Squantum Association Wedding Photos
Gina & Philip
September 27th, 2020
Of all the ways in which the coronavirus pandemic has affected the New England wedding industry in 2020, by far the biggest is the utter elimination of large weddings with massive, alcohol-fueled parties.
Thankfully, this isn't something everyone wants and two months before anyone had even heard of COVID-19 in this region, I sat in a coffee shop in Cranston, Rhode Island with Gina and Philip to discuss their planned October 2020 wedding and listened as they said they wanted: 1.) A small wedding day, 2.) No more than 60 guests and 3.) A day that was about the commitment they were making and not a party where people got overly drunk.
In other words, it was the absolute perfect wedding for the safe, intimate and socially-distanced world of 2020.
Gina and Philip were married on a beautiful fall afternoon at Squantum Association and what they lacked in rowdiness, they more than made up with in special moments, awesome people and memories they'll never forget.
Before I even began my coverage of Gina and Philip's big day, I knew it would be a relaxed and casual one where we didn't have to run around much and could just take in the big moments as they came. Why? Because the pair were getting ready on site at the Squantum Association and had a very relaxed vibe from the moment I arrived.
Nowhere was this clearer than as I began to photograph the bride-to-be. Gina had absolutely no stress on her plate (other than last-minute hair curling) and I couldn't help but fall in love with her awesome purple dress that did a great job making clear right from the start that this was a wedding unlike any I'd shoot this year.
Gina spent the final moments of her bridal prep posing for some simple portraits near a beautiful mirror in the prep area of the venue, as well as some photos with her mother and man of honor. What I loved about this little period of time we had together was looking on as the bride-to-be occasionally peeked through the window down at her ceremony site, eager to get the show on the road.
Her waiting fiancé, meanwhile, was just as thrilled to see their friends and family arrive and spent the final minutes before the ceremony greeting as many people as possible before Gina and her father walked down the aisle and took his breath away.
Gina and Philip's wedding ceremony was one of my favorite I've shot in quite some time. Not only was it set at a great location, right next to the water and a giant cannon at Squantum Association, but we were treated to a series of fly-overs by planes that made the crowd laugh more and more each time.
To their credit, and a great indication of who this couple is, Gina and Philip were laughing loudest at the absurdity of the timing and never let it slow them down. I truly can't think of too many brides and grooms with bigger smiles on their face as they said "I do."
Gina and Philip told me early on their wedding day was all about the commitment they planned to make and it showed as this was, by far, the highlight of the entire event.
With their wedding ceremony over, Gina and Philip turned the day over to me for their family formals and their bride and groom portraits. As is often the case when I shoot a fall wedding at Squantum Association, the hardest part was deciding where to take them as the property is beautiful and you can capture a lot of looks without walking very far.
Gina and Philip were troopers throughout this period of the day and we were able to capture some really nice colors as the leaves were just starting to turn on their wedding day.
One of the biggest question marks I had going into Gina and Philip's wedding was what their reception would look like as our previous talks led me to believe this couple wasn't the showy type and would likely keep things simple, basic and beautiful and they did just that.
Gina and Philip had basic decor on the Squantum Association indoor fireplace as well as for their seating chart, centerpieces and cake table and, honestly, it fit them and the theme of their day perfectly.
I knew right from the moment Gina and Philip walked in and were introduced as husband and wife for the first time that we would have a more low-key reception than I'm used to but that's not to say it didn't have its beautiful moments.
The bride and groom chose the Barry Manilow underrated gem "Can't Smile Without You" for their first dance song and that song was fitting because the soundtrack for the evening was very timeless and classic.
Much like their first dance was, the other big moments of Gina and Philip's reception were understated as well.
The newlyweds only had one toast, an emotion one from the bride's man of honor, and a pair of parent dances as Gina danced with her father and Philip danced with his daughter.
I loved all three of these moments as so much was said and you could see the emotions through the bride and groom's eyes, rather than in loud, boisterous displays of affection. I especially loved Philip's dance with his daughter as she gave him a big hug once their song together started and never let him go.
On an afternoon where familiar bonds were the biggest theme, that spoke volumes to me.
One of the things I love about weddings is how, even when I think I have them figured out, and know what to expect, something happens that changes everything up.
Such was the case as Gina and Philip's dance floor opened up. Their DJ, Jeffrey Thomas, performed live throughout cocktail hour and dinner and was an incredible singer but, when it came time to pack the dance floor, his attempts at fun, party music were surprisingly missing with this older crowd.
Not a big deal, I thought, as we weren't expecting a big party crowd. Then, like only the best DJs do, Jeff switched up the tempo and started focusing the playlist on 60s and 70s classics.
The result? A full and rocking dance floor that, many times, rivaled even the best party vibes I've seen this year.
What I loved the most about Gina and Philip's reception — besides the music I couldn't help but rock out to and later add to my personal Spotify playlists — was the way in which the crowd moved from rocking on the dance floor to hanging out on the patio.
Whether they were vibing to the music or just enjoying a casual chat with those closest to them, I could tell everyone in attendance appreciated the super chill atmosphere of this no-stress wedding.
It's part of the reason I simply had to turn down the bride and groom when they said I could cut out a half hour earlier than planned. While I had plenty of photos to document their afternoon, I just knew this was the type of crowd who would end the wedding with a bang and they sure did. The last 20 minutes of Gina and Philip's reception ranks among my favorite endings to a wedding in a long, long time and I'm so glad I was still in attendance to capture it all.
By the time I departed Gina and Phiip's wedding reception, I left with so much more than I thought I would.
Not only did I have some great music to listen to that I hadn't heard in quite some time but I really left with an appreciation for couples who know exactly who they are and exactly what they want from a wedding.
In a year where so many people are disappointed they can't have the big blow out, all night ragers that many weddings turn into, it was nice to see how a small, intimate wedding day can still be an absolute blast and exactly what a bride and groom had always pictured.
And, if nothing else, I'm just so glad Gina and Philip were able to focus all of their time and attention on their special day on the friends and family that meant the most to them. So congratulations Gina and Philip on a beautiful wedding day and best of luck as you begin your life together as husband and wife.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Dress: Alexandra's Boutique in Fall River, Massachusetts; Florist: Imondi & Sons Florists in Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Ceremony & Reception Location: Squantum Association, Riverside, Rhode Island; DJ: Jeffrey Thomas.