Melissa & Jordan
May 27th, 2017
I count myself as a lucky person for a number of reasons but one of the biggest is that I am often fortunate enough to connect with clients in a way that it feels more like we're lifelong friends than simply business associates by the time I prepare to photograph their wedding.
For Melissa and Jordan, this connection came naturally from the moment we had a laugh-filled bridal consultation at a Starbucks in Middletown, Rhode Island back in September 2015 and never let up.
Whether it was a fun engagement session at Colt State Park in May 2016 or getting to see them interact at one of Melissa's friends weddings that I was booked for a few months later, I felt like I knew Melissa and Jordan fairly well by the time their big day arrived.
And thanks to their decision to also book me for their rehearsal dinner the night before, by the time Melissa and Jordan said "I do" at their beautiful spring wedding in Assonet, Massachusetts, the only thing differentiating me from a member of a family was the lack of a Christmas card and, maybe, a few more inside jokes.
I don't take these types of connections lightly and, when they happen with me and a bride and groom, I know we're going to create magic together. But even at my most optimistic, I couldn't have predicted how beautiful Melissa and Jordan's wedding day would truly be.
It was perfect in just about every way and for a shoot I looked forward to for well over a year, I simply couldn't have asked for more.
As I said above, my coverage of Melissa and Jordan's wedding technically began 14 hours before we started bridal prep as their rehearsal dinner proved to be a great opportunity to meet their friends and family and get an idea of what kind of crowd I would be dealing with all day.
But even if I hadn't shot the dinner, it would have taken 23 seconds into bridal prep to find out this would be a fun day as Melissa and her bridesmaids cracked open a bottle of champagne and let the mimosas flow while really savoring every moment leading up to the wedding.
I learned in this session that Melissa is really a kind-hearted person who makes close friends easily and the love those closest feel to her was evident all day long but no more so than when we drove over to her mother's house for the girls to get ready and her neighbors growing up had congratulatory signs waiting for her as a surprise to wish her well on this special occasion. It was a really special moment.
Speaking of special moments, as if not to be outdone, Melissa's SEVEN, yes seven, bridesmaids also had a surprise for the bride: Jewelry and individual notes telling her how much she meant to them.
I could tell watching Melissa's reaction to the notes that they really got to her and it was a moment she would never forget.
After hugging every one of her girls and taking some fun photos in their coordinated Gap t-shirts, it was time for Melissa to get serious and put on the dress she's waited a lifetime to wear. And what a dress it was.
Melissa was stunning in her wedding dress and the purple bridesmaids dresses she picked out for her girls popped beautifully as we headed over to Colt State Park for a quick round of formals in the same spot we shot her engagement photos almost a year to the day earlier.
With the sole exception of a small break for Del's Lemonade -- I mean, who's going to deny a Rhode Island girl Del's on her wedding day? -- Melissa's bridal portrait session with her bridesmaids and family members flew by in an instant. And it was a good thing it did because I'd been looking to her and Jordan's ceremony all day long.
It's hard not to when your couple is getting married at a place as beautiful as Independence Harbor.
Independence Harbor was home to one of the first weddings I ever shot in my career and it is truly one of the most beautiful venues in all of New England. It was the absolute perfect place for Melissa and Jordan to share their love with those closest to them and they picked a beautiful time to do it as not only did they seemingly get the one weekend in May that it didn't rain but their ceremony began in the late afternoon and the lighting was textbook perfect.
And the ceremony itself? As sweet as their connection to each other. Seriously. I don't think there was a person in attendance who didn't feel honored to watch these two people in the happiest moment of their lives. I know I did.
Melissa and Jordan met while working together at a clothing store and their wedding ceremony, which was officiated by Melissa's uncle, recounted in great deal their time together. By the time the couple said "I do," it was clear everyone watching was witnessing something special happen between two people who are perfect for each other in every way.
And what I loved the most about their ceremony was how deeply personal it was as they each read their own vows and ended the moment by breaking a glass in celebration.
It was the start of a fantastic evening, one in which I don't think the bride and groom were seen once without a huge grin on their face.
Because Melissa, Jordan and I had already been through an engagement session, I knew what to expect from them during their formal photos and they didn't disappoint.
The pair weren't the type of couple that wanted to spend an hour shooting photos of just the two of them and we made the most of an abbreviated bride and groom formal photo session with some special photos I just adore.
Besides, I knew the most fun part of the day was still to come as Melissa and Jordan had talked up their reception since we first met.
I loved everything about Melissa and Jordan's wedding reception. Not only did their first dance feel intimate and personal, with their parents and wedding party watching behind them, but their choice to hire Matt Bernier as their so-called "Live Performance DJ" made everything seem much different than most receptions.
Matt sung fantastic versions of some truly great tunes and knew when to kick it to the playlist to get the crowd moving.
Melissa and Jordan's signature moments of the evening were classy and elegant which built my anticipation even more for what was to come.
If I had to pinpoint one thing from Melissa and Jordan's wedding that I was looking forward to the most, it was the Hora. The night before their wedding, I sat with Jordan's groomsmen and spent all of dinner listening to them talk up this moment and promise to put Jordan through the ceiling of Independence Harbor before all was said and done.
To say I was ready for something crazy is an understatement. And even though the ceiling remained intact, the look of excitement, worry and sheer horror on the faces of the bride and groom as the groomsmen delivered on their promise to steal the show is something I will laugh at each and every time I look at these photos for the rest of my life.
Honestly. Look at Melissa's face below. To me, that's a moment that she'll remember, for better of worse, forever.
It. Was. Awesome.
After the Hora opened up the dance floor in style, I knew we were in for a great night of dancing and Melissa and Jordan's guests delivered.
As I prepared to leave Melissa and Jordan's wedding reception as the night drew to a close, I remember thinking to myself that this is the type of wedding I got into photography to document.
Melissa and Jordan are an amazing couple and some of the most loving people I've ever met and you could tell that throughout the entire evening as guest after guest waxed poetic about how happy they were for the bride and groom.
I experienced their warmth in a small way in the year and a half leading up to their wedding and for that I will always feel honored.
But, more importantly, I'm just so happy for the two of them that their wedding turned out to be everything they dreamed of and much more. I was promised a giant party the first time I talked to Melissa and Jordan and their wedding day lived up to it.
Days this perfect are rare but, in this case, it was well deserved and it couldn't have happened for a better couple.
So, congratulations Melissa and Jordan and thanks for welcoming me into your crazy fun world. I know I'm glad I was along for the ride.
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini (Paul J. Spetrini Photography); Ceremony and Reception Venue: Independence Harbor in Assonet, Massachusetts; Hair and Makeup: New Leaf Hair Studio in Bristol, Rhode Island; Live Performance/DJ: Matt Bernier of Matt Bernier Entertainment;
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