The Guild Wedding Photos
Kelsey & Mike
The Guild, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
August 12th, 2022
No matter how many weddings I photograph, I will always be utterly fascinated with the places people chose to get married. Whether it's a traditional church that's been around longer than any of us have been alive or a simple courthouse wedding with two witnesses, the venue a bride and groom chose to say "I do" in says a lot about who they are and their relationship as a whole.
For Kelsey and Mike, who were married back in August, no venue was more fitting than the Guild in Pawtucket.
For one thing, Kelsey and Mike met at a bar on 90s night and this rustic brewery was a beautiful homage to how they found one each other. For another, the venue has such a laidback hangout vibe to it that it fit their goal for a casual spot for friends and family to celebrate this milestone moment in their life.
And what a moment it was.
I knew from the moment of my arrival to photograph Kelsey and Mike's big day that we were in for a special one as this bride and groom asked me to start my day with a bang and we went right into their first look as soon as I stepped onto the property.
No bridal prep. No groom prep. Just right into the moments they knew they would cherish the most.
This is always a tough request as I like to get warmed up before capturing the best parts of a wedding day but I honestly can't think of a better way we could have started Kelsey and Mike's wedding photos.
And the way Mike looked when he turned around and saw his bride-to-be for the first time? Talk about melting your heart.
Kelsey and Mike chose to have their family and wedding party formal photos captured right by the same black barn doors they did their first look at but, due to the August sun and the fact that we were in the hottest part of the day, I knew it was going to be a tough ask.
Luckily, the pair were patient and while we had to adjust a few times to deal with the blinding sunlight, I loved how these shots all came out. Their friends and family, in particular, were troopers for dealing with the tough conditions but I'm glad we got everything done when we did as I knew this bride and groom would want to relax and not think about their photos in the final moments heading into their ceremony.
Speaking of their ceremony, Kelsey and Mike's ceremony was such a perfect one for their personalities. I knew from the second I saw the groom walking down the aisle that he was ready for this moment but nothing can quite prepare you for seeing the love of your life walking toward you intent on becoming your spouse.
This is where I think the Guild truly shined as a venue choice because the brick walls and cool white curtains were such a unique and special look that really made this ceremony stand out.
Kelsey and Mike's ceremony was short and sweet but full of poignant moments. I especially loved the way these two seemingly always had a smile on their faces or were mid-laugh when looking at each other.
The Guild may have had some 120 or so people in the barn for Kelsey and Mike's ceremony but, for these two, they were the only people in the world in that room at that time and I loved that for them.
Following Kelsey and Mike's ceremony, the two made the rounds and made sure to spend as much time as possible with friends and family members during cocktail hour.
I knew heading into their wedding how important this part of the day would be for Kelsey and Mike and made sure to grab some photos of their details while they mingled with their guests. I loved the low key but colorful choices Kelsey and Mike made for their decor and thought it fit the room and theme of the night perfectly.
Toward the end of cocktail hour, Kelsey and Mike finished up some formal photos with their grandparents who were unable to attend the earlier photo portion of the day and I'm so glad they did as I was also able to eek out ten minutes or so of bride and groom portraits before we started their reception.
I knew I'd still want to take them outside later for sunset photos but these shots were my back-up just in case that plan didn't manifest. And what a back it was as some of these rank among my favorite shots of Kelsey and Mike's entire wedding day.
Of all the moments we had circled on Kelsey and Mike's wedding timeline, the one I looked most forward to was the start of their reception and, more specifically, their first dance.
The Guild is such a cool-looking venue and I knew the string lights and wood beams would make for a great background as these two newlyweds shared their first dance, set to "Into The Mystic" by Van Morrison and it sure did.
Kelsey and Mike's first dance had a lot of cool little touches but I kept coming back to throughout it were the times when Kelsey would lean against Mike's shoulders and just savor the moment together. If you ever wanted to see how a bride was really feeling on her wedding day, THESE are the shots you turn to. And Kelsey conveyed all her thoughts as she and Mike swayed from side to side on this dance floor.
Following their first dance, Kelsey and Mike sat down and were greeted by four great toasts, each one different than the others but special in their own ways.
I loved listening to all four speeches by the maid of honor, best man, groom's father and bride's mother and it really set a fun tone heading into the dinner portion of the festivities.
Admittedly, it was a little tough for me to focus on dinner as I kept checking to see if the sun was still out as I knew Kelsey, Mike and I needed to time their final bride and groom portraits of the day just right.
And thank goodness we did because not only did we capture some of the best photos of the entire day as the sun was slowly setting but not five minutes after we finished, it started to DOWNPOUR.
Talk about good timing.
With formals out of the way and no cake cutting to attend to, the only thing left on Kelsey and Mike's itinerary for their wedding day were parent dances and each were super sweet and low key as well.
I'd be lying if I said the best wasn't yet to come, though, as Kelsey and Mike's wedding reception POPPED OFF the minute the dance floor opened and never, ever let up.
Seriously, this reception was wild and I had a tough enough time just trying to keep up with these folks. I'm glad though because the absolute silliness of the night just made for some awesome moments and photos.
As I slowly started to pack up my gear and head out from Kelsey and Mike's wedding, I couldn't help but take a second to look around and see how much fun the bride and groom were having on the dance floor. It made me smile because, in that moment, I could tell these two were having the time of their lives and the wedding of their dreams and, honestly, that's why I still do what I do.
Shooting wedding photos is not complicated but it is a tough job. But couples like Mike and Kelsey make it feel so rewarding when you know, deep down, you're seeing a pair of soulmates living in a moment they will never forget.
So thank you Kelsey and Mike for including me on this special day. I wish you the best as you start this new chapter of your lives together.