Providence City Hall Wedding Photos
Melissa & James
Providence City Hall & Franchesca's at Waterplace, Providence, Rhode Island
July 22nd, 2023
If I could boil down all the advice I have for brides and grooms before they walk down the aisle for their wedding day, the single most important piece I hope they listen to is simple: Be yourself. For whatever reason, when some folks get married, they have this idea of what a wedding is supposed to be and spend so much time striving for that ideal, they lose a bit of themselves in the process.
I think that's one of the reasons I loved working with Melissa and James so much in the leadup to their July wedding in downtown Providence. From the very first moment I met this bride and groom, Melissa told me in no uncertain terms she had no interest in the typical wedding "BS" and was determined to have a wedding day that fit her vision, on her terms, without compromising in any way or losing her personality in the process.
And both Melissa and James succeeded in that. In spades. All you had to do to see confirmation was look at their faces at literally any point the entire day as they were grinning ear to ear from the very first moment they saw each other during their wedding ceremony until it was time to pack up and call it a night following their final dance.
If I had any doubts about the casual nature of Melissa and James' wedding day, they were removed the moment I walked into the Providence City Hall Aldermen Chambers prior to their wedding ceremony. Not only were this bride and groom so determined to have a relaxed day that they didn't even want any photos of their bride and groom prep taken but the ceremony itself started late while the groom waited for a few guests to arrive who were stuck in traffic.
This might sound pretty common but, truth be told, it wasn't that we waited that stood out. It was how we waited. James stood in the Aldermen chambers relaxed and hanging out with friends and family while the bride arrived a bit before she was slated to head down the aisle and was in no rush to get the program started. I loved that and it said a lot about what really mattered to this couple on this special day.
And when the wedding did begin? What a ceremony it was.
I knew from the moment I saw Melissa arrive to City Hall that her unusual and unorthodox bridal dress would turn heads and it sure did. In the very best way. I adored Melissa's choice in attire for her wedding day as not only was it super colorful and clearly comfortable but it felt like a deliberate choice to avoid a big poofy gown that would have been miserable to wear on a sweltering summer afternoon.
Staying cool was exactly what Melissa and James did during their ceremony, as well. Though there were moments of beautiful emotion and both the bride and groom cried a bit, it was clear this ceremony was thought out to highlight the best parts of their unique and special relationship and it felt not only authentic but fun to witness these two say "I do."
Within moments of Melissa and James officially tying the knot, we were on the move to get them to their reception venue. Thankfully, the pair chose to do some bride and groom formals on our travels and that meant really fun photos inside of City Hall, outside on Washington Street and even in front of Kennedy Plaza with the Providence skyline in the backdrop.
In essence, their bride and groom portraits couldn't have been more "Providence themed" if we tried and I loved every second of it.
The one part of Melissa and James' wedding day that I don't think any of us loved was the heat but, when you're getting married in July (And as someone who has done this, I can attest to it), you kind of accept the day is likely going to be warm going in.
Melissa and James, to their credit, never let the hot weather get to them and when we arrived to their reception venue of Franchescas at Waterplace, we breezed through family photos as fast as possible and still had time for a few more bride and groom portraits before (thankfully) heading inside to the air conditioning.
Melissa and James wanted a family hangout type atmosphere for their wedding reception and they sure got it with Franchescas at Waterplace. Not only was the small restaurant perfect for the amount of people they had in attendance but it was a beautifully-lit, sunny location that was a delight to spend a Saturday afternoon at.
Melissa and James' wedding decor reflected this perfectly as well and went really well with the overall theme of the afternoon.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Melissa and James' wedding reception as smaller weddings tend to lend themselves to more muted celebrations but, the moment these two walked in to a rousing ovation and had giant smiles on their faces, I knew this would be a fun afternoon.
And it sure was. Melissa and James kickstarted their reception off with a lovely, classic first dance set to “The More I See You” by Nat King Cole and it only got better from there.
If I had to pick a favorite moment from Melissa and James' wedding day, it would definitely be their combination mother-son, father-daughter parent dance. I am normally not a fan of combining two parent dances into one but it worked wonderfully for this couple as they each had amazing moments with their respective parent and I was able to capture all of the little interactions between Melissa and her dad and James and his mother that make these dances so special to begin with.
Following their parent dance, Melissa and James were determined to spend the rest of their reception having a relaxed time with their closest friends and family members and that meant just one small welcome toast from the groom, as the pair didn't have a wedding party, and a post-lunch cake cutting before opening the dance floor.
And what a dance floor party it was.
Even though there wasn't much room to move at Franchescas at Waterplace, that didn't stop Melissa and James' friends and family members from dancing pretty much the entire reception start to finish.
What I especially found awesome was the way Melissa and James were seemingly right in the middle of the dance floor every single time I looked around. These two wanted nothing more than to spend their wedding day in each other's arms and I loved that for them so much.
I'll be honest. As I packed up my gear and headed out of Melissa and James' wedding reception, I didn't quite know what to do with myself. It's not often I leave a wedding having stayed until the final song was over and it's still light outside.
But that's the beautiful of the day Melissa and James chose to have as they did exactly what they wanted, when they wanted and how they wanted.
Of all the couples I've worked with so far this year, I think Melissa and James really stayed true to themselves and their vision for their wedding the most and I can't think of a better compliment to pay this bride and groom or the wedding day they had that I know they'll never forget.
So thank you Melissa and James for including me on your special march down the aisle and best of luck on thie new and exciting chapter of your lives together as husband and wife.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Dress: Ted Baker London, Wrentham, Massachusetts; Groom's Suit: Indochino, Dedham, Massachusetts; Florist: Franchesca's Events & Florals; Ceremony Venue: Providence City Hall Aldermen Chambers, Providence, Rhode Island; Reception Venue: Franchescas at Waterplace, Providence, Rhode Island; Music: DJ Pete Productions; Cake: Silver Spoon Bakery; Drinks: Bayside Bartenders; Food: D&D Caterers.