Blog— Weddings — Massachusetts — 2022 —
Rachel's Lakeside Wedding Photos
Ashley & Joel
Rachel's Lakeside, Dartmouth, Massachusetts
September 10th, 2022
One of the few things that will truly bum me out on a wedding day is if I can tell a bride and groom isn't having fun or is taking their big day far too seriously. Weddings are meant to be fun. They're meant to be a celebration. You're supposed to have a good time.
I think that's why I was looking forward to Ashley and Joel's September wedding at Rachel's Lakeside in Dartmouth, Massachusetts so much. I knew from our fall 2021 engagement session that this couple was an absolutely ridiculous amount of fun and I knew that every moment of their wedding day would be full of jokes and laughter.
And yet they still vastly exceeded my expectations and put together one of the most fun weddings I've had this year. Seriously, this one made me heart smile. It was that good.
My time with Ashley and Joel began the moment the two arrived to their venue. Typically, I like to ease into a wedding day but there was no room for that here as I arrived moments before the bride did and went right to work capturing photos of her dress and her getting into the dress.
It was all with good reason, though, as we had a full slate of photos planned before their ceremony and wanted to make the most of every minute.
As for the couple themselves? Ashley arrived in good spirits and I could tell she was as eager to get into the day as I was. Joel was already cracking jokes and making the room belly laugh as he got his boutonniere pinned.
I had a general idea of how Ashley and Joel's wedding day would go when we talked it over during their engagement session last fall but, in my heart, I knew the most telling moment of the day would be their first look.
Some of my funniest, least serious clients are all fun and games until things get real so I knew this would be the true litmus test as to how relaxed Ashley and Joel would be and, while they definitely felt the love of the moment, they didn't stray too far and take it too seriously.
Joel was even laughing when he knew Ashley was behind him and I told him he couldn't turn around yet until I was ready to capture his look. But who can blame me? His reaction was fantastic.
With the first look in the books, Ashley, Joel and I got to work with knocking out as many bride and groom portraits and family/wedding party formals as possible prior to their ceremony.
But, first, the bride had a few gifts to give to her soon-to-husband and her father. Both moments were just so adorable I had to include them here because .... talk about some great reactions.
I'm almost always glad when couples plan to take care of formal portraits prior to their wedding ceremony and it was especially true for Ashley and Joel as the lighting was absolutely perfect when we lined everyone of their closest friends and family members up.
That lighting was particularly impressive for our first round of bride and groom portraits. I knew from having worked with Ashley and Joel before that they're super comfortable in front of the camera and that came across in spades for their formal photos, both with and without their absolutely precious son Royce who kept the mood light and fun as we made our way through some really nice poses together.
I could have photographed these two for hours but, alas, we had a wedding ceremony to get to and what a ceremony it was.
Ashley and Joel may have gotten married in early September but, man, did it ever feel like the middle of the hottest part of the summer with the way the sun was beaming. Still, that didn't dampen the excitement for this bride or groom. You could see how much they looked forward to this moment. It was all over their face as Ashley made her way down the aisle.
Ashley and Joel's wedding ceremony was short and sweet but it was easily the part of the day you could tell meant the most of this couple. There were still brief moments of levity here and there but it was also really touching and romantic.
The two spent a lot of time talking about what the other meant to them and it was really heartwarming to see a bride and groom express themselves so personally in front of everyone they cared about.
One of the biggest reasons Ashley and Joel chose to do formal photos prior to their ceremony was they really wanted to spend all of cocktail hour with their friends and family members and I can't blame them. The mood after their ceremony felt more like a full on open dance floor than a traditional cocktail hour and I was just happy to give them space while I quickly documented all their great decorations around the room at Rachel's Lakeside.
I had a feeling Ashley and Joel's wedding reception would be a wild one but it actually started out fairly normal.
The pair shared their first dance to “Home To You” by John Michael Montgomery and it was really sweet to see how into the moment they both were.
I think the most surprising moment of Ashley and Joel's wedding reception was how emotional Ashley's dad got during their father-daughter dance and how emotional Joel's mom got during her dance with the groom.
Both really underscored how big a day this really was for the newlyweds and how happy those around them were for them. And that was the theme, as well, for the two toasts we got prior to dinner.
If I had to pick my personal favorite part of Ashley and Joel's wedding day, though, it would be their sunset formals following dinner. While the sunset wasn't particularly great, I really loved this little batch of bride and groom portraits we took. They were so different than the ones we took earlier that afternoon and I could see how relaxed Ashley and Joel were taking these.
They were easily my favorite shots of the day.
If I had to guess, though, I'd say Ashley and Joel's favorite part of their wedding — besides getting married of course — was everything that followed their sunset shots as we rolled back into their reception and got the party started.
First up, of course, was the traditional cake cutting and then a really fun garter and bouquet toss.
I could tell we were in for a special night when the dance floor opened up, though, as Joel very quickly started shedding clothing. First he took his jacket off. Then his vest. Then his tie.
This groom intended to make the most of the dance floor and neither he nor Ashley disappointed as this party was WILD from start to finish and one of the most fun times I've had at a reception this year.
As I started packing my gear up and headed out of Ashley and Joel's wedding reception, I could see the pair were still going strong on the dance floor and I loved that for them.
Ashley and Joel's wedding was one of the purest examples I've seen this year of a couple living in the moment and having the time of their life and, honestly, it couldn't have happened to a better couple.
So thank you Ashley and Joel for allowing me to document your special day and for letting both me AND yourselves have so much fun in the process. I wish you luck in this new chapter of your life together, though I know you won't need it as you have each other and that's all you really need in this world. :)
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair: Laurie from Sensations Salon in New Beford, Massachusetts; Bride's Make-up: Kierna from Sensations Salon in New Beford, Massachusetts; Bride's Dress: Alexandra's Boutique in Fall River, Massachusetts; Groom's Suit: Main St. Formals in Acushnet, Massachusetts; Ceremony & Reception: Rachel's Lakeside, Dartmouth, Massachusetts; DJ: South Coast Entertainment; DJ: Wingate's Cake Design.