Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Wedding Photos
Aaron & Jenna-Lee*
Whenever I'm hired as a second shooter for a wedding, I know going into the day that there's a very real possibility that things are going to be awkward as I'm walking into a photo session having never met the bride or groom before and, within minutes, I'm suddenly heavily involved in one of the most stressful, and important, days of their lives.
I think that's why the highest compliment I can pay a couple when I leave a wedding where I was a second shooter is feeling like they were one of "my" clients and one of "my" weddings.
Aaron and Jenna-Lee weren't "my" couple when I showed up to photograph their June wedding at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center for Lily & Lime Photography, but by the time I walked back to my car at the end of the night, they felt like old friends and I was so glad to be part of their day.
And I think the photos show why.
* These photos were taken as part of my work as a second photographer for Lily & Lime Photography
and are presented here strictly for portfolio/display purposes.
My time with Aaron and Jenna-Lee began with a very casual groom prep session with the groom at Graduate Providence, formerly known as the Biltmore Hotel. Even though I have mixed feelings about downtown Providence in general (The location is beautiful but getting there can be a nightmare), Graduate Providence is one of my favorite hotels for its arty decor and unbelievably cool vibe.
I especially love the hotel rooms at this location as the rooms provide great backdrops for photos so even though the groom himself was stressing a little bit before his first look with the bride, I was in great spirits right from the jump and knew we were in for a good day.
And once the bride herself was ready to go for said first look, I knew this was going to be something special.
Aaron and Jenna-Lee's first look was such a sweet moment and, more importantly, it was awesome to see the building stress on Aaron's face instantly disappear once he saw his bride to be. I loved the way these soon-to-be newlyweds elevated each other's spirits and were full of nonstop smiles once they came together for their first round of bride and groom portraits in the lobby of Graduate Providence.
I saw first round because, honestly, I don't know if I've had a wedding where I've taken more bride and groom portraits of a couple. These two were not only super photogenic themselves but the locations they chose were fantastic and lended themselves to truly great shots everywhere we went.
Whether it was Graduate Providence to start or at the Botanical Center, by the time Aaron and Jenna-Lee's ceremony was set to start, I knew we'd captured more than enough portraits of them to last the rest of their lives. Talk about an ideal bride and groom session!
To me, one of the coolest aspects of Aaron and Jenna-Lee's wedding day was the laid back vibe in the air throughout the day. In fact, there was so much laughter and smiling, it was almost as if we forgot the biggest and most important part of their day was still to come.
It didn't take long for the real emotions to kick in though. Once Aaron and Jenna-Lee's wedding ceremony kicked off, there was a sudden shift in the tone of the day and all the joking around and fun times we had were temporarily put on pause as the importance of the moment they were about to experience took center stage.
I loved this so much. Seeing this bride and groom who had been some upbeat all day long get choked up saying what they loved about each other brought me all the feels and it was hard not to smile as I got to witness this shift in emotions first hand.
While I don't have a preference for whether or not a couple does their formal photos before or after a ceremony, I will admit the former makes things so much easier. Having already captured more shots of Aaron and Jenna-Lee together than they could even hope to use, I was able to spend their ensuing cocktail hour capturing details inside the Botanical Center.
And talk about details.
I've long had a deep love of Roger Williams Park but its Botanical Center is truly something special and, when the decor is done right, there are few more beautiful spots in the Ocean State. Aaron and Jenna-Lee knocked out the decorations portion of their wedding better than most and the entire Botanical Center looked stunning. To say I was eagerly anticipating the start of this reception is an understatement.
And it didn't take long for Aaron and Jenna-Lee to show exactly what kind of reception they were going to have. Right from the first dance, there was a beautiful energy in the Botanical Center on the night of their wedding and I knew this was going to be quite the party.
One of the things I loved most about Aaron and Jenna-Lee's reception was how laid back their big formal events of the evening were. Their cake cutting was done with almost no fanfare and their parent dances, while super sweet, felt very much like casual moments. I thought this fit the night so well and led nicely into what I was sure would be a nonstop night of dancing and fun.
And while I didn't get to photograph a ton of the open dance floor portion of their evening as my time was up 15 minutes after it started, I didn't need that long to capture the vibe as the dance floor got packed instantly and everyone in attendance wasted no time in rocking out.
It's not often that I leave a wedding where I'm a second shooter knowing it'll be one of my favorite weddings of the entire year but Aaron and Jenna-Lee's big day was definitely an unforgettable event. This wedding was the picture perfect example of why I love second shooting and why I love weddings in general.
And it's not just the photos themselves. I love weddings where brides and grooms not only look like they're having the time of their lives but everyone in attendance is as well.
Aaron and Jenna-Lee traveled all the way from California to celebrate their love and I'm glad they did. More importantly, I'm glad I was there to capture some of the magic. So thank you Aaron and Jenna-Lee on an incredible wedding day. I'd wish you the best of luck as you start your married life together but, judging by the wedding itself, it's clear you've already got everything you need to make that dream come true already.
-Paul J. Spetrini
Check out more of my most recent wedding blogs:
Mark & Julie
Our Lady of the Rosary Church,
Providence, Rhode Island
June 12th, 2021
Paige & Ryan
Glocester, Rhode Island.
June 5th, 2021