Quonset 'O' Club Wedding
Dennis & Amber
Despite the glitz, glamour and pageantry of a wedding, every bride and groom's big day can be summed up in a handful of moments that they'll never forget. And, if you do your job right as a wedding photographer, those moments tell a story without you ever having to say a word.
I thought a lot about this sentiment the night I photographed Dennis and Amber's wedding at the Quonset "O" Club back in September because few, if any, weddings I've seen were a better example of this.
Whether it was Amber and her maid of honor going from fun-loving to crying the instant she put her dress on, the bride getting choked up with her first look with her grandfather, or the groom fighting back tears when he saw the love of his life begin her walk down the aisle, Dennis and Amber's wedding day had so many beautiful, touching moments of time that came, took your breath away and were gone in a flash.
Luckily, reliving a wedding is almost as fun as experiencing it in real life.
My coverage of Dennis and Amber's wedding day started in a super casual way as the bride and her bridal party were at her grandparent's house getting ready and in great spirits the moment I arrived.
I can usually tell from the first few minutes of any bridal prep session exactly how the day is going to go and Amber looked as relaxed as any bride I've seen as she finished getting her hair and makeup done.
In fact, it wasn't until she put her dress on that the magnitude of the day hit her and, by then, who could blame her for getting emotional?
I'm not one to waste a good cry session and, I'll be honest with you, I loved the timing of Amber and her maid of honor's waterworks once she got into her dress. Why? Because moments later, Amber would walk to the back of the house she was getting ready in and share an emotional look with her grandfather that is one of my favorite grand reveals this year by far.
I was a little worried with Amber getting teary-eyed so much during the final moments of her bridal prep that she might not have any tears left for the wedding itself but, thankfully, that wasn't the case.
And kudos to both the bride and the groom as these two knew exactly how to tug on each other's heartstrings with a first touch before the ceremony to build excitement AND a letter exchange that I'm convinced was just to see who could hold onto their tears longest. Spoiler alert: It was Dennis. (But not for long.)
While Dennis kept his composure during his first touch with Amber, he couldn't hold it in when he finally saw her at the start of their ceremony.
And, honestly, I can't really blame him here as she looked stunning walking down the aisle.
Dennis may have only had one tear break rank but I caught the moment he wiped his eye and, to me, that one photo says so much about how he was feeling in that moment.
Dennis and Amber chose to get married at Pilgrim Lutheran Church and, despite the fact that I live a mere few minutes away from this site, I had never been inside before. Talk about a beautiful church!
I loved this venue for these two and adored their ceremony and if I had to choose a reason, it would be the giant stained-glass window right behind them that cast a nice, warm light on everyone up at the altar and made for a stunning background during the big moments of the ceremony itself.
Dennis and Amber's ceremony was beautiful and touching and struck just the right balance between traditional/religious and heartfelt.
Following a few photos at their church, the newlyweds and I made our way to the Quonset "O" Club, a venue I was all too familiar with this week as I had just shot a wedding there the night before.
Any worries I had of Dennis and Amber's photos looking a little too much like the couple I shot 24 hours earlier were gone the moment I walked in, however, as I found out the pair had chosen the downstairs hall for their reception, a spot I'd never been to before but can't wait to go back to.
As much fun as photographing Dennis and Amber's details were, I knew I had my work cut out for me when it came time for formal photos as the pair had a rather lengthy list.
Luckily, and perhaps due to the groom's nature as a member of the military, Dennis and Amber's formal photos ran like clockwork and we were able to breeze through their family, wedding party and bride and groom portraits long before we ran out of the gorgeous afternoon sunlight we had on this beautiful fall day in North Kingstown.
With formal photos out of the way, it was time for Dennis and Amber to kick off their wedding reception. I'll admit, I had no idea how this part of their wedding day would go as the pair didn't strike me as the party type.
Luckily, looks can be deceiving and I knew the moment they hit the dance floor and held each other for their first dance to the song "Speechless" by Dan + Shay that we were in for a great night.
Dennis and Amber's first dance was just one of a handful of great "big moments" during their reception.
Whether it was the blessing by the groom's father or the three excellent toasts by the best man and maids of honor, this afternoon reception couldn't have gotten off to a warmer start for the newlyweds.
And, speaking of newlyweds, the addition of the 'Newlywed game' to the program was a definite hit for Dennis and Amber's friends and family members and served as a perfect way to usher in the back half of the evening's program right before the bride and groom cut their cake and danced with their grandfather and mother, respectively.
Deep down, I'm always a little worried about wedding receptions that get to the open dance floor portion of the evening before the sun officially sets but, thanks in large part to the awesome DJs Dennis and Amber chose -- Jessica Bicho & Starr Bicho (MC) of Turning Music into Memories with DJ JessB & Starr, the night never had a chance to slow down once the party officially began.
What I especially loved about Dennis and Amber's reception was just how much they were in the thick of things on the dance floor. Dennis even broke it down a little bit and hit a few splits ... which I'm sure was NOT easy in his uniform.
As I got ready to call it a night with Dennis and Amber, I couldn't help but think about all the ways in which the little moments of their day added up to something truly special.
On the surface, each small part of Dennis and Amber's wedding day was important but not the centerpiece of the event, save for maybe their ceremony.
But that's what a good wedding day is, really. It's a collection of moments that turn into memories you'll cherish for a lifetime. And no matter which moments this bride and groom hold nearest to them, I can guarantee you the beautiful fall afternoon where Dennis and Amber became husband and wife is one they will never, ever, forget.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair & Make-up: Samantha Giarrusso; Bride's Dress: The Bridal Shoppe; Ceremony Location: Pilgrim Luthern Church in Warwick, Rhode Island; Reception Location: Quonset "O" Club in North Kingstown, Rhode Island; DJ: Jessica Bicho & Starr Bicho (MC) of Turning Music into Memories with DJ JessB & Starr.