The Barn at Wight Farm Wedding Photos
Karen & Steve
The Barn at Wight Farm, Sturbridge, Massachusetts
July 31st, 2021
One of the biggest worries I had entering the 2021 wedding season was whether or not couples who chose to elope in 2020 and have their "big wedding days" in 2021 would leave disappointed that their events didn't feel as "special" as they would have otherwise because they were already, in fact, married.
Thankfully, the more weddings I shoot this year, the more I learn that's simply not the case. Take, for instance, Karen and Steve.
Karen and Steve were married last June at a small and intimate elopement in Sugar Land, Texas and, by all accounts, if ANY of my couples were going to treat their 2021 wedding re-do as just another day, it would've been them. Not only was their July wedding at the Barn at Wight Farm in Sturbridge, Massachusetts a full year plus since they said "I do," but they had to travel nearly 2,000 miles for what was, in theory, a celebratory party.
But that's why I loved Karen and Steve's day so much. Because it never felt like anything other than what they always intended. And what they intended was absolutely, positive, picture perfect.
My coverage of Karen and Steve's wedding day began with an almost surreal bridal prep session. Why do I phrase it like that? Because Karen was such a well-prepared bride that by the time I arrived she was nearly 45 minutes ahead of schedule and just about done with hair and makeup.
Now, most times, I love when this happens as there's no pressure to rush and hit timeline objectives when the day is running so smooth but in this case that meant we had a LOT of time to relax and hang out without much to do before heading to the venue.
Once we got to the venue, though, the entire tone of the day shifted and the reality hit Karen in a pretty surprising way. In what was easily the cutest part of the entire day, the bride-to-be paced nervously in the downstairs bridal prep area and had to occasionally question why she was feeling nervous considering she was already married.
I thought this was adorable and showed that, even if this day was essentially a party, it was still one that meant a lot to this bride and she wanted everything to be perfect and, to me, that was perfect in and of itself.
Karen and Steve chose to get married at the Barn at Wight Farm for its rustic feel and barn theme and nowhere was that more evident than during their indoor ceremony.
Typically, I don't see a lot of non-religious indoor ceremonies on nice summer days but the barn was the absolute right call for these two as it gave their ceremony an intimate vibe and kept all of their friends and family out of the beaming sunshine of a late July afternoon.
I loved Karen and Steve's ceremony. Even though it was just 10 minutes long, it struck the exact right tone for this bride and groom and felt authentically "them" from the minute Steve walked up to the aisle to wait for his current and soon-to-be wife until the moment they exchanged rings and a kiss.
I especially loved watching the way they looked at each other when they felt like no one was looking. It's easy for a bride and groom to hide their feelings for one another when they're in a room full of people but the camera never lies and their ceremony photos say so much even when they themselves say so little.
The one part of Karen and Steve's wedding day that was, easily, the hardest was finding a proper place for their formal photos. As beautiful as the Barn at Wight Farm is, there was next to no cloud cover on Karen and Steve's wedding day and that didn't leave us a ton of options.
Thankfully, the day's timeline meant we just had to be a little more patient than usual and after taking a ton of photos in front of a white building on the property that gave us plenty of shade, the sun finally cooperated enough to go down just enough for us to get some beautifully lit shots of the wedding party mingling together.
More importantly, the timing gave us the absolute best sunlight right as we got ready for bride and groom formals and while I've shot a lot of great bride and groom portraits this year, I can confidently say few, if any, have put a smile on my face quite as large as the ones I captured for Karen and Steve.
Not only were these two super accommodating to my requests but they're basically pros at posing now, having already worked with me on an engagement session and having had their Texas elopement captured by a different photographer who did an awesome job with their portraits together as well.
Suffice to say, by the time we got ready to head to the back of the Barn for the classic "Barn at Wight Farm" shots, I was thrilled with everything we'd already taken and ready to put my feet up and enjoy what promised to be a great reception.
Speaking of their reception, Karen and Steve did a wonderful job utilizing everything their venue had when thinking how to decorate their wedding day.
I particularly loved the cream and silver table settings and the rustic lanterns they chose as centerpieces but it was the cake that stood out to me the most. Typically, I hate all-black cake toppers but in this venue, theirs looked incredible and really accentuated their cake perfectly.
In truth, it was just a sign of things to come for this reception.
Even though I've known Steve for most of my professional career, having worked with him in journalism in a variety of ways on and off again for more than a decade, I honestly had no idea what to expect from his reception. It could have been a "hang outside and smoke cigars" night or a complete "rock the dance floor all night long" event.
Ultimately, it ended up somewhere in the middle and, honestly, that feels about right for this couple.
My favorite moment, though, was Karen and Steve's beautiful first dance set to “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector. I'd never heard this song prior to this dance but it fit the room and the mood so well as Steve and Karen held each other and swayed to the music under the string lights of a beautifully-lit barn. It doesn't get much better than that for a bride, a groom or the wedding photographer tasked with documenting it all.
Karen and Steve aren't an overly "showy" couple and I think the big moments of their reception really showed that. While they still had the traditional father-daughter and mother-son dances, as well as a pair of toasts and a cake cutting, it never felt like the moments where they were center stage were overly dramatic and everything had a more casual vibe than I'm used to on a wedding day and I absolutely LOVED that.
Everything about this reception just felt so genuine and stress-free and I think that's why their photos seem so true to them and true to life.
That's not to say there weren't still some moments that caught me off guard, of course.
After a deliciously delightful dinner, Karen and Steve quietly cut their beautiful cake and it was time to party. At first, I didn't know whether or not Karen and Steve's wedding guests were the "dancing" type crowd but, thankfully, after a somewhat slow start as people eased into the night, there were tons of moments where everyone let their hair down and rocked out.
It was the exact right balance between slow and romantic evening with your partner and party and I could tell Karen and Steve's guests loved every minute of it, especially the fun little nieces and nephews running all over the venue and having the time of their little lives.
As my time with Karen and Steve came to an end, I couldn't help but think that this was exactly the kind of wedding day and night I always pictured for these two and that, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing.
The coronavirus pandemic may have upended plans for couples all over the world and may have postponed or flat out cancelled some of the best events from 2020 but when my brides and grooms find a way to overcome the frustrations of a situation that's completely out of their control, and have the wedding days they always dreamed of regardless, how can you call that anything other than a victory.
Karen and Steve may have had to wait a year and travel thousands of miles to celebrate their love with those closest to them but it's hard to deny it was worth the wait and worth the travel when you see how beautiful it finally was.
So congratulations Steve and Karen on an amazing wedding day I won't soon forget and I wish you luck as you start this new chapter of your lives together as husband and wife ... again.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Bride's Hair and Make-up: Lauren at Blushing Brides Boston; Bride's Dress: David's Bridal; Groom's Suit: Men's Wearhouse; Florist: Cameron & Fairbanks; Ceremony & Reception: The Barn at Wight Farm, Sturbridge, Massachusetts; DJ: Ken Duquette of Champagne Toast Entertainment; Cake: The Bean Counter.