Quonset 'O' Club Wedding
Alyson & Nick
September 20th, 2019
I always get a little worried when I'm set to photograph a wedding for a couple who has already eloped.
It doesn't happen often but, when it does, these weddings tend to lack the feeling and emotions of a traditional wedding because the couple is already married and has made their commitment to each other.
Thankfully, when Alyson and Nick held their "official" wedding back in September, a year after I photographed their private elopement on the beach of Goddard Park, it felt just as real and special as every other wedding I've shot this year because the bride and groom at the center of this day are very real and very special themselves.
And, if nothing else, Alyson and Nick's big day felt like the giant party they always knew they wanted and had to wait 365 days to actually celebrate.
I'd say it was worth the wait.
My coverage of Alyson and Nick's wedding day began as most do: In a crowded hotel room with a room full of super fun bridesmaids and a bride anxious to get the day underway.
When I arrived at the TownPlace Suites by Marriott in North Kingstown, Alyson was already finished with hair and makeup and looked ready to go. Naturally, after some brief detail shots of her beautiful dress, we obliged and very quickly got to work on what would prove to be an action-packed wedding day timeline.
Even though Alyson's bridal prep was a bit chaotic at times -- we were all crammed in one room together and she had nine bridesmaids trying to finish getting ready at the same time -- I had a blast watching the hustle and bustle of the afternoon as we prepared to head out for Alyson's first look with her father in the quaint and quiet of downtown Wickford.
Speaking of Wickford, even though I was skeptical of shooting Alyson's pre-ceremony formal photos with her bridesmaids and parents in the area, it was the perfect spot on this beautiful September afternoon and provided us with tons of nice locations within walking distance for a wide variety of beautiful portraits.
After finishing up with Alyson and her girls, I made my way over to the Quonset "O" Club for photos of Nick and his groomsmen.
To my delight, this group was just as fun to work with as the bridesmaids and we quickly tore through portraits of the groom and his party. I will say, though, the tone was a bit more rowdy and I think we can all blame the appearance of a bottle of Proper Twelve whiskey for that.
With most of Alyson and Nick's formal photo list taken care of prior to their wedding ceremony, I was able to focus my time on the pair's details inside of the "O" Club and I'm glad I could as they did a wonderful job using the room's color scheme with accentuate the table settings and themes of their reception.
Everything tied together perfectly and that's no easy task.
As we made our way to Alyson and Nick's wedding ceremony, I knew we were in for something beautiful when I saw the groom's look on his face as Alyson walked down the aisle. Despite technically being married for a year, there was still an excitement in his eyes for that moment and I think that says a lot about this couple and their love for one another.
Alyson and Nick's wedding ceremony was a short but poignant celebration of their life and love and I adored watching the way these two took in this moment. Not only were they laughing at plenty of points but you could tell by their vows how much they appreciate the ways they've been changed by each other into better individuals.
With their ceremony over, Alyson, Nick and I quickly worked out way through their remaining formal photos and I was able to get a few minutes with them for some bride and groom formals.
Having already shot their elopement AND an engagement session, it didn't take much effort to get these two in the proper poses and that was crucial as we didn't have a ton of time but managed to snag a ton of great bride and groom portraits without moving very far.
I especially loved the set behind the location for their wedding ceremony as the shade finally hit the area and created some beautiful light to work with.
Those were easily my favorite photos of the day and, I'm sure, the couple's as well.
Following Alyson and Nick's formal photos, it was time for their reception to begin. I'll be honest, before the day itself I was unsure of what kind of party to expect for these newlyweds but moments into bridal prep, when I saw how much fun Alyson's bridesmaids were, I knew we'd have a great night and we sure did.
Alyson and Nick kicked off the festivities with a lovely first dance set to "This is it" by Scotty McCreery. I loved their first dance for a lot of reasons but mainly for the way Nick looked at his wife as they swayed to the music.
One of the things I loved the most about Alyson and Nick's day was the way they brought the people closest to them in on the festivities.
Not only the pair have a special anniversary dance for Alyson's parents -- who were married on the same date when she said "I do" -- but they had more toasts and blessings than I could keep track of from people you could tell genuinely loved them and really nailed all of the "signature moments" of their wedding reception.
I particularly loved the way Alyson surprised her father during their dance together with a slideshow showing photos of the two of them together when she was a child. It was such a sweet moment and really set the tone of love and gratitude for the evening that Nick would follow moments later with a dance with his mom.
With parent dances over, I couldn't wait to see how the night changed direction once the party got underway.
I didn't have to wait long as Alyson's bouquet toss right after Nick danced with his mother showed exactly how much fun this open dance floor would be.
And from the first to last song, this was a celebration that rarely took a moment to breathe, let alone ever stop.
What I loved the most about Alyson and Nick's reception was just how much the bride and groom made it a point to be right in the middle of the party.
Sure, they spent time with guests and thanked their friends and family members for celebrating with them but when the music was bumping, you didn't have to look far to see where this bride and groom were.
By the time my coverage of Alyson and Nick's wedding day came to an end, I couldn't help but marvel at how much bigger this day was than I ever thought it would be.
In many ways, Alyson and Nick's wedding was the culmination of a two-year journey for me and this couple and it felt like I had already experienced the big moments of their relationship before they said "I do" at the Quonset "O" Club.
But even with their elopement behind us, this wedding day was awesome and exactly what I know this bride and groom always envisioned.
So congratulations Alyson and Nick on a beautiful wedding day and best of luck as you start, or more accurately restart, your lives together as husband and wife.
-Paul J. Spetrini
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Dress: Allure Bridal at Alexandra’s Boutique; Groom's Suit: Carl Anthony Tuxedo in Cranston, Rhode Island; Florist: Mary Anne Martin; Ceremony & Reception Venue: Quonset "O" Club in North Kingstown, Rhode Island; DJ: DJ Nova; Cake: Allie's Donuts; Candy Bar: Lady Anne Candies.