The Villa at Ridder Country Club Wedding Photos
Tonya & Matt*
The Villa at Ridder Country Club, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts
April 16th, 2022
Of all the challenges wedding photographers in New England face, I'd argue the long layoff between the end of a season and the spring has got to be the most difficult. Just when you think you've got your feet under you and you're rolling with a ton of year-end momentum, winter comes and you don't see another wedding for months.
I've been fortunate this year that I was lucky enough to book a couple of clients during the normally slow months and that's one of the main reasons I jumped at a chance to photograph Tonya and Matt's wedding at the Villa at Ridder Country Club in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts as a second photographer for Pretty Nerdy Photography, a photo company run by one of my closest friends in the wedding photography business: Becky MacDonald.
Becky and I chat about all things weddings almost every single day and whether I'm shooting for her or she's shooting for me, we just work so well together that anytime we can team up, I know it's going to be an awesome day.
Tonya and Matt's wedding back in April was no exception. As the third wedding I shot in 2022, it was the perfect way to "build up some reps" before my schedule got super crazy and, thanks to the fact that this bride and groom had already said "I do" in an elopement, this wedding day was super relaxed and lots of fun. In other words, it was the perfect cure to offseason blues.
* These photos were taken as part of my work as a second photographer for Pretty Nerdy Photography
and are presented here strictly for portfolio/display purposes.
My time with Tonya and Matt started with one of my favorite groom prep sessions in quite some time at the Residence Inn. When I arrived, Matt and his guys were just about ready to go. In fact, they were so chill, they spent most of the time we were together watching the Bruins play.
That doesn't mean we weren't still able to capture some nice moments. In particular, I loved documenting how excited Matt's mom was to put on his boutonniere. It was the ONE photo the groom asked for so I'm glad I was able to deliver it.
Tonya and Matt's wedding day was, easily, the most stress-free I've seen in ages. I know I say that a lot but it's really true. If you had told me these two got married the day before and this was an afterparty photo session of sorts, I would have believed you.
The good news is this let me hang back and capture a lot of the interaction between the bride and groom during their formal portrait session. The even better news is it meant we could get photos taken care of entirely before their ceremony began. A win-win in my book.
One of the reasons I love second shooting, as opposed to be a lead photographer, is you can really get creative with where you want to stand and what you want to shoot. Because I knew Becky had the traditional elements of Tonya and Matt's ceremony locked down, I was able to think outside the box and capture a lot of fun candids I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
This is why I was able to get the excited look on Tonya's face as she was getting ready to walk down the aisle or the back of her dress as she passed by me, shots I almost never can capture as a lead photographer because I need to focus on the groom as well.
Tonya and Matt's wedding ceremony was short but sweet. In fact, in many ways, it was just a larger version of the commitment they'd already made to each other. Still, because they were already husband and wife before walking down the aisle at the Villa at Ridder Country Club, Tonya and Matt were able to bring out way more of their personality while reading their vows than they might have been if they felt the stress of the moment more.
And I'm glad because that led to some genuinely sweet and emotional moments between the two.
As I said above, I was really excited to capture Tonya and Matt's wedding for a number of personal reasons but, without a doubt, my favorite was the venue itself. The Villa at Ridder Country Club is one of my favorite places to shoot a wedding, especially a reception and Tonya and Matt showed why.
I especially loved the little touches the bride and groom brought to their day, like the seating chart Tonya put together with the help of the students she teaches in school.
The Villa was the perfect place for this party. All that was left to do was see just how wild we could get.
I had a feeling as I strolled through Tonya and Matt's cocktail hour that we were in for quite the night as their friends and family members seemed like a lot of fun and any doubts about that were erased moments into the reception as the newlyweds set the tone right from the start with a super fun first dance.
Without a doubt, my favorite moment of Tonya and Matt's wedding was still to come. As I found out earlier that day, this bride and groom were wrestling fans so when the best man went to give a speech and tried to surprise the groom by having a beer tossed to the couple Stone Cold Steve Austin style, I knew I was in for a special moment.
What I didn't know was the toss would be a bad one and it would end up smashing a glass and hitting Tonya's man of honor.
While that probably sounds mortifying, I assure you, once the suds were cleaned up, it was downright hilarious and a moment I know this bride and groom will dog their friends about for years. And, really, aren't those the BEST wedding memories to make?
Tonya and Matt's reception was full of beautiful, traditional moments, especially when they involved family. I loved watching the bride dance with her father and the groom dance with his mother but it was the bride's dance with her grandfather that tugged at my heart most.
Talk about a moment Tonya will never forget.
As fun as Tonya and Matt's wedding was in the moments leading up to dinner and parent dances, I knew there was one part of this day that would define it for this bride and groom: The party.
You simply don't throw a giant wedding bash after already getting eloped unless you WANT that party and, boy, did this pair ever.
Almost from the second the DJ opened this dance floor, it was ONNNNNN. There were so many cool dances and outrageous moments that the time FLEW by.
As I headed out of the Villa at Ridder Country Club following my time with Tonya and Matt, I couldn't help but pray that this wedding set the tone the rest of my 2022 season. It's hard sometimes to get into a rhythm after a long layoff and even harder when the first few weddings of the year are staggered over the period of a few months but I know when I look back on this year, Tonya and Matt's big day will be one of the benchmarks by which I measured other wedding days, particularly in terms of the dance floor party.
So thank you Tonya and Matt for allowing me to help document your day. It was a pleasure and I wish you well on this new chapter of your life as husband and wife.