Ariel & Sathia
Ask any wedding photographer and they'll tell you by the time you get to your last wedding of the season, you're mentally exhausted, everything hurts and you just want to get into the offseason.
That's why I'm always hesitant to book December weddings as I'm not sure I'll physically be able to give the same effort I give the rest of the year.
Thankfully, I knew that wouldn't be the case in 2019 as I was eagerly anticipating Ariel and Sathia's wedding for far more reasons than it being my final shoot of the year. Ariel and Sathia are a spectacular couple and an absolute blast to photograph, as demonstrated by our engagement shoot together seven months before they said "I do."
Their wedding day was no different and I can think of no better way to have closed one of the most rewarding years of my career with one of my favorite couples and most fun wedding days.
My coverage of Ariel and Sathia's wedding day began at Graduate Providence, formerly the Biltmore Hotel, and not only was I lucky enough to shoot my usual bridal prep before a wedding ceremony, I actually had time to capture the groom getting ready as well as Sathia was putting the finishing touched on his outfit when I arrived at the hotel to begin my coverage.
I knew right away what kind of day we were in for when I said hello to Sathia as he was feeling a little nervous and tense about the day ahead. Those are my favorite types of grooms as I know they'll be emotional later on and Sathia certainly delivered on that front.
After finishing up with Sathia, I made my way to the bridal suite and saw a bride whose emotions couldn't have been much different as Ariel was as cool as a cucumber as she finished her hair and makeup portion of prep.
But it's one thing for a bride to seem cool, calm and collected when she's in a makeup chair. It's another when she has her dress on for real and that's how I knew Ariel was incredibly excited for this day as she couldn't stop smiling the closer we got to her big first look with her groom.
If she had any nerves, she did a great job hiding them, no doubt helped by the fact that her timeline allowed her ample opportunities for photos and there was no real pressure to go-go-go and get everywhere all at once.
Speaking of that timeline, Ariel and Sathia chose to have a first look in the upper lobby of Graduate Providence and it might have had my favorite one all year.
As I said above, I knew Sathia would be a bit emotional seeing his bride but even I couldn't have predicted how much so and though he'll never admit to crying when he turned around to see Ariel, the photos tell a different story and show how much this moment meant to him.
Ariel and Sathia's first look hit me right in the feels and set the tone beautifully for the day.
I'm so glad they decided to do a first look as it gave us PLENTY of time before their ceremony for formal photos.
First up, the couple just had to take advantage of the timeless beauty of Graduate Providence's lobby. I love this spot for photos as the golden elevator and area surrounding it were all decked out for the Christmas season.
For a December wedding, you simply can't find a better indoor location for formal photos.
In general, Ariel and Sathia planned their wedding perfectly. Even though they were getting married in December, this couple really couldn't have picked a better day as it was a bit chilly but nowhere near as bad as it could have been and still provided plenty of photo opportunities to show off the season.
Ariel and Sathia were wed at Providence City Hall in the Alderman Chambers and, prior to the ceremony, we had pretty much full access to the entire building by ourselves.
We took full advantage.
With their wedding party and bride/groom formal photos out of the way, Ariel and Sathia were rearing to get their ceremony started.
Right before they did, though, Ariel called a slight audible and decided she wanted to do a first look with her father and I can't blame her as her dad lost it just as bad, if not worse, than Sathia and it was a really touching moment I know she won't soon forget.
And talk about setting the emotions high before a wedding. Man.
Prior to Ariel and Sathia's ceremony, I'd never been in the Aldermen Chambers of Providence City Hall. What a unique place to say "I do."
Not only was the room grand and yet intimate, it was the perfect location for Ariel and Sathia to exchange rings and become husband and wife and their ceremony, while short, was meaningful and full of joy.
I loved the way these two held hands and never lost sight of one another and it was a beautiful ceremony that hit all the right notes and had just the right balance between emotion and laughter.
With their ceremony out of the way, Ariel and Sathia went straight into family formal photos before we made our way to the Cranston Portuguese Social Club.
By the time we got to the reception venue, I couldn't wait for this party to start and while I wasn't certain what to expect from their decor given how colorful and vibrant their engagement photos were, Ariel and Sathia chose to go with an understated theme and it was absolutely the right call as their green-toned details complimented the room nicely.
I knew I was in for a fun night the moment Ariel and Sathia's reception got underway as the pair chose "This I Promise You" by *NSync as their first dance song and then broke into a traditional Cambodian dance circling the room.
The balance of different cultures was a great metaphor for the night itself as this room full of random friends and family members would do a great job blending together before this night was over.
And, yes, the Cambodian song was a blast to photograph.
Following a slew of speeches from literally every member of their wedding party and the father of the bride, Ariel and Sathia sat down for a great dinner before making their way through the room greeting guests.
This delayed the rest of the formalities of the evening a bit but stressed how much every person in the room meant to the bride and groom and worked great as Ariel and Sathia played the rest of their reception pretty straight forward.
The pair had a cake cutting and a father-daughter dance before the night gave way to dancing and I think it was just the right amount of tradition and the right amount of party to make the night a huge success.
In fact, the only thing I might have changed about Ariel and Sathia's night was getting them on the dance floor more. Thankfully, their friends and family members weren't shy and made sure the party was hopping throughout the reception.
And when the bride and groom did manage to break away from time spent with their guests, they took the floor over.
By the time my time with Ariel and Sathia came to an end, thus concluding my 2019 wedding season, I couldn't help but laugh that I wish I actually had more time to photograph their reception.
But that's what a good couple does. They make you forget about how hectic the day was and how tired you are mentally and physically. At no point during Ariel and Sathia's wedding day did I want things to go faster and I think that says a lot about how great these two really are.
I loved getting to document this wedding day and can think of no better way to have concluded 2019 than with a couple this great and fun to be around.
So, thank you Ariel and Sathia for allowing me to be there to document this incredible day of your lives.
And thank you to all my 2019 couples.
This year has been amazing and all of your weddings have inspired me beyond words I can express to adequately state my feelings. So, instead, I'll wrap up with this: While I am certainly eager for a couple of months of down time, I look forward to getting back out there in April to capture more of your moments and memories.
Because couples like Ariel and Sathia deserve it.
See you in 2020!
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
Danielle & Edward
Date: December 6th, 2019
Victoria & Pembroke
Captain Daniel Packer Inne,
Date: November 16th, 2019
Allison & Jason
Saints Rose & Clement (Ceremony) &
Warwick Country Club (Reception)
Date: November 10th, 2019
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair: Stacy Brayman of Hair We Are; Bride's Make-up: Jennifer Dupre of Jennifer Dupre Artistry; Bride's Dress: Designed by Casablanca. Purchased at Melissa Ashley Brides; Groom's Suit: Banana Republic; Ceremony Location: Providence City Hall; Reception Location: Cranston Portuguese Club; DJ: DJ Phat Matt.
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