St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center Wedding
Bobbi & Jeremy
October 11th, 2019
Anyone who has heard me talk at a bridal expo or during a consultation with a potential client has heard the reason I became a wedding photographer. Simply put, when I was getting married, my wife and I couldn't afford one.
It's with this in mind that I try my hardest to work with clients of various budgets and weddings of all shapes and sizes.
That's one of the main things that caught Bobbi's eye before she asked me to shoot her October wedding at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center in Woonsocket. Bobbi and Jeremy had initially cut photography from their wedding budget entirely but, after finding me at the Twin River Bridal Expo, the couple reconsidered.
And boy am I glad they did because this bride and groom had a beautiful, intimate wedding day full of moments and memories I know they won't soon forget.
While Bobbi and Jeremy's wedding day was a short one for me -- I was there for just four hours -- it was one I won't soon forget and a great reminder of why I do what I do.
My coverage of Bobbi and Jeremy's wedding day started rather abruptly, as is often the case when I shoot smaller, more casual wedding days. Rather than spend hours with the bride to be documenting her hair and makeup process, Bobbi asked me to begin right before their wedding ceremony started and I was happy to oblige.
What I loved the most about Bobbi and Jeremy was their care-free, go-with-the-flow attitude and that was on display big time as neither the bride nor groom flinched when we had to cancel a planned first look because the ceremony was running a bit behind schedule.
I also loved how serious Jeremy looked as he saw Bobbi for the first time. The bride was walked down the aisle by her three sons and though the groom held his emotions in check, they'd come out after the ceremony when he had a moment alone with Bobbi's children and let the tears flow.
Bobbi and Jeremy chose to get married at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center in Woonsocket, one of the more unique venues I've photographed a ceremony at as it was technically not a church -- the diocese left the building and it's maintained by volunteers -- but had all the feelings of a religious building regardless.
Bobbi and Jeremy's ceremony fit perfectly as it wasn't overly religious but had spiritual elements, including a really sweet hand-fasting that the bride and groom's mothers helped facilitate.
I really liked shooting in this venue, even if it was a bit of a challenge to get the angles I am accustomed to during a church wedding as the altar area in this building was massive. I try to never go on an altar in a religious building and though that proved difficult, I was still able to get nice shots of the bride and groom as they held hands, exchanged vows and sealed their union with a kiss.
With their ceremony over, Bobbi and Jeremy headed outside for their bride and groom portraits. To say this part of their day was nerve-racking for me is an understatement. Not only were we dealing with on-again, off-again rain but Bobbi told me in her first email to me that she hates posing for photos AND we had to get a bit creative with where we shot as their venue was smack dab in the middle of a busy urban city.
Thankfully, we worked around all those challenges and even though we had to stop their bride and groom portraits midway through because of weather, once we resumed, I could tell they were much more comfortable with my posing style and it yielded a lot of photos I really love.
If I had one real worry with the venue Bobbi and Jeremy chose for their wedding, it was what their reception would look like. Bobbi told me the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center had a "basement" area where they would hold their reception and, in my experience, that's always an absolute disaster for photography.
The moment I walked downstairs at this location, though, I was BLOWN AWAY. it was so much nicer than I expected and the room is a real hidden gem for couples looking to have a beautiful wedding reception at an affordable price.
Bobbi and Jeremy did an amazing job decorating for their reception and I knew the moment I walked in that I couldn't wait to see how the dance floor would look for their first dance.
I didn't have to wait long as the two went right into it and, as I expected, it was great. In fact, while I initially hated the color overhead lights that we couldn't turn off, they actually made the first dance photos better than I had planned and the disco ball above Bobbi and Jeremy's head was fun to place around with composition wise.
Because Bobbi and Jeremy only needed me to shoot for four hours, I was a little concerned I wouldn't be able to capture much of their reception but, thankfully, the pair went right from their first dance into four great toasts from members of their wedding party.
Perhaps most importantly, however, I knew I couldn't leave without capturing their parent dances and I'm so glad I stayed a few extra minutes for Bobbi and her father's dance as I didn't know how emotional it would get for the two.
Bobbi and her dad started their dance laughing but the magnitude of the moment hit them both mid-song and, in what Bobbi says was the first time she had EVER seen it, her father even cried.
It was, without a doubt, one of the sweetest father-daughter dances I've photographed.
With Bobbi and her father's dance done, I had one last task to document: Jeremy's dance with his mother. And while it didn't as many tears as the previous dance, it was still an incredibly special moment for a mother and her son and only enhanced by Jeremy's cousin singing the song they hit the dance floor to.
As I packed up my gear and prepared to leave Bobbi and Jeremy's wedding, I couldn't help but laugh to myself thinking how, much like a book, you can never quite tell a wedding day by its cover. If you had asked me to predict how Bobbi and Jeremy's casual wedding would go before I arrived, I would have said it would be a lot less structured and traditional than most I shoot.
But, even in the casual nature of the day and couple itself, Bobbi and Jeremy's wedding was full of a ton of amazing little moments that I know they'll cherish for the rest of their lives. And, if nothing else, their wedding was the kind of day that once again proves to me you don't have to over-plan and over-think your wedding.
As long as you have someone who loves you and a desire to make the day exactly what you envision, your wedding can be special and amazing ... regardless of how large or small you want to make it.
So congratulations Bobbi and Jeremy. Married life definitely suits the two of you and I wish you well as you start this journey together.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair and Make-up: Tabatha Gentile of Timeless Beauty LLC; Bride's Dress: Galina by David's Bridal; Groom's Suit: GenTux; Ceremony & Reception Location: St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; DJ: JAG Entertainment; Desserts: RI Job Corps Culinary Program.