Michelle & Eric
May 28th, 2016
As a wedding photographer, building relationships is the key to any successful shoot.
For some clients, it's a matter of showing up on the day of their wedding and doing whatever you can to make them comfortable. For others, it's a year or more of messaging and bouncing ideas back and forth.
For Michelle and Eric, building the relationship was easy as I had already photographed Michelle's brother's wedding back in 2014. And that familiarity paid off in spades as the two has one of the best weddings I've shot in my career thus far.
Seriously. These guys were incredible. Their wedding was incredible. And, more than anything, it was fun. And when you're with a couple this awesome, that's really the only word you can use to describe it.
Michelle and Eric had one of the biggest parties I've seen at a wedding and it makes perfect sense because, getting to know these two, it's clear they're carefree, loving and hilarious individuals.
And I think their wedding photos perfectly captured all those elements of their personality and more.
My coverage of Michelle and Eric's big day started in the early hours of the morning but you would have never known it from the look on the girls' faces during bridal prep. Michelle and her five bridesmaids were upbeat and energetic right from the start of the day and it's a good thing they were as the group took seven and a half hours for the prep session and needed every minute of it to get everyone dressed to the nines for the big day.
Like troopers, though, these girls never complained and kept laughing and smiling until it was finally time to head to the venue.
Once we got to the venue, however, the time for laughing and smiling was (momentarily) put on hold as Michelle started to feel the stress of the big moments lying ahead of her.
It didn't help, of course, that everyone in the bridal suite had to keep their eyes on the skies and hope the passing rain storms would be just that: passing. Thankfully, unlike the day Michelle's brother got married, these showers did move right on out and we were able to proceed after a brief delay into a beautiful late spring ceremony with plenty of heartfelt moments and lots of sunshine.
I loved Michelle and Eric's wedding ceremony.
Like most of my couples, the two have a special connection that was at the forefront once the "big moment" arrived and the bride walked down the aisle.
Right from meeting Eric, I wondered if he would cry upon seeing his bride-to-be and while he held himself together pretty well, he was on the verge and seeing the love in his eyes was one of the sweetest aspects to an absolutely breathtaking ceremony at an immaculate venue.
Michelle and Eric chose Hillside Country Club as their wedding venue and they really couldn't have picked a better suit more suited to their personalities. The country club had plenty of accessible greens and a gorgeous piece of land next to the water that made for beautiful (albeit sunny) family and wedding party portraits.
Once we got through that, though, we arrived at my most stressful part of the day: The bride and groom formals.
Luckily, having worked with Eric and Michelle on two engagement photos sessions, we had a comfortability that paid dividends as we were in and out and had the newlyweds off to their cocktail hour with ease ... but not before taking some really nice shots that look fantastic in their wedding photo album.
As much fun as the bride and groom formals were, I could tell I was losing Michelle and Eric a bit as the marathon photo sessions required for every wedding were getting a bit in the way of the reception and the massive party they'd been planning for a year.
Once I got into the HIllside Country Club's reception hall, though, I understood WHY the bride and groom were anxious to get to their reception. It was, in a word, amazing.
I can't say this enough: Michelle and Eric's reception was amazing.
Now, I'll be honest: I knew we were in for a special night when Michelle and Eric told me they hired my good friends over at Pro Sound DJ Entertainment Services as their wedding DJs but even I was in for a shock when I saw their uplighting and the way it made the reception hall truly come to life.
Seriously. I don't praise other vendors lightly. You've got to do a lot to earn my respect in this industry as the guys over at Pro Sound have done way more than that. Simply put, there's a reason they were voted the Best in Rhode Island last year and I know anytime we work the same wedding that I'm in for quite the party.
Combine their abilities with the amazing guests Michelle and Eric had and you've got all the ingredients you need for one MASSIVE celebration.
Michelle and Eric had a lot of sweet moments during the formal portion of their wedding reception.
I especially loved the nice little touch of having childhood photos play on the video board as Michelle danced with her father and Eric later danced with his mother but I'd say my favorite part of the formal events of the evening was seeing Michelle and Eric smiling as they cut their cake and got ready to cut loose on the dance floor.
Once the formal events of Michelle and Eric's reception were over, and dinner was served, it was time for dancing. And, boy, did they do a whole lotta dancing on this evening.
Seriously, I don't think the dance floor was empty once during the whole evening.
Well, except later on in the night as Michelle and Eric held a really cool Chinese lantern send off.
I only got three minutes of notice before this was going to take place but it didn't take long for me to get the basics: turn off my flash, get low, try not to get burned and capture the magic.
I'd say the photos came out pretty cool, wouldn't you?
After the lantern sendoff, most weddings would have been winding down but Eric and Michelle's guests were just getitng started.
The group partied hard until the very last dance and if I had to guess, I'd say it was at the very top of biggest dance parties I've seen at a wedding. By the end of the evening, everyone in attendance was exhausted and with good reason: They left it all out there on the dance floor.
All in all, I can't say enough good things about Eric and Michelle's wedding.
From the laid back and relaxed (but long) bridal prep session to a beautiful and thankfully sunny ceremony to a rowdy reception, the day went absolutely perfect.
Michelle and I spoke a lot over the past year and a half about her wedding but I don't think either of us could have predicted how great the wedding would turn out when all was said and done.
I can confidently say that this wedding will be a hard one to top as 2016 moves on and I have no doubt that a lot of the photos you see on this page will hold a prominent place in my heart when I look back on the year that was.
I know it will be a long time before I forget that reception.
What a great night. What a great wedding. What a great couple.