding season I've ever shot but I'm so thankful for clients like Josh and Shyann who refused to let the rough weather get them down and had great wedding days regardless.
Was it the pretty, sunny fall day these two deserved? No. But it was nevertheless an amazing wedding full of love, laughter and tons and tons of special moments and, honestly, I think that's even better.
So thank you Josh and Shyann for never letting the rain get you down and thanks for letting me document a day I know you'll remember, for better and worse, for the rest of your life. Congratulations and best of luck on this next chapter of your life together.
And don't forget … always have an umbrella nearby because you never know when you're going to need it. :)
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair Stylist/Makeup Artist/Bartender: Nicole Andrews; Bride's Dress: Party Dress Express; Bridesmaids Dresses: JJs House; Groom/Groomsman Suits: Generation Tux; Florist: Blue Bumblebee Creations; Tent/Table/Chair Rental: Evo Tents; Caterer: Caity King; DJ: DJ Scottyo.